Processes of Institutional Innovation: Reference Tools for Eco-cities in France and Denmark

Eva Boxenbaum, Aurélien Acquier, Rebecca Pinheiro, Gabriela Lucía Garza de Linde

Research output: Working paperResearch


How does innovation come about in a highly institutionalized field like the construction sector? The construction sector is characterized by relatively rigid routines, strong professional boundaries, clear division of labor, and elaborate national legislation. It tends to lag behind other sectors of the economy when it comes to innovation, being perceived as mechanically responding to external (client) needs and as implementing innovations that originate elsewhere (Winch 1998, Harty 2008). Sustainable construction represents a remarkable break with this tradition with strong ambitions to boost construction in terms of its economic, environmental and social performance. In sustainable construction, new technologies are appearing, new 'best practices' are being formulated, and new managerial systems and labels are being introduced. For instance, innovations like zeroenergy housing and eco-districts have emerged as novel ways to lower energy consumption and otherwise contribute to increased sustainability in the construction sector. Since a coherent template for sustainable construction has not yet taken form, this area offers a unique opportunity to study in real time how innovation emerges within a highly institutionalized field.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationParis
PublisherPlan Urbanisme Construction Architecture (PUCA)
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2012

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