Environmental Justice and Governance for Social Change
NSW Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH), $32,000
Dr Helen Masterman-Smith, Dr John Rafferty & Dr Marie Sheahan
This project builds on the learnings and lessons of three previous projects that the researchers have been involved with – the two Our Place-Riverina and Murray and Our Place-Corowa projects, funded by OEH, and the Learning Communities Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program project, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Education.
The project aims to broker community engagement strategies and options on the theme of sustainable communities.
The researchers have partnered with the Goodlife Co-operative, a not-for profit community organisation and in recognition of the need for a community-driven space, a shopfront "The Commons" in Lavington, NSW (open Mondays to Fridays from 12.30pm to 5pm) has been leased.
"The Commons" provides a venue for the flagship of the six activities in the brokerage - "The Art of Sustainability Exhibition and competition series" involving schools and community groups.
Another activity within the brokerage is to do with community resilience and engagement with the neighbourhood. Accordingly, "The Commons" is also a meeting place for informal discussions on sustainability, a food relief centre (with food provided by Foodshare, another not-for-profit community organisation), a free store, the location for a community work-board (where community members write down that they think needs attention on the social, environmental and economic sustainability front), and there is a vegetable garden and propagation nursery at the rear of the shop.
As well as helping to facilitate the activities undertaken at "The Commons," the researchers are also doing auto-ethnographic research on the project and there are plans for formal interviews with volunteer stakeholders.
Community engagement activities associated with this project include:
Expected outcomes from this project include:
This project has led to funding from the NSW Environmental Trust, for a $100,000 project "Powering Down" to commence in 2017. The new project is modelled on the current project and is aimed at the same neighbourhood/communities but with a focus on energy efficiency and security.
Dr Helen Masterman-Smith