Arising out of human-environment interaction, sustainability problems resist disciplinary categories and simple solutions. This book offers a fresh approach to practical and methodological concerns in transdisciplinary environmental and sustainability studies. It illustrates methodological means by which researchers, professionals, and decision-makers can address complex environmental issues.
While scientific reasoning is mostly guided by disciplinary traditions, transdisciplinary research rests on other cognitive strategies. As it does not have a ready-made stance toward problems, figuring out what the puzzle is and what the answer might look like are crucial aspects of transdisciplinary inquiry. Through examples from environment and sustainability studies, the volume discusses heuristic schemes that can give structure to this exploration. By focusing on heuristics, rather than on methods, concepts, or general guidelines, the book argues that a problem-centered approach often resists the rigor of methodology. Learning from experience provides valuable “rules of thumb”, checklists, and other cognitive schemes for making ill-defined problems more tangible.
Written by an international team of authors, the chapters draw examples from dealing with issues in environmental protection, transport and climate policy, ecosystem services and disservices, environmental beliefs and attitudes, and more. Together with more theoretically oriented chapters, they show that the intellectual processes needed to tackle complex sustainability problems are as much about heuristic problem solving as they are about methodical work.
Table of Contents
Foreword: From method to transdisciplinary heuretics, Julie Thompson Klein 1. Introduction: Sustainability, transdisciplinarity, and the complexity of knowing, Katri Huutoniemi Part 1: HEURISTICS AND PROBLEM FRAMING 2. Thinking Outwards: Heuristics for systemic understanding of environmental problems, Risto Willamo & Katri Huutoniemi 3. Ecosystem services in integrated sustainability assessment: A heuristic view, Jari Lyytimäki and Lars Kjerulf Petersen 4. Heuristics for framing sustainability problems in transport, David Banister 5. Exploring the space of alternatives: Heuristics in sustainability scenarios, Petri Tapio, Mattias Höjer, Åsa Svenfelt and Vilja Varho PART 2: HEURISTICS AND PROBLEM SOLVING 6. From complexity to solvability: The praxeology of transdisciplinary research, Christian Pohl 7 . Responding to communication challenges in transdisciplinary sustainability science, Troy E. Hall and Michael O’Rourke 8. Envisioning solutions: Expert deliberation on environmental futures, Vilja Varho and Katri Huutoniemi 9. Understanding environmental heuristics: Trust and dialogue, Riikka Paloniemi and Annukka Vainio PART 3: NEW DIRECTIONS FOR SUSTAINABILITY 10. Heuristics as cognitive tools for pursuing sustainability, Janne Hukkinen and Katri Huutoniemi 11. Transdisciplinarity as sustainability, Robert Frodeman
Katri Huutoniemi is Researcher in the Department of Social Research at the University of Helsinki, Finland.
Petri Tapio is Professor in Futures Research at the University of Turku, Finland.