Project Director: Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2021-2022
This project seeks to generate new insights into emerging geographies of new energy economies with specific reference to the under-researched position of old industrial towns within energy transitions research. Although there is a growing literature on the economic geography of energy transitions, there remains a need for investigation of fragile, uncertain and uneven outcomes of emerging economic geographies of energy transition and to look ‘beyond the metropole’.
Older industrial towns are particularly relevant to debates on uneven development and energy transitions for various reasons. They have been more vulnerable to waves of economic restructuring over the last 50 years due to locational factors, increased tendency towards dependency on particular industries and/or small numbers of dominant firms, and weaker institutional networks, including connections to policy networks.
These places have also often been neglected in economic policy responses which have prioritised economies in cities and metropolitan regions. This vulnerability can take new dimensions in energy transitions: any continued industrial presence in such places can make them exposed to carbon regulation and rising energy costs, placing pressure on remaining production-based industries.
The research will involve qualitative case studies in five older industrial towns at the frontier of new energy economies in different ways, in England, Germany, Scotland, Spain and Sweden.