Photo: Alan

Interconnected place-based social–ecological research can inform global sustainability

The time is ripe for developing a global network of place-based sustainability research and practice initiatives, and tools to achieve this are now available.

Global sustainability initiatives are gaining momentum and impact, and place-based research can provide complementary insights to strengthen them. In this paper the authors explore the current and potential role of place-based research into informing global sustainability initiatives by assessing the strengths, challenges, and opportunities. They show that place-based research allows for a better understanding of global social–ecological dynamics, and that transformations towards sustainability are often triggered at the local scale through the co-construction of local solutions. They discuss discuss that the very nature of place-based research can hinder its transferability because its global integration faces temporal, spatial and governance scale mismatches, and we identify some of the key challenges of scaling-up its findings. The paper highlights new opportunities to mainstream place-based research that are emerging from first, long-term networks of place-based research, second, new institutional research settings that contribute with conceptual comprehensive frameworks and capacity building tools, third, a global community of practice, and fourth, the concept of region as a bridge between local and global sustainability initiatives.


The full paper is available herePDF


Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability


PECS - Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society

Stockholm Resilience Centre

Stockholm University
SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Visiting address: Kräftriket 2

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The Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), is a core project of Future Earth. It aims to integrate research on the stewardship of social–ecological system and the relationships among natural capital, human wellbeing, livelihoods, inequality and poverty.