Call for Papers

Transformative learning for Urban Sustainability: futures of transdisciplinary educational models, structures and tools

Urban Sustainability has recently developed into a highly rhetorical, contested societal discourse that is hotly debated in local and global power struggles over who has the right to envision and decide upon what our desired futures should look like. Exacerbating such struggles is the fact that many of the current socio-environmental problems connected to sustainability transcend spatial, temporal, sector and disciplinary boundaries. Taking into consideration all aspects of the environmental impacts of socio-economic development, and the complex interactions which occur between development and environment in cities is hard, and to this extent, education for sustainability is crucial to seek ways and means for achieving sustainable impacts in all human activities.

The contribution of renovated learning models, in this respect, is essential for the transition from the “silos” mentality - that addresses separately issues of education in energy, transport, water, waste, local economic system- to approaching complex challenges as social inclusion, well-being for all, future-oriented policy making with new educational collaborative models.

Interdisciplinarity (ID) and transdisciplinarity (TD) as knowledge regimes, are critically demanded to address the challenges of our era. Interdisciplinarity implies a process of integration of different insights, values, and fields of knowledge, for example between the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences (AHSS), among themselves and with Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). How can this be achieved in the realm of transformative education for Urban Sustainability?

The aim of this Special Issue is to explore to what extent and how inter- and trans-disciplinary research, methods, tools and practices of education and transformative learning can contribute to address the future developmental and societal challenges in the realm of urban sustainability transitions.

Contributions to this Special Issue may address any of the following topics:

  • Exercises for  “thinking outside the box” involving students, business, NGOs and citizens at various educational levels (local, national or global learning communities, online learning communities) to bear fruitful  largely in the present, question dominant axioms and assumptions and deal largely with complex, interconnected problems.
  • Novel interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary methods and tools introducing the concept of transformative learning in foresight and co-design scenarios.
  • Discussions of what kind of inter/trans-disciplinary educational tools and approaches can support and improve sustainability in the realm of urban transitions.
  • Analyses of the post-COVID19 educational needs in the anticipation and the management of sustainability issues such as the ruling of global educational in a remote mode, in context-based and future-oriented perspectives.


Guest Editors

Giulia Sonetti, PhD Assistant Professor, Interuniversity Department of Regional & Urban Studies and Planning
Politecnico di Torino and Università di Torino
Email: giulia.sonetti@polito.it

Bianca Vienni Baptista, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Researcher
Transdisciplinarity Lab, Department of Environmental Systems Science
ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Email: bianca.vienni@usys.ethz.ch

Deadline for submission: March 31st, 2021

Full description of this Special Issue


How to submit?

Submit your article via Editorial Manager or by clicking on the Submit manuscript button on the home page of Environment, Development and Sustainability. Please check the Instructions for authors before submitting and select "S.I.: Transformative Learning for Urban Sustainability” as Article type. In general, manuscripts should be submitted in Word and not exceed 7000 words.

Environment, Development and Sustainability is a hybrid open access journal. Authors can opt to make their research open access (OA) with Open Choice if they wish. More information can be found here. Visit Springer Nature’s open access funding & support services for information about research funders and institutions that provide funding for APCs.