Susie Moloney & Ralph Horne, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Presentation Title: Local government climate change alliances as intermediaries in low carbon urban transitioning in Victoria, Australia




A growing literature indicates the endeavors of local governance including local governments and non-government organizations in conducting and calling for actions aimed at low carbon urban transitions.  There is evidence that these unusual organizations, occupying middle ground between community and the state, are increasingly significant in driving regional-level co-ordination and innovation. Their actions are notable in an era of diminishing political leadership at both the state and federal levels.

The emergence of regional climate change alliances is a significant feature of urban low carbon activity in Victoria, Australia, and is a form of governance that is fostering experiments through energy infrastructure projects and regional-scale urban retrofitting and capacity building initiatives. Understood as intermediaries, their role and effectiveness in creating spaces outside the obduracy of both existing urban governance and socio-technical regimes was analyzed. This analysis within the context of Victoria contributes to an understanding of the roles, types and significance of intermediaries in low carbon transitioning and the extent to which new informal governing arrangements might transform socio-technical regimes.


Policy/Practice Implications of Research

There is a role for informal governing arrangements in transforming socio-technical regimes.  Researchers and universities can play a role in working with intermediaries to build capacity and knowledge, interpret and distribute learnings, facilitating policy transfers and lessons, and act as advocates.


Knowledge Gaps and Needs

  • There is a need for comparative frameworks.
  • A better understanding of the role of place-based experiments and socio-technical transitioning and its implications for broad-scale change is necessary.  
  • Further analysis of project/initiative efficacy and evaluation of potential for shifting socio-technical systems and social practices is needed.