Transformations in Place


The potential for place-based decarbonisation strategies to deliver greater energy reductions and cheaper decarbonisation pathways has been identified (Innovate, 2022). Local tailoring of strategies also allows policy interventions to deliver wider co-benefits to health and addressing inequality. This project aims to establish the conditions which support the development and delivery of place-based strategies in a variety of contexts and to develop tools to enable decision-makers to realise these benefits. Five connected strands of work will be conducted:

First, in collaboration with the Futures theme, we will establish the variation of scale and ambition of transitions across place (e.g. rates of electrification of heat and transport; mode shift) in different scenarios of change. Together with use of the Place-Based Carbon Calculator we will select sites with important contrasts which enable us to test the importance of place-specific policy. Second, the wider planning context for place-based strategies will be mapped, studying how different sectors might interact and interrelate. We will review the new Local Industrial Plans, Scottish Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies, Local Transport Plans and Local Area Energy Plans, industrial strategy and insights from the Flexibility theme to establish baseline planning assumptions.

The next stage of the work will build and deploy a Place-Based Societal Readiness Level assessment tool (PBSRL), drawing on pioneering work from the DecarboN8 network (B├╝scher and Cronshaw, 2023). The tool will enable a combined assessment of the technological, business, social and political fit of the scenarios and strategies identified above to place. Stage four will see deployment of the PBSRL tool in four partner areas to establish the opportunities and key delivery challenges and how they vary across scenarios. Our final strand of work will be to explore how the potential for accelerated and enhanced place-based policies can be maximised through changes to the governance system.

Research questions:

  • How might different policy pathways impact on place?
  • How effective are current sectoral planning approaches in identifying and capitalising on place-specific opportunities or tackling place-based barriers to progress?
  • What are the critical components of Societal Readiness which enable accelerated place-based action?
  • How can the opportunities for place-based decarbonisation best be realised?