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Title: Exploring transdisciplinarity in an ecosystem and human approach to low-cost housing provision, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Authors: Goebel, A.
Hill, T.
Fincham, R.
Lawhon, M.
Queen's University
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Date: 2008
Publisher: Queen's University, Kingston, ON, CA
Abstract: The ideals and assumptions associated with a transdisciplinary approach to environmental issues are investigated through the experience of a three-year research project in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa focused on low-cost housing. An ecosystem and human health perspective as advocated by IDRC was embraced as the framework for the project. Through this work, transdisciplinarity was conceptualised, not as a panacea to create an all-encompassing research approach, but as an attempt to move away from paradigm isolation and allow researchers to integrate and develop a synthesis from their separate contributions. The paper discusses aspects of transdisciplinarity including definitions, methodologies, team-building, paradigmatic rigidities, the negotiation of power in the production of knowledge with stakeholders and community partners, and institutional challenges. Trade-offs include loss of data resolution at times, but are offset by deeper understanding of the complexities and constraints of applied environmental and social research in contemporary South Africa.
Project Number: 102162
Project Title: Urban Ecosystems and Human Health in South Africa
Access: IDRC Only
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