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Article
Publication date: 23 July 2020

Stefan U. Pauer, Angelique Pilon and Brad Badelt

This paper aims to investigate sustainability research collaborations between the City of Vancouver and the University of British Columbia (UBC), as a case study to better…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate sustainability research collaborations between the City of Vancouver and the University of British Columbia (UBC), as a case study to better understand how to use cityuniversity partnerships to advance effective urban sustainability policy and practices. The study compiles a basic inventory of partnerships since 2010, describes their benefits, areas for improvement, barriers to collaboration and proposes ways to increase and improve future collaborations.

Design/methodology/approach

The study draws on an electronic survey completed by 58 individuals and interviews with 13 such participants who were faculty members and staff at UBC and Vancouver.

Findings

Most collaborations responded to climate change in some way, were initiated through informal professional relationships and involved single departments in each organization. Projects ranged in size, duration and level of municipal funding. Although project participants were generally happy with past experiences, future collaborations could be improved by increasing leadership commitment and resources and producing more mutually beneficial outcomes. Barriers included lacking awareness of potential partners, difficulty aligning municipal needs with academic research interests and divergent expectations about project resources. The study recommends introducing formal processes to help identify overlapping interests and opportunities, enhance co-creation of projects and increase leadership and resources.

Practical implications

The findings may inform the development and implementation of future cityuniversity partnerships to advance sustainable policies and practices in urban areas.

Originality/value

This paper contributes by reviewing experiences with cityuniversity collaborations and offering evidence-based recommendations to improve them, thereby increasing opportunities for more effective urban sustainability solutions.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 21 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Alison Munro, Jean Marcus, Katie Dolling, John Robinson and Jennifer Wahl

This paper describes the sustainability partnership between the City of Vancouver and the University of British Columbia (UBC) and, in particular, the co-curricular…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper describes the sustainability partnership between the City of Vancouver and the University of British Columbia (UBC) and, in particular, the co-curricular Greenest City Scholars graduate student internship program, which has been developed by the two organizations. Through the program, UBC graduate students work on projects at the City that help to advance sustainability targets. The paper aims to explore the successes, challenges and lessons learned from the program.

Design/methodology/approach

This case study uses literature and document review, observations, program participant evaluation surveys and project impact survey feedback.

Findings

The Greenest City Scholars program model has contributed to the sustainability goals at UBC and the City of Vancouver and has supported the partnership between the two organizations. The program has grown over its five-year history and is considered to be a central part of the partnership. Breadth of student participants from across the university and high participation from City departments have been achieved. The model is now being adapted to be delivered within other partnerships.

Practical implications

The experiences presented in this case study can help other higher education institutions understand how a co-curricular graduate student work experience program could help to bolster their own sustainability partnerships.

Originality/value

This paper makes a contribution by providing insight into the use of a graduate student program to advance the goals of a university–community sustainability partnership.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 17 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 25 May 2020

Annie Booth, Sinead Earley, Kyle Aben, Barbara Otter, Todd Corrigal and Christie Ray

The purpose of this paper is to discuss an innovative course offered as a partnership between the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) (Canada), the Prince…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss an innovative course offered as a partnership between the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) (Canada), the Prince George Chamber of Commerce (Canada) and local businesses: UNBC’s third-year undergraduate/graduate course, carbon and energy management.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors have all participated in the development, design and/or delivery of the course and have provided their reflections on the experience. In addition, they sought insights from students and other interested people on the impact and significance of this course.

Findings

Carbon and energy management is an action learning-based co-created course initiated by the Chamber to address an interest in mitigating climate change amongst local businesses. Among businesses, the carbon economy is under considerable discussion. The increased awareness of climate change, and the need to better manage carbon, has led to local businesses eager to reduce greenhouse gases but lacking the expertise necessary. UNBC students (undergraduate and graduate) learn innovative and practical skills through creating carbon footprint analyses for small- to medium-sized business/non-profit clients, providing recommendations on reducing reliance on fossil fuels and formally presenting their findings to their clients. After five years, 46 businesses and non-profit organizations have participated in the course along with over 30 students and 5 separately hired student interns. The Chamber is now rolling out the program for Canadian Chamber of Commerce interested in similar community–university partnerships.

Originality/value

This paper describes a course that is a novel approach to university–community partnerships, both in approach and focus area. The linking, through the course, of small- to medium-sized businesses with the provision of plans for carbon reduction developed by university students is an unusual approach. However, there is significant value to all partners in the approach. Allowing the main community partner to serve as the lead in the project also offers an unusual experience and perspective for the university partner, as often such partnerships are largely driven by the post-secondary institution’s interests and needs, which can create a challenging power dynamic. Instead, the course offers a lesson in how a university can be clearly in service to the community at the community’s invitation. Finally, this paper offers reflections on the value of this type of project for creating sustainability initiatives from the perspective of all participants, students, faculty, university administration, city government, participating businesses and the Chamber of Commerce, demonstrating the critical need for understanding a project as an intersection of all participating actors.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 21 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Elise Barrella, Kelsey Lineburg and Peter Hurley

The purpose of this paper is to describe a pilot application of the Sustainable Transportation Analysis & Rating System (STARS), and highlight how a sustainability rating…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe a pilot application of the Sustainable Transportation Analysis & Rating System (STARS), and highlight how a sustainability rating system can be used to promote sustainable urban development through a universitycity partnership. STARS is an example of a second-generation “green” rating system focused on transportation planning, design, operations and maintenance.

Design/methodology/approach

In Fall 2013, James Madison University (JMU) initiated a STARS pilot demonstration using a local corridor that connects the university and the city of Harrisonburg. The pilot’s purposes were to develop attainable transportation-development targets, evaluate infrastructure and programmatic options in the context of a credit-based system and demonstrate a decision-making framework centered on sustainability optimization. The paper provides an overview of the STARS framework and the pilot’s collaborations, analysis, findings and recommendations for credits across sustainability dimensions.

Findings

Upon applying the rating system, the research team found that STARS may initially be easier to integrate into a comprehensive transportation planning process than a corridor-level evaluation due to data needs, in-house expertise and planning timelines for campus and city developments. A campus-wide master plan based on STARS would enable a university and a city to apply sustainability principles to their physical and/or policy interfaces to systemically create change and achieve quantifiable targets.

Originality/value

The STARS framework provides a novel approach for integrating multiple stakeholders (faculty, the university and city staff, students and community members) in a process of capacity building, evaluating options, policy-making, implementation and performance monitoring. The JMU pilot is the first application of STARS at a university and the only US East Coast application to date.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 January 2008

Martin Lehmann and Ole Fryd

The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss the development and the structure of a new international master on the subject of urban quality development and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss the development and the structure of a new international master on the subject of urban quality development and management (UQDM), and explore the potential of the process and the outcome in serving as models adoptable by faculty at other universities.

Design/methodology/approach

The study has been carried out as action research. Using innovation and user‐producer interaction as the framework, the authors present the development process; the structure, contents and methodology of the programme; and report on their research findings.

Findings

UQDM is dependent on human resource development, institutionalised networks and confident exchange of knowledge, and must identify and incorporate multiple environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects. The authors find that at the core of innovative societies, an interlinkage exists between practice (business, civil society, governance) and theory (research, education). The case illustrates how a new curriculum takes time to develop and implement and how it relies on confidence and trust between partners, in this case cities and universities, before being able to plant the seed for a sustainable response to the needs of city administrations. University consortia may be particularly useful as providers of a broad framework and an enabling setting in which diffusion of innovation can occur.

Practical implications

The paper presents a successful approach to developing new curricula. Basing itself on user‐producer interaction within the framework of innovation and innovation theory, the programme addresses urban quality through a multi‐disciplinary and inter‐institutional collaboration between city administrations and universities. Per se, the approach is easily replicable but will require time, effort and dedication by all involved, both during development and in later execution.

Originality/value

The paper reports on a new, unique programme and further places the development of the curriculum and the curriculum itself explicitly in the context of user‐producer interaction and with innovation as the framework. While this framework is widely used both descriptively and prescriptively in product development, it has seemingly yet to be applied extensively for other types of developments, including university educations.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 24 August 2012

J. Goggins

The purpose of this paper is to focus on a number of initiatives in civil engineering undergraduate programmes at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on a number of initiatives in civil engineering undergraduate programmes at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) that allow students to complete engineering projects in the community, enabling them to learn by doing.

Design/methodology/approach

A formal commitment to civic engagement was undertaken by the NUIG in 2001 with the establishment of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) to work on mainstreaming civic engagement (service learning) within the curriculum across the institution. Today, the majority of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes in the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUIG have embedded service learning into their curriculum. These initiatives allow students to work with and in local communities, international communities and multi‐disciplinary groups as part of their academic courses. The paper investigates and shows that community‐based projects can enhance student learning and engagement in a number of ways. At NUIG, these projects are framed by a research orientation, commitments to civic engagement and building university‐community partnerships, cityuniversity partnerships and partnerships with other official agencies, so that community users can provide real learning problems and contexts for students and researchers and benefit from the results.

Findings

It was found that the students got a sense of pride and satisfaction out of the knowledge that their work may be helping communities and that learning is not just to get marks to pass the exam! The projects can increase the students’ sense of ownership of their own learning. Learners are more motivated when they can see the usefulness of what they are learning and when they can use that information to do something that has an impact on others.

Research limitations/implications

The work represents work done in one institution affecting a region in a country. This can be extended to include more institutions and other regions. This paper presents evidence from the aforementioned projects that by creating service‐based learning the students’ energy in learning can have a positive impact on the community.

Practical implications

The energy and enthusiasm of learners can be better utilised (and increased) by setting assignments as real community‐based projects.

Originality/value

This lies in the design of projects and assessment involving education providers and public for the benefit of learners and the society at large.

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Article
Publication date: 29 October 2020

Alex Torku, Albert P.C. Chan and Esther H.K. Yung

The purpose of this study is to identify the barriers that hinder the implementation of age-friendly initiatives in smart cities.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify the barriers that hinder the implementation of age-friendly initiatives in smart cities.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic review of the literature was conducted using Scopus search engine. Relevant keywords were used to discover 81 publications in academic journals. The titles, abstracts, keywords and full texts of the publications were examined to select 39 publications that were relevant for identifying the barriers that hinder the implementation of age-friendly initiatives in smart cities. The contents of the 39 relevant publications were analysed to ascertain the key barriers. A system thinking approach was adopted to understand the interaction among the barriers.

Findings

The study identified five key groups of barriers – namely physical barriers and environmental characteristics, technological barriers, social barriers, financial barriers and political barriers – that smart cities encountered or are likely to encounter in implementing age-friendly initiatives. Moreover, practical examples of good age-friendly implementation practices were highlighted.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of this study is in the number of publications reviewed. Despite the comprehensive review, the number of publications reviewed may not be exhaustive. This is justified by the inapplicability of considering all possible keywords in one review study.

Practical implications

The systemic perspective of the barriers that hinder the implementation of age-friendly initiatives in smart cities would support policymakers in formulating policy recommendations to improve age-friendliness in cities.

Originality/value

This study underscores the variable and dynamic nature of developing age-friendly smart cities and forms novel basis for gaining insights into the multiple factors that can promote the integration of age-friendly initiatives within smart cities.

Details

Built Environment Project and Asset Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-124X

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Article
Publication date: 6 January 2020

Theres Konrad, Arnim Wiek and Matthias Barth

Advanced skills in communication, teamwork and stakeholder engagement are widely recognized as important success factors for advancing sustainability. While project-based…

Abstract

Purpose

Advanced skills in communication, teamwork and stakeholder engagement are widely recognized as important success factors for advancing sustainability. While project-based learning formats claim to advance such skills, there is little empirical evidence that demonstrates how interpersonal competence is being developed. This study aims to describe and explains teaching and learning processes of project-based sustainability courses that contribute to the development of interpersonal competence as one of the key competencies in sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

This study on an international project-based learning course adopted a multi-method case study approach, triangulating observations, semi-structured interviews and focus groups supported by Photovoice method through which students tracked their learning processes. Data collection and analysis followed a grounded theory approach.

Findings

Learning through and from conflicts within a learning community can foster competence development in teamwork, communication and stakeholder engagement. This study identified inner and outer conflicts (within individuals versus between individuals or groups) as potential drivers of learning processes, depending on strategies applied to address these conflicts.

Originality value

The value of this study is fourfold: it demonstrates how conflicts can be leveraged for students’ competence development; it provides in-depth empirical data from multiple perspectives, it discusses the findings in the context of teaching and learning theories, and it demonstrates an application of the Photovoice method to track and improve teaching and learning processes.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Stephanie Krone Firestone, Laura Keyes and Esther Greenhouse

The purpose of this paper is to share the findings from a learning intervention aimed at facilitating more regular and effective collaboration across the planning and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to share the findings from a learning intervention aimed at facilitating more regular and effective collaboration across the planning and aging sectors in order to advance Livable Communities for All Ages (LCA).

Design/methodology/approach

A half-day summit that convened over 250 aging sector professionals and planners. Data from these conversations, as well as a pre-event survey, post-event evaluations, and a six-month post-event follow-up survey provide the findings for the discussion.

Findings

The results revealed that the participants increasingly recognized the value of cross-sector relationships to their work on LCA. Further, the success on current projects was highly attributed to the trust gained from a previous experience of aging and planning professionals working together.

Research limitations/implications

Researchers relied on a purposive sample of respondents already registered to attend the Livable Communities Summit, who were likely to be somewhat knowledgeable about the topic of age-friendly planning. While not generalizable to the broader professional fields of the aging and planning sectors, the results inform on the importance of cross-sector collaboration in the context of planning communities supportive of individuals across the lifespan.

Practical implications

Existing challenges to the local residents in a broad swath of areas including housing, transportation, social isolation, purpose and more, are exacerbated in a rapidly aging world that does not advance policies, practices, and built environments to make communities more livable for residents of all ages.

Originality/value

The intention of this research is to contribute to the limited existing literature on collaboration between professionals in the planning and aging fields and to stimulate the increased and improved cross-sector relationships.

Details

Working with Older People, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-3666

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 July 2020

Liqun Xiang, Yongtao Tan, Xin Jin and Geoffrey Shen

This study aims to identify the stakeholders and critical factors (CFs) of promoting age-friendly communities (AFCs), discuss the relationship between the stakeholders and…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to identify the stakeholders and critical factors (CFs) of promoting age-friendly communities (AFCs), discuss the relationship between the stakeholders and CFs and develop a preliminary framework for the briefing stage of promoting AFCs in urban China.

Design/methodology/approach

Stakeholders and CFs were identified through literature review and document analysis. The Delphi method was used to screen the extracted stakeholders and CFs. The focus group methodology was applied to obtain evaluation matrices of relationships between stakeholders and CFs. A two-mode social network was formed to analyse the evaluation matrices generated.

Findings

Results of the analyses indicate that local governments and policymaking institutions, together with project investors, obtained high prioritisations in the stakeholders' group, whilst senior citizens and caregivers appear to rank last. For CFs, communities' environmental factors receive the most attention from stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

Results of the analyses can only show similarities of the participating stakeholders' opinions on their concerns, and provide researchers and practitioners with initial ideas on analysing stakeholders and CFs at the briefing stage of promoting AFCs. For a specific project, the concerns and prioritisations would change. Diverse voices are necessary and case studies are in need.

Practical implications

Challenges in promoting AFCs in urban China are discussed, and a preliminary framework of the briefing stage is developed for practitioners to follow when promoting AFCs.

Originality/value

This study discusses which CFs should be considered priorities and what consensuses are generally reached by stakeholders. CFs are utilised to interpret stakeholders' relationships, influences and concerns on AFC projects when conducting the social network analysis (SNA).

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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