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Sebastian Fastenrath, Fellowship Grant 2017

Urban sustainability transitions in the building sector

The GSGS Fellowship Grant was a great support in the final stages of my PhD project. The research stay in Australia during the funding period as a guest researcher at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane and at the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney was crucial for my PhD project but also for further steps in my academic career. I am grateful for that opportunity.


My PhD thesis which is embedded in the DFG-funded project ‘GreenRegio', explores urban sustainability transitions in the building sector using the case study cities of Freiburg (Germany) and Brisbane (Australia). Drawing on theoretical approaches of Transition Studies and Economic Geography, the main goal of the research is to develop an in-depth understanding of socio-technical shifts from conventional to more sustainable building practices on the local level. Considering urban specificities, I trace back and analyze the development and interplay of economic and policy trajectories, and actors involved.


During the funding period from August 2016 to January 2017, I worked on two journal articles and a book chapter. During the first months (August – October), I finished and submitted the first PhD-related article titled ‘Sustainability transition pathways in the building sector: Energy-efficient building in Freiburg (Germany)’. The article has already been published online in ‘Applied Geography’, one of the most renowned journals in Geography. The case study Freiburg, often used as a sustainable role model city, allows to trace back ‘successful’ changes towards more sustainable practices in the building sector. The paper identified a number of causalities to explain these changes. ‘Learning by doing’ and ‘bottom-up’ driven processes by ambitious pioneers but also strong political support through strict regulation were crucial aspects for Freiburg’s pathway towards a greener built environment.   

      
In the second phase of the funding period (November – January), I worked on the second PhD-related paper, ‘Ambivalent urban sustainability transitions. Insights from Brisbane’s building sector’ that will be submitted in April 2017. The contribution explores the ambivalence of Brisbane’s building sector. While significant shifts can be identified in the commercial building sector, transitions in the residential building sector are lagging behind. The contribution sheds light on barriers and processes of resistance towards more sustainable building practices and the adoption of greener materials and technologies. Concurrently, I completed a book chapter on the Brisbane case study which will be part of the edited book titled ‘Geographies of Green Building. Sustainability Transitions in Urban Contexts’, published by Springer New York.


The research stays in Brisbane and Sydney during the funding period allowed me to evaluate data gained during earlier stages of the research. The personal contact with researchers and the access to libraries and data provided by both universities were highly valuable for my PhD thesis. I am particularly grateful to Prof. Dr. Douglas Baker (Queensland University of Technology) and Prof. Dr. Bill Pritchard (University of Sydney).


Published publications during the funding period

Published:

Preller, B., Affolderbach, J., Schulz, C., Fastenrath, S., Braun, B. (2017): Interactive knowledge generation in urban green building transitions. Professional Geographer. 69 (2), 214-224. PDF  

Fastenrath, S. & Braun, B. (2016): Sustainability transition pathways in the building sector: Energy-efficient building in Freiburg (Germany). Applied Geography.
Published online: 27/09/2016. PDF

Publications in progress:
Fastenrath, S. & Braun, B. (submission end of April 2017): Ambivalent urban sustainability transitions. Insights from Brisbane’s building sector. Journal for Cleaner Production.

Fastenrath, S. & Preller, B. (2017, forthcoming): Chapter 5: Freiburg. In: Affolderbach, J., Braun, B., Schulz, C. (Eds.), Geographies of Green Building. Sustainability Transitions in Urban Contexts. Springer New York.

Fastenrath, S. (2017, forthcoming): Chapter 7: Brisbane. In: Affolderbach, J., Braun, B., Schulz, C. (Eds.), Geographies of Green Building. Sustainability Transitions in Urban Contexts. Springer New York.

 

Sebastian Fastenrath
PhD Student

Institute of Geography
PhD thesis: “Urban sustainability transitions in the building sector”
(working title, submission autumn 2017)
Supervised by: Prof. Dr. Boris Braun, Prof. Dr. Javier Revilla-Diez