Founding institutions

Sustainability Institute

The Sustainability Institute (SI) was established in Lynedoch Ecovillage in 1999 to provide a space for people to explore an approach to creating a more equitable society.
At the core of the SI’s work has been finding ways of living that sustain rather than destroy the eco-system within which all society is embedded. Our focus on children led to the founding of the Creche, and later Baby Centre, and AfterCare programmes. Our partnership with the School of Public Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch built up our Masters and PhD programmes in Sustainable Development.

Today, the SI is an international living and learning centre providing learning experiences in ecology, community and spirit.
Our learning programmes start in the Baby Centre and Creche, are extending through our partnership with SPARK Schools in Lynedoch, are practically oriented in our Learning for Sustainability FET College and promote both research and practice through our University of Stellenbosch degrees. Our research and practice maintains a strong focus on sustainable African futures, through our student and faculty research and SI Projects, our growing research consulting programme.

We are looking to build our understanding and learning in core areas we recognise as critical in supporting the transition to equitable, just and thriving futures.
Our focus on flourishing food systems, social innovation, optimal resource flows and transformative learning from birth, supported by meaningful partnerships, will continue through embedded and relevant research, teaching and practice.

Complex Systems in Transition

The Stellenbosch Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST) is a new Stellenbosch University ‘flagship’ initiative established in 2015.

This initiative will bring together three core themes:

  • Complexity thinking,
  • Sustainability science and
  • Transdisciplinary research methodology

International Social Science Council

The International Social Science Council (ISSC), a membership-based non-governmental organization, is the primary global body representing the social sciences, including economic and behavioural sciences. Its mission is to strengthen social science to help solve global priority problems. Through its members and programmes, the ISSC reaches hundreds of thousands of individual social scientists working across a wide range of disciplines and representing all parts of the world. [].

Comparative Research Programme on Poverty

CROP (Comparative Research Programme on Poverty) was established with a secretariat in Bergen in 1993 in order to promote social science research that theorises and provides understanding of poverty in a global context.

CROP has two institutional sponsors, the University of Bergen (UiB) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC). In 2009 the ISSC signed an agreement with UiB incorporating CROP into the university’s academic and administrative environment.

The CROP Secretariat has a scientific director and supporting scientific and administrative staff. Responsibility for the general orientation of the scientific content of the programme falls primarily on the Scientific Committee (SC).

Urban Action Lab

UAL is an opportunity to engage in sustainable urban development, climate change adaptation and urban planning issues faced by the city. The UAL is a space for learning-by-doing aimed at enhancing planning education critically required to meet the challenges. The National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda (NSDFU) is a key partner as a community-based organization that will offer entry of students and researchers to the communities. Training and research is planned at graduate level to create a repository of research results accessible by interested people, institutions and communities of practice. UAL is envisaged to advance the urban ecological planning and development that takes a territorial approach to urban challenges.

UAL is located at: Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences, Makerere University Uganda

Urbanization and Global Environmental Change

The Urbanization and Global Environmental Change (UGEC) project targets the generation of new knowledge on the bi-directional interactions and feedbacks between urbanization processes and Global Environmental Change at local, regional, and global scales.

UGEC, now a Future Earth project, formerly an International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) project, along with other partners of the Future Earth Urban Platform (FEUP), is leading the transition of the urban agenda within Future Earth through the establishment of urban flagship activities and the design of an urban platform for facilitating interdisciplinary research coordination and co-design with urban stakeholders and practitioners.