The paper "From niche to mainstream: the dilemmas of scaling up sustainable alternatives" by Dr. Karoline Augenstein and Dr. Alexandra Palzkill, junior professors at the University of Wuppertal, and their co-authors have been awarded second place in the Best Paper Award by the journal "GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society". Each year, the journal honours the best article of the past year with this award. The article was selected for its scientific quality, originality, and particular relevance to current debates in social-ecological transformation research.
In the article, the authors identify three dilemmas of upscaling innovative ideas from niches into the mainstream, explaining why e.g. urban sustainability initiatives, such as Utopiastadt in Wuppertal, cannot simply be transferred to other quarters and cities. It can be deduced that a social-ecological transformation cannot be firmly planned or managed. The initiative Utopiastadt address the dilemmas of upscaling in their efforts to develop sustainable alternatives locally, get involved in transdisciplinary processes and help create spaces for experimentation and reflexive dialogue with researchers and policy-makers.
It's a joint product from the junior research group "UrbanUp" of the University of Wuppertal, the Wuppertal institute and the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) as well as external researchers. The team of authors includes Paul Suski, Researcher in the Product and Consumption Systems Research Unit at the Wuppertal Institute, as well as Boris Bachmann, Verena Hermelingmeier and Annaliesa Hilger from the Center for Transformation Research and Sustainability (TransZent), an initiative of Bergische Universität and the Wuppertal Institute.
The article "From niche to mainstream: the dilemmas of scaling up sustainable alternatives" has been published in the journal GAIA (3/2020) and is available free of charge in the link below.