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Chapter Seven: Our Legacy

The Sustainable Places Research Institute represented a meeting place for sustainability science and delivered innovative solutions for a more sustainable future. It demonstrated there are different approaches to research which can better reflect the complex demands of achieving sustainable development.

This report has been written at a critical time for global action on sustainability. The next few years are crucial to addressing the challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change in a way that is socially just and inclusive. The world needs academic researchers with the breadth and vision to support this work. The Institute has demonstrated the importance of viewing these challenges as deeply embedded in our current economic and social systems and shown how we can work across civil society to address the interconnected nature of the challenges, through the lens of place.

As a centre for excellence, our major contribution has been that of bringing together researchers from across academic boundaries and from across the globe. From students and early career researchers, to established world-leading academics, our Institute has been home to genuinely interdisciplinary and ethically-led place-based research. We wish them well in their future work.

If academia is to avoid failing the test of relevance for future generations, it must reflect on the limitations of its disciplinary siloes and engage more broadly and radically across society. In this way it may begin truly to embrace its wider social and environmental potential.