Introduction: Transition Challenges and Pathways to Sustainable Community Systems: Design and Systems Perspectives

  • Amar K. J. R. NayakEmail author
Part of the The Anthropocene: Politik—Economics—Society—Science book series (APESS, volume 26)


This chapter provides a background to the various dimensions of sustainability that we understand as the critical pillars of sustainability for any community system. Based on these five key dimensions, the contributions in this book have been categorised into five broad sections. This chapter discusses these five critical dimensions – relationships, institutions, production, organisation and governance – from design and systems perspectives for the sustainability of any community system. Under each dimension, critical factors are presented as a spectrum; where characteristics of each factor at one end of the spectrum tend to create locking-in effects, control by a few, inequity and unsustainability in the long run, while at the other end characteristics of the same factors facilitate equity, freedom and sustainability. With reference to characteristic of each factor, the chapter inherently argues that design for sustainability needs to be anchored on the natural principles of interconnections and interdependence.

Discussions in the chapter uncover that although sustainability appears to be fuzzy, blurred and impossible; making our communities and society sustainable is within our collective choices in the way we choose the direction of each of these factors under the five critical dimensions. Figures 1.1 and 1.2 of this chapter summarise the critical dimensions and the spectrum of each of the twenty-five factors. In the final analysis, this chapter implies that if people in small communities and various external stakeholders, including government officials, development and corporate executives, recognise the current design flaws and simultaneously make efforts to unlock themselves from the various lock-in effects, our transition to sustainability will be easily achievable.


Transition strategies Sustainable communities Relationships Institutions Production Organisation Governance Design Systems science 


  1. Nayak, A.K.J.R., 2009: “Optimizing Asymmetries for sustainability: design issues of producer organizations”, XIMB Sustainability Seminar Series, Working Paper 1.0, January, Bhubaneswar.Google Scholar
  2. Nayak, A.K.J.R., 2011: “Efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability: the basis of competition and cooperation”, XIMB Sustainability Seminar Series, Working Paper 3.0, January, Bhubaneswar.Google Scholar
  3. Nayak, A.K.J.R., 2014: “Logic, language and values of co-operation versus competition in the context of recreating sustainable community systems”, in: International Review of Sociology, 24(1): 13–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Nayak, A.K.J.R., 2017: National Conference on Transistion Strategies for Sustainable Community Systems (Bhubaneswar: XIM Bhubaneswar).Google Scholar
  5. Nayak, A.K.J.R., 2018: “Economies of scope: context of agriculture, smallholder farmers, and sustainability”, in: Asian Journal of German and European Studies, 3:2,
  6. Piketty, Thomas, 2014. Capital: In the Twenty First Century (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  7. Rousseau, J.J., 1762: The Social Contract.Google Scholar
  8. Schumacher, E.F., 1973: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered (London: Bonde and Briggs).Google Scholar
  9. Schumpeter, J.A., 1943: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (London: Routledge).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Shah, T., 1996: Catalysing Co-operation: Design of Self-governing Organizations (New Delhi: Sage).Google Scholar
  11. Vernon, R., 1971: Sovereignty at Bay: The Multinationals Spread of US Enterprises (New York: Basic Books).Google Scholar
  12. Vernon, R., 1977: Storm Over the Multinationals: The Real Issue (London: Macmillan).Google Scholar
  13. Vernon, R., 2009: In Hurricane’s Eye: The Troubled Prospects of Multinational Enterprises (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Strategic Management, Xavier Institute of ManagementXavier UniversityBhubaneswarIndia

Personalised recommendations