Communities are complex and dynamic. They are defined at local, national and global levels. Sometimes they are place based, sometimes they are held together by commonalities. They require nurturing to sustain core elements such as environmental quality, safe neighborhoods, good schools, accessible healthcare and engaged citizens. To sustain this balance of economic, ecological, social and political vitality, communities must continuously adapt. Scholars can help, but this often requires crossing disciplinary boundaries.
By combining the perspectives and methodologies of several disciplines, we can examine multiple dimensions of sustainability — spatial, temporal and systemic — and devise powerful solutions to complex problems. By developing new paradigms and vital partnerships within the University and with community members and organizations, this area of excellence will help us understand what it takes to model, build and maintain sustainable communities. Collaboration among faculty from many disciplines will enable a deeper understanding of the past, present and future trends. New ideas will emerge and enable us to improve our policies and practices at local, national and global levels.
Committee membership includes: Shelley Dionne (management), Madhusudhan Govindaraju (computer science), Joseph Graney (geology), Siobhan Hart (anthropology), Suk-Young Kang (social work), Adam Laats (education), Harold Lewis (systems science and industrial engineering), Florence Margai (geography), Pamela Mischen (chair, public administration), Christopher Morgan-Knapp (philosophy), Florenz Plassmann (economics), Gale Spencer (nursing) and David Sloan Wilson (biological sciences and anthropology).