Special Issue "Integral Approaches to Sustainable Design Research and Practice"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Mark DeKay
Guest Editor
School of Architecture, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
Interests: integral sustainable design; design knowledge structures, design tools; architectural photography; sustainable design narratives; nature experience via buildings; bioclimatic design; climate change; carbon-consuming buildings
Prof. Robert Fleming
Guest Editor
Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Interests: sustainable design; architecture, net-zero buildings; sustainable design process; multiscalar thinking; integral sustainable design; transdisciplinary research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Integral approaches attempt to make sense of any topic from as many perspectives as possible, with the attitude that each is correct but partial. Integral Sustainable Design is a powerful and transformative framework that helps organize thinking, research, and design to achieve high levels of performance, ecologically integrated solutions, culturally connected initiatives, and green design aesthetics. This special issue features articles that define broad approaches to research using multiple perspectives with clear methods. These may include the use of Integral Sustainable Design, Integral Theory or other mixed methods and multi-perspective approaches. From an integral perspective, the modes of research and scholarship can originate from any combination of grounded directions used in the arts, humanities, or sciences - ideally in combination, so that the subject is more fully understood. Articles may also address topics from a multiscalar approach that cuts across scales. Finally, integral approaches typically recognize that each knowledge domain can be understood as exhibiting development in complexity, which can be spatial, psychological, cognitive, cultural, etc. Therefore we invite research that addresses a range of stages or levels of complexity—such as traditional, modern and postmodern worldviews on a subject— to provide the broadest possible spectrum of thinking about built environment sustainability. Articles selected for this special issue will be peer-reviewed with the aim of encouraging a broad level of open and diverse thinking, thereby fostering a deep level of authentic transdisciplinary research and design.

For more information about Integral Sustainable Design, see:

  1. Dekay, M. Integral Sustainable Design: transformative perspectives, Earthscan: London, UK, 2011.

Other integrally related publications by Mark DeKay here.

  1. Fleming, R. Design Education for a Sustainable Future, Earthscan: London, UK, 2013.
  2. Fleming, R.; Saglinda, H.R. Sustainable Design for the Built Environment, Routledge: New York, NY, USA, 2019.

For more information about integral theory, see:

  1. What is Integral Theory? 4th Integral European Conference, Lake Balaton, Hungary, 26–30 May 2020. Available online: https://integraleuropeanconference.com/integral-theory/ (accessed on 24 December 2019)

Integral Review journal

  1. Esbjörn-Hargens, S.; Michael Z. Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World, 2019. Available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13668790903195776 (accessed on 24 December 2019)

Prof. Mark DeKay
Prof. Robert Fleming
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Design process
  • Design education
  • Sustainable design
  • Integral theory
  • Mixed methods
  • Integral methodological pluralism
  • Green design aesthetics
  • Human inhabitation and experience
  • Biophilic design
  • Lines of development
  • Levels and stages of complexity
  • Types and typologies
  • Cultural meaning of ‘design with nature’
  • Building ecology
  • Environmental justice
  • Landscape urbanism
  • Performative design
  • Climate change avoidance or mitigation
  • Multi-scalar approaches
  • Design representation

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Back to TopTop