Community Environment Education Centers: Facilitating Community Created Ecoscapes

By Erwin Weber and Adrienne Weber.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 9, 2015 Free Download

This study focuses on designing a community environment education center (CEEC) for Chillingham, as a hub for community transition to sustainability, redressing social fragmentation, youth unemployment, a high eco-footprint and economic rural decline due to globalisation. The ecologically sustainable development framework was delivered by integrating environment education and community development through project-based experiential learning. The development of Chillingham Community Centre involved case study research and incorporated participatory design charrettes, transformative learning, eco-positive development and community-public-private partnerships. This process evolved from community strategic planning in a small rural village buffering world heritage rainforests impacted by a rapidly expanding urban conurbation on Australia’s east coast. This community space encompasses socio-environmental flows connecting people to each other and the ecoscape to grow natural capital, community cohesion and empower eco-governance. Modelling passive solar design, on-site renewable energy/water/nutrient cycling, community garden/market and environment education programs sowed the seeds for a green local economy, demonstrating community capacity to participate in transition to sustainability. A small rural community can demonstrate to other communities that a CEEC enables people to meet their socio-environmental and economic needs locally and sustainably. The ecologically sustainable solution is holistic, all settlements need to be richly biodiverse, locally specific and globally wise.

Keywords: Ecological Sustainability, Environmental Education, Community Development

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 6, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.1-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 9, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.974MB)).

Erwin Weber

Principal, Subtropic Solar Design, Queensland University of Technology, Chillingham, New South Wales, Australia

Adrienne Weber

Principal, Subtropic Solar Design, University of Western Sydney, Chillingham, New South Wales, Australia