Special Issue

Special Issue: System dynamics and sustainability – Urban transitions to sustainability and resilience

Renowned scientist offer new views on urban transitions, challenges and opportunities.

Cities will be those spaces where transitions will happen and will proliferate sustainability innovations and, along with those, an even more profound environmental change. There are many climate-change and socially induced challenges such as when natural hazards and poverty come together. At the same time, there are opportunities such as local knowledge and creativity being mobilized and put in action along with technological progress in lowering emissions and nature-based solutions (e.g. for wetland management). Altogether, these challenges and the opportunities can play a decisive role in rerouting existing processes in urban regions towards more sustainable futures. For understanding both challenges and opportunities, it is vital to examine the elements of urban built structures and open spaces as well as human actions and respective the processes that play out to the complexity and uncertainty of local and global transformations in cities: demography and migration, diversity in innovation processes and forms of innovation, institutional and governance structures and processes as well as the natural capital owned by urban regions.

A new focus on those elements disentangling the above-mentioned complexity will contribute to first, explaining how cities, under specific local contexts, influence or steer the way urban infrastructures are adapted, retrofitted or redone in a more nature-based and participatory way, paying attention to the duality of social and environmental sustainability. Second, it will contribute to understanding how political support is gained for changes that require long-term commitment and uncertain short-term gain. Finally, it will contribute to examining and invigorating the way actors from civil society, policy and business alter ways of organizing, doing and thinking towards a sustainable urban development. New applied and theoretical research on social-ecological systems and transformations, resilience and sustainability transitions can elucidate novel urban phenomena.

Haase, D., Elmqvist, T., Fragkias, M., Frantzeskaki, N. (Ed.). (2016). System dynamics and sustainability: Urban transitions to sustainability and resilience [Special issue]. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 22, 1-74.

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October 30, 2016