New open access paper! Decentralising geographies of political action: civic tech and place-based municipalism by Omer Husain

Omer Husain is a research fellow at the Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University. He was appointed at the MSCAction INT SUSPLACE research project Place-based policies and pathways from April 1, 2016, till March 31, 2019. Abstract This article introduces the concept of ‘place-based civic tech’ — citizen engagement technology codesigned by local government, civil society and global volunteers. It investigates to what extent creating such a digital space for autonomous self-organization allows for the emergence of a parallel, self-determining and more place-based geography of politics and political action. It finds that combining online tools with offline collaborative practices presents a unique opportunity for decentralization of power and decision-making in a manner which both politically motivates civil society and begins to update the infrastructure of democracy. The discussion is supported by a combination…

Once Upon the Future: Everyday Adventures that Change the World

Can you produce a children’s book as part of an academic research project? Yes, you can! With great enthusiasm and dedication, a team of six SUSPLACE fellows (Anastasia, Alessandro, Angela, Kelli, Lorena and Marta) has been engaged in the writing of children’s stories inspired by their research projects. After more than a year of work, they are happy to announce that they are almost done! Preliminary title of the book: Once Upon the Future: Everyday Adventures that Change the World.

New open access paper! Regenerative city-regions: a new conceptual framework

The city-regional scale is increasingly being considered the most suitable level for planning and development, yet city-regions have often been established for purely economic reasons in the UK. This paper argues that city-regions are not mere socioeconomic units through which competitiveness can be achieved, but also rich, socioecological spaces. Although the progressive regionalist literature has taken significant steps in this direction, concerns remain that critical contemporary issues such as environmental sustainability, cultural viability, social exclusion or political (dis)empowerment have not been addressed in a holistic way. We attempt to advance the debate and overcome some of the shortcomings by connecting progressive regionalism with two other literature strands: collaborative governance and regenerative development. Based on the synergies found, we design a conceptual framework that can be used to study, understand and improve policy processes and practice, paving pathways towards regenerative city-regions.

Publication: Experiential approaches to sustainability education-towards learning landscapes

In the recent publication Malin Backman et al. critically reflect the current specialist discourse on experiential approaches to higher education for sustainable development (HESD). Limitations to the current discourse are identified, and as a result, an alternative, learning landscape approach to the study of experiential education (EE) within HESD is suggested. Malin Backman was appointed as a fellow at the SUSPLACE research project Connected Learning Spaces from April 2016 till June 2018.

Co-designing Sustainability Learning with University Students and Community Gardens

On an unseasonably warm February afternoon – warm enough to sit outside with no coat on and with a chorus of birds overhead – seven university students and ten community gardeners gathered in a tranquil community garden on the outskirts of Cardiff, Wales. They met for the 2nd Tyfu i Ddsygu (or Growing to Learn) workshop, with the aim to collectively developing a series of hands-on learning projects.

RE.TREAT Cornwall: How to live when sea levels rise?

A summer camp where families pretend to be climate refugees? An arts-based experiential learning experiment? A delightful and intellectually stimulating weekend in the highlands of Cornwall, full of laughter and joy?

In July 2018, seven families took part in an experimental 4-day ‘retreat’ in Cornwall, UK. The aim of this creative residency was to imagine and design how to live when sea levels rise. SUSPLACE fellow Kelli Rose Pearson and SUSPLACE project coordinator Anke de Vrieze attended RE.TREAT Cornwall as participant observers. The story starts with a full lunar eclipse, a neolithic cairn, and an unexpected storm. It ends with the Boatbarrow – an amphibious mobile art gallery.

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