Philosophy of Field Methods in the GPSS-GLI Program: Dealing with Complexity to Achieve Resilience and Sustainable Societies

  • Takashi Mino
  • Miguel EstebanEmail author
  • Vivek Anand Asokan
  • Niranji Satanarachchi
  • Tomohiro Akiyama
  • Izumi Ikeda
  • Chiahsin Chen


The world is facing a multitude of pressing problems, including environmental degradation, natural disasters, and social inequity, to name but a few. These challenges are also complex and uncertain in nature, though it is crucial for humanity to attempt to solve them in order to achieve sustainable societies. The Graduate Program in Sustainability Science-Global Leadership Initiative (GPSS-GLI) of the University of Tokyo is an academic program which looks forward to facing these challenges. The program has a strong focus on field exercises, which attempt to introduce students to the real situations being experienced by people. Students are encouraged to deal with complexity by engaging the issue from a holistic (“top-down”) and transboundary (“bottom-up”) perspective. Having a holistic view and transboundary perspective may provide a basis to deal with the complexities and uncertainties present in sustainability issues, where it is difficult to provide solutions by thinking only of fixed end-targets. Through such efforts it is hoped that students can understand and propose solutions on how to achieve more sustainable and resilience societies. The present chapter will serve as an introduction to the rest of the chapters in this book, briefly outlining the general philosophy of the GPSS-GLI regarding Global Field Exercises (GFEs) and Exercises in Resilience (ERs).


Resilience Sustainable societies Field methods Sustainability science Philosophy GPSS-GLI 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takashi Mino
    • 1
  • Miguel Esteban
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vivek Anand Asokan
    • 1
  • Niranji Satanarachchi
    • 1
  • Tomohiro Akiyama
    • 1
  • Izumi Ikeda
    • 1
  • Chiahsin Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate Program in Sustainability Science-Global Leadership Initiative, Graduate School of Frontier SciencesThe University of TokyoKashiwa, ChibaJapan

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