An approach to studying urban sustainability from within an ecological world view

Du Plessis, C 2009, An approach to studying urban sustainability from within an ecological world view , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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This dissertation engages with the proposition that one of the reasons current efforts at improving sustainability are failing is because solutions are sought from within the same paradigm of thought that threatens sustainability in the first place, and that what is needed is a new 'ecological' worldview or paradigm. Using a transdisciplinary philosophy, and building on the idea of partial validities of knowledge, the dissertation explores the roots and attributes of the emerging new worldview and its relationship with the sustainability discourse through a series of narratives. Historical narratives of the concepts of sustainable development and urban sustainability highlight the flaws in current approaches to studying sustainability, and illustrate that the understanding of sustainability is not based on a fixed set of laws, but continuously evolves in response to larger system drivers, including individual and social worldviews. It would therefore be reasonable to assume that an ecological worldview would spawn its own version of sustainability. However, this worldview has not yet been coherently defined or structured. Differentiating between 'worldview' as the descriptive narrative of the world and behaviour within this world, and 'paradigm' as the practices for organizing and studying the world, the study attempts to map the ecological worldview onto a pre-existing worldview framework developed by the Centre Leo Apostel. This worldview was developed from common patterns found in new developments in the different branches of science, wisdom traditions ranging from indigenous knowledge sources to the great religious traditions, and ancient schools of philosophy. The result presents a coherent and internally consistent conceptual narrative of the ecological worldview, including theories of value, action and knowledge, which is then used to describe the associated social and scientific paradigms. The resultant worldview complex is then used to frame an exploration of the changes this worldview would bring to the practices of studying urban sustainability and future research agendas.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Brandon, PS (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures & Sustainable Environments
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:34
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 20:06

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