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Exploring Social Sustainability: Learning from Perspectives on Urban Development and Companies and Products
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom .
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms). KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Centres, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Centres, Centre for Sustainable Communications, CESC.
2014 (English)In: Sustainable Development, ISSN 0968-0802, E-ISSN 1099-1719, Vol. 22, no 2, 122-133 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is a fragmented approach to social sustainability in the literature, and this paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of the meanings and interpretations of that concept while reviewing and discussing the social dimension of sustainability from the perspectives of two fields: urban development as well as companies and products. The analysis identifies commonalities and differences in the understanding of the conceptualization of social sustainability and helps to identify core aspects that cross disciplinary boundaries. The paper shows that compiling a list of comprehensive aspects that is representative of social sustainability is not straightforward, as interpretations are context dependant and aspects are often closely interconnected. Differences often occur because of variations in scoping and context, or whether or not a life cycle perspective is used. Nonetheless, there seems to be an underlying common understanding of what social sustainability is, and a set of key themes (social capital, human capital and well-being) is suggested as an alternative to put more specific measures and indicators in perspective. However, context-specific information is still necessary in practical applications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2014. Vol. 22, no 2, 122-133 p.
Keyword [en]
social sustainability, urban development, sustainable development, definitions, key aspects, companies and products
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-27622DOI: 10.1002/sd.536ISI: 000334505000005ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84898832030OAI: diva2:378611

QC 20140523. Updated from manuscript to article in journal.

Available from: 2011-10-07 Created: 2010-12-16 Last updated: 2014-05-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Identifying Strategic Initiatives to Promote Urban Sustainability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Identifying Strategic Initiatives to Promote Urban Sustainability
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

is thesis explores the overarching topic of the capacity of strategic urban development decisions and initiatives (including planning initiatives) to positively and powerfully influence the ability of a city to promote sustainable patterns of development. The work is presented in six scientific papers, the first four of which focus on the development of an inter-disciplinary conceptual framework and research methodology. The concept of Situations of Opportunity and its related Field of Options is proposed as a means to identify and analyse periods in the growth of cities when urbanisation can be more easily managed so as to promote sustainable development goals. Historical studies in the cities of Stockholm, Dar es Salaam and Curitiba are used to develop the methodology. Another paper looks ahead and refines the methodology in combination with future studies, presenting a research strategy that employs Situations of Opportunity as a means to identify and explore periods in the future urban growth with significant potential for change. Building on the method developed, the remaining two papers consider the social dimension of sustainable development and how it can be promoted in the urban context, during ongoing Situations of Opportunity. The concept of social sustainability is reviewed and discussed from two different disciplinary perspectives (urban development; companies and products), exploring commonalities and differences in approaches, and identifying core themes that cross disciplinary boundaries. A case study of Eastside, a brownfield redevelopment site in Birmingham (UK), reveals how the retention of established small food outlets can provide opportunities for promoting social sustainability goals in an urban regeneration area. Overall, this thesis provides a better understanding of how transformative change can happen in cities. The Situations of Opportunity concept developed here can be a helpful way to study strategic initiatives that promote sustainability in cities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2010. 44 p.
TRITA-SOM, ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2010:18
sustainable urban development, transformative change, research methodology development, situations of opportunity, field of options
National Category
Environmental Management
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-27625 (URN)978-91-7415-822-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-01-20, Sal F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)

QC 20101216

Available from: 2010-12-16 Created: 2010-12-16 Last updated: 2014-05-23Bibliographically approved

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