Sustainable Communities: University-Community Partnership Research on Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development

  • Carolyn KaganEmail author
  • Rebecca Lawthom
  • Ornette Clennon
  • Jenny Fisher
  • John Diamond
  • Katy Goldstraw
Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)


The aim of this paper is to examine the role that university research can play in sustainable development at the level of community. The methodological approach is action research undertaken in collaboration with voluntary and community organisations, addressing their needs and including high levels of participation. An outline of the nature of sustainable communities and engaged university research, is followed by case examples of five collaborative research projects, each generating different types of qualitative data, which inform sustainable development of communities in diverse ways. The studies indicate that university-community partnerships can provide understanding of the challenges facing people in communities; encourage innovative local action for sustainability; and contribute to policy development at different levels. They do this via the creation of ecological ‘edges’. The challenges facing universities doing this kind of research are highlighted.


Sustainable communities Inclusion Governance Fairness Participation Action research University-community partnerships 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn Kagan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rebecca Lawthom
    • 1
  • Ornette Clennon
    • 1
  • Jenny Fisher
    • 1
  • John Diamond
    • 2
  • Katy Goldstraw
    • 2
  1. 1.Social Change and Community Wellbeing Research GroupManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  2. 2.Institute for Public Policy and Professional PracticeEdge Hill UniversityLancashireUK

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