Publications round-up: co-production, urban design, sustainable lifestyles, rural communities
A round-up of recent sustainable development publications highlighted by our partner, the Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN). For more news on sustainable development research, join the network and receive regular SDRN mailings.
In this round-up:
- Right Here, Right Now (nef): co-production for better public services
- Getting the Big Picture Right (CABE): large scale urban design
- Task Force on Sustainable Lifestyles (UNEP)
- Achieving Sustainable Rural Communities for the 21st Century (Rural Coalition)
Read about more new publications in the latest SDRN bulletin…
People’s needs are better met when they are involved in an equal and reciprocal relationship with public service professionals and others, working together to get things done. This is the underlying principle of co-production – a transformational approach to delivering services.
For over a year, the new economics foundation (nef) and NESTA have been working together to grow a network of co-production practitioners. They are building a substantial body of knowledge about co-production that offers a powerful critique of the current model of public service delivery and a key to transforming it.
This report offers recommendations for the direction of travel in public services, based on what has been learnt so far. It suggests changing the way that services are managed and delivered, changing the way services are commissioned and opening up new opportunities for co-production, with a ‘Co-production Guarantee’. It also addresses the challenges and opportunities of the government’s vision of a “Big Society” for public service delivery.
People are travelling much further nowadays in their daily lives, for work, shopping and for leisure. This means that housing and job markets now operate at a larger scale. Hospitals and higher education institutions also have bigger catchment areas. All this affects the way in which places should be planned and designed.
The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) has spent two years trialling a flexible framework, ‘Getting the big picture right’, which advises a new approach to large scale urban design, with more working across local authority boundary ‘red lines’ on a map. Housing and job markets do not observe those red lines, nor do people notice when they are crossing them in the car or on the train. In the same way the solutions to many urgent environmental issues, such as water management, flood prevention and low carbon energy generation, are arrived at by thinking and working across boundaries.
Large scale urban design can inform decisions on where to invest limited resources for infrastructure, or where to focus the energies of private developers and public service providers. Working at this scale can strengthen local prosperity, for instance by linking specialised centres together to support a knowledge economy. It can tackle inequality, for instance by directing investment in transport infrastructure to connect failing areas to thriving areas. The framework offers a way for councils to take forward the idea of local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), recently announced by the government, particularly with regard to their role, size and governance. CABE used a mix of UK best practice, international research and workshops to produce this guidance.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Task Force on Sustainable Lifestyles has recently published its overall findings from a four-year project to explore ways to engage, exemplify, enable and encourage people, civil society organisations and governments to further sustainability in people’s everyday lives.
The international Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Lifestyles, led by the Swedish Ministry of the Environment, is one of seven international Task Forces that have been launched on specific sustainable consumption and production (SCP) themes, in order to accelerate a regional and national shift towards SCP. The Task Force on Sustainable Lifestyles gathered best practice examples from developed and developing countries from ongoing work around the world and supported new projects to fill gaps in knowledge.
Despite the Task Force ending, many of the projects will continue under the newly established Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living (PERL). The report includes a Manifesto setting out the top line recommendations from the Task Force to deliver more sustainable lifestyles, falling under the following themes: enthuse and inspire; create support structures; celebrate success; focus your efforts; and form partnerships.
The Rural Coalition recently launched this report, which describes a future for rural England in which every rural community can thrive. It presents a shared policy agenda for rural communities. Its overriding objective is to help achieve a positive, lasting legacy of sustainable rural communities in which people enjoy living and working; which are vibrant, distinctive and in keeping with the character of their surroundings, with a full range of good-quality local services; and which enhance local landscapes, heritage and biodiversity while meeting the challenges of climate and economic change. It proposes urgent, implementable changes that pick up and respond to the concerns that the partners in the new Coalition Government have already stated they wish to address.
The Rural Coalition was formed in September 2008, comprising the following organisations: Action with Communities in Rural England, The Campaign to Protect Rural England, The Country Land and Business Association, The Local Government Group, The Royal Town Planning Institute, The Town and Country Planning Association, and it has been advised by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.
The Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) is an initiative funded by both Defra and the Department for Transport, and is coordinated by the Policy Studies Institute in London.
SDRN aims to facilitate and strengthen the links between providers of research and policymakers across government, in order to improve evidence-based policymaking to deliver the UK government’s objectives for sustainable development.
SDRN Annual Conference 2010
This year’s SDRN Annual Conference will take place on 9th December 2010 at the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre, London. The Annual Conference is SDRN’s flagship event, bringing together over 150 sustainability practitioners, policy-makers and researchers and to share and discuss recent findings, and to review how research efforts can better contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals.
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