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The future of sustainability projects: Flights of fancy or a threnody to a lost age?

Kapitel i bok
Författare Karin Ingelhag
Mirek Dymitrow
Shelley Kotze
John Wright
Publicerad i In: Dymitrow, M. and Ingelhag, K. (eds.), Anatomy of a 21st-century sustainability project: The untold stories
Sidor in production
ISBN 978-91-984166-3-3
Förlag Mistra Urban Futures
Förlagsort Gothenburg
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Institutionen för ekonomi och samhälle, Kulturgeografi
Mistra Urban Futures
Sidor in production
Språk en
Ämnesord projects, projectification, 21st-century, autoethnography, sustainability, affinity, bravery, courage
Ämneskategorier Tvärvetenskapliga studier, Teknik och social förändring, Kulturgeografi, Filosofi, Etik


Just like a living organism, also the project has an anatomy, a life span and a purpose. A project has its given actors, given timeframe and phases, and a given goal. Towards the project’s completion, all these factors must intertwine perfectly, otherwise the project’s success will be challenged. Uncovering how these intricacies are held in place has been the epistemological foundation of this book. However, rather than relying on formal project descriptions, reports and evaluations, we chose a different way, autoethnography. By exploring the implicit knowledge that emerges during the process of running a complex 21st-century sustainability project, we wanted to better understand what makes it tick, halt or change its course. Taking cue from the various project actors’ personal reflections on their own role within the project has helped illuminate a complex transdisciplinary co-creation process from the perspective of the individual. We conclude that if we truly want to attain sustainability transitions, then the organisation, the methods and the modes of thinking utilised in projects must differ from the traditional ones. But reaching a breakpoint for behavioural change must be rooted in interactions where the participating individuals and organisations have a common understanding of the complex challenges that are entailed in running a sustainability project in the 21st century.

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