The Open UniversitySkip to content

Learning from experience in sustainability

Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen (2003). Learning from experience in sustainability. In: Proceedings International Sustainable Development Research Conference 2003 (Proceedings of), 24-25 Mar 2003, Nottingham, UK.

Full text available as:
PDF (Not Set) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (61kB)
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This paper explores the apparent contradiction between the 'linearity' of most Sustainability Indicator (SI) projects, with defined outputs achieved in a set period of time, and an implied 'circularity' that goes with most sustainable development (SD) initiatives. Projects usually have clear parameters within which they are implemented, and the inclusion of elements such as the need for accountability, measurable impact and 'value for money' have grown in importance. Whether we like it or not, it could be argued that we live in a 'projectified' world. We suggest that one way of exploring this potential contradiction between 'linearity' and 'circularity' is to frame the project with a Kolb Learning Cycle heuristic. This will facilitate a rationalisation from those implementing the SI project as to why decisions are being made and for whom. If these questions are opened up to the project stakeholders, including beneficiaries, then the Kolb cycle could encourage learning and understanding by all involved. It is suggested that such learning should be a valid output of the SI project, although typically the focus is only upon the final list of SIs and how they feed into policy. Funders need to take a broader perspective by allowing for both within SI projects, even if learning is not a measurable or tangible outcome. These points are explored within the context of the wider literature and SI projects in Malta and Lebanon.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Keywords: sustainable development; projects
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Engineering and Innovation
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 113
Depositing User: Users 12 not found.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2006
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2018 15:51
Share this page:

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU