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CRAFT – Creative Approaches For socio-ecological Transitions: A comparative study of rural-peripheral biosphere reserves as driver of social innovations

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At the centre of this project are biosphere reserves. Rural-peripheral biosphere reserves act as model regions, “real world laboratories” or “future labs” (Hammer et al. 2016) for sustainability (UNESCO 1996). In that sense, biosphere reserves need to act as regional platforms for creative approaches, creating niche possibilities but also gather knowledge for socio-ecological transitions being embedded into a global network. However, biosphere reserves are embedded into various formats of regional development instruments. Other mechanisms to foster regional development aim at similar goals at a first glance (e.g. LEADER, Regio, etc.). The project analyses the role of boundaries of, and interrelations between biosphere reserves and their surroundings for creative approaches. These creative approaches, however, need to be in-depth analysed which offers possibilities for knowledge on how those pioneers are influenced on a multi-level scale. CRAFT seeks to develop an advanced understanding of how biosphere reserves foster creative approaches of pioneer initiatives and their interrelations to other development mechanisms and their contribution for a socio-ecological transition towards sustainable regions.