Joost Vervoort's research while affiliated with Utrecht University and other places

Publications (65)

Article
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Sustainable agrifood systems are critical to averting climate-driven social and ecological disasters, overcoming the growth paradigm and redefining the interactions of humanity and nature in the twenty-first century. This Perspective describes an agenda and examples for comprehensive agrifood system redesign according to principles of sufficiency,...
Article
In recent decades, foresight has been connected to various disciplines that engage with complex societal problems, leading to specific interpretations of foresight. We offer an interdisciplinary perspective on foresight's increasing use for governance of social-ecological systems (SES). We seek to strengthen the use of foresight in this domain by b...
Article
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Games have become established tools within participatory urban planning practice that provide safe spaces for collective actions such as deliberation, negotiation of conflicting agendas, scenario testing, and collaborative worldbuilding. While a body of literature on the effectiveness of games to address complex urban planning issues is emerging, s...
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Conventional policy approaches emphasize technical solutions and individual behavioral change, but practice-based policy approaches offer an alternative. This paper examines the operationalization of a practice-oriented futures policy development process. The process builds on practice theory to generate alternative sustainable future pathways and...
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Simulation games are increasingly popular tools for opening up future imaginaries, especially in the arena of sustainability policy-making and decision support. However, there is a lack of understanding regarding the potential power of games in anticipatory governance. We argue that the utility of simulation games in support of anticipatory climate...
Article
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Anticipation methods and tools are increasingly used to try to imagine and govern transformations towards more sustainable futures across different policy domains and sectors. But there is a lack of research into the steering effects of anticipation on present-day governance choices, especially in the face of urgently needed sustainability transfor...
Article
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A growing body of research indicates that effective science-policy interactions demand novel approaches, especially in policy domains with long time horizons like climate change. Serious games offer promising opportunities in this regard, but empirical research on game effects and games’ effectiveness in supporting science-policy engagement remains...
Article
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Games offer unique possibilities for imagining and experimenting with new systems of governance for more sustainable futures – new rules and institutions, new roles, and new dynamic worlds. However, research on sustainability games has mostly investigated games as a type of futures method, largely divorced from its societal contexts. In this paper,...
Article
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Governance of social-ecological systems (SES) involves multiple stakeholders with different perspectives on the system and associated problems, and different ways to value and use the system. This has implications for decision making because this diversity of interests and framings may cause conflicts between stakeholders and/or marginalization of...
Article
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Urban food is a key lever for transformative change towards sustainability. While research reporting on the urban food practices (UFPs) in support of sustainability is increasing, the link towards transformative potential is lacking. This is because research on urban food is often place-based and contextual. This limits the applicability of insight...
Article
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Future scenarios and pathways of potential development trajectories are powerful tools to assist with decision-making to address many sustainability challenges. Such scenarios play a major role in global environmental assessments (GEAs). Currently, however, scenarios in GEAs are mostly developed at the global level by experts and researchers, and l...
Article
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In the past few years, we have seen growing calls for a transformation in global food systems in response to multiple challenges, including climate change. Food systems are responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activity and agricultural yields are at risk due to climate change impacts. Although many proposals have be...
Article
The urban sustainability transformations that are urgently needed will have significant effects on the daily lives of city dwellers. As ways to imagine and co-design sustainable urban futures, experiments within the present-day urban environment are increasingly popular. This paper investigates how such an experimental approach can serve as the bas...
Article
In the governance of urban sustainability transformations, participatory futures practices are increasingly popular. Yet there is a rising awareness that the success or failure of these practices depends on how they are staged and the context in which they are conducted. These contextual factors are often less than ideal, and futures practices take...
Article
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Scenario analysis has emerged as a key tool to analyze complex and uncertain future socio-ecological developments. However, currently existing global scenarios (narratives of how the world may develop) have neglected biological invasions, a major threat to biodiversity and the economy. Here, we use a novel participatory process to develop a diverse...
Article
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In this paper, we argue that a key component of futures literacy is reflexivity regarding different attitudes toward the future. Various intellectual traditions and futures practices make epistemologically distinct claims about the future and its manifestations in the present. Through their different outlooks on analyzing, understanding, and influe...
Article
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Effective science-policy engagement efforts are crucial to accelerate climate action. Such efforts should be underpinned by high-quality knowledge generation that enhances salience, credibility and legitimacy of research results. This is particularly important for the agricultural sector. Agriculture has been identified as a priority for climate ac...
Article
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Global Environmental Assessments (GEAs) are in a unique position to influence environmental decision-making in the context of sustainability challenges. To do this effectively, however, new methods are needed to respond to the needs of decision-makers for a more integrated, contextualized and goal-seeking evaluation of different policies, geared fo...
Method
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Human settlements, both urban and rural, face numerous challenges at once: adapting to the impacts of climate change, improving sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, soil subsidence, urbanisation and renewal, increasing housing demand and goals, unemployment and other economic challenges, and a need for more social cohesion. While g...
Preprint
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Scenario analysis has emerged as a key tool to analyze complex and uncertain future socio-ecological developments. However, current global scenarios (narratives of how the world may develop) have neglected biological invasions, a major threat to biodiversity and the economy. We used a novel participatory process to develop a diverse set of global b...
Article
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Science–policy engagement efforts to accelerate climate action in agricultural systems are key to enable the sector to contribute to climate and food security goals. However, lessons to improve science–policy engagement efforts in this context mostly come from successful efforts and are limited in terms of empirical scope. Moreover, lessons have no...
Chapter
This paper describes using a serious board game jam as training for transdisciplinary collaboration and provides tips for organizing similar events. Entangled socio-environmental problems are considered “wicked problems.” An effective way to tackle these problems is a transdisciplinary approach. The transdisciplinary approach facilitates a systemic...
Preprint
Urban food is a key lever for transformative change towards sustainability. While research reporting on the urban food practices in support of sustainability is increasing, the link towards transformative potential is lacking. This is because research on urban food is often place-based and contextual. This limits the applicability of insights to la...
Article
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Non-technical summary The sustainability concept seeks to balance how present and future generations of humans meet their needs. But because nature is viewed only as a resource, sustainability fails to recognize that humans and other living beings depend on each other for their well-being. We therefore argue that true sustainability can only be ach...
Technical Report
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We developed, tested and refined a novel incremental participatory scenario approach. This method allows for the development of normative scenarios, pathways that lead to desirable futures, with local communities, through a non-linear approach. Developments in the real world rarely follow straightforward linear paths. The approach inventories ‘hing...
Article
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In times of accelerating earth system transformations and their potentially disruptive societal consequences, imagining and governing the future is now a core challenge for sustainability research and practice. Much social science and sustainability science scholarship increasingly engages with the future. There is, however, a lack of scrutiny of h...
Preprint
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The sustainability concept in its current form suffers from reductionism. The common interpretation of “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” fails to explicitly recognize their interdependence with needs of current and future non-human generations. Here we argue that the fo...
Article
Future technologies and systemic innovation are critical for the profound transformation the food system needs. These innovations range from food production, land use and emissions, all the way to improved diets and waste management. Here, we identify these technologies, assess their readiness and propose eight action points that could accelerate t...
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Cities face increasing risks due to climate change, and many cities are actively working towards increasing their climate resilience. Climate change-induced risks and interventions to reduce these risks do not only impact urban risk management systems and infrastructures, but also people’s daily lives. In order to build public support for climate a...
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Scenario development helps people think about a broad variety of possible futures; however, the global environmental change community has thus far developed few positive scenarios for the future of the planet and humanity. Those that have been developed tend to focus on the role of a few common, large-scale external drivers, such as technology or e...
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We present a research approach that seeks to develop and strengthen participatory action research (PAR) when applied in social-ecological systems (SES) by combining it with critical systems thinking (CST). This research approach responds to the urgent societal need to move beyond predefined project framing in development projects. While PAR acts as...
Article
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Creating a just and sustainable planet will require not only small changes, but also systemic transformations in how humans relate to the planet and to each other, i.e., social–ecological transformations. We suggest there is a need for collaborative environments where experimentation with new configurations of social–ecological systems can occur, a...
Article
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The global environmental change that characterizes the Anthropocene poses a threat to food systems. Cities increasingly serve as the spaces where civil society, private actors, and local governments come together to strategize toward more sustainable food futures and experiment with new forms of food governance. However, much of the futures literat...
Article
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Recently, consumers’ awareness regarding food production has increased, leading to a growing focus on shorter food supply chains and regional or local food systems. In the livestock sector, these developments are closely related to a regionalization of feed production. At the same time, a low self-sufficiency rate in protein feed is being reported...
Article
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Steering the EU food system towards a sustainability transformation requires a vast and actionable knowledge base available to a range of public and private actors. Few have captured this complexity by assessing food systems from a multi-dimensional and multi-level perspective, which would include (1) nutrition and diet, environmental and economic...
Article
In the last decade, games have grown into a dominant and highly diverse form of media, characterized by a number of transformations in the game sector that offer new opportunities for games in a futures context. These developments include changes in the cultural presence, the production and dissemination of games, which in turn have led to changes...
Article
In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, where social and environmental change occur ever more rapidly, careful futures-oriented thinking becomes crucial for effective decision-making. Foresight activities, including scenario development and scenario-guided policy and program design as well as quantitative modelling, play a key role...
Article
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Climate change impacts on agriculture have become evident, and threaten the achievement of global food security. On the other hand, the agricultural sector itself is a cause of climate change, and if actions are not taken, the sector might impede the achievement of global climate goals. Science-policy engagement efforts are crucial to ensure that s...
Chapter
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Chapter Highlights: 1. The rapid urbanization associated with the Anthropocene provides an imperative for humans to think differently about the future. 2. The “seeds” approach describes how niche experiments can, over time, coalesce to shift the dominant regime onto a more sustainable trajectory. 3. To achieve positive urban futures, it is vi...
Article
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Transformations inherently involve systems change and because of the political nature of change, are subject to contestation. A potentially effective strategy to further transformative change that builds on interdisciplinary, multiactor, and multiscale-practices and values is the use of foresight. Foresight covers a wide range of methods to systema...
Chapter
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Global urbanization promises better services, stronger economies, and more connections; it also carries risks and unforeseeable consequences. To deepen our understanding of this complex process and its importance for global sustainability, we need to build interdisciplinary knowledge around a systems approach. Urban Planet takes an integrative look...
Chapter
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Global urbanization promises better services, stronger economies, and more connections; it also carries risks and unforeseeable consequences. To deepen our understanding of this complex process and its importance for global sustainability, we need to build interdisciplinary knowledge around a systems approach. Urban Planet takes an integrative look...
Article
The Paris Agreement's aspirational 1.5 degree temperature target has given further impetus to efforts to imagine (and seek to govern) transformative and uncertain climate futures. This brings to the fore multiple challenges in the search for anticipatory governance and the role herein for climate foresight. Foresight entails processes to envision c...
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Over the last several decades, policymakers and stakeholders in the European Union (EU) have put considerable effort into increasing the adoption of organic farming, with the overall objective of its sustainable development. However, the growth of the organic sector has come with many challenges that jeopardize its sustainability. The question then...
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A growing number of people in high income countries, also from the segments of population once considered secure, seek food assistance. Diverse food aid initiatives and practices are developed by a range of actors to tackle food poverty; alongside traditional difficulties, new challenges emerge from welfare expenditure cuts, the reorganization of E...
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This article uses a case study on ecological sanitation as a basis for lessons on identifying and harnessing the plurality of actor frames in social-ecological systems, thereby moving beyond the advocacy positions often taken by implementing NGOs. The study aimed to explore how perspectives between the implementing agencies of an ecological sanitat...
Article
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The Transition Network is a global grassroots network that supports community-led resilience in the face of global change. This paper reports on an ethnographic study of one of its longest-running projects, Transition Town Lewes (TTL) in the United Kingdom. The aim of the study is to analyse TTL as a community. More specifically, we ask two questio...
Article
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The climate change research community’s shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) are a set of alternative global development scenarios focused on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. To use these scenarios as a global context that is relevant for policy guidance at regional and national levels, they have to be connected to an exploration of...
Article
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Current environmental problems are often extremely complex, uncertain, and affecting multiple actors and institutions across sectors and scales. Earth System Governance (ESG) is a field of research that is highly relevant for understanding social interactions across scales and sectors and addressing complex problems. ESG refers to the broad collect...
Article
This paper defines the research agenda of the SUSFANS project, describes its history and its potential societal impacts. It contributes to balanced and encompassing views on how to strengthen food and nutrition security outcomes in the EU and how to improve the performance of the food system in the EU from the perspective of social, environmental a...
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The scale, rate, and intensity of humans' environmental impact has engendered broad discussion about how to find plausible pathways of development that hold the most promise for fostering a better future in the Anthropocene. However, the dominance of dystopian visions of irreversible environmental degradation and societal collapse, along with overl...
Technical Report
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TRANSMANGO is an EU-funded research program, which aims to explore diverse pathways to sustainable food systems. This workshop report is part of the local case studies done in WP6. By combining qualitative research through a case-study with foresight methods, we aim to get a better understanding of the diverse pathways to FNS change in our case-stu...
Conference Paper
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The IPCC community’s Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs) are a set of alternative global development futures focused on drivers of challenges to mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. However, the impacts and drivers of plausible future development at any national or regional level have yet to be examined for consistency within the globa...
Article
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Decision-makers aiming to improve food security, livelihoods and resilience are faced with an uncertain future. To develop robust policies they need tools to explore the potential effects of uncertain climatic, socioeconomic, and environmental changes. Methods have been developed to use scenarios to present alternative futures to inform policy. Nev...
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The notion of ‘transformations towards sustainability’ takes an increasingly central position in global sustainability research and policy discourse in recent years. Governance and politics are central to understanding and analysing transformations towards sustainability. However, despite receiving growing attention in recent years, the governance...