The desire to create places which offer high quality of life and contribute to national and global sustainable development principles has emerged over the last few decades as a focus for government policy and community action. Drawing on inter-disciplinary research conducted across UK universities and with community-based groups, this book offers insights into how local initiatives can enhance sustainable development and engage people in creating better places in which to live. It illustrates imaginative, practical and accessible ways in which communities and built-environment professionals are working and learning together towards a more sustainable future. It shows how such learning can result in more inclusive and desirable places to live, both for the residents of today and for future generations. Drawing on the experiences of nine locally based examples from across the UK, it brings together elements of debates as diverse as sustainable development, education, community coherence and conflict resolution, planning and environmental management.
The book will be of value to all those who have a stake in the formation of communities, whether in professions such as architecture, urban design, planning or geography or who are involved through community and local organisations; it will contribute to the narrowing of the perceived sustainable communities 'skills gap'. The focus throughout is on the motivational aspects of learning and the different and often highly imaginative approaches which can be adopted to enable partnerships to work effectively. Topics include how groups, including young people and communities that are viewed as divided, can be engaged effectively through practices such as community planning and environmental volunteering as well as more innovative projects.
Key themes that emerge are the need for a new 'transformational' leadership style where enabling people to be responsible for their own development and effectiveness is the key, and also for a new attitude towards skills so that these are no longer expected to be embodied within a single 'gatekeeper' but collectively within a team.
If successive governments continue to devolve ever greater responsibility onto local communities, then the skills and learning to support them in deriving practical visions of a sustainable future will be crucial.
Robert Rogerson is Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Strathclyde where he leads research on communities and sustainability.
Sue Sadler is a Researcher in rural and sustainable development at the University of Strathclyde and an independent evaluation consultant.
Anne Green is Professorial Fellow at the Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick. She is also a member of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills Expert Panel.
Cecilia Wong is Professor of Spatial Planning and Director of the Centre for Urban Policy Studies at the University of Manchester.
ISBN 978-1-907396-13-7; June 2011; Paperback; 224pp