By: Iris Bekius, MSc Leisure, Tourism and Environment.
Below a summary of my MSc thesis: Learning in Local Collaboration; A reflexive case study in Groningen, Northern Netherlands.
At the moment, the Dutch government is in a process of deregulation, commonly referred to as participation society. Throughout the country municipalities translate policies in line with this political goal, among which my hometown Groningen. For the municipality of Groningen deregulation includes calling on citizens to come up with ideas for neighbourhood initiatives, which will then be evaluated by civil servants on their potential to succeed.
One initiative that is supported by the municipality is Pad2Wijken (Path2Neighborhoods), initiated by a committee in the neighbourhood Helpman to secure a green zone: a 10 kilometre long ecological edible green walking path through the neighbourhoods Helpman and De Wijert. Since the opening of the path in May 2014 groups of residents, schools and organisations in the neighbourhoods can adopt green plots along the path. On their plot they can create a flower meadow, orchard, vegetable garden, insect hotel, or anything else green and sustainable. Continue reading
Is culture truly a ‘fourth’ pillar of sustainability alongside ecology, society and economy? Or is it more central, more fundamental, more essential? How does culture act as a catalyst for ecological sustainability, human well-being and economic viability? What would our futures look like if sustainability was embedded within culture in all of its multiple dimensions, including different worldviews and values, ways of life, and other forms of cultural expression? A cultural transition that embeds sustainability in the cultural understandings and daily practices of society has the power to shift humanity’s currently unsustainable trajectory.
Culture plays many roles in (un)sustainability, but the scientific, policy-making and societal spheres have lacked understanding of the essence of culture in sustainability. During a four-year period (2011-2015) European research network Investigating Cultural Sustainability (www.culturalsustainability.eu) has sought out state of the art and radical research across Europe and beyond. The network has highlighted this research in order to provide researchers and policymakers with instruments for integrating culture as a key element of sustainable development.
The main results of the work are:
• A final report: “Culture in, for and as Sustainable Development” summarizing the conclusions of the work and introducing three roles of culture in sustainable development: www.culturalsustainability.eu/outputs/conclusions.pdf
• a new book series, Routledge Studies in Culture and Sustainability and its first three volumes draw directly from the Action’s work, focusing on culture and sustainability in European cities, heritage and regional development: http://www.routledgementalhealth.com/books/series/RSCSD/
• an international transdisciplinary conference Culture(s) in Sustainable Futures: theories, policies, practices in Helsinki 6-8 May, 2015 at which the results of the Action were discussed by almost 300 scholars and practitioners. On the website you can find an overview of the sessions and streamed registrations of the plenary sessions, student’ reflections, the list of abstracts and the list of participants: http://www.culturalsustainability.eu/helsinki2015/programme. Lummina Horlings of the RSO group organised a session on Values in Place and gave a presentation during the plenary session on Culture in Sustainable Futures (starting at minute 36): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jItM_Hd_SAg&feature=youtu.be
Altogether 100 researchers from 25 countries within the EU with additional participants from Israel, Albania, New Zealand, and Australia contributed to the work in different ways. The network incorporated a wide variety of disciplines and fields of research, ranging from cultural, humanistic and social sciences, through political and natural sciences, to planning. The profiles and research interests of the members are introduced in the publication, Investigating Cultural Sustainability: Experts and Multidisciplinary Approaches: www.culturalsustainability.eu. The work was co-ordinated by the University of Jyväskylä and supported by the European COST Association (Cooperation in Science and Technology), which is funded within the European Commission’s research programme Horizon 2020.
Downtown Teaching Farm in Boise, Idaho. Photo credit: The Downtown Teaching Farm.
School gardens are sprouting up everywhere these days, yet little is known about how they can be used as a teaching tool here in the Netherlands. School gardens are common in elementary schools, yet rare in secondary schools.
For her MSc-thesis Exploring how school gardens are integrated into secondary schools, Blair van Pelt has looked at 9 examples in the United States and the Netherlands where a garden or greenhouse is successfully being used as a teaching tool in secondary education. These examples were examined along practical, structural and ideological lines of questioning. What emerged from the cases is that school gardens can be used to teach, both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.
Inside the greenhouse, Sage School in Hailey (Idaho)
Secondary school gardens facilitate learning in a community of practice and are a microcosm of civic ecology. In addition to being a fun way to teach science and other subjects, they give students an opportunity to participate in, and contribute to their communities in a result-oriented and hands-on manner that connects both local and global social and ecological issues.
Agriculture school garden in Apeldoorn (NL)
Additionally, it emerged that the needs, goals, opportunities and challenges of a secondary school garden are different and evolve depending on which stage of development the school garden is in; from which, a new theory sprouted.
The MSc-thesis provides an in-depth look into the nine examples of successful school gardens in secondary education and provides recommendations that are meant to provide guidance and serve as an inspiration for aspiring schools and policy makers.
For more information contact Blair van Pelt: firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2014 the International Social Science Council launched a call for pre-proposals to apply for a ‘seed grant’ on the topic Transformations to Sustainability. Wageningen UR (Ina Horlings from RSO and Paul Hebinck from SDC), the Rhodes University and the University of Viçosa wrote a proposal together and received funding. The seed grant was used to build a knowledge network around this topic, locally in sites in the Eastern Cape in South Africa, the Minais Gerais in Brazil and in three different sites in the Netherlands. Furthermore the research partners met in South Africa in December 2014 to visit some sites and write a full proposal together. In the beginning of 2015 the organisation ILEIA, centre for learning on sustainable agriculture, joined the research consortium and in April 2015 a final proposal was submitted.
TRANSPLACE addresses concrete problems and sustainability issues across several linked areas of global environmental change in 9 specific social-ecological settings in South-Africa, Brazil and the Netherlands. Sustainability problems emerge from complex interactions between people’s livelihoods, the persistent poverty in the southern countries, growing inequalities between people, social discontent and health.
The integrative sustainability challenge is to support sustainable place-shaping as an empowering force of transformation – encompassing people, practices and policies – contributing to new forms of connectivity and co-creation between people and place. This occurs via, and helps us to understand, re-localization, transformative agency and the re-embedding of daily lived practices in social-ecological systems and place-based assets. This is considered as an empowering perspective and an effective starting point for sustainable place-based development.The central question is: How does place-shaping – understood as processes of connectivity- lead to new seeds of change contributing to transformation to sustainability?
TRANSPLACE aims to:
- address the temporal, historical, spatial, value-led and multi-scale aspects of sustainability in places and to connect people to place (landscape, nature, soil, people’s capacities) by identifying, supporting and replanting ‘seeds of change’ (innovative practices)
- establish (long-term) knowledge networks on different scales, facilitate transnational research collaboration and social learning and support early career scientists.
- co-create new knowledge, tools and policy-recommendations on processes of place-shaping as innovative transformative pathways to sustainability.
For more information, send a mail to: email@example.com
Students interested in doing a thesis on this topic can contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Societal change toward sustainability is accelerated not only by political systems or practical actions, but also by values which influence our attitudes and actions. The latter point has been termed as change ‘from the inside-out’ or the ‘interior’ subjective dimension of sustainability. However, not clear is what values exactly are and how they play a role in places. Therefore I have drafted an article on this topic now published in Regional Studies, Regional Science (open access): Values in place; A value-oriented approach toward sustainable place-shaping.
The aim of this paper is to understand how specifically processes of sustainable place-shaping are influenced by human values, rooted in culture. The argument is that practices of place-shaping can contribute to sustainable development of communities and regions using local resources, people’s capacities and the distinctiveness of places. The development and engagement of participant’s values in places can build co-creative capacity, contributing to change. The challenge of incorporating ‘values in place’ is to create a dialogue between actors, not based on personal interests, but on common agreed-upon motivational and symbolic values, directed to the common good.
The concept of value is often discussed in the context of economic value, expressed in monetary terms. However, values also reflect people’s core principles and motivations rooted in broader cultural value systems and worldviews. Furthermore they reflect how people value and appreciate their place, and subscribe symbolic meanings to places. Values hinder or foster the fulfilling of what people consider as worthwhile. In the paper different value-oriented approaches in the context of sustainable place-shaping are explored, an economic, intentional and symbolic dimension. Values are not self-standing concepts which can be mapped or analysed as atomized issues, but they are intertwined, context-determined, culturally varied and connected to how we see our self and how we perceive our environment and place. Values such as freedom, solidarity and justice only gain meaning in actual people and practices and can be considered as dynamic in space, place and time. A value-oriented approach can provide a more in-depth insight into what people appreciate, feel responsible for and are willing to commit to in the context of their place.
For more information see the abstract and full article: L.G. Horlings (2015) Values in place; A value-oriented approach toward sustainable place-shaping. Regional Studies, Regional Science, Volume 2, Issue 1, pages 256-273, open access, DOI:10.1080/21681376.2015.1016097.
A Global Sense of Place (RSO-55306) is an optional interdisciplinary course on sustainable place-based development for students from various master programmes (e.g. MDR, MES, MID, MLP, MUE, MOA, MFN). The course builds on the BSc course RSO-56806 Sociology and Anthropology of Place-shaping providing an introduction to place-based approaches in development. Knowledge of this introductory course is an advantage, but is not assumed.
The course aims to make students acquainted with an interdisciplinary and place-based approach to development. A relational place-based approach is seen as key to the understanding of interrelated rural and urban transformation processes and ergo sustainable development.
By means of this course students will achieve profound understanding in key-concepts and methods on place-based sustainable development. Work from key thinkers in sustainable place-making will be critically discussed and examined on the basis of various cases. Guest speakers are invited to reflect on place-based approaches to sustainable development and illustrate these through case studies. Ultimately students will acquire a place-based perspective on development.
Different interdisciplinary themes will be addressed such as:
• a relational approach of place and space;
• key thinkers on place and space and politics of place;
• community development
• cultural approaches of place-based development
• ‘the human dimension’, encompassing collaboration and leadership
• ‘defence’ of places and conflicts
If you are interested or want to register for this course, please send a mail before October 4th to email@example.com
1 daagse workshop op vrijdag 26 september.
Hoe kun je makkelijker creëren?
Voor werk, studie en privé.
Simpele methode, veel effect
Deze dag is interessant voor mensen die iets in hun leven willen veranderen, in huis, tuin of keuken, op het werk of in relaties. Je krijgt nieuwe energie en flow om je plan verder te brengen! Je werkt individueel of in duo’s.
Waar: Haagsteeg 4, Wageningen
Tijd: van 9.30 tot 16.30 uur, max. 12 deelnemers
Investering: € 96 ( excl Btw) studenten en minima € 48 (excl Btw)
Wanneer je deze datum niet kunt, er worden meer workshops georganiseerd. Meer info of aanmelden: firstname.lastname@example.org of email@example.com
The province of North-Brabant is organising two events in September and October and is looking for student who want to take part in the preparation and participate in various activities, such as sessions with young students on ‘learn to cooperate’.
This in the context “Learning about cooperation” in the European Social Innovation Week ESIW.nl) in Tilburg from 15 till 19 september 2014 and the Dutch Design Week (DDW.nl) – from 18 till 26 oktober 2014.
In a creative process concepts will be developed so that participants in both events experience cooperation. Input will be provided on themes such as trust, connectivity and translation in the context of the topsectors (such as AGRO).
Students of various disciplines can contact the organiser and do these activities in combination with other activities such as a secondment or master thesis. Follow-up activities are also possible. This can offer graduated students experience, as a step towards employment.
Interested students should directly contact: Ernest van Hezik
Advisor TGLE. Tel.: 06-53296993
At the rural Sociology Group we would like to do research on values, place and sustainability. Therefore we are looking for students who are interested in doing a MSc Thesis.
Place based approaches to sustainable development are increasingly favoured, assuming that place specificities really matter in the form of social, cultural and institutional characteristics. People shape places which is expressed in practices, relations, rules, symbols and place-identities. A central question is how human values play a role in place-shaping – aimed at sustainable development – and how to analyze and map values.
Values are not self-standing concepts which can be analysed as atomized issues, but intertwined, context determined, culturally varied and linked to how we see our self and how we perceive our environment. A value-driven perspective on sustainable place-shaping benefits dialogues based on people’s values and beliefs, and aims to provide a more in-depth insight in what people consider as worthwhile, feel responsible for and are willing to commit to in the context of their own place. This is relevant as we can see a trend towards forms of self-organisation, the ‘do-democracy’ and the participative society where people (are expected to) take responsibility for their own environment.
Our goal is to analyse how values are expressed in places, distinguishing between the following dimensions:
• The economic dimension: adding value to places;
• The intentional dimension: why people contribute to sustainable change in places
• The symbolic dimension: how people appreciate place and attach meanings to place
• The integral dimension: how cultural worldviews and levels of human behaviour play a role in place-shaping.
Does this make you curious and/or do you have an interest in this research theme, please contact Ina Horlings at: Lummina.Horlings@wur.nl
The course sustainability leadership: new concepts and practices PAP-52806 will start in Period 1. If you are interested, please register soon.
Profile of the course
The governance of sustainability issues in their environmental, social and economic dimensions requires leadership that goes beyond many of the leadership models and practices. Potentially relevant forms of leadership include collaborative, visionary, complexity, adaptive, value-based or eco-leadership. Yet these emerging leadership concepts are elusive just as the concept of sustainability. This course approaches this challenging field by asking some key questions: How does sustainability leadership differ from other types of leadership? How can the contribution of actors (individual and collective) as sustainability leaders be analysed and evaluated? Who are the most successful sustainability leaders and what makes them effective?
1) Traditional (hierarchical, positional) versus new (emergent) forms of leadership
2) Leadership to achieve what? Sustainability and sustainability related goals
3) Different types of leaders (individual v.s collective, private vs. public etc)
4) Leadership at different scales and governance levels: from local networks to global negotiations
5) The means of leadership: knowledge, values, power and legitimacy
6) Evaluating successful leadership: functional and ethical dimensions
The course consists of a mixture of lectures, tutorials and individual feedback sessions with students. The students grade will be based on tutorial assignments, an exam paper and the presentation of this paper.
This is a master course, open for students in different disciplines. Courses in social science are a helpful background but not obligatory. Students with no social science background can receive extra support in the form of individual feedback on their exam paper.
If you need more information, please contact the lecturers: S.Karlsson-Vinkhuysen or L.G.Horlings.