1st Edition

Transdisciplinarity For Sustainability Aligning Diverse Practices

Edited By Martina M. Keitsch, Walter J.V. Vermeulen Copyright 2021
    230 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    230 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume explores interactions between academia and different societal stakeholders with a focus on sustainability. It examines the significance and potential of transdisciplinary collaboration as a tool for sustainability and the SDGs.

    Traditionally, academia has focused on research and education. More recently, however, the challenges of sustainable development and achieving the SDGs have required the co-production of knowledge between academic and non-academic actors. Compromising theory, methods and case studies from a broad span of transdisciplinary collaboration, Transdisciplinarity For Sustainability: Aligning Diverse Practices is written by specialists from various academic disciplines and represents an important step forward in systematising knowledge and understanding of transdisciplinary collaboration. They are designed to provide a roadmap for further research in the field and facilitate pursuing and realizing the SDGs.

    The book will appeal to researchers and postgraduate students in a variety of disciplines such as architecture, design, economics, social sciences, engineering and sustainability studies. It will also be of significant value to professionals who are engaged in transdisciplinary collaboration that supports sustainable development.

    1. Aligning Diverse Practices of Transdisciplinary for Sustainability: Introduction

    Martina M. Keitsch and Walter J.V. Vermeulen

    2. Historical, systematic review and mapping of transdisciplinary research on sustainable development issues: dealing with complex problems in times of urgency

    Walter J.V. Vermeulen and Sjors Witjes

    3. Transdisciplinary research: approaches and methodological principles

    Sjors Witjes and Walter J.V. Vermeulen

    4. Transdisciplinary collaboration and ethics

    Martina Keitsch

    5. Transdisciplinary research – practitioners’ lessons on key methodological challenges

    Joachim H. Spangenberg

    6. Transdisciplinarity for sustainability management

    Annik M. Fet and Haley Knudson

    7. Transdisciplinary collaboration in Architecture and Design. The case of Chhobhar, Nepal

    Bijav Singh and Martina M. Keitsch

    8. Towards a transdisciplinary approach to entrepreneurship for sustainable development

    Malin Gawell

    9. Context, problems and knowledge: a case study of an individual transdisciplinary PhD journey in Burundi, East Africa

    Lauren Rosenberg

    10. Embracing transdisciplinary tensions on the road to 2030

    Thomas Macintyre, Sjors Witjes, Sigurd Vildåsen, Mónica Ramos-Mejía

    11. Challenges of transdisciplinary research collaboration for sustainable development

    Walter J.V. Vermeulen and Martina M. Keitsch


    Martina M. Keitsch is Professor for Sustainable Design and PhD Program Leader at the Department of Design, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. From 2019-2023 she is appointed Visiting Professor at the Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal. Keitsch is project leader of the NORAD financed NTNU/IOE project MSESSD ‘Energy for Social Sustainability’ (http://msessd.ioe.edu.np/) from 2015-end 2020. She is also Project leader of the DIKU, NORPART financed project SAMAJ, ‘Transdisciplinary Education for a Sustainable Society' (https://www.samaj.online/) from 2019 to 2023. Keitsch has worked for over 20 years in the sustainable development field, mainly with industrial ecology, eco design, and  architecture, urban planning, stakeholder inclusion and transdisciplinary collaboration, and ethics of sustainability. Keitsch is Member of several Scientific Committees, board member of the International Sustainable Development Research Society and of the Network, Women in Design Research. She has been Guest-editor of four special issues for the Journal "Sustainable Development". Keitsch is teaching Bachelor- Master- and PhD students and has published several articles on the topics above. Recent publications cover: Sustainability and Public Space, Transdisciplinary collaboration in Renewable energy projects, Sustainable Design and Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation through Low carbon-city design.

    Walter J.V. Vermeulen is based at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University, Netherlands. He has a long-standing experience in analyzing progress in implementing sustainability practices in business in many different countries, both inside companies and in their socio-economic networks. He is especially focusing on new forms of private governance in (international) supply chains, both in Europe as well as in supplier countries worldwide and on practices of circular economy. He also published articles on the essence of the concept of sustainable development and the social dimension and the need for transdisciplinary research. Vermeulen is the Past-President of the International Sustainable Development Research Society (isdrs.org). He has been also program leader of the International Master Sustainable Development at Utrecht University. See for his publications: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Walter_Vermeulen


    I am pleased to welcome the first book in the Routledge International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) series in sustainable development research. ISDRS is a global network of sustainable development professionals, linking researchers in academia and implementation practice from all continents to each other. Primarily through our annual conferences, members share their research experiences and practices, exchange ideas and form collaborations. Fittingly, this inaugural book is a product of discussions at recent ISDRS conferences including in Messina (2018) and Nanjing (2019). Transdisciplinary research, as the book explains, has been understood in different ways by researchers in different disciplines, different countries and across time. A significant characteristic, however, is a deep collaboration beyond academia in a shared experience of defining and conducting research. This is a markedly different approach from traditional research, breaking down the ‘us’ and ‘them’ relationship between those inside the bounds of academia (the researchers) and those outside, who might be the audience, or perhaps subjects of research but traditionally not participants. The importance of breaking through that division to build shared understandings of complex social issues has been recognized not only by researchers, but also policy makers and funding bodies. This relatively recent awareness has helped to bring new interest in the field of transdisciplinary research, in which some of the ISDRS community, including the editors of this book, are highly experienced. These recent discussions, have brought to light the need for a volume such as this to provide a foundation in transdisciplinary research which is relevant to researchers from a range of disciplines. This book will provide an invaluable guide to and insight into the theoretical and practical issues in carrying out research with partners beyond the walls of research institutions, not only for new and experienced researchers, but also for a broad audience.

    Prof.Dr. Pauline Deutz

    President, International Sustainable Development Research Society

    Department Geography, Geology and Environment

    University of Hull, UK