Sustainable cities: Creating the growth and jobs of tomorrow

Client: Dublin City Council
Objective: Stimulate green business in the local economy, and brand Dublin as a magnet for innovative environmental businesses worldwide
Team: Max Bentinck (Netherlands), Aislinn Lucheroni (Ireland/Italy), Barbara Simonič (Slovenia), Aleksandra Tomczak (Poland) and Cecilia Zappalà (Italy)

Dublin City Council is the largest administrative local authority in Ireland. It plays an important role nationally, as Dublin is Ireland’s economic engine.

In the context of the economic crisis, Dublin City Council wants to stimulate the greening of the Irish economy on a local level and within its competences. Key government policy documents have identified the so-called “green economy” as a way for Ireland to recover growth following a major economic recession – a strategy that has also been followed worldwide and on the EU level. In that context, Dublin City Council asked us to look into international best practices in the area of fostering green entrepreneurship. The recent development of the green business phenomenon requires new patterns of thinking and working and Dublin City Council would also like to foster creativity and innovation.

In particular, Dublin City Council asked us to focus on the idea of ‘hubs,’ which it believes have strong potential for supporting green entrepreneurship. ‘Hubs’ have already been successfully established in many cities across the world and in Europe, including in Amsterdam, Brussels and London. They provide a physical working space for entrepreneurs and are characterized by a strong community and networking dimension, as well as by a high degree of flexibility in terms of entry criteria and the use of office space.

This study analyzes the local, national and European context, benchmarks European best practices related to ‘hubs’ and looks at similar Dublin-based initiatives. The report concludes that Dublin City Council could foster green business development on a local level through facilitating the establishment of a green hub. The report recommends that this hub should have a clear green focus which is specific enough to foster green business in particular and wide enough to allow a necessary variety of projects for innovative synergies to take place. The report recommends that, in order to leverage the economic potential, business components of the hub should be given particular emphasis. The report identifies options for financing and management structures of a possible hub. Although there are numerous advantages of a purely entrepreneur-driven working hub, government support could be helpful given the crisis context.

Growth from economic crisis requires new ways of thinking. The report explores hubs as a way for Dublin to unleash the kind of innovation that lays the foundation for a lasting recovery.

For enquiries please contact:

Viorica Spac, project manager and research associate

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