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Understanding the Future of Change Agency in Sustainability Through Cellular Automata Scenarios: The Role of Timing †

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  • Ricardo Sosa

    () (School of Industrial Design, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Queretaro 76150, Mexico)

Abstract

One of the main interdisciplinary challenges today is to understand and change the dominant social perceptions and values that support and perpetuate unsustainable practices. Social computational simulations have been conceived in recent years to understand emergent results from complex systems. These dynamic social models are of interest to sustainability researchers because they provide a means to implement hypotheses and explore scenarios that could help extend our understanding of the future role of change agency in society. Change agents are individuals who directly or indirectly enable sustainable behaviors or inhibit practices that damage the environment and large social groups. Evidence-based strategies, guidelines and methods are necessary in order to manage creative change agency more effectively. This paper presents work with computational simulations, known as cellular automata, in order to explore the role of timing in triggering social change through uncoordinated, autonomous individual action. The paper identifies a number of issues related to creative change agency and proposes associated guidelines for practitioners. As a means of early validation, these findings are portrayed against empirical studies in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricardo Sosa, 2011. "Understanding the Future of Change Agency in Sustainability Through Cellular Automata Scenarios: The Role of Timing †," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 1-18, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:4:p:578-595:d:11900
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joshua M. Epstein & Robert L. Axtell, 1996. "Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550253, January.
    2. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-493, May.
    3. Thomas Leonard, 2008. "Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 356-360, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    diffusion of innovations; innovation models; creativity; computational social simulation; stochastic systems; change agents;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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