Sustainability Policy Research: A Review and Synthesis

John H. Armstrong and Sheldon Kamieniecki


This paper reviews theoretical and empirical approaches drawn from influential journal articles and books on sustainability policy published over the last 10 years (2007 through 2017). Due to the widespread application of sustainability as a concept and space limitations, the paper more narrowly focuses on sustainability research in three critical policy areas: climate change, urban development, and agroecology and food systems. Drawing from information provided primarily by citation indexes, the study identifies and analyzes the research literature related to sustainability in these three fields. Future theoretical and empirical research approaches that can better integrate and connect the current diffuse and incongruent literature on sustainability are discussed in the paper. The findings of the literature review generate a number of possible future research directions that are discussed in the study.

KEY WORDS: sustainability policy, climate change, urban development, agroecology and food systems, environmental policy, environmental politics, multiple methods