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/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
Views 158
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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.

pp. 63-70
doi: 10.12924/cis2016.04010063 | Volume 4 (2016) | Issue 1
Evelyn Gustedt
Academy for Spatial Research and Planning, Leibniz Forum for Spatial Sciences, Hannover, Germany
Views 247
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Publication Date: 16 July 2017
Abstract: This article reflects on traditional and contemporary gardening movements in Germany. The focus is on forms of gardening, that take place in spaces subject to land lease agreements and similar forms of tenancy or of illegal land take or squatting. The author examines various definitions taking into account the variety of practices, the development of urban gardening over time, and the respective backgrounds or values that users relate to such gardening activities. The examination of definitions led to the drawing up of a timeline of traditional and contemporary gardening movements in Germany and to the tentative approaching of this issue from a semantic perspective. The latter is due to the usage of many different terms mostly as yet undefined in a legal sense. Translation into English or, most likely, to any other language, further blurs the common understanding of the terms used. The author concludes with some considerations on these gardening movements in relation to urban sustainable developments. A presentation at the 5th Rencontres Internationals de Reims on Sustainability Studies, dedicated to Urban Agriculture – Fostering the Urban-Rural Continuum, which took place in October 2015 in Reims/France was the starting point of this article. The basis of this article is a literature review, nourished to a certain extent by observations randomly made over many years and complemented through talks with competent young colleagues. Special thanks go to Martin Sondermann, Leibniz University Hannover, who shared his research experience in various discussions with the author, as well as to Friederike Stelter, internship student at the author’s place of work, who gave highly appreciated support to the preparation of the presentation.

doi: 10.12924/cis2017.05020001 | Volume 5 (2017) | Issue 2
Charles F. Mason 1, 2, * and Rémi Morin Chassé 3
1 Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming, Laramie, USA
2 Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics, London, UK
3 Department of Economics, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Canada
* Corresponding author
Views 443
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Publication Date: 8 May 2017
Abstract: The existing economics literature neglects the important role of capacity in the production of renewable energy. To fill this gap, we construct a model in which renewable energy production is tied to renewable energy capacity, which then becomes a form of capital. This capacity capital can be increased through investment, which we interpret as arising from the allocation of energy, and which therefore comes at the cost of reduced general production. Requiring societal well-being to never decline—the notion of sustainability favored by economists—we describe how society could optimally elect to split energy in this fashion, the use of non-renewable energy resources, the use of renewable energy resources, and the implied time path of societal well-being. Our model delivers an empirically satisfactory explanation for simultaneous use of non-renewable and renewable energy. We also discuss the optimality of ceasing use of non-renewable energy before the non-renewable resource stock is fully exhausted.

doi: 10.12924/cis2017.05010052 | Volume 5 (2017) | Issue 1
Ricardo Omar San Carlos Arce 1 , Yuki Yoshida 1, * and Shogo Kudo 1
1 Graduate Program in Sustainability Science-Global Leadership Initiative, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo
* Corresponding author
Views 995
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Publication Date: 27 March 2017
Abstract: A growing number of educational programs in sustainability science has paralleled the rise of the field itself. The educational approach of these programs follows the problem-driven, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary nature of the field itself. However, its effectiveness has yet to be systematically evaluated. Similarly, while ad-hoc evaluation schemes have attempted to monitor the quality of the educational programs, there is no standard method that accounts for the particularities of sustainability science programs. This study thus addresses the need for an assessment of the problem-driven approach of educational programs in sustainability science. We have conducted student self-assessments of field courses in the Graduate Program in Sustainability Science (GPSS-GLI) at The University of Tokyo, which positions its field courses at the center of its curriculum. The self-assessments were based on five key competencies identified as particularly important for sustainability professionals. Workshops and questionnaires engaged students in a reflection of the six field courses and of their own personal development through the activities offered. Our questionnaire results indicate that the majority of participants were satisfied with how the courses furthered their personal development. While some participants expressed frustration at being unable to sufficiently address the respective field's sustainability challenges due to time constraints, students generally recognized the five key competencies as important for addressing sustainability issues after participating in the courses. Moreover, participants attributed much of their learning to their active engagement in planned field research activities, rather than to passive learning. Variations in results across different course units provide material for further analysis and development of the curriculum. This study is an initial attempt at assessment, with room for ongoing improvement and further research to address additional requirements for fostering the next generation of sustainability professionals.

doi: 10.12924/cis2017.05010043 | Volume 5 (2017) | Issue 1
Tim G. O'Higgins
Marine Governace Group, MaREI, Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
Views 805
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Publication Date: 20 March 2017
Abstract: Policies of the European Union cover a range of social, environmental and economic aspirations and the current environmental directives and laws have evolved from a suite of norms which have changed over time. These may be characterised loosely according to 'Three Ps': Practical, those taking an anthropocentric approach; Pure, those taking an ecocentric approach and Popular, those appealing to the general public. In this paper I use these three perspectives as a tool to analyse the complexity and identify contradictions in European aquatic environmental legislation. Some trade-offs between development and conservation are identified and used to characterise the potential qualities of more successful agency to achieve environmental goals in the governance of European aquatic environments.

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ISSN: 2297-6477
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