Design Knowledge Intermediary
Tackling Wicked Problems: Through the Transdisciplinary Imagination

Edited By Valerie A. Brown, John A. Harris and Jacqueline Y. Russell
Published by

Pages 256 pages
Price £34.99

'Tackling Wicked Problems is a timely, inspirational and important book. Complex and 'wicked problems', are common and growing - within societies, regions, locally and globally. They are found in relation to many issues including environmental, human health, urban planning and transport. Importantly, the cross-connections between issues are typically part of the complexity. So far our decision-making processes have not served us well in addressing these issues. Yet the need for more effective decision-making processes is urgent, with anthropogenic climate change perhaps the prime example of a wicked problem in need of urgent action. This book provides an excellent analysis of the inadequacies of our current approaches and the benefits of frameworks based on open transdisciplinary inquiry for addressing 'wicked problems'. It complements this theoretical basis with a strong set of practical examples of open transdisciplinary inquiry by 15 authors from across the natural and social sciences, the humanities, environmental and public sector management, political science and community activism. Tackling Wicked Problems should have an important place in both under and post-graduate courses across a range of University faculties. But it deserves (and we need) it to be far more widely read - by decision-makers in both the public and private sectors and all of us interested in more effective action on the many current and emerging 'wicked problems' that threaten to undermine humanity's future.'
Ronnie Harding, Foundation Director, Institute of Environmental Studies, University of NSW, Australia

CONTENTS (Expand Contents)

Part I: The Ideas

1. Towards a Just and Sustainable Future
2. Beyond Disciplinary Confinement to Imaginative Transdisciplinarity
3. A Philosophical Framework for an Open and Critical Transdisciplinary Inquiry
4. Collective Inquiry and Its Wicked Problems
5. Ignorance and Uncertainty

Part II: The Practice

6. Conducting an Imaginative Transdisciplinary Inquiry
7. Specialized Inquiry
7a 'Now I'm Not an Expert in Anything'
7b Global Inequalities in Research
7c Applying Specialized Knowledge
8. Community-based Inquiry
8a Inclusive Governance for Sustainability
8b Fences and Windows
8c Calculating Community Risk
9. Organisational Inquiry
9a Embedded Scales
9b Adaptiveness and Openness
9c Truth, Knowledge and Data
10. Individual-focused Inquiry
10a Making Their Way
10b White Skin, Black Masks
10c Exploring the Doctoral Interface
11. Holistic Inquiry
11a Designerly Ways of Knowing
11b Rethinking Change
11c All Knowledge Is Indigenous

Part III: The Future

12. Human Ecology and Open Transdisciplinary Inquiry
13. Can There Be a Community of Practice?