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Literature on sustainable development

The literature on sustainable development can be said to include everything from international policy documents, such as the Brundtland Commission, to scientific articles on the environmental impact of specific fibre polymers.

The literature presented here focuses on sustainable development from primarily an overall perspective. Literature often contains a brief history and description of the emergence and importance of the concept, as well as the causes of, and possible solutions to, major environmental and sustainability problems. The focus is often, but not always, on ecological sustainability. Here are some examples - the list is not intended to be comprehensive - but should only be seen as giving examples:


Luttropp, C. och Brohammer, G. (2014) EcoDesign Roadmap. Studentlitteratur.
Graedel, T.E and Allenby B.R (2009) Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Engineering. Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Heinberg, R. (2012) What is sustainability? Post Carbon Institute.
Manzi, T. et al. (2010) Social Sustainability in Urban Areas: Communities, Connectivity and the Urban Fabric. London: Earthscan.
Benoît, C., and Mazijn, B. (eds) (2009), UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative. Guidelines for social life cycle assessment of products.
Theis, T. and Tomkin, J. (eds.) (2012). Sustainability: A Comprehensice Foundation. On-line text book.

Scientific articles

Steffen, W. et. al. (2015). Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, Vol. 347 no. 6223.

Weingaertner, C. and Moberg, Å. (2014), Exploring Social Sustainability: Learning from Perspectives on Urban Development and Companies and Products. Sust. Dev., 22: 122–133.

Griggs, D., M. Stafford-Smith, O. Gaffney, J. Rockström, M. C. Öhman, P. Shyamsundar, W. Steffen, G. Glaser, N. Kanie and I. Noble (2013). Policy: Sustainable development goals for people and planet. Nature 495(7441): 305-307.

Raworth, K. (2012). A safe and just space for humanity: can we live within the doughnut? Oxfam Policy and Practice: Climate Change and Resilience 8(1): 1-26.

Steffen, W., J. Grinevald, P. Crutzen and J. McNeill (2011). The Anthropocene: conceptual and historical perspectives. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 369(1938): 842-867.

Rockström, J. et. al. (2009) Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity. Ecology and Society, Vol. 14, No. 2, Art. 32.

Connelly, S. (2007). Mapping sustainable development as a contested concept. Local Environment 12(3): 259-278.

Littig, B., Grießler, E. (2005) Social sustainability: a catchword between political pragmatism and social theory. Int. J. Sustainable Development, Vol. 8, pp. 65-88.

Robinson, J. (2004). Squaring the circle? Some thoughts on the idea of sustainable development. Ecological economics 48(4): 369-384.

Mebratu, D. (1998). Sustainability and sustainable development: historical and conceptual review. Environmental impact assessment review 18(6): 493-520.


The Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket) (2010) Socially sustainable urban development - an overview of current knowledge.

KTH (2009) Technology and Ethics (Swedish) (pdf 475 kB) , Sven Ove Hansson.