Sander Van der Leeuw

Sander Van der Leeuw
Arizona State University | ASU · School of Human Evolution and Social Change

PhD

About

156
Publications
90,521
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
21,697
Citations
Introduction
Sander Van der Leeuw currently works at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the School of Sustainaility, Arizona State University. Sander does research in Environmental Science, Ecology, Archaeology and Complex Systems. Two of his current projects are 'AIMES - Analysis and Integration of Modelling the Earth System.' and "The World in 2050". His main interest at this point are the societal transformations our societies are likely to go through as a result of the ICT revolution.
Additional affiliations
August 2021 - December 2021
Arizona State University
Position
  • Professor
September 2013 - present
Beijing Normal University
Position
  • Professor
July 2010 - June 2013
Arizona State University
Position
  • Head of Faculty
Education
March 1972 - June 1976
University of Amsterdam
Field of study
  • Prehistoric Archaeolgoy
September 1968 - February 1972
University of Amsterdam
Field of study
  • Prehistoric Archaeology; Medieval History
September 1964 - June 1968
University of Amsterdam
Field of study
  • History

Publications

Publications (156)
Article
Full-text available
Non-technical summary Our time seems to be trapped in a paradox. On the one hand, the capacity to master information has tremendously increased, but on the other hand the capacity to use the knowledge humanity produces seems at stake. There is a gap between our capacity to know and our capacity to act. We attempt to better understand that situation...
Chapter
This chapter presents a relatively simple but effective model of the co-evolution of human societies and their environments in terms of the growth of their information-processing capacity. The discussion then turns to society dynamics in terms of the process of categorization, emphasizing the role of “noise”—the information discarded in any informa...
Article
Full-text available
The geological record shows that abrupt changes in the Earth system can occur on timescales short enough to challenge the capacity of human societies to adapt to environmental pressures. In many cases, abrupt changes arise from slow changes in one component of the Earth system that eventually pass a critical threshold, or tipping point, after which...
Article
Full-text available
Climate science provides strong evidence of the necessity of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. The IPCC 1.5°C special report (SR1.5) presents 414 emissions scenarios modelled for the report, of which around 50 are classified as '1.5°C scenarios', with no or low temperature overshoot. These emission scenario...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we conceptualize transformations as societal shifts from one basin of attraction to another. Such shifts occur when a society's information processing system is no longer fit to deal with the dynamics with which the society is involved. To understand when this might be the case, we conceive of a dynamic interaction between two domains...
Article
Full-text available
Key insights on needs in urban regional governance - Global urbanization (the increasing concentration in urban settlements of the increasing world population), is a driver and accelerator of shifts in diversity, new cross-scale interactions, decoupling from ecological processes, increasing risk and exposure to shocks. Responding to the challenges...
Article
Full-text available
The critical challenge facing humanity is the increasingly urgent need to find and implement pathways that lead humankind into a new stage of dynamic equilibrium that promotes the co-evolution of natural and cultural systems. We address this challenge for scientific and scholarly research communities and the transformations in roles, resources, act...
Article
Full-text available
The United Nations 2030 Agenda catalysed the development of global target-seeking sustainability-oriented scenarios representing alternative pathways to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Implementing the SDGs requires connected actions across local, national, regional, and global levels; thus, target-seeking scenarios need to reflect...
Article
Full-text available
The various crises that have emerged since 2000 are driven by an increasing maladaptation of our societies’ information processing capabilities to the dynamics in which our societies find themselves. These capabilities have been built up path dependently over centuries, and to understand them we need to look closely at their history. Changes in tec...
Preprint
Full-text available
The United Nations 2030 Agenda catalysed the development of global target-seeking sustainability-oriented scenarios representing alternative pathways to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Implementing the SDGs requires connected actions across local, national, regional, and global levels; thus, target-seeking scenarios need to reflect...
Article
Full-text available
In the context of sustainability and devising win-win solutions to socio-environmental challenges, this paper discusses various aspects of the fundamental role narratives play in grounding our values and institutions, impacting on our decisions and actions, and slowing down or accelerating change. Narratives are created to integrate particular even...
Article
Full-text available
Green businesses based on economic, social and technological innovations are engines of green growth and climate change adaptation across the world. However, without proper interactive mechanisms with the city, green businesses are particularly vulnerable in today’s fast-changing socio-economic and political urban contexts. Existing research on cli...
Article
Full-text available
Many teams have developed a wide range of numerical or categorical indicators of progress in the implementation of the SDG targets. But these indicators cannot identify why target goals have not been accomplished, whether or how they do or do not do justice to the social and cultural context in which they are applied, and how newly emerging social...
Book
Full-text available
In this Open Access book, Sander van der Leeuw examines how the modern world has been caught in a socioeconomic dynamic that has generated the conundrum of sustainability. Combining the methods of social science and complex systems science, he explores how western, developed nations have globalized their world view and how that view has led to the...
Article
Full-text available
Changing the scientific approach to fast transitions to a sustainable world. Improving knowledge production for sustainable policy and practice
Book
Full-text available
The book is the volume of illustrations belonging with "Studies in the Technology of Ancient Pottery vol 1 by Sander van der Leeuw
Article
Full-text available
During the Vth century BC, economic exchanges are deeply modified by the expansion of the sea trade and by the economic activity of the Greeks of Massilia. However, the fortified hilltop settlement of le Peigros illustrates a traditional indigenous way of life, based upon an agro-pastoral activity, and barely dealing with outside imports. Settled o...
Technical Report
Full-text available
HE SECOND AFRICAN DIALOGUE on The World in 2050 (TWI2050) brought together stakeholders to discuss pathways to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), within the planetary boundaries, and through the transformation of African agriculture and food systems. The motivation for the discussion is the understanding that for implementing the SD...
Article
Full-text available
In the original publication of the article, the name of the conference was published incorrectly as “International Complex Systems Society” in abstract. The correct name is “International Conference on Sustainability Science (ICSS)”.
Article
Full-text available
Holocene climate variability in the Mediterranean Basin is often cited as a potential driver of societal change, but the mechanisms of this putative influence are generally little explored. In this paper we integrate two tools–agro-ecosystem modeling of potential agricultural yields and spatial analysis of archaeological settlement pattern data–in...
Data
Locations of sites with regard to elevation and slope. (JPG)
Data
Holocene temperature and precipitation in the study area averaged across cultural periods. (JPG)
Data
Potential pulse productivity of the landscape. (JPG)
Data
Summary W1 values for landscape and exploited fractions. (DOCX)
Data
Comparisons of the W1 means of the exploited fractions for each period to the contemporary landscape (landscape mean of pixelwise means across the period for each pixel), and of each period to every other period. (PDF)
Article
Full-text available
This paper summarizes some personal impressions of the 7th conference of the International Complex Systems Society, co-organized with “Future Earth”, held in Stockholm on August 24–26, 2017. The main point is that it is urgent and important to consider the sustainability conundrum as long-term, society-driven one, and to place societal dynamics at...
Technical Report
Full-text available
A set of potential pathways to achive the Sustainable Development Goals
Technical Report
Full-text available
The World in 2050 (TWI2050) was established by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) to provide scientific foundations for the 2030 Agenda. It is based on the voluntary and collaborative effort of more than 60 authors from about 20 institutions, and some 100 independent experts from academia, business, government, intergo...
Article
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
The original publication was published without Acknowledgments section. The missing section is printed here.
Article
Full-text available
The complexity of social-ecological systems (SES) is rooted in the outcomes of node activities connected by network topology. Thus far, in network dynamics research, the connectivity degree (CND), indicating how many nodes are connected to a given node, has been the dominant concept. However, connectivity focuses only on network topology, neglectin...
Book
Cet ouvrage collectif présente des articles et des chapitres d’ouvrages publiés en langue anglaise dans les années 1970 et traduits en français. Ces articles constituent des contributions importantes à la théorie de l’archéologie spatiale et présentent des outils conceptuels et analytiques essentiels pour accompagner le recours de plus en plus impo...
Article
During the Vth century BC, economic exchanges are deeply modified by the expansion of the sea trade and by the economic activity of the Greeks of Massilia. However, the fortified hilltop settlement of le Peigros illustrates a traditional indigenous way of life, based upon an agro-pastoral activity, and barely dealing with outside imports. Settled o...
Chapter
Adaptation and maladaptation are best viewed as different phases in the relationship between a society and its (social and natural) environment. This chapter looks at that relationship over two scales (millennial and centennial) and attributes the transitions (“ tipping points”) between adaptation and maladaptation to the unintended consequences of...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter calls for an approach to economic policy that takes evolutionary and complex systems theories into account. Such an approach alters the way that economic policy is framed and how policy co-depends on understanding markets as outcomes of nonmarket interactions, incomplete information, path dependency, and coordination failures. Using se...
Chapter
It is clear that within the field of archaeological computational modeling, the detection and reduction of uncertainty have played far too marginal a role. To highlight why it is important to grapple with such uncertainty, this concept is here treated from a broader conceptual perspective. Perhaps most central to this endeavor is that researchers a...
Article
Full-text available
Il s’agit ici de regarder les sciences dans une perspective ethnographique, en soulignant que la création des résultats scientifiques et leur évaluation par le public sont sociales et s’inscrivent dans des processus contextuels. La perte de la crédibilité scientifique au sein d’un large public, aux États-Unis en particulier, semble due au fait qu’a...
Article
Full-text available
The IGBP Analysis, Integration and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) project has developed the notion of Earth System Science (ESS). ESS studies how the planet operates as a coupled system of interacting components, which produce emergent behaviors over and beyond the dynamics of the individual components. Many climate models used in the IPCC's...
Chapter
Full-text available
Scientific illiteracy is an important phenomenon in western countries, and nowhere as widely spread as in the USA, where almost a third of the population – about 100 million people – close their eyes and ears as soon as science, or things scientific, are broached. Contrary to what many scientists believe, from an anthropological perspective this is...
Article
Full-text available
While the concept of the Anthropocene reflects the past and present nature, scale and magnitude of human impacts on the Earth System, its true significance lies in how it can be used to guide attitudes, choices, policies and actions that influence the future. Yet, to date much of the research on the Anthropocene has focused on interpreting past and...
Article
Full-text available
The 'Anthropocene' concept provides a conceptual framework that encapsulates the current global situation in which society has an ever-greater dominating influence on Earth System functioning. Simulation models used to understand earth system dynamics provide early warning, scenario analysis and evaluation of environmental management and policies....
Article
Full-text available
This study examines how social and natural scientists converged on a new ontological approach to science. Three distinguishing features comprise this new approach. They include: (1) an integration of the social and ecological into a fully coupled social-ecological systems perspective, (2) a holistic view of scientific phenomena requiring a transdis...
Chapter
Full-text available
In recent work, culminating in the book Origins and Revolutions, Clive Gamble has suggested that we need to move away from a focus on the origin of individual, cognitive abilities of modern Homo sapiens towards the development of ‘an external cognitive architecture by which hominins achieved social extension within local groups and a wider communit...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we view creativity through the lens of innovation, a concept familiar to archaeologists across a range of contexts and theoretical perspectives. Most attempts to understand ancient innovation thus far, we argue, have been limited by their lack of capacity to cope with the multiple scales of innovation: Those that track widespread cha...
Article
Full-text available
The development of human civilisations has occurred at a time of stable climate. This climate stability is now threatened by human activity. The rising global climate risk occurs at a decisive moment for world development. World nations are currently discussing a global development agenda consequent to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which...
Article
The paper presents two socio-enironmental crises that occurred a century apart in the Comtat region of France, and investigates why the first of these was relatively quickly and efficiently overcome, whereas the second was not.
Article
Full-text available
Purpose – The article aims to describe the problem- and project-based learning (PPBL) program and the institutional context at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability (SOS), with the goal of offering experience-based guidance for similar initiatives in sustainability programs around the world. Design/methodology/approach – This case st...
Article
Full-text available
Sustainability science still struggles with transitioning from problem-focused to solution-oriented endeavors that yield positive impacts on mitigating sustainability challenges. This article presents and compares three sustainability science studies on the reconstruction after the 2011 triple-disaster in Japan; limited energy and livelihood option...
Article
Full-text available
“When white missionaries brought the bible to Africa, they had the bible and we had the land”. They said: “let us pray”. So we closed our eyes and prayed … And when we opened our eyes, we had the bible and they had the land …”You can surrender your most valuable asset without even noticing it!Desmond TutuThe conclusion of the 2011 Nobel meeting in...
Article
Archaeologists have begun to understand that many of the challenges facing our technologically sophisticated, resource dependent, urban systems were also destabilizing factors in ancient complex societies. The focus of IHOPE-Maya is to identify how humans living in the tropical Maya Lowlands in present-day Central America responded to and impacted...
Article
This paper argues that we would massively increase the value of our archaeological understanding of the past for the present if we cast it differently. Rather than use a reductionist, ex-post approach (which explains the present by invoking the past, looking for origins), we should be using an “ex ante” approach that looks at the emergence of chang...
Article
Full-text available
Visions about the use of nanotechnologies in the city, including in the design and construction of built environments, suggest that these technologies could be critically important for solving urban sustainability problems. We argue that such visions often overlook two critical and interrelated elements. First, conjectures about future nano-enhance...
Article
Full-text available
This paper uses a case study on the evolution of the Rhine river delta to illustrate the coevolution of the environment, the technology used to exploit it, and the institutions governing it. Three strands are interwoven: (1) Achieving equilibrium between protecting and utilizing land is difficult. In this area, as a result of exploitation, agricult...
Article
Full-text available
The time is ripe for a comprehensive mission to explore and document Earth's species. This calls for a campaign to educate and inspire the next generation of professional and citizen species explorers, investments in cyber-infrastructure and collections to meet the unique needs of the producers and consumers of taxonomic information, and the format...
Conference Paper
In globalization, isolated communities are connected to larger-scale networks. A complex systems approach describes changing information flows that govern this process, articulation of rural and urban communities, transformation of risk spectra, changes in social networks, and consequences for decision-making. Based on this analysis, the paper char...
Article
Full-text available
The challenges of modeling future socio-ecological states numerically suggest that qualitative understanding of system behavior should be further developed. The objective here is to identify and develop general principles of socio-ecological system behavior, supported by empirical evidence drawn from long records of regional environmental change. A...
Article
Full-text available
Sustainability challenges are multitudinous, urgent, and complex. They are beyond the capacities of our current institutions to address, caused by path-dependent behaviors, and require substantial change from systems with crippling inertia. These problems are born of large-scale industrial economic policy, the rise of materialism, and the supremacy...