ISSN: 2297-6477 doi: 10.12924/librello.CiS

Challenges in Sustainability (CiS; ISSN 2297-6477) is an international, open access, academic, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the publication of high-quality research articles and review papers on all aspects of global environmental and transformational change toward sustainability. Research articles, reviews, communications or short notes and films are welcomed. Manuscripts must be prepared in English; they will undergo a rigorous peer review process, and they will appear online immediately after final acceptance. We especially encourage submissions from early stage researchers.

Objectives & Aims

The objective of the journal is to be a front-runner for original science that stimulates the development of sustainability solutions in an era of global environmental change. CiS defines its place at the interface between natural, socio-economic, and the humanistic sciences, creating a unique platform to disseminate analyses on challenges related to global environmental change, associated solutions, and trade-offs. The journal helps to further the field of sustainability science by bridging gaps between disciplines, science and societal stakeholders while not neglecting scientific rigor and excellence. The journal promotes science-based insights of societal dynamics, and is open for innovative and critical approaches that stimulate scientific and societal debates.

Examples of topics to be covered by this journal include, but are not limited to:

  • Environment and resource science
  • Governance for sustainability
  • Transition experiments and pathway studies
  • Education for sustainability
  • Future and anticipatory studies
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Sustainable urban systems
  • Sustainable energy
  • Place-based sustainability studies
  • Resource exploitation
  • Impact assessment and integrated modeling
  • Carbon accounting and compensation
  • Remote sensing and geoinformation

Latest publications

doi: 10.12924/cis2017.05010043 | Volume 5 (2017) | Issue 1
Tim G. O'Higgins
Marine Governace Group, MaREI, Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
Views 81
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Publication Date: 20 March 2017
Abstract: Policies of the European Union cover a range of social, environmental and economic aspirations and the current environmental directives and laws have evolved from a suite of norms which have changed over time. These may be characterised loosely according to 'Three Ps': Practical, those taking an anthropocentric approach; Pure, those taking an ecocentric approach and Popular, those appealing to the general public. In this paper I use these three perspectives as a tool to analyse the complexity and identify contradictions in European aquatic environmental legislation. Some trade-offs between development and conservation are identified and used to characterise the potential qualities of more successful agency to achieve environmental goals in the governance of European aquatic environments.

doi: 10.12924/cis2017.05010035 | Volume 5 (2017) | Issue 1
Henrik von Wehrden 1, 2, 3, 4, * , Christopher Luederitz 3, 5 , Julia Leventon 6 and Sally Russell 7
1 Centre of Methods, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
2 FuturES Research Center, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
3 Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
4 Institute of Ecology, Faculty of Sustainability, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
5 SPROUT Lab, Geography and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
6 Institute of Ethics and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research, Faculty of Sustainability, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
7 Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
* Corresponding author
Views 102
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Publication Date: 20 March 2017
Abstract: Sustainability science encompasses a unique field that is defined through its purpose, the problem it addresses, and its solution-oriented agenda. However, this orientation creates significant methodological challenges. In this discussion paper, we conceptualize sustainability problems as wicked problems to tease out the key challenges that sustainability science is facing if scientists intend to deliver on its solution-oriented agenda. Building on the available literature, we discuss three aspects that demand increased attention for advancing sustainability science: 1) methods with higher diversity and complementarity are needed to increase the chance of deriving solutions to the unique aspects of wicked problems; for instance, mixed methods approaches are potentially better suited to allow for an approximation of solutions, since they cover wider arrays of knowledge; 2) methodologies capable of dealing with wicked problems demand strict procedural and ethical guidelines, in order to ensure their integration potential; for example, learning from solution implementation in different contexts requires increased comparability between research approaches while carefully addressing issues of legitimacy and credibility; and 3) approaches are needed that allow for longitudinal research, since wicked problems are continuous and solutions can only be diagnosed in retrospect; for example, complex dynamics of wicked problems play out across temporal patterns that are not necessarily aligned with the common timeframe of participatory sustainability research. Taken together, we call for plurality in methodologies, emphasizing procedural rigor and the necessity of continuous research to effectively addressing wicked problems as well as methodological challenges in sustainability science.

doi: 10.12924/cis2017.05010026 | Volume 5 (2017) | Issue 1
François Mancebo
International Research Center on Sustainability, Rheims University, Rheims, France
Views 280
PDF 152
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Publication Date: 3 March 2017
Abstract:

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that, as part of its mission, sustainability science can change the way planners engage with urban problems on three points: First, that effective standard planning is an illusion, and the crucial task for urban planners should be considering—on a place-based rationale—the long-term consequences of decisions, policies and, technology change. Second,how it is necessary to develop collaborative planning and co-production of knowledge. Third, to build effective actions on the basis of collaborative planning, it is crucial to take first into account how the population and the institutions respond to and resist change. Conversely, this paper shows that urban planning is also a breeding ground for consolidating the theoretical framework of sustainability science, considering that cities can be seen as paragons of both socio-ecological systems and complex adaptive systems—a position that is discussed throughout the article. Bringing sustainability science and urban planning in closer dialogue with each other, to exploit their potential synergies, has not been done sufficiently: It is an important gap in the academic literature that this article aims at filling.


doi: 10.12924/cis2017.05010024 | Volume 5 (2017) | Issue 1
Elina Andersson 1, * and Ann Åkerman 1
1 Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), Lund, Sweden
* Corresponding author
Views 202
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Publication Date: 1 March 2017
Abstract: Advocacy for both critical analysis of social and environmental change and a more solutions-oriented agenda has been a central mission of sustainability science since its inception [1]. To this end, integration of knowledge across disciplinary divides and inclusion of non-academic actors into the research process have been widely promoted (e.g. [2–4]). Aspirations to link knowledge to action do not only bear on processes of knowledge generation, but also on strategies for research outreach.

doi: 10.12924/cis2017.05010015 | Volume 5 (2017) | Issue 1
Cordula Ott
Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
Views 221
PDF 125
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Publication Date: 27 February 2017
Abstract:

World leaders at the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York have re- confirmed the relevance of sustainability as the guiding paradigm in countering the development and climate crisis of the Anthropocene. Recent decades however, have been characterized by confusion, contestations, and arbitrariness in defining the nature and pathways of sustainable development. Humanity must urgently find ways to unlock the potential of the sustainability paradigm and organize a sustainability transforma- tion. An emerging sustainability science community has already established considerable consensus on essential features of transformative science and research. Sustainability scholars are providing growing evidence that an emancipatory and democratic construction of sustainable development and more equitable, deliberative, and democratized knowledge generation are pivotal in tackling sustainability challenges. These findings are further underpinned by experiences gained in the Eastern and Southern Africa Partnership Programme (1999–2015)—a rare case of a long-term, transnational, and transdisciplinary research en- deavour already completed. The programme fulfilled the dual role which is compulsory in transformative research: It generated contextualized knowledge and innovation at the science–society interface while simultaneously securing meaningful participation and Southern agency in a co-evolutionary process. This paper offers insight into the programme’s adaptive structure and implementation processes, which fostered deliberation, capacity development, and joint programme navigation benchmarked against local needs and broader sustainability demands. The ESAPP experience confirms that, if taken as the overarching frame of reference for all actors involved, the sustainability paradigm unfolds its integrative and transformative power. It enables sustainability-oriented actors from all scientific and practical fields to seek consilience between differing development and innovation paradigms and synchronize their development agendas and research frameworks on behalf of societal co-production of knowledge and innovation. Accordingly, the sustainability paradigm has the power to guide development and innovation policy, and practice out of the current confusion and ineffectiveness.


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ISSN: 2297-6477
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