Sustainability is one of the buzzwords of our times and a key imperative for economic growth, technological development, social equity, and environmental quality. But what does it really mean and how is it being implemented around the world? 

In this clear-eyed book, Maurie Cohen introduces students to the concept of sustainability, tracing its history and application from local land-use practices, construction techniques and reorientation of business models to national and global institutions seeking to foster sustainable practices. Examining sustainable development in scientific, technological, social and political terms, he shows that it remains an elusive concept and evidence of its unambiguous achievements can be difficult to ascertain. Moreover, developed and developing countries have formulated divergent agendas to engage the notion of sustainability, further complicating its application and progress across the world.  

Innovative and readily accessible to students from a range of disciplines, this primer takes us on a journey to show that sustainability is as much about unchartered waters as it is about formulating answers to urgent global issues.
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  • December 2020
  • 200 pages
  • 160 x 232 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509540310
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509540327
  • Open eBook $20.00
  • 9781509540334
Table of Contents


List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

List of Figures, Tables and Boxes

Chapter 1        What is Sustainability?

Chapter 2        The Science of Sustainability

Chapter 3        Engineering a More Sustainable Future

Chapter 4        Planning Sustainability Transitions

Chapter 5        Social Innovation and Sustainability

Chapter 6        Toward Post-sustainability?

Afterword: Sustainability in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond




About the Author
Maurie J. Cohen is Professor of Sustainability Studies at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
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Sustainabilitys original impulseto transform how we live together on this planethas splintered into a zoo of small-bore activities. Maurie Cohen masterfully organizes this menagerie of interpretations and approaches into an overarching framework that recovers the radical meaning of the challenge.
Paul Raskin, Tellus Institute

This book offers a very accessible introduction to science, policy and practice associated with the broad and complex topic of sustainability. It delineates many central concepts and lines of development with references to relevant events and actors. A particularly strength of the book is that it critically questions the reliability of some well-established assumptions and concepts for fostering a sustainability transition. Accordingly, the book will be very useful as an introduction to sustainability for interdisciplinary audiences.
Doris Fuchs, University of M√ľnster

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