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Social ties, homophily and heterophily in urban sustainability transitions: User practices and solar water heater diffusion in China

Yu, Zhen; Gibbs, David

Authors

Zhen Yu



Abstract

This paper aims to explore the potential of latecomer cities in sustainability transitions from the demand side. The case study investigates the role of users and their social ties in influencing the popularisation of solar water heaters in a latecomer city Dezhou, in contrast to a more developed counterpart, Beijing. The two cities show vast differences in user preferences towards the low-tech environmental innovation, and the stronger social ties in Dezhou facilitate the diffusion through not only frequent social learning and peer pressure, but also enhancing user-producer trust and relation. These findings suggest that latecomer cities could provide less harsh selection environments for disruptive environmental innovations and their comparatively homogenous social ties could be harnessed to empower niche development.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2018
Print ISSN 2214-6296
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Pages 236-244
APA6 Citation Yu, Z., & Gibbs, D. (2018). Social ties, homophily and heterophily in urban sustainability transitions: User practices and solar water heater diffusion in China. Energy research & social science ERSS, 46, 236-244. doi:10.1016/j.erss.2018.07.029
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2018.07.029
Keywords Latecomer cities; Sustainability transitions; User practices; Social ties
Publisher URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629618302317

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Copyright Statement
© 2018. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/



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