Methodology for Sustainability Assessment
Full course description
To facilitate policymaking in the pursuit of sustainable development, sustainability assessment can assist in the task of making both problems and solutions more concrete. An important element is problem structuring: the analysis of drivers, uncertainties and problem perceptions pertaining to the sustainability issue under investigation. It also includes the exploration of possible future pathways, and the evaluation of multiple policy strategies through which sustainable development might be pursued.
This course will deepen the students’ understanding and knowledge of sustainability assessment (SA). It starts with an appreciation of the concept of sustainability assessment and an investigation of different sustainability assessment frameworks that can be used. Following this, students will explore several SA methods and tools, focusing on modelling, scenario development, and participatory methods. Students will not only study how these tools and methods are currently used in practice, but also gain ‘hands-on’ experience by applying different methods and tools in working groups. A central theme of this course is how different methods and tools are combined in a coherent SA. To this end, the development of a sustainability assessment project plan is a key course product.
- explain the concept of sustainability assessment, understand its generic steps and the policy context(s) in which it may be applied;
- understand how various methods and tools can be combined and integrated in an SA
- analyse sustainability assessment studies from the literature, recognize which approach and tools are applied and why, and critically assess the results;
- design a sustainability assessment project by applying the generic steps of an SA and integrating different methods and tools in a complementary and consistent way.