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Researcher–Planner Dialogue on Environmental Justice and Its Knowledges—A Means to Encourage Social Learning Towards Sustainability

Environmental Policy Center, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), P.O. Box 140; FIN-00251 Helsinki, Finland
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Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2601; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082601
Received: 15 May 2018 / Revised: 17 July 2018 / Accepted: 23 July 2018 / Published: 24 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Abstract

Societies aiming for a sustainable future need more effective and legitimate planning and decision making practices, in which various actors together find pathways towards a sustainable transition. In this paper, we approach sustainability and environmental justice as epistemological (and ontological) challenges for land-use planning, and empirically analyse how action research could support planners’ social learning and planning towards fair and sustainable development. We analysed qualitatively the evolution of the researcher–planner dialogue while co-designing and developing better methods, means and practices to improve environmental justice in regional scale planning in Kymenlaakso Region, South-East Finland. We found that researcher-planner dialogue developed during cooperation. While in the beginning, social learning related to approaching environmental justice as a fair distribution of power evolved incrementally, later, when dialogue became more focused, communicative and reflective as an outcome of mutual frames and trust, learning occurred in a more transformative way. Such transformative learning concerned recognising youth as a silent group in the planning process and the means to involve their perceptions in planning. In order to support sustainability transformation in the future, we conclude that it is essential to create opportunities for such incremental and transformative social learning through innovative modes of interaction in various contexts. View Full-Text
Keywords: action research; environmental justice; land use planning; dialogue; science-policy interaction; sustainability; transformative learning action research; environmental justice; land use planning; dialogue; science-policy interaction; sustainability; transformative learning
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Rekola, A.; Paloniemi, R. Researcher–Planner Dialogue on Environmental Justice and Its Knowledges—A Means to Encourage Social Learning Towards Sustainability. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2601.

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