The future of sustainability science: A solutions-oriented research agenda

Thaddeus Miller, Arnim Wiek, Daniel Sarewitz, John Robinson, Lennart Olsson, David Kriebel, Derk Loorbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

222 Scopus citations

Abstract

Over the last decade, sustainability science has been at the leading edge of widespread efforts from the social and natural sciences to produce use-inspired research. Yet, how knowledge generated by sustainability science and allied fields will contribute to transitions toward sustainability remains a critical theoretical and empirical question for basic and applied research. This article explores the limitations of sustainability science research to move the field beyond the analysis of problems in coupled systems to interrogate the social, political and technological dimensions of linking knowledge and action. Over the next decade, sustainability science can strengthen its empirical, theoretical and practical contributions by developing along four research pathways focused on the role of values in science and decision-making for sustainability: how communities at various scales envision and pursue sustainable futures; how socio-technical change can be fostered at multiple scales; the promotion of social and institutional learning for sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-246
Number of pages8
JournalSustainability Science
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Decision-making
  • Scenarios
  • Socio-technical change
  • Sustainability science
  • Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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