Simple sustainability doughnut diagramAmong the many challenges facing today’s world are two critical concerns: (1) how to create a just and equitable society that affords everyone the opportunity to obtain a basic standard of living, and (2) how to develop an environmentally sustainable future that acknowledges our planet’s limited and threatened natural resources. These two goals are often understood to be at odds, and traditional economic and social models have largely failed to deliver sustainable solutions on both accounts.

The future of sustainable societies requires that we find ways to move forward in a collaborative, holistic way that views societal sustainability through the interaction of various systems – environmental, social, and economic. This approach requires institutions with interdisciplinary expertise, conceptual imagination, and local partnerships.

Shi infographic


We envision a world that meets the needs of all people within the means of the living planet.


The Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities strives to promote sustainable communities that are socially just and equitable, environmentally sound and resilient, and economically viable and inclusive across the Southeast through cultivating and connecting sustainability leaders, conducting and applying breakthrough sustainability research, and designing innovative ways to teach and learn about sustainability.