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On the road to ‘research municipalities’: analysing transdisciplinarity in municipal ecosystem services and adaptation planning

Author:
  • Ebba Brink
  • Christine Wamsler
  • Maria Adolfsson
  • Monica Axelsson
  • Thomas Beery
  • Helena Björn
  • Torleif Bramryd
  • Nils Ekelund
  • Therese Jephson
  • Widar Narvelo
  • Barry Ness
  • K. Ingemar Jönsson
  • Thomas Palo
  • Magnus Sjeldrup
  • Sanna Stålhammar
  • Geraldine Thiere
Publishing year: 2018-04-29
Language: English
Pages: 765-784
Publication/Series: Sustainability Science
Volume: 13
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

Transdisciplinary research and collaboration is widely acknowledged as a critical success factor for solution-oriented approaches that can tackle complex sustainability challenges, such as biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate-related hazards. In this context, city governments’ engagement in transdisciplinarity is generally seen as a key condition for societal transformation towards sustainability. However, empirical evidence is rare. This paper presents a self-assessment of a joint research project on ecosystem services and climate adaptation planning (ECOSIMP) undertaken by four universities and seven Swedish municipalities. We apply a set of design principles and guiding questions for transdisciplinary sustainability projects and, on this basis, identify key aspects for supporting university–municipality collaboration. We show that: (1) selecting the number and type of project stakeholders requires more explicit consideration of the purpose of societal actors’ participation; (2) concrete, interim benefits for participating practitioners and organisations need to be continuously discussed; (3) promoting the ‘inter’, i.e., interdisciplinary and inter-city learning, can support transdisciplinarity and, ultimately, urban sustainability and long-term change. In this context, we found that design principles for transdisciplinarity have the potential to (4) mitigate project shortcomings, even when transdisciplinarity is not an explicit aim, and (5) address differences and allow new voices to be heard. We propose additional guiding questions to address shortcomings and inspire reflexivity in transdisciplinary projects.

Keywords

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Ecosystem services
  • Project assessment
  • Urban planning

Other

Published
  • ISSN: 1862-4057
Barry Ness
E-mail: barry [dot] ness [at] LUCSUS [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

+46 46 222 48 09

+46 70 259 02 57

Wrangel, 113

Wrangel, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund

59

Associate professor

LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

+46 46 222 48 09

+46 70 259 02 57

Wrangel, 113

Wrangel, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund

59

Introduction

Barry Ness is Associate Professor at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies and Director of Studies of the PhD Research School. He is also the Director of the local interaction platform in Skåne for the Mistra Urban Futures project, and, and the editor-in-chief of Challenges in Sustainability (Librello Publishing). His current research interests include inter- and transdisciplinary approaches for both comprehending and addressing complex sustainability challenges.

He is also a researcher and work package leader for the Globally and Locally-sustainable Food-Water-Energy Innovation in Urban Living Labs (GLOCULL) project, focusing on creating an urban living lab approach for the food-water-energy nexus. Barry is also a project researcher in LUCID project and the TRANSFORM project (starting autumn 2018). 


 

LUCSUS
P.O. Box 170, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46(0)46- 222 80 81
info [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se