Advertisement

Sustainability-Oriented Social Learning in Multi-cultural Urban Areas: The Case of the Rotterdam Environmental Centre

  • Arjen E. J. WalsEmail author
  • Marlon E. van der Waal
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter explores the utilization of social cohesion and diversity in creating more sustainable multi-cultural communities. Community greening is seen as a catalyst for sustainability-oriented social learning. Greening here is not the same as literally adding green to a community (trees, parks, gardens) – although that certainly can be a part of it – but rather as a metaphor for improving quality of life and a stepping stone towards sustainability. Social learning is introduced as a process that builds social cohesion and relationships in order to be able to utilize the different perspectives, values and interests people bring to a sustainability challenge. Although there are many perspectives and definitions of social learning it is defined here as: a collaborative, emergent learning process that hinges on the simultaneous cultivation of difference and social cohesion in order to create joint ownership, and to unleash creativity and energy needed to break with existing patterns, routines or systems. The chapter is empirically grounded in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. We use the phrase red zone to refer to parts of Rotterdam, because there are a number of socio-economic, cultural and ecological issues that could come together and escalate in ways that we have seen in similar Western European metropolitan areas such as the Paris banlieues. One of the questions we address is: How can, under conditions like these, diversity and social cohesion be used in building more sustainable practices, lifestyles and systems?

Keywords

Social learning Diversity Social cohesion Boundary crossing Expeditionary learning Community development 

References

  1. Allen, C. (2003). Fair justice. The Bradford disturbances, the sentencing and the impact. Guildford and King’s Lynn, London.Google Scholar
  2. Armitage, D., Berkes, F., et al. (Eds.). (2007). Adaptive co-management: Collaboration, learning, and multi-level governance. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
  3. Beers, P. J., Sol, J., et al. (2010, July 4–7). Social learning in a multi-actor innovation context. In Building sustainable rural futures: The added value of systems approaches in times of change and uncertainty, the 9th IFSA conference, Vienna.Google Scholar
  4. Blackmore, C. (2007). What kinds of knowledge, knowing and learning are required for addressing resource dilemmas?: A theoretical overview. Environmental Science and Policy, 10, 512–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bouwen, R., & Taillieu, T. (2004). Multi-party collaboration as social learning for interdependence: Developing relational knowing for sustainable natural resource management. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 14, 137–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bovenkerk, F. (2009). Etniciteit, Criminaliteit en Het Strafrecht Utrecht. Thesis, Utrecht University.Google Scholar
  7. Carpenter, S., Walker, B., et al. (2001). From metaphor to measurement: Resilience of what to what? Ecosystems, 4, 765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. COS (2008). Feitenkaart. Omnibusenquete (COS) Centrum voor Onderzoek en Statistiek, Rotterdam.Google Scholar
  9. Freire, P. (1985). The politics of education – Culture, power, and liberation. New York: Bergin & Garvey.Google Scholar
  10. Freire, P. (1987). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: The Continuum Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  11. Glasser, H. (2007). Minding the gap: The role of social learning in linking our stated desire for a more sustainable desire to our everyday actions and policies. In A. E. J. Wals (Ed.), Social learning towards a sustainable world (pp. 35–62). Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Holden, M. (2008). Social learning in planning: Seattle’s sustainable development codebooks. Progress in Planning, 69(1), 1–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. IFRC (2004). Focus on community resilience (World Disasters Report, p. 231). Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.Google Scholar
  14. James, T. (2000). Kurt Hahn and the aims of education. www.kurthahn.org/writings/james.pdf. Accessed 1 Feb 2013.Google Scholar
  15. Komen, M., & Van Schooten, E. (2009). Ethnic disparities in Dutch juvenile justice. Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 7(2), 85–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Muro, M., & Jeffrey, P. (2008). A critical review of the theory and application of social learning in participatory natural resource management processes. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 51(3), 325–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Peper, A. (1973). Vorming van welzijnsbeleid. Evolutie en evaluatie van het opbouwwerk. Meppel: Boom, tweede druk.Google Scholar
  18. Plummer, R., & FitzGibbon, J. (2007). Connecting adaptive co-management, social learning, and social capital through theory and practice. In D. Armitage, F. Berkes, & N. Doubleday (Eds.), Adaptive co-management: Collaboration, learning, and multi-level governance. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
  19. Reed, M. S., Evely, A. C., et al. (2010). What is social learning? Ecology and Society, 15(4), r1.Google Scholar
  20. Rolfe, R. E. (2006). Social cohesion and community resilience: A multi-disciplinary review of literature for Rural Health Research. Halifax: Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Saint Mary’s University.Google Scholar
  21. Schneider, C. L. (2008). Police power and race riots in Paris. Politics & Society, 36(1), 133–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. van Asselt, M. B. A. (2000). Perspectives on uncertainty and risk. Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Veldhuis, T., & Bakker, E. (2009). Muslims in the Netherlands: Tensions and violent conflict. Ethno-religious conflict in Europe: Typologies of radicalisation in Europe’s Muslim communities. Brighton: MICROCON.Google Scholar
  24. Wals, A. E. J. (2007). Epilogue: Creating networks of conversations. In A. E. J. Wals (Ed.), Social learning towards a sustainable world (pp. 497–507). Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  25. Wals, A. E. J., Geerling-Eijff, F., et al. (2008). All mixed up? Instrumental and emancipatory learning towards a more sustainable world: Considerations for EE policy-makers. Applied Environmental Education and Communication, 7(4), 55–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wals, A. E. J., van der Hoeven, N., et al. (2009). The acoustics of social learning: Designing learning processes that contribute to a more sustainable world. Wageningen/Utrecht: Wageningen Academic Publishers/SenterNovem.Google Scholar
  27. Wals, A. E. J., & Noorduyn, L. (2010). Social learning in action: A reconstruction of an urban community moving towards sustainability. In: Stevenson, R. & Dillon, J. (Eds.), Engaging environmental education: Learning, culture and agency (pp. 59–76). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations