Sustainability Science

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 1001–1013 | Cite as

Governing time for sustainability: analyzing the temporal implications of sustainability governance

  • Basil BornemannEmail author
  • Holger Strassheim
Special Feature: Original Article The politics of making and un-making (sustainable) futures
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Feature: The politics of making and un-making (sustainable) futures


The idea of sustainability comes with numerous temporal ambitions and implications. It can be interpreted as a call to rethink and redesign the prevailing temporal orders of human–nature relationships in terms of governance. While there are multiple approaches to sustainability governance that implicitly or explicitly engage with time, the concrete links between time and sustainability-oriented governance remain largely unclear. The aim of this article is, therefore, to provide a more nuanced and critical picture of the temporal implications of sustainability governance. To this end, it reconstructs various exemplary approaches to sustainability governance from two analytical perspectives, namely governance of time and governance by time. On this basis, it is further argued that the interplay of different practices of sustainability-oriented governance creates different “timescapes of sustainability” with different normative and political implications. Proposals for future research and practice on the relationship between sustainability governance and time are derived from the analysis.


Time Governance Temporal governance Sustainability governance Sustainable development Timescapes of sustainability 



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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainability Research Group, Department of Social SciencesUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Faculty of Sociology, Science and PoliticsUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany

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