1. The human condition and evolving societies

Building sustainable communities requires a nuanced understanding of the people who create them. There are variations between and within communities that provide a sociocultural basis that defines the issues with respect to cultural expression, heritage, current concerns, cross-generational and cross-cultural communication and relationships, norms and values, acceptable practices and goals, and visions of the future. Carleton has many programs of research that involve an understanding of people and how they relate to one another that are relevant to our efforts to build sustainable communities.

Relevant areas include:

  • Health and well-being
  • Mind and brain
  • Human development across the lifespan
  • Language and culture
  • Diversity
  • Indigenous communities and knowledge
  • Gender
  • Religion and public life
  • Law and social justice
  • Social innovation
  • Ethics, human rights, social equality
  • Migration and diaspora studies
  • Citizenship and social integration
  • Peace and security
  • Heritage, memory, and identity
  • Cultural vitality
  • Cultural production and preservation
  • Communication within and across communities and across generations

2. The changing environment

Sustainable communities are wholly dependent on the health of the planet. This includes the natural and physical environments in which we work and live, along with how we interact with and interpret these spaces. How we develop and protect our resources, and how we change the conditions of the planet, can have short and very long-term implications for generations to come.

Relevant areas include:

  • Environment and ecosystems: conservation and protection
  • Environmental pollutants and toxicology
  • Sustainable architecture and green building design
  • Heritage conservation
  • Cultural connotations of space
  • Water and food safety and security
  • Public health engineering
  • Infrastructure protection and security
  • Transnational migration, border security, and sovereignty
  • Sustainable energy
  • Resource development
  • Globalization
  • Climate adaptation
  • The North

3. Foundational sciences and technological innovation

Existing and emerging technologies are increasingly altering our capacity as individuals and as a society. They have already altered how we are related to one another, shifted the boundaries between work and home, influenced mortality and provided opportunities for independent living. The relationship between humans and our environment is changing fundamentally as technologies evolve. Their implications for the future, and our capacity to maximize how technology can be used to build a thriving society, are pivotal to any comprehensive approach to building a sustainable future.

The foundational areas listed below are critical for initiatives driving social and economic impacts in Canada. These are the building blocks for a number of Carleton’s strategic multi-disciplinary research programs, e.g. Aerospace,  research in the North and Data Sciences. Our ICT, autonomous and connected vehicles and aerospace initiatives, in particular, have a rich history of building on ALL of the foundational sciences listed, and indeed, also draw from the other three Dimensions of Research.

  • Information technology
  • Data analytics and textual analysis
  • Cloud computing and the internet of things
  • User-centred design and cybersecurity
  • Communication and information systems
  • Communications-enabled applications
  • Digital humanities and interactive technologies
  • Social media
  • Virtual environments
  • Geographic information processing
  • Remote sensors and applications
  • Robotics
  • Advanced materials
  • Bio and nanotechnologies
  • Assistive and biomedical technologies
  • Particle and medical physics

4. Policy, governance, and economic activity

Policy is a broad tool that encompasses issues of accountability and governance and is critical for providing a framework for how people connect to one another, how responsibility and accountability for action is assigned, and for enabling action. Policy in this context is the articulation of how people need to govern themselves, how they are expected to interact with one another in a functional society, and how they interact with the environment in which they live in order to secure a sustainable future. Carleton’s emphasis on policy is increasingly cross-sectoral, focusing on the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Relevant areas include:

  • Responsible investing and social finance
  • Regulatory governance and accountability
  • Social policy
  • Ethics, governance, and public justification
  • Transnational governance
  • International relations and democracy building
  • Intelligence, security, and defense
  • Municipal-provincial-federal relations
  • Philanthropic and non-profit leadership
  • Organizational and management relations
  • Supply chain ecosystems
  • Practices of commerce
  • Economic development
  • Entrepreneurism
  • Poverty alleviation and wealth creation
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Information management
  • Technology management