Institut de Gestion de l'Environnement et d'Aménagement du Territoire

Governance of the Sustainable Economy Transition: Challenges of Exnovation (GOSETE)


The political world and public services are under pressure. Citizens increasingly reject traditional political actors, and new societal challenges arise. A prominent example of the latter is the transition to a sustainable economy. Various network governance constellations are being developed for the stimulation, co-creation and institutional anchorage of sustainability-oriented innovation and grassroots initiatives. Beyond this bright and mobilizing side of transitions governance, this project deliberately targets its crucial but hitherto relatively neglected counterpart of exnovation. Exnovation refers to the phasing out of outdated, redundant modes of production and consumption. Focusing on exnovation challenges, the project does not shy away from the politics of transitions: their winners and their losers, and their multiple (often unforeseen) socio-economic side-effects. Beyond the aforementioned cultivation of innovation, exnovation reminds of the challenge for current regulative frameworks and governance arrangements to create contexts and incentives in which the various sustainable innovations can thrive, and become mainstream. At the same time, it reminds of the importance to protect rights, to ensure continuity, and to guarantee a level and transparent economic playing field. This calls for forward-looking governance and institutional design – and the legitimacy for this needs to be actively gained. Our central research question is therefore: How can the existing governance arrangements and regulatory frameworks in the Brussels Capital Region be supported in dealing with the sustainable economy transition and its exnovation challenges? The project confronts this question through a quite unique interdisciplinary combination of expertise in transitions governance, sustainability assessment and legal studies. It is aimed to a) analyse the main exnovation challenges for BCR governance actors, assessing the portée and magnitude of the environmental, social and economic impacts involved; b) develop strategies and institutional design of adequate, forward looking responses in governance and regulatory frameworks and c) organize broad and inclusive societal debate on exnovation challenges.