This introductory chapter clarifies the two main terms of the book, namely method and sustainability, and their relevance to its readership. It also outlines the nineteen chapters contributing to the four parts of the book dedicated to: more sustainable cities; better governance; transitioning to more sustainable economics; and more sustainable livelihoods and living. The conceptual methods for a sustainability cosmos is then introduced, which explains the methodological space for transitioning to a more sustainable development. At its core is the sustainability aim. The time horizon to respond to that may be long-term, short-term or immediate. Many methodological strategies may be developed with the book outlining nineteen innovative and creative ways to approach the four areas of cities, governance, economy, livelihoods and lives. The associated philosophies with the respective strategies and approaches, namely technological determinism, interpretivism, pragmatism and social determinism, are explained.
Dora Marinova and Janette Hartz-Karp
Janette Hartz-Karp and Rob Weymouth
Current democratic decision-making appears to be appears to be showing its weakness unable to resolve complex challenges due to its competitive, combative, and individualistic nature. By contrast, strong democracy can be created through a deliberative approach which allows descriptively representative, deliberative, and influential decision-making. This better taps into people’s values and preferences to reach the common good, contextually understood. However, assumptions about the roles, rights, and capacities of government officials and the general public need to be overturned, adopting a different set enabling more ‘power with’ than ‘power over’ the people. To spread and sustain deliberative democracy, methods are suggested to scale its underlying principles and to institutionalise it.
Janette Hartz-Karp and Leen Gorissen
A transition to sustainability requires radical change in our cultures, ways of organizing and practices. Our value regime needs to shift from exploitation to regeneration, from a profit focus to principles of interdependence, cooperation and partnership. The chapter examines how transition initiatives can assist in this journey. Two different initiatives are presented: one instigated mostly bottom-up by the grassroots in Europe; and one mostly top-down by governance in Australia. Irrespective of the difference in their approach, both initiatives arrived at the same conclusion, namely the need for more mutual government and public support, involving changes in roles for government officials and citizens that foster value shifts, increase collective agency and enhance distributed leadership.
Giovanni Allegretti and Janette Hartz-Karp
Participatory budgeting, which proliferated across the globe to over 3,000 local governments and some supra-municipalities, helps to improve sustainability, and could make a greater contribution in the future. It enables local people to co-decide the city’s or region’s budget, which is an issue of importance to them. Examples show that when local people allocate budgets, governance becomes more inclusive and empowered; social justice is promoted; more sustainable outcomes are achieved; and a more holistic approach to sustainable planning is enabled. It is one of the few empowered deliberative participation initiatives which has achieved continuity over time and has strengthened resilience.