Ecological issues are complex. In order to be able to address them, there is an urgent need for new knowledge. This knowledge cannot be generated within the current disciplines. It requires trans-disciplinary cooperation. Trans-disciplinarity connects the existing disciplines to emerging fields (in which Pro-Ams operate) that could be considered ‘un-disciplinary’.
Trans-disciplinarity is described in ‘METHODOLOGY OF TRANSDISCIPLINARITY’ (Nicolescu,1994). He stated that trans-disciplinarity is not the opposite of inter- or multidisciplinary but rather ‘a fertile complementarity’. (Nicolescu, 1994, p.5) He sees trans-disciplinarity as an approach “beyond all discipline”. In order to understand trans-disciplinarity as a research approach, he stated that it is important to first define the ‘boundaries between disciplines’ and ’beyond’, and second, what defines ‘beyond’. First, “the boundaries are like the separation between galaxies, solar systems, stars, and planets.” Boundaries between disciplines are in ‘fluctuation’ and do not have solid edges. They change due to time and movement. Trans-disciplinarity “crosses the boundaries where we meet the interplanetary and intergalactic vacuum. This vacuum is far from being empty: it is full of invisible substance… and without this vacuum there is no universe.” (Nicolescu, 1994, p.6) He considered trans-disciplinary cooperation as having the ‘goal to understand the present world’. (Nicolescu,1994, p.3) This is relevant in the context of this thesis, as it describes the way in which people cooperate in a City Lab, with the fluid boundaries between professional and the Pro-Am context with the city as the canvas of reality, the present world. The definition of trans-disciplinarity by Nicolescu as he uses the narrative of the galaxy is an inspiration for the educational project GO TO THE MOON AND BACK (see Chapter 4).