Enhancing Meso Level Research in Sustainability Science—Challenges and Research Needs
Growing numbers of promising visions of the future and scenarios that may lead toward building sustainable societies are being developed. At the same time, advanced technologies and research seeds that could increase the likelihood of achieving such visions are also being rigorously conceived. Even so, we face challenges and barriers in achieving these visions due to large gaps between individual technology seeds and shared visions. In this paper we propose a “vision-meso-seeds” model as a practical framework for addressing sustainability transition and demonstrate meso level research whose primary aim is to design a matching of promising seeds at the micro level and societal visions at the macro level, facilitating an achievement of the set visions with quantified targets. In particular we highlight the importance of matching various strategies and measures derived from the top-down (vision-oriented) approach and bottom-up (seeds-oriented) approach in the meso level research. We argue that the meso level research shall constitute one of the emerging core fields in sustainability science and suggest that accumulation of knowledge through case studies be needed to enhance and verify theory, specific methods and approach necessary for advancing the meso level research in the context of sustainability science.
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