Creating a Sustainable Built Environment throughEducation and CollaborationUniversity of Ulster: 8th May 2013The Importance of Collaboration in Achieving SustainableDevelopmentProfessor Peter RobertsVice ChairmanNorthern Ireland Housing Executive
Introduction and Structure• There is little really new about sustainabledevelopment in terms of fundamentals• Essential to define sustainable development atthe outset:• What is it?• What can it achieve?• What form will it take?• How can it be implemented?
• How to translate sustainable development through aplace-based approach• Sectoral and spatial dimensions• Actions and resources• The Sustainable Communities model• Institutions, actors and individuals – inter and intra-organisation dimensions• Partnership and collaboration• Some case study illustrations• Summary and conclusions
Sustainable Development: Antecedents• This is an idea and an ideal with a long history.• Ebenezer Howard’s “social city” encapsulated many ofthe elements of sustainable development, such as“pro-municipal work” in order to develop andimplement what we now call sustainable places.• Patrick Geddes viewed the city as a product of theinteraction between “nature”(environment), “economics” and “the people” (society)articulated through civic education and activeengagement.
• Artur Glikson’s term “human environment”described what he called “the space whichsurrounds humanmovement, work, habitation, rest andinteraction”.• By the 1960’s these items were beginning tobe seen as important in the wider debates ondevelopment and growth and the limits togrowth – the Club of Rome report was veryinfluential in framing the subsequent debate.
Sustainable Development: Definition• There are many definitions (or interpretations)of sustainable development, but the onlyuniversally accepted one is Brundtland’s“development that meets the needs of thepresent without compromising the ability offuture generations to meet their own needs”
• This definition has three primary components:• Environmental• Social• Economic• And two elements of application:• Intra-generational equity• Inter-generational equity• In considering the application of thesecomponents and elements it is also essentialto consider politics and implementation
Sustainable Development: Key Considerations• What is it? – it is the integrated consideration of theenvironmental, social and economic dimensions ofdevelopment – this is essential in order to avoidcreating inequity or undesired “burdens”• What can it achieve? – through a comprehensive andintegrated approach the intended outcome is aninformed and understood “balanced” decision whichreflects immediate and long-term considerations
• What form will it take: - whatever form is desired andappropriate eg. a sectoral action, a city strategy, aninvestment programme – the very essence ofsustainable development is that there is no “one-size-fits-all”, but there are guiding principles andshared objectives.• How can it be implemented? – through applying theprinciples and shared objectives to individualdecisions as well as strategies and long-term plans.
Sustainable Development and Place• It is essential to consider sustainable development in relationto placeEnvironmental ComponentIntra-generational Inter-generationalEquity EquityPlaceEconomic Component Social ComponentPolitics and Implementation
A Place-Based Approach• This is the essence of a sustainable built environment• Three main aspects and considerations:• It is essential to intermesh spatial and sectoral dimensions throughthe development and implementation of strategies• But strategy alone will not deliver a sustainable builtenvironment, it is also essential to align actions and resources• The above considerations have driven the development of theSustainable Communities approach – this is sustainabledevelopment for places
Sustainable Communities• A whole of place, whole of time, whole of communityapproach that works across sectors and between places:• Sustainable Communities model has eight basic components: Active, inclusive and safe Well run Environmentally sensitive Well designed and built Well connected Thriving Well served Fair for everyone And an extra essential component - placemaking
• By definition, the Sustainable Communitiesmodel involves a wide range of people andorganisations collaborating through formalpartnerships and territorial coalitions
Institutions, Actors and Individuals• Important to consider both inter-institutionaland intra-institutional elements – in largepublic (or private) organisations differentdepartments don’t always collaborate• Actors in the built environment range frommajor public and private bodies to smallcommunity-based organisations andindividuals – they all have a legitimate “voice”
• Essential to consider the role of the individual as acitizen and as a stakeholder – the role of individualsis frequently ignored by professionals and this canhinder long-term community “ownership”• Democratic legitimacy and accountability areimportant because interventions in the builtenvironment frequently involve public interests andgoods – government and governance are essentialconsiderations in order to ensure that the publicinterest is best served
Partnership and Collaboration• In the past (when funding was readilyavailable) some partnerships reflected the“temporary suspension of mutual loathing inpursuit of public funding”• But nowadays partnerships and collaborationshave to be much more meaningful, deeperand permanent, but they don’t have to belegal or formal entities
• Some key characteristics of partnership and collaboration: Need for strategic agreement, plan and objectives – these createcertainty and confidence Role of rules of engagement – equal partners and the allocation ofresponsibilities Belonging is as important as leading – shared leadership helps withdelivery and generating trust Data and resource pooling – immediate and succession planning areequally important Short-term structures and long-term capacity building – area-based, multi-purpose collaboration works best Need to go beyond short-term professional intervention in order toensure long-term management
Some case study illustrations 1• These are illustrations and reflect theprinciples and good practice of collaboration –they are NOT “one-size-fits-all” models• Beautiful North – “not an organisation – amovement”North Liverpool – an area subject to a massiverange of environment interventions over a fiftyyear period
Most recently an abandoned Housing Market RenewalArea programme –voids, abandonment, dereliction, deprivation, degradedenvironment and social distressWide collaboration – Liverpool City Council, LiverpoolHousing Trust, Merseyside Police, Everton FC, LiverpoolFC, Aurora Media, Liverpool Mutual Homes, PlusDane, Tesco and many moreTen principles – delivery led, collaboration notcompetition, willing partners, mandated leaders, asks andoffers, participation not consultation, multi-agencyteams, no budget, positive place marketing, less onrunning and more on doing
Some Case Study Illustrations 2• Stewartstown Road Project – not just apartnership but a coming together ofopposing communitiesWest Belfast – an interface area subject todistrust, violence and confrontationInitial joint working between Northern IrelandHousing Executive and Suffolk Community Forum,this then extended to Lenadoon CommunityForum and also involved Belfast Interface Project
Extensive collaboration – both community forums,Belfast City Council, NIHE, International Fund forIreland, EU Peace Fund, Lidl, Mivan Developmentand othersPrinciples of working – regenerate and revitalise,create and manage an attractive and vibrantenvironment, generate a secure place, enhancesocial and economic development, providecommercial and retail facilities, promote cross-community working and trust, equal partners
Some Case Study Illustrations 3• Resurgam Trust – a development trust that embracescommunity and other partners to deliver youth,social, economic and physical development.• Broadly based partnership structure whichencourages collaboration from central and localgovernment, agencies, community organisations andothers in Lisburn and beyond.• Engages in regeneration activities including builtenvironment, social enterprise, training, wellbeing,youth, senior citizen, children and families and otherprojects.• Keen to extend collaboration to include community –to – community mentoring and support.
Conclusions and Guiding Principles• Partnership and collaboration have nowbecome essential elements of the policy andpractice landscape• In an era of austerity it is even more essentialto collaborate in order to: create a sharedvision, agree actions and outputs, co-ordinateactivities and pool resources – the partnershipis more than the sum of the parts.
Leadership is essential, but this must bemandated from the grass root and has to beshared throughout the collaboration.Collaboration should be about much more thanan individual project or just the builtenvironment, it should be area-wide, inclusive andlasting.Some partners will require time and assistance inorder to develop capacity – this is essential toensure effective succession and progression andcan be enhanced through training and mentoring.