ENP-23806 Sustainability Transitions: Concepts, Issues and Indicators


Studiepunten 6.00

One day excursion8
Individual Paper3
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. BJM van Vliet
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. BJM van Vliet
dr. ir. GJH Bieleman
dr. ir. BG Temmink
dr. ir. CSA van Koppen
dr. ir. A ter Heijne
Examiner(s)dr. ir. BJM van Vliet
dr. ir. HVM Hamelers
dr. ir. GJH Bieleman

Language of instruction:



Knowledge of and capability to work with sustainability concepts, indicators and issues belong to the core competences to be obtained in the environmental sciences. Sustainability is a concept that can be linked to many domains in society. This course is tailored towards 2 of the major domains: water and energy systems. Energy and water systems are crucial for human subsistence and of major environmental relevance. This course deals with the major transformations (transitions) that are needed within water and energy systems to reach sustainability. The course entails concepts of sustainability and transitions, applied to water and energy production and consumption; presents indicators for the assessment of long term strategies towards sustainable water and energy systems and shows and discusses historical and present issues in energy and water management in the Netherlands.
In this course the concept transition is used as a whole of transformation processes in which sectors in society change in a fundamental way over one generation (25 years) or more. Apart from discussing future transitions in water and energy, special attention will also be given to the major changes Dutch water and energy systems have undergone in the past.
The course includes theoretical lectures on Sustainability and transition (management) and indicators for sustainability assessment, and thematic lectures from historical, technological and policy perspectives on past, present and future Water and Energy systems.
Apart from attending lectures, students will write individual essays on selected themes and participate in a full day excursion to water and energy works in the Netherlands.

Learning outcomes:

- students will be acquainted with the different concepts of sustainability;
- students will be acquainted with the dynamics of industrialized societies, particularly concerning the past and future transitions in water and energy sectors in the Netherlands;
- students are capable to evaluate existing and formulate their own long-term strategies towards 'sustainability' in water and energy-systems;
- students will be able to apply sustainability indicators to assessing long term, social and technical transformations in water and energy sectors;
- students will have enhanced their scientific writing skills by writing an essay on a chosen subject covered in the course.


The subject matter is elaborated and explained in classroom lectures, tutorials and a field trip. Guest lectures from water and energy sectors discuss what sustainability means in their professional life. Students have to write an essay on a self-chosen subject in connection with the lecture programme.


The final mark for this course will be assembled from the score for the written exam (50%) and the score for the essay (50%), provided that both are 5.5 or higher.


A course outline will be available.

Verplicht voor: BESEnvironmental SciencesBSc2MO
Keuze voor: WUCLCBSc Minor Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Society2MO
WUUEMBSc Minor Urban Environmental Management2MO