The framing of urban sustainability transformations

David M. Iwaniec, Elizabeth M. Cook, Olga Barbosa, Nancy B. Grimm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Transformational change is not always intentional. However, deliberate transformations are imperative to achieve the sustainable visions that future generations deserve. Small, unintentional tweaks will not be enough to overcome persistent and emergent urban challenges. Recent scholarship on sustainability transformations has evolved considerably, but there is no consensus on what qualifies transformational change. We describe variations in current discussions of intentional sustainability transformations in the literature and synthesize strategies from funding institutions' recent requests for proposals for urban sustainability transformations. Research funding initiatives calling for transformational change are increasingly common and are an important driver of how transformational change is articulated in research-practice in cities. From this synthesis, we present seven criteria for transformational change that provide direction for framing and implementing transformational change initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number573
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 22 2019


  • Funding institutions
  • Sustainability
  • Transformational change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'The framing of urban sustainability transformations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this