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International Review of Education

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 373–392 | Cite as

How collaborative governance can facilitate quality learning for sustainability in cities: A comparative case study of Bristol, Kitakyushu and Tongyeong

  • Paul Ofei-Manu
  • Robert J. Didham
  • Won Jung Byun
  • Rebecca Phillips
  • Premakumara Jagath Dickella Gamaralalage
  • Sian Rees
Original Paper

Abstract

Quality learning for sustainability can have a transformative effect in terms of promoting empowerment, leadership and wise investments in individual and collective lives and regenerating the local economies of cities, making them more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. It can also help cities move towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Effecting the transformation of cities into Learning Cities, however, requires changes in the structure of governance. Drawing on interviews with key informants as well as secondary data, this article examines how collaborative governance has facilitated quality learning for sustainability in Bristol (United Kingdom), Kitakyushu (Japan) and Tongyeong (Republic of Korea). Focusing on a conceptual framework and practical application of learning initiatives, this comparative study reveals how these cities’ governance mechanisms and institutional structures supported initiatives premised on cooperative learning relationships. While recognising differences in the scope and depth of the learning initiatives and the need for further improvements, the authors found evidence of general support for the governance structures and mechanisms for learning in these cities. The authors conclude by recommending that (1) to implement the Learning Cities concept based on UNESCO’s Key Features of Learning Cities, recognition should be given to existing sustainability-related learning initiatives in cities; (2) collaborative governance of the Learning Cities concept at both local and international levels should be streamlined; and (3) UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities could serve as a hub for sharing education/learning resources and experiences for other international city-related programmes as an important contribution to the implementation of the SDGs.

Keywords

collaborative governance quality learning sustainability learning cities multi-stakeholder Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 

Résumé

Comment la gestion concertée peut faciliter un apprentissage de qualité en vue du développement durable dans les villes : étude de cas comparative à Bristol, Kitakyushu et Tongyeong – Un enseignement de qualité visant la viabilité peut avoir plusieurs effets transformateurs : stimulation de l’autonomisation, de l’esprit d’initiative et d’investissements judicieux dans la vie individuelle et collective, ainsi que relance de l’économie régionale des villes, qui favorise leur caractère inclusif, leur sécurité, leur résilience et leur pérennité. Cet enseignement peut en outre aider les villes à progresser vers l’atteinte des objectifs de développement durable (ODD) des Nations Unies. Réaliser la transformation des agglomérations en villes apprenantes exige néanmoins des changements au niveau de la structure de gouvernance. Au moyen d’entretiens menés avec des informateurs clés ainsi que de données secondaires, les auteurs de l’article examinent comment la gouvernance concertée facilite un apprentissage de qualité en vue de la pérennité dans les villes de Bristol (Royaume-Uni de Grande-Bretagne et d’Irlande du Nord), Kitakyushu (Japon) et Tongyeong (République de Corée). Fondée sur un cadre conceptuel et sur l’application pratique d’initiatives apprenantes, cette étude comparative démontre comment les mécanismes de gouvernance et structures institutionnelles de ces villes favorisent des initiatives reposant sur des relations d’apprentissage coopératif. Tout en relevant les différences en étendue et en portée de ces initiatives et le besoin d’améliorations supplémentaires, les auteurs constatent un soutien global aux structures de gouvernance et aux mécanismes d’apprentissage dans ces villes. Ils concluent par trois recommandations : 1) Pour réaliser le concept des villes apprenantes énoncé dans les Caractéristiques clés des villes apprenantes de l’UNESCO, il importe de valoriser les initiatives d’apprentissage liées à la pérennité existantes dans les villes. 2) La gouvernance concertée du concept de ville apprenante doit être rationalisée au niveau tant local qu’international. 3) Le Réseau mondial UNESCO des villes apprenantes pourrait servir à d’autres programmes urbains internationaux de plaque tournante dans le partage des ressources et des expériences en enseignement et apprentissage, ce qui représenterait une contribution décisive à la réalisation des ODD.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Ofei-Manu
    • 1
  • Robert J. Didham
    • 2
  • Won Jung Byun
    • 3
  • Rebecca Phillips
    • 5
  • Premakumara Jagath Dickella Gamaralalage
    • 1
  • Sian Rees
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)HayamaJapan
  2. 2.Center for Collaborative Learning for Sustainable Development, Faculty of Education and Natural Sciences (Campus Hamar)Inland Norway University of Applied SciencesHamarNorway
  3. 3.Sejahtera Forest RCE TongyeongTongyeongSouth Korea
  4. 4.Bristol Learning City, City HallBristol City CouncilBristolUK
  5. 5.Fluent StudiosLondonUK

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