SUSPLACE website launched – Exploring the potential of place-shaping practices for sustainable development

The SUSPLACE consortium bids you a hearty welcome to our newly launched website http://www.sustainableplaceshaping.net. SUSPLACE is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission that explores the full potential of place-shaping practices for sustainable development. SUSPLACE officially kicked-off on October 1, 2015 in Wageningen, The Netherlands and will last till September 30, 2019. The overall aim of the project…

via SUSPLACE – Exploring the potential of place-shaping practices for sustainable development — SUSPLACE

SUSPLACE Programme vacancies: 15 Early Stage Research positions at six universities

marie curie actionsSUSPLACE is a Marie Curie Actions Initial Training Network funded by the European Commission that will kick-off October 1, 2015. SUSPLACE aims to train 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR) in innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to study sustainable place-shaping practices. These 15 ESR positions at six universities are now open for application till midnight October 7, 2015 (opening has been extended). See the list of the 15 individual research projects and host universities below.

The SUSPLACE approach will provide insight into how to utilize the full potential of places and communities for development and help to build capacities of people to engage in place-shaping processes and thus strengthen connectivity between policy-makers, academics, businesses and civil society.

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VALUES IN PLACE – MSc Thesis opportunity on the role of values in sustainable places

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

Origin Food: a market for identity – course starts again March 12

The course Origin Food: a market for identity will start again on Monday, March 12. The course is obligatory in the specialization Gastronomy of the Master Food Technology, but open to students from other masters as well. Last two years students from various masters and nationalities and an interest in food products with a Geographical Indication attended the course: next to Food Technology students from Animal Sciences, Management, Economy and Consumer Studies, Development and Rural Innovation, Nutrition and Health, Organic Agriculture, International Development Studies and a student from Geo-information Sciences completed the course. The interaction between students from different disciplines and nationalities in group assignments and plenary discussions contributes to mutual learning and is highly appreciated by the students. The gastronomic excursion is however seen as the highlight of the course, as Jidi Xu made clear with her video clip of the field trip to the Rhederoord Estate. Continue reading

Planning sustainable food systems

Planners are discovering food. Until recently, planners left food to the market. But times are changing and so are attitudes towards planning for food. This was the general notion during the first European Sustainable Food Planning conference, held last friday and saturday in Almere (see blog for program).

There is less timidity to interfere with what until recently was seen as the private sphere of consumer choice. Neoliberalism has lost its credibility and the myth of consumer choice is weakening. Food becomes part of the urban public agenda again. Jerry Kaufman, professor emeritus in Urban and Regional Planning at University of Wisconsin showed how food slowly gained the interest of the US planning community over the last ten years with many young people interested nowadays.

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Food is back in the public realm for two reasons. First the recognition that access to healthy food is a citizen right. People with low income eat less well, pay more and have less access to healthy foods. Planners have a task in changing obesogenic environments. We were reminded that the first health policies 150 years ago started with food.

And second, food is related to a large number of domains which all are facing food related problems. Transport congestion through consumer shopping and supply delivery; health and well being of a rapidly increasing obesogenic population; environmental problems related to food miles, food scares and pollution of industrial agriculture and so on.

The sustainability agenda which is now penetrating to all sectors of the economy demands a holistic view. We saw examples of how city departments can not work in isolation to this problem in a meaningful way. We need cross-department and cross-disciplinary working to bring planning, health, transport, supply, production and consumption knowledge together. “We spent 20 years defining sustainability, we now can design it”.

 

 

DERREG-website is online

The website of the EU-funded research project DERREG (see blog of January 22) is now online: www.derreg.eu. Basic information about the project is now available and further information will be published as the project proceeds.