Designing Transformative Spaces for Sustainability in social-ecological systems

Transformations toward sustainability have recently gained traction, but there is a dearth of literature that emphasizes the crucial aspects of sustainability transformations in the diverse contexts of the Global South. Contributors to this Special Feature aim to bridge this gap, addressing ‘how to’, ‘with whom’ and ‘what for’ transformations in these contexts.

In this new special issue featured in Ecology and Society, a collection of papers showcases what it takes to openly experiment for sustainability and transformations in social-ecological systems. What makes this special issue and the topical collection of papers stand out is the unique set of cases and analyses from the Global South, that together form an important navigational tool on the “how to” as well as the “what” and the “where to” of sustainability transformations across diverse challenges, sectors, and geographies.

The topical collection confirms that the context that resonates with convening of the transformative space as a collaborative governance settings include at least some of the following core systemic characteristics (elaborated fully at the Editorial):

  • There is a dominant system and status quo that is unsustainable and needs to be changed.
  • There are actors with the agency to act to achieve sustainability and social justice.
  • There is a capacity to connect and combine different actors, ideas, and innovations (bricolage) in order to achieve transformative change.
  • There are either new opportunities that have opened up, or a realization that there is a need to prepare in order to take advantage of new opportunities when they arise.
  • There is a seemingly intractable “horns of the dilemma” problem where diverse perspectives see the problem and potential solutions in different ways.

Pereira, L., Karpouzoglou, T., Frantzeskaki, N. and Olsson, P. (2018). Designing transformative spaces for sustainability in social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society, 23(4). 32.

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Read the entire special issue here.

december 10, 2018