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Interdisciplinary Approach to Sustainability from ...

... a Geography and Planning Perspective



Dr. Constance Carr, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning

Prof. Dr. Markus Hesse, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning

We view Sustainable Development as not simply the end-product of good intentions, appropriate technological innovations, or correctly designed policies, rather as a multi-dimensional, contradictory, and discursively constructed normative orientation (like “justice”, or “liberty”). In general, we seek to understand the role of this normative orientation in processes of urban transformation. In particular, we aim to reveal hidden dimensions of perceived policy gaps between Sustainable Development goals on the one hand, and limited policy achievements on the other... (more)

Keywords: urban geography, urban policy, urban studies, human geography.

... a Sociological Perspective


... an Economic  Perspective


Prof. Dr. Louis Chauvel, Pearl Institute for Research on Socio-Economic Inequality


Prof. Dr. Conchita D'Ambrosio, Pearl Institute for Research on Socio-Economic Inequality

We adopt the Burtland definition of sustainability to look at how individuals can shape their own individual development in a sustainable way. A sustainable path of growth entails facing the social and psychological challenges of development with a sensible and resilient use of individual skills, social connections and resources, institutional opportunities and constraints... (more)

Keywords: individual sustainability and resilience, welfare sustainability, psychological post-trauma recovery, failure in socialization process.


Our view of sustainability stems from our research on well-being and inequality. We therefore stress the social-economic dimensions of sustainability, which is one of the two fundamental pillars of Sustainable Development, along with the environment, according to the Burtland Report... (more)

Keywords: inequality, well-being, relative deprivation.

... a Population Ageing and Generational Relations Perspective


...a Political Science Perspective




Prof. Dr. Dieter Ferring, Institute for Research on Generations and Family


Dr. Anna-Lena Högenauer, Institute of Political Science

A sustainable development of a society should assure a fair access to public resources to all the generations over the time. Key notion of a sustainable development is in this view a “fair” distribution of resources between generations. What “fair” means here is of course controversial, because different distributive justice principles can be applied (e.g., equality, meritocratic, entitlement, need, etc.). We take the position here that a participative and consensual definition by the concerned generations might approximate the notion of “fairness” most....(more)

Keywords: population ageing; intergenerational relations; exchange processes in family and society; intergenerational justice; family relations; resource allocation and “resource fairness”; distributive justice.


Our main reference is the definition of sustainable development in the Brundtland report: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (...)”.
In a political sciences perspective, the concept increasingly refers not only to “hard” resources, such as natural resources or money, but also to "abstract" resources, such as “trust” and “legitimacy”... (more)

Keywords: resource management, international and interregional cooperation, international and interregional long-term planning.

... a Sustainablility Science Perspective



... a Comparative Regional Perspective



Dr. Ariane König, Institute for Applied Educational Sciences


Prof. Dr. Harlan Koff, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning

We engage in sustainability science, an approach to research that seeks to draw on different forms of science and expertise to improve our understanding of and repertoire of action on complex dynamic human-environment interactions.  Our conception of sustainability is derived from ecology – it denotes long-lived biological systems... (more)

Keywords: sustainability science, transformative learning, social learning, scenario approaches, collaborative systems thinking, citizen science. 


Sustainable development addresses political, economic and social processes that determine whether territories are at the service of their communities or communities are at the service of their territories... (more)

Keywords: human and environmental security, policy coherence for sustainable development, migration and sustainable development, comparative regional integration and sustainable development, sustainable development in cross-border regions.

...from Communities and Commons Perspectives


 ...an Environmental Economic Geography Perspective




Dr. Gerald Taylor Aiken, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning


Prof. Dr. Christian Schulz, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning

We view sustainability in a constructively critical light, and look to its effects on the ground. This involved taking communities, or other local initiatives, and looking more closely at what sustainability does — or is claimed to so — within these empirical examples...(more)

Keywords: community, sustainability transitions, environmental geography.


We look at sustainability from the perspective of environmental economic geography and cross border governance. Sustainable development, in this realm, can be conceived as the governance mechanisms and societal innovation processes which are key to move towards a more sustainable society... (more)

Keywords: environmental economic geography, cross boarder governance, circular economy, cross-border spatial planning.




... a Food Studies Perspective  


...an Environmental Anthropology Perspective


Dr. Rachel Reckinger, Institute for History


Dr. Carmem Maganda, UNILU-INECOL collaborator

We envision sustainability as a multi-scalar, everyday negotiation process during which different actors ­– ranging from individuals to multinationals, including all types of intermediary constellations – display and adapt multiple meanings, priorities and motivations of ‘responsible’ practices through interaction, according to their specific positions, means and constraints – in short, their worldview. Basically, a contested and co-constructed practice of resilience... (more)


I look at Sustainable Development as an imperative need to keep exploring the ways in which societies and actors can better engage in applied sustainable policies at different levels of governance as well as proactive local practices favoring the fairest possible development in different world regions... (more)

Keywords: foodscape-governance, food production and retail, food consumption, changes of practices, reflexivity, governmentality, policy gaps, gaps in everyday practices.


Keywords: social participation on natural resource management, water politics, comparative political ecology analysis in theory and practice.


... a Normative Policy Coherence Perspective                     


         ... a Local Participation Perspective                                                                


Sandra Häbel (Ph.D. Candidate), Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning


Santiago Mejía Idárraga (Ph.D Candidate), Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning

Sustainable development, for me, is an approach that incorporates societal, environmental and economic elements from a local to a global scale to build an integrated and fair living space for everyone... (more)


Sustainable development does not have a universal meaning. Latin American perspectives propose an extensive comprehension of the concept, but with the common aim to analyzing the socio-environmental conditions in the local territories looking for reaching solutions in equilibrated ways in its operationalization...(more)

Keywords: Normative policy coherence for development, development-trade nexus, Sustainable Development Goals, norms, policy implementation.


Keywords: Participatory sustainable development, new regionalisms, sustainable emergent cities.