ISSN: 2297-6477 doi: 10.12924/librello.CiS

Challenges in Sustainability (CiS; ISSN 2297-6477) is an international, open access, academic, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the publication of high-quality research articles and review papers on all aspects of global environmental and transformational change toward sustainability. Research articles, reviews, communications or short notes and films are welcomed. Manuscripts must be prepared in English; they will undergo a rigorous peer review process, and they will appear online immediately after final acceptance. We especially encourage submissions from early stage researchers.

Objectives & Aims

The objective of the journal is to be a front-runner for original science that stimulates the development of sustainability solutions in an era of global environmental change. CiS defines its place at the interface between natural, socio-economic, and the humanistic sciences, creating a unique platform to disseminate analyses on challenges related to global environmental change, associated solutions, and trade-offs. The journal helps to further the field of sustainability science by bridging gaps between disciplines, science and societal stakeholders while not neglecting scientific rigor and excellence. The journal promotes science-based insights of societal dynamics, and is open for innovative and critical approaches that stimulate scientific and societal debates.

Examples of topics to be covered by this journal include, but are not limited to:

  • Environment and resource science
  • Governance for sustainability
  • Transition experiments and pathway studies
  • Education for sustainability
  • Future and anticipatory studies
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Sustainable urban systems
  • Sustainable energy
  • Place-based sustainability studies
  • Resource exploitation
  • Impact assessment and integrated modeling
  • Carbon accounting and compensation
  • Remote sensing and geoinformation

Latest publications

doi: 10.12924/cis2019.07010001 | Volume 7 (2019) | Issue 1
Jose Antonio Puppim de Oliveira
Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), São Paulo School of Management (EAESP) and Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration (EBAPE), São Paulo, SP, Brazil
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Publication Date: 15 March 2019
Abstract: Is urbanization a danger or a solution to global sustainability? What institutions need to change to make urban areas more sustainable? In examining urbanization rates in countries over time, we see that they are often more correlated to carbon dioxide emissions than per capital income [1]. This tells us that urbanization patterns of the last 100 years have contributed to the increase in carbon emissions. We therefore need to develop a new kind of urbanization in order to tackle global challenges. However, reports about global changes often portray urbanization as “a problem”. Cities are polluted and increasingly crowded; urban inhabitants consume proportionately more resources and are responsible for a large portion of carbon emissions ([2], p. 927). As a urban planner, when I read those reports it seems I am looking at the books of urban planning in the last century, particularly those on urbanization in the colonies, where urbanization was presented as an unwanted process that caused a lot of harms to the “civilization” [3,4]. We must therefore change the discourse on how we describe urbanization if we want to transform it, as it will not be stopped. We must stress the many benefits that urbanization has brought to society, which are the main reasons people want to come to the cities in the first place. A question to be considered is therefore how to make urban life compatible with global challenges? i.e., how can we continue implementing/developing urbanization and the benefits that come with it without disproportionally increasing carbon emissions, the destruction of ecosystems and unsustainable consumption. There are many opportunities for win-win strategies between global sustainability challenges and development in urban areas, or synergies, such as climate co-benefits, i.e., tackling climate change and promoting development, particularly in some developing countries where cities are still being built and the path of urbanization can be changed [5,6]. Nevertheless, despite all we have learned about urbanization and the possible co-benefits opportunities since the last century, we lack understanding of the contextual and institutional conditions that make those solutions emerge.

doi: 10.12924/cis2018.06010052 | Volume 6 (2018) | Issue 1
Kyoko Takahashi 1, * , Shogo Kudo 1 , Eigo Tateishi 2 , Norikazu Furukawa 1 , Joakim Nordqvist 2 and Doreen Ingosan Allasiw 1
1 Graduate Program in Sustainability Science - Global Leadership Initiative, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan
2 Department of Urban Studies, Malmö University, Sweden
* Corresponding author
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Publication Date: 5 November 2018
Abstract: Livability is a concept being applied to cities, even though it is vague. Worldwide, there are several livable city ranking schemes in use, which compare the livability of cities by making use of standardized indicator sets. The research presented here recognizes, as a point of departure, that each city is unique, implying that comparisons of cities by standardized categories only does not adequately reflect the reality of each city. A qualitative approach to identify context-specific categories of livability is proposed and employed to the case of Malmo ̈ in Sweden. Through interviews, nine context-specific categories were identified and visualized. The findings of the study demonstrate that a qualitative approach enables a more in-depth description of livability categories because it can capture and illustrate relationships among the categories. An explicit awareness of such relationships may provide a more holistic perspective to city officials and planners as they aim to improve the livability of their cities. The study concludes that a qualitative approach in identifying context-specific categories can complement existing assessment schemes and allow a better grasp of livability challenges to cities.

doi: 10.12924/cis2018.06010020 | Volume 6 (2018) | Issue 1
Jeanette Silvin Blumroeder 1, * , Peter Ralph Hobson 2 , Uli Frank Graebener 3 , Joerg-Andreas Krueger 3 , Denis Dobrynin 4 , Natalya Burova 5 , Irina Amosa 5 , Susanne Winter 3 and Pierre Leonhard Ibisch 1
1 Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management, Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, Eberswalde, Germany
2 Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management, Writtle University College, Writtle Chelmsford Essex, United Kingdom
3 WWF Germany, Berlin, Germany
4 WWF Russia, Arkhangelsk, Russia
5 Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia
* Corresponding author
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Publication Date: 14 June 2018
Abstract: The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a voluntary sustainability standard with global reach that has been developed to encourage responsible and sustainable forest management. Despite its broad appeal, there is little scientific assessment to substantiate the effectiveness of FSC in the boreal zone. In this study, an ecosystem-based and participatory approach was applied to a case study in the Arkhangelsk Region of the Russia Federation to assess the potential influence of the principles, criteria and indicators of the Russian FSC standard. An ECOSEFFECT theoretical plausibility analysis was conducted to evaluate the potential effectiveness of FSC in safeguarding the ecological integrity of the ecosystem. Besides spatial analysis and a field visitation, core elements of the methodological procedure were workshops with experts and stakeholders who directly contributed to knowledge mapping and analysis. The results of the study suggest FSC can potentially influence and improve forest management including monitoring and evaluation, foster the institutional capacity, and enhance knowledge on the impacts of forest management. Theoretically, FSC has a certain potential to reduce a range of anthropogenic threats to the ecosystem, such as large-scale deforestation and forest degradation, logging of High Conservation Value Forests, large size of clear-cuts, excessive annual allowable cuts, damage to trees during forest operations, and hydrological changes. However, human-induced fire is the only ecological stress that was assumed to be effectively tackled through a strong and positive influence of FSC. The results of the theoretical analysis with a semi-quantitative evaluation revealed the potential for FSC to generate much more effective outcomes for biodiversity by prudently targeting key ecological problems. The biggest problem is the large-scale clear-cutting practice, especially within IFL. These devastating practices are not promoted by, but are compliant with the current Russian FSC standard. This feeds doubts about the consistency of FSC practice and its credibility.

doi: 10.12924/cis2018.06010001 | Volume 6 (2018) | Issue 1
Ariane Krause 1, * and Johann Köppel 2
1 Center for Technology and Society, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
2 Environmental Assessment & Planning Research Group, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
* Corresponding author
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Publication Date: 11 June 2018

To reduce the consumption of firewood for cooking and to realise recycling-driven soil fertility management, three projects in Northwest Tanzania aim to provide the local smallholder community with cooking and sanitation alternatives. The present study proposes an integrated approach to assess the sustainability of the small-scale cooking and sanitation technologies. Based on the multi-criteria decision support approach (MC(D)A), we developed a decision-specific, locally adapted, and participatory assessment tool: the Multi-Criteria Technology Assessment (MCTA). Pre-testing of the tailored tool was set up with representatives of Tanzanian and German partners of case study projects. From a methodological perspective, we conclude that the MCTA uses a set of relevant criteria to realise a transparent and replicable computational Excel-tool. The combination of MC(D)A for structuring the assessment with analytical methods, such as Material Flow Analysis, for describing the performance of alternatives is a promising path for designing integrated approaches to sustainability assessments of technologies. Pre-testing of the tool served as a proof-of-concept for the general design of the method. Future applications and adjustments of the MCTA require the inclusion of end-users, a reasonable and participatory reduction of criteria, and an increase of feedback loops and group discussions between participants and the facilitator to support a common learning about the technologies and thorough understanding of the perspectives of participants.

doi: 10.12924/cis2017.05020011 | Volume 5 (2017) | Issue 2
Matthew Cohen 1, * and Arnim Wiek 2
1 Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Furman University, Greenville, SC, USA
2 School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
* Corresponding author
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Publication Date: 25 August 2017
Abstract: Public participation is a common element in state-of-the-art urban development projects. Tailoring the public participation process to the local context is a popular strategy for ensuring sufficient turnout and meaningful engagement, but this strategy faces several challenges. Through a review of case studies of public participation in urban development projects, we identify ten typical misalignments between the public participation process and the local context, including the lack of policy maker support, adverse personal circumstances of participants, low collaborative capacity, and mistrust, among others. When a public participation process is not aligned to the local context, the process may generate outcomes that compromise public interests, inequitably distribute benefits among stakeholders, or favor powerful private interests. This study offers caution and guidance to planning practitioners and researchers on how to contextualize public participation in urban development projects through the categorization of common misalignments that ought to be avoided.

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ISSN: 2297-6477
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