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

Karin Ingelhag, Mirek Dymitrow, Shelley Kotze, John Wright

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnatomy of a 21st-century sustainability project: The untold stories
EditorsMirek Dymitrow, Karin Ingelhag
Place of PublicationGöteborg
PublisherChalmers Tekniska Högskola
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)978-91-984166-3-3
ISBN (Print)978-91-984166-3-3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun 15

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social and Economic Geography


  • projects
  • projectification
  • 21st-century
  • autoethnography
  • sustainability
  • affinity
  • bravery
  • courage


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