Seven Sides to Every Question? Towards effective inter-disciplinary action on sustainable development
This project explored how different disciplines saw and evaluated local projects. Key aims were assessing ‘knowledge gaps’ and ‘language barriers’ and identify ways to improve inter-disciplinary understanding and co-operation in sustainable development.
This short report is based on small, exploratory project
tackling a very big issue – effective inter-disciplinary action on
sustainable development. A specific objective of this particular
project was to improve understanding of the knowledge and learning
issues that might affect this work.
- The project aims to work across the various disciplines involved in sustainable development at a local or neighbourhood level. Aims of this agenda include:
- Assessing the ‘knowledge gaps’ and ‘language barriers’ that currently exist in multi-disciplinary work
- Identifying opportunities to improve inter-disciplinary understanding and co-operation
- Developing an inter-disciplinary framework for evaluation of local level work on sustainable development
- Identifying, with the support of relevant professional bodies, common elements of evaluation criteria for locally-focused good practice that meets the needs of each discipline.
The work was based around a set of discussion groups. Seven of
these were discipline-specific and were assembled with the help of
an organisation from that field. A final, wider discussion forum
brought the different disciplines together.
A number of conclusions were made: a clear assessment of
knowledge gaps between disciplines is essential; barriers seem to
be most common among highly qualified professionals, institutions
and traditions; there are some areas that are poorly understood.
Good communications is essential to better understanding – cutting out jargon and terminology. While local sustainability practitioners have a good understanding of the priorities of others and are keen to co-operate, this is often difficult due to their lack of core identity.
Focus areas to address problems:
- barriers and boundaries,
- language and complexity.
Community Development Foundation