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Regenerative Sustainable Development of Universities and Cities

Regenerative Sustainable Development of Universities and Cities

The Role of Living Laboratories

Edited by Ariane König

Now that the Earth has reached the limits of its biophysical carrying capacity, we have to change technologies, social practices and social norms relating to material production and consumption to ensure that we do not further jeopardize the functioning of our planet’s life support systems. Through research, education and civic engagement, universities have a pivotal role to play in this transition. This timely book explores how universities are establishing living laboratories for sustainable development, and examines the communication networks and knowledge infrastructures that underpin impact both on and beyond the campus.

Chapter 10: Leading by example: developing an effective energy efficiency program for a campus and community

Christopher Powell

Subjects: education, education policy, geography, cities, politics and public policy, education policy, social policy and sociology, education policy, urban and regional studies, cities


Cities, and specifically the energy they consume, are at the forefront of the sustainability challenges we face. Energy consumption creates significant environmental, health and social impacts including increased temperatures, pollution and high energy costs in an ever carbon constrained world. The concept of sustainability has emerged from a global political process that has tried to bring together, simultaneously, the most powerful needs of our time: (1) the need for economic development to overcome poverty; (2) the need for environmental protection of our air, water, soil and biodiversity, upon which we all ultimately depend; and (3) the need for social justice and cultural diversity to enable communities to express their values in solving these issues (Newman and Ken worthy, 1999, p. 4) Over 50 percent of the world’s population currently lives in cities, and the trend suggests drastic increases (Grimm et al., 2008). As universities and colleges create and implement campus sustainability plans, the irrespective cities and communities can benefit when these knowledge gains are shared.

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