Reconnecting skills for sustainable communities with everyday life

Alex Franklin, Julie Newton, Jennie Middleton, Terry Marsden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we review the current policy approach to skills and knowledge for sustainable communities. The aspatial and target-led nature of these approaches around the attainment of fixed skill sets is discussed and then contrasted with educationalist literatures which provide an alternative pedagogical approach to learning. That is, one that places a much greater emphasis on 'learners' as individuals and 'learning' as achieved through experience. The role and influence of people in place are implicit within these 'learner-centred' models. This reflects an understanding of the need to approach learning strategies in a way that relates to people's everyday lives. Drawing on ongoing empirical research conducted in the English town of Stroud (Gloucestershire, UK), we demonstrate some of the insights which can be gained from understanding skills and knowledge for sustainable communities in the context of these more experiential and process-orientated approaches. We do so by looking at the accounts and practices not of professionals, but of community members who are actively engaged with sustainable communities initiatives. We explore the relationships between their knowledge and understandings of sustainability and how they have sought to encompass and actively develop principles of sustainable communities as part of their everyday lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-362
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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