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Culture and Sustainability

Culture and Sustainability
Project team:

Parodi, Oliver (Project leader); Gerhard Banse


KIT, in-house project ITAS

Start date:


Project partners:

Centre for Cultural and General Studies (ZAK); KIT Focus Humans and Technology (MuT); Department of Media and Communications Sciences – Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt; Education for Sustainable Development – Leuphana Universität Lüneburg; Environmental Ethics/AG Umweltethik – Universität Greifswald; University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland

Research area:

Sustainability and environment

Project description

The systematic and comprehensive research of the interdependence between culture (cultural issues) and sustainable development is still a novelty in the field of sustainability research. The diversity of the theoretical basis and the linking of the different discourses show how comprehensive the approach in the ITAS-project is.

Cultural theories and cultural scientific research are linked to theories about sustainability, concepts of sustainability, and relevant research of sustainability. The cultural dimension of sustainable development is not to be considered as "byproduct of sustainable development" any more but perceived and researched as an effective and modeling instance. A matter of common concern is to reflect the meaning and difficulty of cultural change with regard to the globally demanded sustainable development – without quickly reducing the significance of the various elements of "culture" and "cultural issues".

The aim is to examine and work through the complex field of interdependence between culture and sustainable development. As part of it, ITAS organized or co-organized various international conferences and workshops and edited numerous publications.

The emphasis is on the consideration of cultural and cultural scientific perspectives on activities and concepts of sustainability on the one hand and research into cultural patterns and deeper research about the use of goods on the other hand. Furthermore, we consider cross-cultural differences in understanding sustainability, cultural change and cultural heritage.

Events on the topic

  • Weimarer Kolloquium 2008 "Interdependenzen zwischen kulturellem Wandel und nachhaltiger Entwicklung"
    Programm Konferenzband
  • KIT-Kompetenzfeld-Workshop 2009 "Kultur und Nachhaltigkeit"
  • Workshop Karlsruhe 2009 "Kulturelle Überlieferung - digital. New Heritage - New Challenge"
  • Weimarer Kolloquium 2009 "Interdependenzen zwischen kulturellem Wandel und nachhaltiger Entwicklung II"
  • Tagung Berlin 2010 "Sustainability 2010: The Cultural Dimension"
    Programm (english)
  • Roundtable Katowice (PL) "Nachhaltigkeit im alltäglichen Leben"
  • Konferenz Melbourne (USA) 2011 "Sustainability 2011: Is it worth it?"
  • Projektworkshop Karlsruhe 2011 "Teilen, Reparieren, Tauschen - Beispiele nachhaltiger Umgangsformen mit Gütern"



Dr. Oliver Parodi
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-26816

Further reading

Duxbury, N.; Gillette, E.: Culture as a Key Dimension of Sustainability. Exploring Concepts, Themes and Models. 2007. - URL: www.cultureandcommunities.ca/downloads/WP1-Culture-Sustainability.pdf

Hawkes, J.: The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability. Culture's Essential Role in Public Planning. Melbourne, Australia 2001

Janikowski, R.; Krzystofek, K. (red.): Kultura a zrównowazony rozwój. Srodowisko lad przestrzenny dziedzictwo Kultur und Nachhaltige Entwicklung. Umwelt, Raumordnung, kulturelles Erbe. Warszawa 2009 (poln.)

Krainer, L.; Trattnigg, R. (Hg.): Kulturelle Nachhaltigkeit. Konzepte, Perspektiven, Positionen. München 2007

Kurt, H.; Wagner, B. (Hg.): Kultur - Kunst - Nachhaltigkeit. Die Bedeutung von Kultur für das Leitbild Nachhaltige Entwicklung. Essen 2002

Muraca, B.; Holz, V.: "Kultur" als Herausforderung für Nachhaltigkeitsforschung. Bericht vom 7. Workshop des "Forums on Sustainable Technological Development in a Globalising World". Berlin, 9.-12. Juni 2010. In: Technikfolgenabschätzung. Theorie und Praxis, Jg. 19, Nr. 3/2010 (Dezember), S. 120-124

UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization: The Cultural Dimension of Development: Towards a Practical Approach. Paris 1995