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Knowledge Architecture for the wise governance of Sustainability Transitions

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Publication details

JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
DateAccepted/In press - 30 Sep 2021
DatePublished (current) - 11 Oct 2021
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)152-163
Original languageEnglish


The need for sustainability transitions is widely recognised, along with a concurrent need for the evolution of knowledge systems to inform more effective policy action. Although there are many new policy targets relating to net zero emissions and other sustainability challenges, cities, regional and national governments are struggling to rapidly develop transformational policies to achieve them. As academics and practitioners who work at the science-policy interface, we identify specific knowledge and competency needs for governing sustainability
transitions related to the interlinked phases of envisioning, implementing and evaluating. In short, coordinated reforms of both policy and knowledge systems are urgently needed to address the speed and scale of sustainability challenges. These include embedding systems thinking literacy, mainstreaming participatory policy making, expanding the capacity to undertake transdisciplinary research, more adaptive governance and continuous organisational learning. These processes must guide further knowledge development, uptake and use as part of an iterative and holistic process. Such deep-seated change in policy-knowledge systems will be disruptive and presents challenges for traditional organisational models of knowledge delivery, but is essential for successful sustainability transformation

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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