An interdisciplinary and multidimensional approach to sustainability
"Sustainability" is one of those terms that, during its global spread, has lost not only a terminological precision, but is also understood and used quite differently depending on the technical and/or disciplinary perspective. Many diverse conceptions and definitions of sustainability exist, which are specified within particular contexts or fields of research in order to avoid confusion and misunderstandings. Our concept of sustainability at the Center for a Sustainable University (KNU) is mainly based on the definition of the Brundtland Report (1987) [pdf]. More recently, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2016) also are considered in our work. These SDGs are in the focus of the current global debate on sustainability. Therefore the SDGs are also an important framework for the HSDS.
The SDGs include topics such as:
- good health and well-being
- quality education
- climate action
- affordable and clean energy
- sustainable cities and communities
- responsible consumption and production
And many more. There is a variety of different fields of science and application that can contribute to discussing, operationalizing and approaching the SDGs.
The Center for a Sustainable University at the
University of Hamburg supports the Sustainable Development Goals.
The importance of interdisciplinarity
The HSDS 2017, organized by the Center for a Sustainable University at the University of Hamburg, addresses not only the SDGs, but also all aspects of relations to sustainable development at Higher Education Institutions: Research and scientific action, teaching and education, governance, sustainability reporting, campus management and operations, et cetera. A whole-institution approach is seen to be a key process in order to transform Higher Education Institution towards sustainability.
The idea of connecting natural and socio-economic systems is essential for a successful sustainable development. For this reason the main principle of interdisciplinarity, the mutual constructive exchange of theories, concepts, techniques and data from a variety of disciplines is crucial for basic and application-oriented research, operations and studies in the area of sustainability.
Therefore, with the HSDS we aim to gather researchers, academics and other partners from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds and work fields (e.g., Sustainability Sciences, Economics, Urban Planning, Technologies, Social Sciences, etc.) who are devoted to foster sustainable development and help to create a better world for present and future generations.