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Razie Nejabat, Mozhdeh Taheri, Victor Scholten and Marina van Geenhuizen

This chapter deals with small high-technology firms introducing sustainable energy inventions to the market. The focus is on university spin-offs, which typically show weak skills in management and marketing, but strong technology skills – in this chapter, solar photovoltaics, wind energy, biomass and hydro-power. A simplified conceptual model is explored by focusing on institutional aspects (countries) and network access as well as firms’ entrepreneurial orientation. The exploration of time to market draws on a selected sample of spin-offs in northwest Europe using rough-set analysis. The results show that the highest probability for quick market introduction occurs in an ‘innovation leader’ country (Sweden, Denmark, Finland) and among spin-offs’ involved in multiple networks, followed by those with a practical orientation and access to substantial investment. There are no differences between entrepreneurial ecosystems in metropolitan areas and remote/small urban places. Rather, the results indicate a trend for compensation in ‘thin regions’ through long-distance networks and ‘workplace learning’.

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Martina Fromhold-Eisebith and Ulrich Dewald

The focus of this chapter is on socio-technical niches and adoption of photovoltaics (PV) technology, presenting Germany as a case study. By taking a mainly institutional approach and by paying attention to different market segments, the bias in favour of urban areas in sustainability transition studies is avoided. Using eight dimensions, for example topographical nature, building and settlement features, economic structure, socio-economic entrepreneurship and policy agency, it is concluded that both urban and rural areas may enhance PV technology adoption, albeit in different ways. For example, rural areas can act as large-scale providers of ‘greenfield’ installations due to topographical/settlement characteristics. In the segment of civic corporate solar systems, as cooperatives, small-scale opportunities are provided for shareholder funding and local use of solar energy. A third segment, the small-scale roof-mounted systems, with home-owners and local installers as the main actors involved, is found in rural areas, medium-sized cities and in the fringes of larger cities.

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Marloes Dignum

This chapter addresses local initiatives supported by city governments. It introduces urban platform intermediaries (UPIs) as strategic intermediaries enhancing the realization of sustainable energy aims, and it investigates their roles, actions and organizational position. With socio-technical transition as a starting point, a reflective framework to evaluate UPIs is developed, using two contrasting examples in Amsterdam: NewNRG and its spin-off ‘We’re Getting Chickens’ and Amsterdam Smart City and its project City-Zen. Amsterdam has high ambitions with regard to sustainable energy, but which is complicated by the need for degasification of the housing stock. With similar tasks of connecting actors, the initiatives show substantial differences in position. NewNRG has a bottom-up, grassroots character, and attracts mostly newcomers; however, it struggles to attract funding and organizational stability. ‘Established’ Amsterdam Smart City and its incumbent actors have the potential to upscale inventions and make innovations grow, but they are unlikely to initiate radical activities.

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Claudia Díaz-Peréz, Brian Wixted and J. Adam Holbrook

This chapter investigates the unique development of Vancouver’s fuel cell cluster, going back to the early 1980s. At that time, important national research and development programmes were launched and local pioneering firms acted as technology change agents. Vancouver developed a leadership position due to favourable living conditions and the importance attached worldwide to fuel cell technology and hydrogen, including considerable funding from the Canadian government and European car manufacturers. However, two conditions started to weaken the pre-commercial cluster, namely, competition from battery-electrical and hybrid vehicles, and a lack of fuelling infrastructure. Once support by the national government dwindled, the Vancouver cluster seemed not able to grow independently and reach maturity. Thus, the attractiveness of local conditions could not overcome basic competition between and among technologies. However, while the cluster is shrinking, car manufacturers are still investing and releasing prototypes, and new local initiatives building on existing leading edge technology are also being undertaken.

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Ruth Conroy Dalton, Jakub Krukar and Christoph Hölscher

Architectural cognition is the set of perceptual and mental processes involved in the interaction between a building and its users. The following chapter reviews these phenomena, starting with the assumption that one of the key determinants of which processes are involved is the user’s physical relation to the building’s structure and the user’s movement (or lack thereof) through it. This results in a framework where cognitive processes involved in the dynamic exploration (various aspects of wayfinding) are reviewed separately from the ones possibly occurring from a single viewpoint (such as the appreciation of a facade). The chapter considers behavioral studies in the field of spatial cognition as well as architectural writings addressing the experience of (potential) building visitors. Research methods useful in the experimental design and formal analysis of architectural structures are emphasized; among them, space syntax and virtual reality have been particularly fruitful in recent studies of architectural cognition. Mobile eye-tracking and remote psychophysiological measures show interesting promise for the near future.

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Paul M. Torrens

The fields of artificial intelligence and behavioral geography have often focused their inquisitive potential on similar topics of interest. In particular, there are many aspects of spatial intelligence that are expressed in behavioral geography that can be automated in artificial intelligence (AI), so that they can be performed at scale, exhaustively, and with precision. There are also many facets of AI that are useful in helping us to frame and explore our own behavior and that of human and social phenomena around us. In this chapter, I explore the evolving relationship between AI and behavioral geography, beginning with its early origins in efforts to automate tasks that require behavioral geography. Following this, I will discuss the move of both geography and AI to the Web, as part of the development of geographic information systems and the Semantic Web. I will conclude with an examination of the current state of AI and behavioral geography, particularly as it relates to developments in mobile and human-centered computing and the growing sophistication of machine-based intelligence that relies on geographic information in large volume and with fine resolution, on spatial awareness, on spatial knowledge, and on spatial skills.

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Daniel R. Montello

This chapter introduces and overviews the field of behavioral and cognitive geography. Behavioral and cognitive geography is the study of human mind and activity in and concerning space, place, and environment. The field relates to many subfields of human geography, cartography, and geographic information science (GIScience). It is also fundamentally multi- and interdisciplinary, connecting primarily to various subfields of research psychology, but also to economics, linguistics, computer science, architecture and planning, anthropology, neuroscience, and more. It originated as a contrast to aggregate approaches to human geography that treat people as more or less interchangeable within groups and homogeneous in their responses; to models of human activity based on simplistic and psychologically implausible assumptions; and to conceptualizations of humans as passive responders to culture, social institutions, economic forces, and the physical environment. The chapter concludes with an overview of the Handbook that it introduces.

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Piotr Jankowski

This chapter examines decision-theoretical underpinnings of spatial decision-making models. It begins with an overview of rational decision making followed by bounded rationality, prospect theory, and adaptive structuration theory. Following the overview, the chapter examines how theoretical assumptions have been reflected in normative-prescriptive approaches exemplified by multiple criteria decision-making models and spatial decision support systems, and in normative-exploratory approaches exemplified by agent-based models. The chapter ends with a call for a return to decision-theoretical roots in spatial decision-making models.

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Martin Raubal

Geographic information technologies facilitate people’s decision making in space and time. Providing useful and usable decision support requires that the users’ cognition is taken into account during the design of such technology and when specifying the various interaction processes between humans and technologies. This chapter provides an overview of geographic information technologies, explains why cognition is important for these technologies, and examines research and methods for investigating cognitive aspects during people’s use of geographic information technologies. Examples demonstrate the importance of cognition for geographic information technologies.

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Victor R. Schinazi and Tyler Thrash

Cognitive neuroscience can provide novel and interesting techniques for investigating spatial and geographic thinking. However, the incorporation of neuroscientific methods still lacks the theoretical motivation necessary for the progression of geography as a discipline. Rather than reflecting a shortcoming of neuroscience, this weakness has developed from previous attempts to establish a positivist approach to behavioral geography. In this chapter, we will discuss the challenges of establishing a positivist approach in behavioral geography and the current drive to incorporate neuroscientific evidence. Towards this end, we review research in geography and neuroscience. Here, we focus specifically on navigation and large-scale spatial thinking. We argue that research at the intersection of geography and neuroscience would benefit from an explanatory, theory-driven approach rather than a descriptive, exploratory approach. Future collaborations will require additional training for geographers and neuroscientists and the involvement of both disciplines during the early stages of a research program.