Community resilience, climate change, sustainability & engagement : adventures in creative project-based education on the Eyre Peninsula
Author(s)Jones, David S.
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AbstractTeaching sustainability ethics and creative practical technological applications holistically, in a multi-disciplinary ethos, with real community engagement is fraught with pedagogical and logistical issues. This paper reviews a highly community-acclaimed tertiary course/project, offered at the School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture &amp; Urban Design at the University of Adelaide, undertaken on the Eyre Peninsula in 1st semester 2009. The course successfully enhanced student appreciation of rural community capacity building and economic fragility issues while undertaking a project-based approach to interrogating and working with rural communities to devise and demonstrate potential micro-relevant design and planning initiatives that could strengthen community resilience, climate change adaptiveness, and validate natural resource management aims within townships. The project involved some 120 students in 6 host communities through 6 local municipalities with the full support of the Natural Resource Management (NRM) Board and Local Government Association (LGA).<br /><br />The paper reviews the project, its historical evolution, aims, objectives, learning strategies, community aspirations and outcomes, and positions such against various professional education accreditation frameworks. The methodological learning process, including its philosophical, pedagogical and instruments outcomes are reviewed and interrogated. The student learning outcomes, University reputation impact, and community impact, professional practice knowledge and skill attributes, and instrumental outcomes are also reviewed drawing upon evidence derived from extensive meetings, questionnaire surveys, synergistic NRM-sponsored research projects, student evaluation of teachings (SELTS), and local media coverage of the project.<br /><br />The project has received applause from the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) and Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), and preliminary endorsement from the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), as being integral to the School&rsquo;s curriculum that achieves their professional accreditation expectations of key learning experiences relevant to climate change, master planning and design, and community engagement. The project offers a possible educational model that enriches student experience and learning and addresses recent generic university community engagement policy expectations.<br />