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GRASSROOTS INNOVATIONS FOR
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

A one-day conference for researchers, practitioners and policymakers in the UK
Friday June 10th, 2005 - 9.00am – 5.00pm
Dept of Geography, University College London
26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP

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The UK government's new Sustainable Development Strategy 'Securing the Future' places greener innovation and local action at its foundation. Yet these two themes are considered apart: greener innovation is presumed to be an industrial concern, whilst local action is identified with the community dimension of sustainable development. In practice, the grassroots has often pioneered highly innovative approaches to sustainable development, and it continues to experiment with social and technical innovations today.

Participants in this one-day conference will learn more about the innovative potential of grassroots activities. `Grassroots innovations' involve networks of people in bottom-up initiatives that combine social innovations with greener technologies and techniques. In contrast to conventional, incremental green reforms, these initiatives seek to create new social institutions and new 'systems of provision', based upon values that are different to those of the mainstream. Examples include community renewable energy initiatives, eco-housing, local organic food schemes, and community currencies such as time-banks.

The conference will discuss the significance of these grassroots innovations and identify how they may be supported and encouraged. The conference will ask: To what extent do these initiatives exemplify sustainability? How can such innovations initiate change in the absence of top-down support? How relevant are these initiatives to mainstream sustainable development?

Participation is invited from practitioners, academics and policymakers. As well as providing an opportunity to network with others interested in this field, the conference will help participants reconsider grassroots innovation as part of a bigger picture, and thereby underscore its relevance to policies for sustainable development.

The conference is a collaboration between two research projects funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and conducted by CSERGE (University of East Anglia) and SPRU (University of Sussex). For further information, please visit the conference web site: www.uea.ac.uk/~e175/grassroots.htm

Attendance, refreshments and lunch are free to participants, but places must be reserved in advance. Contact Ann Dixon on 01603 593176 or m.a.dixon@uea.ac.uk

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Dr Gill Seyfang
Centre for Social and Economic Research
on the Global Environment (CSERGE)
University of East Anglia
Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK
+44 (0) 1603 592956
g.seyfang@uea.ac.uk
Personal web page: www.uea.ac.uk/~e175/
Department web page: www.uea.ac.uk/env/cserge/
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