Livability and Sustainability Are They Contradictory ? A Social Organizational Perspective On Participatory Action Research Oriented Response


  • Tamar Zohar Harel David Yellin College of Education


participatory action research, organisational transformation, sustainability, liveability


Are the concepts: livability and sustainability contradictory? Can they coexist? Or even exist in collaboration? The associations between livability and sustainability are not clear. Their mutually exclusive or independent relationship to each other is often debated. (Bosch, 2009) The purpose of this paper is to make implicit notions about the links between livability and sustainability explicit. The emergence of such awareness is possible as evidenced by transformation of interpersonal interactions among those engaged in a conscious process of systemic knowledge acquisition through Action Research methods (McTaggart, 1990, McNiff, 1996, Argyris, 1999) for the purpose of responsible self management in daily living on multiple levels of social organizations: dyadic, family, community, workplace organization, etc. Such awareness can contribute to accountable behavior among those individuals and communities that learn how to implement and practice System oriented Action Research behavior as a life approach and skill set for daily living. The integration of system knowledge acquisition and Action Research methods in the service of sustainable livability development will be demonstrated through case examples of individual, family, homeless shelter, school and hospital organizations as learning organizations. All case examples involved a learning process that stemmed from different crisis etiologies. They are discussed in systemic conceptualizations that illustrate the connections between systemic thinking, livability and how sustainability notions (Gibson, 2005) and accountable practice emerged as an integral component of daily living practices on all levels of organizations. Both quantitative and qualitative data that demonstrate this developmental process and change from living to sustainable living will be presented. Argyris, C (1999) On organizational learning. Malden, MA: Blackwell Business. Bosch, O. (2009) Making liveable, sustainable systems unremarkable. ISSS Announcement McNiff, J., Lomax,P., Whitehead, J.(1996) You and Your Action Research Project. Routledge, London and New York, Hyde Publications. McTaggart, R. (1990) “Involving a whole staff in developing a maths curriculum” in P.Lomax (Ed.) Managing Staff Development in Schools: An Action Research Approach, Clevedon: Multi-Lingual Matters, 70-81. Gibson, RB., Hassan, S., Holtz, S., Tansey, J.,Whitelaw, G. (2005) Sustainability Assessment. Criteria and Processes. Earthscan. London, Sterling, VA

Author Biography

Tamar Zohar Harel, David Yellin College of Education

Teaching Faculty Learning Assessmnet Center, and Director of Center For Graduate Training and Treatment of Individuals, Children and Families.



How to Cite

Zohar Harel, T. (2010). Livability and Sustainability Are They Contradictory ? A Social Organizational Perspective On Participatory Action Research Oriented Response. Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2009, Brisbane, Australia, 1(1). Retrieved from