A new generation of demo-projects for sustainable sector-integrated innovation
Paper i proceeding, 2009

The building sector is currently pressured by a global call to review its management of the flows of matter and energy. A radical change is required and at the same time a change is going on. Design processes and construction management are actually inserted in a changed new operational context deeply influenced by the sustainability and globalization debate. The focus has been moved to energy and matter flows as the peculiar base of all building business and this fact introduces ecology as a base knowledge in construction. Ecology is the science of intelligent, self-organizing complex systems. Large complex systems react to change and innovations are the tools the system creates in order to adapt. The management of innovations in construction has been a complex, theoretically weak and often ill-defined problem partly due to the contingency and heterogeneity of all parts and variables involved. This study highlights the emerging of new practices able to link knowledge innovations and project managing processes when sustainability goals are on stake. Demonstration projects are the investigated unit assumed as contexts for the co-evolution of research, design and management developing technological change and innovations. The discussion is based on real case-projects studied within a stakeholder participatory approach. Findings reinforce the need of identifying and better understand integrated sector-specific innovations. Still innovations in construction can be inconsistent with concepts of sustainability.


matter and energy flows

ecology of innovation

built environment

demonstration projects


Barbara Rubino

Chalmers, Arkitektur

Istanbul, Turkey




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