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Article
Publication date: 21 November 2016

Kimberley Wilson and Cheryl Desha

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of contemporary storytelling in preserving built heritage, as a mechanism for extending the useful life of buildings.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of contemporary storytelling in preserving built heritage, as a mechanism for extending the useful life of buildings.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopted a qualitative action research approach to consider the role of storytelling. A creative, multi-method approach (i.e. a “Brisbane Art Deco” publication and associated marketing campaign) was used as a case study to explore the contours of such an approach and its efficacy in engaging the community.

Findings

This paper highlights the potential of contemporary approaches to heritage storytelling, including utilising digital technologies, to engage a diverse range of people that may not have otherwise participated. The authors propose the value of taking a creative and whole-of-society approach – such as that used in this case study – to heritage storytelling.

Research limitations/implications

The case study discussed provides a phenomenological insight into one version of “contemporary heritage storytelling”. The findings have immediate implications for prioritising research into storytelling for the preservation of built heritage.

Practical implications

The case study demonstrates opportunities for community engagement through storytelling and highlights potential strategies to effectively contribute to a greater societal value of cultural heritage.

Originality/value

This research contributes to theory and practice around the management of cultural heritage, and highlights the usefulness of employing such a strategy to reach and engage a broader audience.

Details

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-1266

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 July 2021

Cheryl Desha, Savindi Caldera and Deanna Hutchinson

This study aims to explore the role of planned, sudden shifts in lived experiences, in influencing learner capabilities towards improved problem-solving for sustainable…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the role of planned, sudden shifts in lived experiences, in influencing learner capabilities towards improved problem-solving for sustainable development outcomes. The authors responded to employers of engineering and built environment graduates observing limited “real-life” problem-solving skills, beyond using established formulae and methods, in spite of attempts over more than two decades, to train engineers and other built environment disciplines in areas such as whole system design and sustainable design.

Design/methodology/approach

A grounded theory approach was used to guide the analysis of data collected through ethnographic methods. The process involved reflecting on authors’ efforts to develop context appreciation within a course called “International Engineering Practice”, using two years of collected data (archived course information, including course profile; completed assessment; lecture and field visit evaluations; and focus groups). The study is built on the authors’ working knowledge of Bloom’s Taxonomy and Threshold Learning Theory, and the well-established role of “context appreciation” in complex problem-solving. After the first iteration of the course, the authors looked for additional theoretical support to help explain findings. The Cynefin framework was subsequently used to augment the authors’ appreciation of “context” – beyond physical context to include relational context, and to evaluate students’ competency development across the four domains of “clear”, “complicated”, “complex” and “chaotic”.

Findings

This study helped the authors to understand that there was increased capacity of the students to distinguish between three important contexts for problem-solving, including an increased awareness about the importance of factual and relevant information, increased acknowledgement of the varying roles of professional practitioners in problem-solving depending on the type of problem and increased appreciation of the importance of interdisciplinary teams in tackling complex and complicated problems. There were several opportunities for such courses to be more effective in preparing students for dealing with “chaotic” situations that are prevalent in addressing the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals (UNSDGs). Drawing on the course-based learnings, the authors present a “context integration model” for developing problem-solving knowledge and skills.

Research limitations/implications

The research findings are important because context appreciation – including both physical context and relational context – is critical to problem-solving for the UNSDGs, including its 169 targets and 232 indicators. The research findings highlight the opportunity for the Cynefin framework to inform holistic curriculum renewal processes, enhancing an educator’s ability to design, implement and evaluate coursework that develops physical and relational context appreciation.

Practical implications

The study’s findings and context integration model can help educators develop the full range of necessary problem-solving graduate competencies, including for chaotic situations involving high degrees of uncertainty. Looking ahead, acknowledging the significant carbon footprint of global travel, the authors are interested in applying the model to a domestic and/or online format of the same course, to attempt similar learning outcomes.

Originality/value

Connecting Bloom’s taxonomy deep learning and threshold learning theory critical path learning insights with the Cynefin framework context domains, provides a novel model to evaluate competency development for problem-solving towards improved holistic physical and relational “context appreciation” outcomes.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 September 2013

Edmond P. Byrne, Cheryl J. Desha, John J. Fitzpatrick and Karlson “Charlie” Hargroves

This paper aims to present key findings from an inquiry into engineering accreditation and curricula renewal. The research attempted to ascertain conceptions of requisite…

1169

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present key findings from an inquiry into engineering accreditation and curricula renewal. The research attempted to ascertain conceptions of requisite sustainability themes among engineering academics and professionals. The paper also reflects on the potential role of professional engineering institutions (PEIs) in embedding sustainability through their programme accreditation guidelines and wider implications in terms of rapid curricula renewal.

Design/methodology/approach

This research comprised an International Engineering Academic Workshop held during the 2010 International Symposium on Engineering Education in Ireland, on “accreditation and sustainable engineering”. This built on the findings of a literature review that was distributed prior to the workshop. Data collection included individual questionnaires administered during the workshop, and notes scribed by workshop participants.

Findings

The literature review highlighted a wide range of perspectives across and within engineering disciplines, regarding what sustainability/sustainable development (SD) themes should be incorporated into engineering curricula, and regarding language and terminology. This was also reflected in the workshop discussions. Notwithstanding this diversity, clusters of sustainability themes and priority considerations were distilled from the literature review and workshop. These related to resources, technology, values, ethics, inter‐ and intra‐generational equity, transdisciplinarity, and systems and complex thinking. Themes related to environmental and economic knowledge and skills received less attention by workshop participants than represented in the literature.

Originality/value

This paper provides an appreciation of the diversity of opinion regarding priority sustainability themes for engineering curricula, among a group of self‐selected engineering academics who have a common interest in education for SD. It also provides some insights and caveats on how these themes might be rapidly integrated into engineering curricula.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

Article
Publication date: 12 March 2016

Puay Yok Tan, Yuanqiu Feng and Yun Hye Hwang

Secondary forest loss in Singapore has recently emerged as a contentious issue that tests the relationships between state, public and civil society, but debates on this…

Abstract

Purpose

Secondary forest loss in Singapore has recently emerged as a contentious issue that tests the relationships between state, public and civil society, but debates on this issue have occurred without the benefit of supporting information on the spatial extent, and understanding of multiple socio-ecological impacts arising from their gradual disappearance. The purpose of this paper is to fill these knowledge gaps to contribute to development of approaches to manage land developments on secondary forests.

Design/methodology/approach

This study evaluated the past and potential future losses of spontaneous re-growth forest through spatial analyses of vegetation cover maps combined with national land use plans using remote sensing and GIS. The socio-ecological impacts of such losses were interpreted from published writings, which comprise scientific publications and public opinion in news media.

Findings

Secondary forest losses accounted for more than half of total vegetation cover reduction between 2007 and 2012, and future potential losses amount to about 4,700 ha of land if these are fully developed over the next 10-15 years. The socio-ecological consequences of such losses are identified. Strong public opinion are reflected in the large number of news article on the topic over the last four years, pointing to the emergence of a contentious issue that requires careful management.

Originality/value

This paper conducted the first assessment of the spatial extent of secondary forests losses, and an extensive review of public opinion of the matter, and the results validated the significance of this topic.

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

Article
Publication date: 12 March 2016

Janis Lynn Birkeland

Positive Development and Biophilic Urbanism appear to be grounded in a different human-nature relationship. Biophilic Urbanism builds on the theory that humans have an…

Abstract

Purpose

Positive Development and Biophilic Urbanism appear to be grounded in a different human-nature relationship. Biophilic Urbanism builds on the theory that humans have an innate need to feel connected with nature, and explores ways to amplify its psychological and physiological benefits. Positive Development contends that development must proactively increase nature in absolute terms (beyond pre-industrial conditions). Hence it proposes a radical reconstruction of development design and decision making. Are these positions compatible?

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review revealed many similarities and differences between the two theories, and the views and visions among individual proponents of sustainability paradigms vary. Therefore, the comparison focused on the respective role of nature, a foundational element in each theory.

Findings

Biophilic urbanism stresses the individual’s experience of nature and its importance to human life quality. Positive Development stresses the preservation of species and ecosystems through the re-design of institutional systems and physical structures that increase the ecological base and public estate. Both viewpoints are essential to the whole system transformation that sustainability requires. However, if urban development does not increase urban nature and wilderness well beyond past/ongoing depletion and damage, the natural life support system will collapse.

Research limitations/implications

These paradigms are too complex to be represented in a brief commentary, so the discussion focuses on a crucial difference. Since many papers in this special issue discuss Biophilic Urbanism references, the emphasis here is on the lesser known theory.

Originality/value

These paradigms evolved independently and, as far as is known, this is the first time their essential messages are compared.

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

Article
Publication date: 12 March 2016

Robert Fredrick Young

This manuscript explores the possibilities for global concepts of paradise to serve a cross-cultural urban environmental discourse. The purpose of this discourse would be…

Abstract

Purpose

This manuscript explores the possibilities for global concepts of paradise to serve a cross-cultural urban environmental discourse. The purpose of this discourse would be to contribute to a more widespread mobilization of support for biophilic urbanism.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology deployed in the paper draws from original and secondary sources from a variety of regions, cultures and religions surrounding the concept of paradise. These concepts are then compared and contrasted with the discourse of biophilic urban environmental planning.

Findings

The comparison of cross-cultural descriptions of paradise finds strong similarities across cultures. In addition, it finds close, symbolic connection between secular and religious concepts of paradise and the scientific attributes of urban biophilic planning. These connections open the possibility for closer unification between secular and religious discourses in the pursuit of the development of more biophilic urban designs.

Originality/value

The timing of this research is particularly appropriate given the recent encyclical on the environment released by the Vatican. Locating perspectives and imagery that can connect large proportions of the population, for whom spirituality is a centerpiece, with rational scientific perspectives on environmentally sound urbanism will be critical in achieving biophilic cities.

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

Article
Publication date: 12 March 2016

Helene Littke

This paper discusses challenges and opportunities for the implementation of biophilic urbanism in urban green planning policy through a case study of the Green living…

1713

Abstract

Purpose

This paper discusses challenges and opportunities for the implementation of biophilic urbanism in urban green planning policy through a case study of the Green living Spaces plan in Birmingham, UK.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on document analysis and semi structured interviews as a strategy of qualitative inquiry to identify the key tenets of biophilic urbanism and its implementation in Birmingham’s urban green space planning.

Findings

Biophilic urbanism has its strength as an approach to create common visions and understandings of the many benefits of nature in cities, thus strengthening the position of urban green space planning. In Birmingham the potential for integrated policies connected to urban green space are shown and the concept can also be understood as a pragmatic tool to strengthen the position of urban green space policies locally as well as positioning Birmingham globally as a leading green city. At the same time challenges are connected to legal status, path dependency and leadership.

Originality/value

Biophilic urbanism has gotten increased attention in academia and practice and this paper contributes with a novel case study discussing how the concept has been used and understood in the Birmingham context to discuss opportunities and challenges for actual implementation.

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

Article
Publication date: 12 March 2016

Yun Hye Hwang, Yuanqiu Feng and Puay Yok Tan

This study recognizes that a number of socio-ecological impacts will result from current and future secondary forest loss in Singapore. Addressing the gap between…

Abstract

Purpose

This study recognizes that a number of socio-ecological impacts will result from current and future secondary forest loss in Singapore. Addressing the gap between ecological design principles and the generation of actionable design strategies, the paper draws a more explicit link between them to guide future attempts to generate design solutions to the issue of secondary forest loss.

Design/methodology/approach

The study identifies actionable and contextualized design strategies from 18 academic design studio projects dealing with threatened secondary forest sites in Singapore and examines the ecological concepts which underpin the design strategies. These design strategies were then mapped to urban ecological principles.

Findings

Fifteen actionable design strategies, aligned with 4 urban ecology principles, were identified for addressing the impacts of secondary forest loss in Singapore.

Originality/value

The paper makes an attempt to bridge theoretical principles and design action, and explicates how the two may be aligned. This helps to close a persistent gap between design projects and the science-based design principles generated in the academe. The paper also highlights the potential of academic design studios as a platform for generating ideas to emergent local problems not yet addressed by conventional practice, and offers a range of ideas to mitigate the impact of secondary forest loss in Singapore.

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

Article
Publication date: 10 April 2009

Cheryl J. Desha, Karlson Hargroves and Michael H. Smith

The purpose of this paper is to present the case for engineering departments to undertake rapid curriculum renewal (RCR) towards engineering education for sustainable…

1734

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the case for engineering departments to undertake rapid curriculum renewal (RCR) towards engineering education for sustainable development (EESD), to minimise the department's risk exposure to rapidly shifting industry requirements, government regulations and program accreditation. This paper then outlines a number of elements of RCR.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper begins by proposing that Higher Education Institutions face a “time lag dilemma,” whereby the usual or “standard” curriculum renewal approach to embed new knowledge and skills within the curriculum may take too long, lagging behind industry, regulatory, and accreditation shifts. This paper then outlines a proposed RCR approach. This paper presents a number of preliminary “elements of RCR” formulated from a literature review of numerous existing but largely ad hoc examples of curriculum renewal within engineering and other discipline areas, together with the authors' experience in trialling the elements.

Findings

This paper concludes that a strategically implemented process of curriculum renewal to EESD can help a department address its risk exposure to likely and impending shifts in industry, regulations and accreditation. A number of examples of implementing “elements of RCR” are emerging and this literature can inform a strategic approach to curriculum renewal.

Practical implications

The aim of this paper is to highlight the potential risks and opportunities for engineering departments as they consider “how far” and “how fast” to proceed with curriculum renewal for EESD, along with providing an overview of a range of options for implementation.

Originality/value

This paper fulfils an identified information/resources need.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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