Project-based practices for promoting a sustainability transition in a city organization and its urban context



We studied a project that was working on urban circular economy to initiate sustainability change in a city. We present longitudinal participatory action research on the activities of a project management team in a city organization. We used practice-theory perspective in analyzing the praxes of the project team. The results of our study show how praxes of a project team without hierarchical authoritative power to give orders or delegate change-related activities in the host organization create organization-level outcomes in the city’s organization and urban living lab contexts among external stakeholders. Our study increases understanding about the dual role of a project in advancing change in public organizations and helping them to adopt roles in initiating and steering urban sustainability transitions. The study shows how short-term project activities foster long-term strategic changes in siloed and departmentalized host organizations while at the same time creating outcomes in the external urban living lab context. This provides novel insights into the evolving intermediary roles of projects that support city organizations in acting as leaders in urban sustainability transitions and agents in circular economy change.

Authors: Hanna Lehtimäki, University of Eastern Finland; Ari Jokinen, Tampere University; Jatta Pitkänen, University of Eastern Finland

Published: International Journal of Project Management

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Hanna Lehtimäki

Ari Jokinen