Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education

2019 Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho

Sustainability Transitions

  • Frédéric VandermoereEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11352-0_496

Sustainability transitions are fundamental shifts in systems that are designed to fulfill societal needs (e.g., the transport system, the food system, the health care system, etc.) caused by profound changes in our dominant – often unsustainable – ways of thinking and doing. It usually takes from 25 to 50 years for such transitions to occur in a given system (Rotmans 2005), and they often unfold through the coevolution of two or more societal subsystems (e.g., economic, cultural, institutional, etc.). In what follows, some of the essential characteristics of sustainability transitions are first explored. The second part examines in more detail the question of when and how a sustainability transition may occur. Finally, in the third and final part of this contribution, the potential of transition narratives is explored.

General Characteristics

Sustainability transition studies have highlighted the hybrid nature of sustainability challenges. Transitions to sustainable development require...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpenBelgium

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rudi Pretorius
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa