Town Planning Review

Sustainability in practice: situated learning and knowledge for the evolving eco-economy

Town Planning Review (2010), 81, (5), 541–562.

Abstract

This paper argues that there is a need to move beyond an abstract discussion of skills and universally applicable skills sets when considering the development of sustainable communities and, more specifically, the eco-economy. The analysis suggests that the current skills and knowledge debate needs to be more closely related to both the process of creating sustainable communities, and the everyday lives of people in place. Skills and knowledge cannot be un-problematically imported from elsewhere through formal education channels alone. The transfer of skills and knowledge is also more dependent on relational and spatially embedded 'learning by doing' and 'learning by seeing'. These provide important channels for developing meaning and personal value which cannot be easily separated from the actual involvement in a sustainability initiative. Equally important is the recognition of the heterogeneity within communities where sustainability is prioritised differently by different people. Policies to promote sustainable communities consequently need to acknowledge how skills are a product of social and spatial relations, and how these interconnect with the multiple, relational and embedded nature of the evolving eco-economy. Incorporating a 'situated learning' approach offers a creative way of reviewing the role of skills and knowledge for sustainable community on two counts. Not only does it acknowledge the role of the individual learner, it also recognises the importance of the dynamic social context in which learning takes place.

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TUKKER, A., HUUPES, G., GUINEA, J., HEIJUNGS, R., DE KONING, A., VAN OERS, L., SUH, S., GEERKEN, T., VAN HOLDERBEKE, M., JANSEN, B., and NIELSEN, P. (2006), Environmental Impact of Products (EIPRO): Analysis of the Life Cycle Environmental Impacts Related to the Final Consumption of the EU-25, Brussels, European Commission. Environmental Impact of Products (EIPRO): Analysis of the Life Cycle Environmental Impacts Related to the Final Consumption of the EU-25 Google Scholar

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AMIN, A. and THRIFT, N. (2007), 'Cultural economy and cities', Progress in Human Geography, 31, 143. Cultural economy and cities Progress in Human Geography 31 143 Google Scholar

BAILEY, N. (2005), 'The great skills debate: defining and delivering the skills required for community regeneration in England', Planning, Practice and Research, 20, 341–52. The great skills debate: defining and delivering the skills required for community regeneration in England Planning, Practice and Research 20 341 52 Google Scholar

BAKER, S. (2008), Sustainable Development, London, Routledge. Sustainable Development Google Scholar

BLAY-PALMER, A. and DONALD, B. (2006), 'The urban–creative food economy: producing food for the urban elite or social exclusion', Environment and Planning A, 38(10), 1901–920. The urban–creative food economy: producing food for the urban elite or social exclusion Environment and Planning A 38 1901 920 Google Scholar

BROWN, L. R. (2001), Eco-economy: Building an Economy for the Earth, London, Earthscan. Eco-economy: Building an Economy for the Earth Google Scholar

DCLG (DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT) (2005), Strong and prosperous communities: The Local Government White Paper, (Cm 6939), London, HMSO. Google Scholar

DCLG (DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT) (2008), Communities in control: Real People, Real Power, (Cm 7427), London, DCLG. Google Scholar

DEFRA (DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS) (2005), Securing the future: delivering UK sustainable development strategy, (Cm 6467), London, HMSO. Google Scholar

EGAN, SIR JOHN (2004), Skills for Sustainable Communities (The Egan Review), London, ODPM. Google Scholar

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HOLLOWAY, L. and HUBBARD, P. (2001), People and Place: The Extraordinary Geographies of Everyday Life, London, Prentice Hall. People and Place: The Extraordinary Geographies of Everyday Life Google Scholar

KITCHEN, L. and MARSDEN, T. K. (2009), 'Creating sustainable rural development through stimulating the eco-economy: beyond the eco-economic paradox', Sociologia Ruralis, 49(3), 273–95. Creating sustainable rural development through stimulating the eco-economy: beyond the eco-economic paradox Sociologia Ruralis 49 273 95 Google Scholar

LEITCH, A. (2006), Prosperity for all in the Global Economy – World Class Skills (The Leitch Review of Skills), Norwich, HMSO. Google Scholar

LYONS, M. (2007), Place-shaping: a shared ambition for the future of local government: Final Report, London, TSO. Google Scholar

MARSDEN, T. K (ed) (2008), Sustainable Communities: New Spaces for Planning, Participation and Engagement, London, Elsevier/Emerald. Sustainable Communities: New Spaces for Planning, Participation and Engagement Google Scholar

MASSEY, DOREEN (2005), For Space, London, Sage. For Space Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

NEIGHBOURHOOD RENEWAL UNIT (2002), The Learning Curve: developing skills and knowledge for neighbourhood renewal, London, ODPM. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

ODPM (OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER) (2003), Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future, London, HMSO. Google Scholar

ODPM (OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER) (2005a), Homes for All, London, TSO. Google Scholar

ODPM (OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER) (2005b), People, Places and Prosperity, London, TSO. Google Scholar

PEEL, D. (2005), 'Training citizens for a management role in regeneration', Planning, Practice and Research, 20, 443–57. Training citizens for a management role in regeneration Planning, Practice and Research 20 443 57 Google Scholar

ROBERTS, P. (2009), 'Making places: transforming skills through national action', Town and Country Planning, 78, 339–40. Making places: transforming skills through national action Town and Country Planning 78 339 40 Google Scholar

ROGERS, R. (1999), Towards an urban renaissance: final report of the Urban Task Force, London, DETR. Google Scholar

SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE (2006), Learning in Regeneration: Identifying and Meeting Learning Needs in Community Regeneration, Edinburgh, Scottish Executive, Scottish Centre for Regeneration, Communities Scotland. Google Scholar

SEU (SOCIAL EXCLUSION UNIT) (2000), National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal Report by Policy Action Team 16: Learning Lessons, London, Cabinet Office. Google Scholar

SEYFANG, G. and SMITH, A. (2007), 'Grassroots innovations for sustainable development: towards a new research and policy agenda', Environmental Politics, 16, 584–603. Grassroots innovations for sustainable development: towards a new research and policy agenda Environmental Politics 16 584 603 Google Scholar

SJOBLOM, S. (2009), 'Administrative short-termism – a non issue in environmental and regional governance', Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 11, 165–69. Administrative short-termism – a non issue in environmental and regional governance Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 11 165 69 Google Scholar

TOWN and COUNTRY PLANNING (2009), 'First eco-town sites get green light', Town and Country Planning, 78, 295–97. Google Scholar

TUKKER, A., HUUPES, G., GUINEA, J., HEIJUNGS, R., DE KONING, A., VAN OERS, L., SUH, S., GEERKEN, T., VAN HOLDERBEKE, M., JANSEN, B., and NIELSEN, P. (2006), Environmental Impact of Products (EIPRO): Analysis of the Life Cycle Environmental Impacts Related to the Final Consumption of the EU-25, Brussels, European Commission. Environmental Impact of Products (EIPRO): Analysis of the Life Cycle Environmental Impacts Related to the Final Consumption of the EU-25 Google Scholar

TUROK, I. and TAYLOR, P. (2006), 'A skills framework for regeneration and planning', Planning, Practice and Research, 21, 497–509. A skills framework for regeneration and planning Planning, Practice and Research 21 497 509 Google Scholar

VAN DER PLOEG, J. D. and MARSDEN, T. K. (eds) (2008), Unfolding Webs: The Dynamics of Regional Rural Development, The Netherlands, Van Gorcum. Unfolding Webs: The Dynamics of Regional Rural Development Google Scholar

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Details

Author details

Marsden, Terry

Franklin, Alex

Newton, Julie

Middleton, Jennie

Marsden, Terry

Franklin, Alex

Newton, Julie

Middleton, Jennie