Sustainability for the Americas: building the American network of sustainability consortia

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ To build awareness of an emergent global network of sustainability consortia, the network's Sustainability for the Americas (SFTA) regional cluster, its pilot US-Brazil Sustainability Consortium (USBSC), its subsequent North American Sustainability, Housing and Community Consortium (NASHCC), the process through which these consortia are emerging and evolving to sustained implementation, planned parallel academic and project funding tracks, and models, tools and techniques used for knowledge transfer. To build awareness of an emergent global sustainability network of multi-national consortia of universities and non-institutional partners created to promote sustainability and innovation that connects people, ideas, and resources for a sustainable future; and to invite people interested in multi-national partnering to enter into a dialogue that can lead to emergence of a multi-national consortium. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper establishes the need for key universities to lead society to a sustainable future. It builds understanding of the role of international partnering, global networking, global media networking, multi-sector partnering, and sustainability consortia in this leadership. It identifies efforts of the Land Design Institute (LDI) at Ball State University and key partners to facilitate emergence of a global network of sustainability consortia. It reviews the model through which these consortia are emerging and evolving to sustained implementation, including the model's parallel academic and project funding streams. It focuses on the SFTA initiative, including its pilot consortium, as a case-study in phased emergence and evolution to sustained implementation of these consortia. It presents the consortia model for integrating internal and external knowledge networks; and processes, tools, and techniques used by consortia to lead society to a sustainable future. It reviews the model's nested curricula and international collaborative partnership approach to building sustainability leadership. It builds on experiences to date in this pilot consortium to make suggestions for future consortia. Findings ‐ Paper findings include the relative ease of consortium emergence, seeding, implementation start-up, and acquiring academic funding; relative difficulty of achieving sustained implementation and project funding; increased awareness of the need for project seeding; and a new understanding of the catalytic benefits of consortia, including increased faculty interaction, development, and productivity including professional papers, journal articles, and proposals for external funding. Originality/value ‐ The paper fulfills the need for effective models, processes, tools and techniques for international partnering to lead society to a sustainable future.

Keywords: Brazil; Education; International cooperation; North America; Partnership; Sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14676370710726643

Publication date: April 17, 2007

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