Reconstructing Sustainability Science
Knowledge and Action for a Sustainable Future
Routledge – 2013 – 208 pages
Sustainability Science is an interdisciplinary, problem-driven field that seeks to address fundamental questions on human-environment interactions. Reconstructing Sustainability Science repositions sustainability science as a "science of design"—that is, a normative science of what ought to be in order to achieve certain goals—rather than a science of what is. It provides an essential understanding of the complex relationship between science, social change and the normative dimensions of sustainability.
Drawing upon interviews of 30 prominent sustainability scientists, the book first gives an in-depth, empirical discussion and analysis of the three main questions regarding the development of sustainability science: how researchers in the emerging field of sustainability science are attempting to define sustainability, establish research agendas, and link the knowledge they produce to societal action. This study is paired with a thorough content analysis of the sustainability science literature in which the boundaries and tensions between emerging research pathways and decision-making for sustainability are explored. The second part aims to reformulate the sustainability science research agenda and its relationship to decision-making and social action. The book includes case studies of innovative sustainability research centres that act as examples of how a science of design can be constructed. The book concludes with a grounded discussion of the implications for building sustainability research and education programs, and training the next generation of sustainability scientists and practitioners.
This timely book gives students, researchers and practitioners an invaluable analysis of the emergence of sustainability science, and both the opportunities and barriers faced by scientific efforts to contribute to social action.
1. Introduction: Science for Sustainability Part 1: Constructing Sustainability Science 2. The Challenges of Sustainability: What Role for Science? 3. Constructing Sustainability 4. Bounding Sustainability 5. Tensions in Sustainability Science Part 2: Reconstructing Sustainability Science: A Science of Design 6. Situating Sustainability Science: Objectives for a Science of Design 7. Design Imperatives for Sustainability Science 8. The Future of Sustainability: The Search for Solutions 9. Conclusion: Training the Next Generation of Sustainability Scientists
Thaddeus R. Miller is Assistant Professor of Urban Civic Ecology and Sustainable Communities at Portland State University, US.