QLE.20.006 – Value driven transformation in rural areas

Route: Quality of the living environment

Cluster question: 030 How can we keep our densely populated country liveable?

How can we organize society in such a way that our planet remains habitable for us and all other life forms? A habitable world involves clean water, healthy food, sufficient energy, rich biodiversity, fresh air and a stable climate. But also: security, freedom, peace and the guarantee of long-term human health and well-being. With our growing world population, increasing prosperity, but also increasing levels of inequality, it will be a grand challenge to secure this. There are many examples where we see conflicting values leading to societal unrest e.g. the nitrogen and climate crisis. The Sustainable Development Goals agreed by the United Nations in 2015 put public values as the basis for a value-driven system approach for the transition to a sustainable world. This proposal focusses on a value-driven transformation towards sustainability, a system change by a combined bottom-up and top-down approach in our living environment (rural and urban areas). The local surrounding stimulates people to bring about behavioral change and thus put them at the center of their environment within global preconditions (e.g. climate agreement). On a local/regional level, within the SDGs, society can undertake and develop in a sustainable way by taking collective responsibility for the quality of public values. The regional issues may vary, but the approach and processes to facilitate the transition are similar, with public values translated into area-specific preconditions and finding solutions for conflicting values by following principles. These are based on cultural, historical, social, legal, technological, spatial physical and biodiversity/nature aspects of areas and on circularity, nature-based solutions, positive health and social and cultural aspects. We will develop and apply tools for participatory value-driven transformation approach for the nitrogen and climate conflicts between economic development, nature and environmental targets and social inequity in the rural areas.


behavioral and social drivers, Circularity, multifunctionality, novel governance arrangements, policy approaches, sustainable development goals, value driven transformation

Other organisations

Bewust Bodemgebruik, farmers, Land van Ons, landscape architects, municipalities, NGO's, Potential partners: interest has been shown by ministry of LNV, waterschappen


Organisation Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden University (LEI)
Name Prof. dr. J. W. (Jan Willem) Erisman
E-mail j.w.erisman@cml.leidenuniv.nl
Website https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/medewerkers/jan-willem-erisman#tab-1