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Diana Velasco, Míriam Acebillo-Baqué, Alejandra Boni, Tatiana Fernández


Climate change, pollution, persistent unemployment and higher levels of inequalities, among others, are challenges shared locally and globally and produced by the current social, economic, political and technical systems. This chapter argues that a reparative and transformative approach to integral sustainability is a good way forward for dealing with complex—and therefore systemic—problems (Conway et al., 2017). We explore historical knowledges and practices as a critical base for imagining co-produced and reparative futures (Sriprakash et al., 2020) through regional Shared Agendas in Catalonia. Such agendas enable a participatory approach to specific needs and problems (usually related to Sustainable Development Goals) in the territory, encouraging experimentation to understand, learn and create adaptive action pathways from a dynamic and holistic perspective (Fernández & Romagosa, 2020).

The chapter investigates the type of research and innovation policies which might repair unsustainable pathways in Catalonia. It also seeks to ascertain how the driving forces of change can be sensed, and how we can let go of the past and let just and sustainable futures emerge (Scharmer, 2018). To discuss these issues, in the second section, we describe and analyse the trajectory leading to the Research and Innovation Strategy for the Smart Specialisation of Catalonia (RIS3CAT) and the Shared Agendas as an expression of Transformative Innovation Policies (Schot & Steinmueller, 2018) as our case studies. We contend that, by understanding how different frames of science and innovation policies have led to current undesirable effects in Catalonia, collective actors can learn from the past as a source of present and future action. Our analytical approach and methodology, developed in the third section, are based on three cases of Catalan Shared Agendas which developed and implemented a formative evaluation approach to transformation based on the co-construction of flexible transformative theories of change, and monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) plans (Molas-Gallart et al., 2021). In the fourth section, we analyse and discuss how the methodological approach enables the co-creation of sustainable and restorative futures from the present and towards just transitions. In the fifth section, we conclude with the main insights drawn from our case studies to imagine and realise reparative futures towards just transitions.

Year of publication 2023