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Vanderbilt Law Review

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wicked problems theory, poverty, food insecurity, climate change, pollution


Environmental Law | Law


“Wicked problems.” It just says it all. Persistent social problems—poverty, food insecurity, climate change, drug addiction, pollution, and the list goes on—seem aptly condemned as wicked. But what makes them wicked, and what are we to do about them? The concept of wicked problems as something more than a generic description has its origins in the late 1960s. Professor Horst Rittel of the University of California, Berkeley, Architecture Department posed the term in a seminar to describe “that class of social system problems which are ill-formulated, where the information is confusing, where there are many clients and decision makers with conflicting values, and where the ramifications in the whole system are thoroughly confusing.”



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