Creating Sustainable Communities: Conceptualising an Interactive Toolkit for Skills Enhancement

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The UK policy framework for the development of sustainable communities, dating from the late 1990’s, has involved substantial changes in the working practices of urban development practitioners. The achievement of sustainable outcomes requires a range of professions, organisations, groups and individuals to work towards shared goals. Thus an emphasis on multi-agency and participatory working has become an integral component of the development of sustainable communities. Initial slow progress gave rise to a review of shortfalls in institutional capacity, and deficits in the generic skills required to enable effective multi-agency working were revealed. The policy response to these perceived deficits included initiatives to provide targeted information and training resources – at both a national and regional level – to urban development professionals and communities. This paper discusses research conducted at a regional level to develop a set of on-line resources focussed on the enhancement of generic skills. The research has addressed a wide range of conceptual and practical difficulties: the nature of generic skills; the capacity of online learning to address contextual skills; and the difficulties of integrating on-line learning into everyday working practices. The paper reviews this conceptual framework and its contribution to the design of the on-line skills resource.


Keywords: Sustainable Communities, Skills, Generic Skills, Contextual Skills, Workplace Learning, On-line Llearning
Stream: Social Sustainability
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Creating Sustainable Communities


Ann Hockey

Senior Lecturer, Department of the Built Environment, Anglia Ruskin University
Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Currently Senior Lecturer in Spatial Planning at Anglia Ruskin University and Pathway Leader for the MSc Town Planning. Research interests include the application of GIS technologies to planning issues and practice, the development of knowledge and skills in the workplace, and perception and use of the built environment by people in later life. Ann is a Chartered Town Planner (MRTPI) and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and is committed to strengthening the links between professional planning practice and education.

Dr. Martin Spaul

Research Project Officer, Department of the Built Environment, Anglia Ruskin University
Chelmsford, Essex, UK


Dr. Carlos Jimenez-Bescos

Research Project Officer, Department of the Built Environment, Anglia Ruskin University
Chelmsford, Essex, UK


Ian Frame

Reader, Department of the Built Environment, Anglia Ruskin University
Chelmsford, Essex, UK


Ref: S08P0150