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Imagine Coastal Sustainability


Abstract:

Imagine Coastal Sustainability
 Simon BellSince 2000 Coastal Area Management Programmes (CAMPs) supported by UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) and the Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC) have been engaging local communities in assessment of their coastal sustainability. The Methods used since 2000 have been based upon an evolving methodology which is now called Imagine.
In 2010 The CAMP Levante de Almeria began. “Imagine the future of our coast” is the slogan selected for this project which is intended to turn this area of southern Spain into a sustainability laboratory. The CAMP Levante de Almeria project is a test and a practical demonstration of how to implement Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) concepts in Spain in compliance with the ICZM Protocol (the seventh protocol in the framework of the Barcelona Convention). CAMP acts technically, environmentally and socially as a means to design and implement new practices, relating these to vertical and horizontal coordination between local and regional administration and public participation in decision-making processes related to the coastal zone. The fundamental objective of the project is to achieve wide scale agreement on the sustainable development of the coast.
Drawing upon the history of the various CAMP projects, this paper explores progress made so far in the application of the Imagine methodology in CAMP Levante de Almeria and, by contrasting it with sum- mary observations emerging from earlier Imagine applications in Malta, Lebanon, Algeria, Slovenia and Cyprus draws conclusions on the value of engaging coastal communities in sustainability self- assessment.

Science Direct Link

Bell, S., Correa Pena, A., Prem, M. (2013). Imagine coastal sustainability. Ocean and Coastal Management, 83, pp. 39 – 51.

From Sustainable Community to Big Society: 10 Years Learning with the Imagine Approach

Abstract:

From Sustainable Community to Big Society: 10 Years Learning with the Imagine Approach Simon BellCommunity is a key word in the current UK political vocabulary. As part of Big Society or as a sustainable means to develop social coherence, community has been an area of focus that has attained UK political party interest since 2003. In 1999, the Imagine method was first hinted at in the Earthscan book: “Sustainability Indicators: measuring the immeasurable”. The approach allows citizens to learn about and self-evaluate their own sustainability by developing their own sustainability indicators in a manner which is participatory and evidence based. Communities could make use of the approach, not in an attempt to arrive at some “absolute” value of sustainability but in striving to achieve a self-knowing sense of how sustainable they are, by their own measured indicators, and to use this evaluation in discourse with other agencies such as local and national government. The tone of Imagine is to empower citizens to own their own sustainability and to plan for sustainable futures. The method, developed for spatial and temporal sustainability assessment, has been trialled by countries in the Mediterranean region within Coastal Area Management Programmes (CAMPs). Building off this engagement with geographically and culturally diverse communities, the method has been supported by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) in the UK and developed into a teaching module that has been subsequently tested at undergraduate, postgraduate, continuing professional development (CPD), Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and working with practitioners, as a hands-on Masterclass. The resulting course Creating Sustainable Communities (CSC) has now been introduced to 20 UK universities and has seen use by seven of them. This paper tracks the development of the Imagine method, explores its major elements and sets out the learning impacts it has had to date.

Bell, S. 2011. From Sustainable Community to Big Society: 10 years learning with the Imagine approach. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education. 20, 3, pp 247 – 267.

Measuring and Evaluating – Introducing Imagine

How the Imagine Approach Captures Context and Leads to Sustainability

The Imagine approach is intended to assist organisations and communities of all kinds to improve their long-term sustainability. It provides a rapid means to:

  • Gain a clear understanding of the context in which the organisation or community finds itself and the challenges it faces.
  • Identify the main indicators which can be used to measure progress made in facing these challenges.
  • Assess the overall message of these indicators and thereby assess the current sustainability of the organisation or community.
  • Consider the current challenges, make scenarios of possible undesirable and desirable futures.
  • Assess progress made in either achieving or remaining clear of these futures in the light of current challenges.

Imagine requires the organisation to invest in no additional capital assets such as software or personnel. It is a facilitated workshop process in which a series of tools are applied to enable local decision makers to map their own context and model sustainable futures. In a series of four half day Imagine events, stakeholders from within the organisation or community come together with a facilitator to engage in the process. Imagine is Rapid, Participatory and Holistic It provides organisations and communities with empowering, evidence-based information … helping them to gain a clear insight into a sustainable future. Rich Pictures (such as seen at the top of the page) are used to map the initial context and amoeba diagrams provide an overview of how things were, are and (importantly) could be. Imagine is not Expert driven, Top down or Exclusive and full of technical language.

 

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