Research Abstracts

Learning in a Changing World and Changing in a Learning World: Reflexively fumbling towards sustainability

Arjen E.J. Wals, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Wals asks the question: what have we learned in over 30 years? Are there any new insights in ‘our’ field? What kinds of innovations in ‘learning’ have entered ‘our’ field (regardless of whether you call this field environmental education (EE), education for sustainable development (ESD), education for sustainability (EfS), sustainability education (SE), learning for sustainability (LfS), or something else)? Are we learning at all in this changing world? This paper links the theme of ‘Learning in a
changing world’ to the idea of ‘Changing in a learning world’ to highlight the need for reflexive responsiveness and the creation of learning societies in moving towards a world that is more sustainable than the one currently in prospect.

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The Ecological Footprint of cities and regions: comparing resource availability with resource demand

Mathis Wackernagel, Centre for Sustainability Studies in Veracruz, Mexico; Global Footprint Network,USA
Justin Kitzes, Dan Moran, Steven Goldfinger and Mary Thomas Global Footprint Network, USA

Cities and regions depend on resources and ecological services from distant ecosystems. The well-being of city and region residents is affected by both the health and availability of these ecosystems, especially in today’s ecologically strained world. The management of a city or
region’s resource metabolism, including the natural capital that supports these flows, is becoming increasingly a central concern to cities and regions that want to succeed. Urban infrastructure is long-lasting and influences resource needs for decades to come: which cities are building future
resource traps, and which are opportunities for resourceefficient and more competitive lifestyles? Reliable measures comparing the supply of natural capital to human demand are indispensable for managing resource metabolism, as they help identify challenges, set targets, track progress
and drive policies for sustainability. This paper describes one such measurement tool: the Ecological Footprint. After explaining the assumptions behind the Footprint and describing some representative findings, it provides examples of how this resource accounting tool can assist
local governments in managing their ecological assets, and support their sustainability efforts.

Environment and Urbanization, Vol.18,No.1,103-112 (2006)

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The eco-city: ten key transport and planning dimensions
for sustainable city development

Jeffrey R Kenworthy, Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy, Murdoch University, Australia, 6150;

Making existing cities and new urban development more ecologically based and liveable is an urgent priority in the global push for sustainability. This paper discusses ten critical responses to this issue and summarizes them in a simple conceptual model that places the nexus between
transport and urban form at the heart of developing an eco-city. This involves compact, mixed use urban form, well-defined higher-density, human oriented centres, priority to the development of superior public transport systems and conditions for non motorized modes, with minimal road capacity increases, and protection of the city’s natural areas and food producing capacity. These
factors form the framework in which everything else is embedded and must operate, and if they are not addressed only marginal changes in urban sustainability can be made. Within this framework, environmental technologies need to be extensively applied. Economic growth needs to emphasize creativity and innovation and to strengthen the environmental, social and cultural amenities of the city. The public realm throughout the city needs to be of a high quality, and sustainable urban design principles need to be applied in all urban development. All these dimensions need to operate within two key processes involving visionoriented and reformist thinking and a strong, communityoriented, democratic sustainability framework for decision-making.

Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 18, No. 1, 67-85 (2006)

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