Theories and Practices of Sustainable Development

Students are expected to acquire:
- a clear understanding of issues raised by the sustainability challenge;
- the capacity to discuss the limits and potential of different approaches to sustainability (e.g. strong versus weak sustainability; efficiency versus resilience);
- an understanding of trade offs, complementarities and synergies among diverse dimensions of sustainability (economic, environmental and social) in general and in applied cases;
- a capacity to discuss alternative decision-making criteria that are applied in a sustainability context;
- a clear awareness of institutional challenges to the implementation of sustainable development as an organizing principle of public-policy, corporate, territorial or consumer decision-making, as well as the available methods to deal with these challenges.

1. What is sustainable development? Scale and sustainability of an economy. Institutions, public policies and ecological footprint. Development as freedom. The dilemma of growth.
2. Approaches to sustainability. Efficiency and sustainability. Substitution of artificial capital for natural capital. Decoupling and its myths.
3. Dimensions of sustainability: economic, environmental and social. Trade offs and complementarity among dimensions.
4. Decision-making criteria for sustainability. Market failure, public intervention and decisionmaking methods: impact, cost-benefit and multi-criteria analyses. Risk and uncertainty.
5. Ecosystems and human wellbeing. Sustainability and ecosystem services. Production, valuation and value-capture of ecosystem services.
6. Integrating sustainable development (SD) in public and private policies. The long-term governance of SD and its integration in sectorial policies, physical-planning, corporate
and consumer decisions.