Smart Circular Cities : Governing the Relationality, Spatiality, and Digitality in the Promotion of Circular Economy in an Urban Region
Anttiroiko, Ari-Veikko (2023-08-22)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
This article discusses the governance of a smart-green transition in an urban region. The focus is on how the modes of public governance relate to relationality, spatiality, and digitality, which are of vital importance in determining the success of the transition in question. The empirical inquiry is based on observations of the case of the Tampere urban region in Finland, which exemplifies such governance efforts in the Nordic welfare society context. The discussion shows that the relationality in the given context is fragmentary, dominated by persuasive network governance and soft means of exerting pressure. Municipalities assume many roles in CE governance, which matches their urge to utilize different institutional logics from hierarchies to markets and networks. Rather than a genuine authority, municipalities emerge as facilitators and enablers. Spatiality is highlighted in the formation of designated areas that serve circularity and also provide brand benefits, as shown by the eco-industrial park in the city of Nokia. Digitalization is an underdeveloped area in the circular economy agenda vis-à-vis its assumed potential. Its relevance has been identified by institutional players in the urban-regional governance field, but its realization seems to require both nationally coordinated actions and local solutions that compensate for the lack of a critical mass of developers and users in the circular economy ecosystem. Lastly, regarding urban governance, the parallel utilization of different modes of governance forms a complex setting, in which increasingly sophisticated forms of hybrid governance are emerging. Most notably, in the case of the Tampere urban region, the promotion of a circular economy by intermediaries is supplemented by novel dynamic assemblages that utilize different institutional logics within loosely governed processes that aim at integrating a circular economy into business models and urban development.
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