Conference paper Open Access

Can Sustainability Knowledge-Action Platforms Advance Multi- level Sustainability Transitions?

Bream-McIntosh, Oliver; Burnett, Amy; Feldman, Ira; Lamphere, Jenna; Reuter, Thomas; Vital, Emmanuelle

In an effort to share local knowledge and best practices, online sustainability knowledge-action platforms of various types have proliferated. We conducted a review of 42 online sustainability knowledge-action platforms, which we define as digital tools that seek to manage and organize (local) knowledge and activities to advance a sustainability agenda. This interdisciplinary paper analyzes the structure and functionality of existing sustainability platforms through a systematic coding process. The coding is based on a review of the key issues highlighted in three bodies of literature: i) localization of the SDGs, ii) digital platforms and iii) multi-level governance of sustainability transitions. Our analysis indicates that numerous online collaborative tools, while offering an array of resources, struggle to provide context-sensitivity and higher-level analysis of the trade-offs and synergies between different sustainability actions. Context sensitivity and systemic thinking are essential, however, to align local priorities with international priorities like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG localization adds another layer of complexity where multi-level governance, actor priorities and institutional logics may generate tensions as well as opportunities for intra- and cross-sectoral alignment.

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