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Open Access From niche to mainstream: the dilemmas of scaling up sustainable alternatives

At the heart of transition research lies the question of how to “scale up” sustainable alternatives from a protected niche to the creation of mainstream practices.While upscaling processes are often seen as an essential element that contributes to societal transformation, upscaling itself remains a fuzzy concept.We argue that some fundamental dilemmas of upscaling can be identified, for example, the different understanding of the concept by researchers and practitioners. The dilemmas should be addressed in a more reflexive way by those from the worlds of science and practice who are involved in collaborative research settings.

Keywords: real-worlds labs; societal transformation; sustainability transitions; transdisciplinary research; transitions research; upscaling

Document Type: Research Article

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Publication date: October 15, 2020

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  • GAIA is a peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to inter- and transdisciplinary research on and for sustainability transformations.

    Environmental problems cannot be solved by one academic discipline. The complex natures of these problems require cooperation across disciplinary boundaries. Since 1991, GAIA has offered a well-balanced and practice-oriented forum for transdisciplinary research. GAIA offers first-hand information on state of the art environmental research and on current solutions to environmental problems. Well-known editors, advisors, and authors work to ensure the high quality of the contributions found in GAIA and a unique transdisciplinary dialogue – in a comprehensible style.

    GAIA is an ISI-journal, listed in the Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index and in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    All contributions undergo a double-blind peer review.

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