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URBAN ENVIRONMENTS A Service Learning Course in New York City to Foster SES Resilience Keith G. Tidball, Dept. of Natural Resources, Cornell U. 14 Apr 2008 Resilience 2008 Conference, Stockholm Sweden
Main Points • Learning about urban social-ecological systems requires a systems thinking and an experiential learning approach that assumes an adaptive learning environment and resilient adaptive learners. 2. Understanding the role of persons, humans, in urban SES resilience is of critical importance. 3. Must help learners be knowledgeable ABOUT resilience, must help begin to think as future mangers in terms of managing FOR resilience, and must actually FOSTER SES resilience in the actual Urban system of interest.
Introducing Urban Environments We must begin with what concerns the student most deeply. We must proceed in such a way and with such materials as to enable him [sic] to gain increasingly rational insight into these concerns. -C. Wright Mills I954
“If the last century was the century of urbanization , the twenty-first will be the century of cities. It is in the cities that decisive battles for quality of life will be fought, and their outcomes will have defining effect on the planet’s environment and on human relations.” The Honorable Jaime Lerner Former Governor of Parana, Brazil and former Mayor of Curitiba Why Urban Environments? http://www.state.gov/cms_images/41global_pop_dens.jpg State of the World 2007, “Our Urban Future.” Worldwatch Institute.
Urban Environments: Course Structure • Urban horticulture and community gardening • Urban community forestry • Urban fisheries and wildlife • Green design, architecture and landscaping • Urban ecology and social ecological systems, and resilience theory
Learning about resilience Learning to fosterresilience http://www.resalliance.org/1610.php
Fostering Resilience in NYC Photos: KG Tidball
Learning About Resilience in NYC Photos: KG Tidball
“ From urban wildlife in Central Park, community gardens, to environmental injustices in Harlem, so much of what I experienced over Spring Break was new to me. Not only have I discovered things that I did not know but I also have been inspired to ask myself a different set of questions.” -UE Student, 2007 Resilient Learners... ? Student Chelsea Clarke, ’10, helping clean up a Harlem Community Garden. Photo: KG Tidball
Urban Environments Service Learning as Praxis • Opportunity to participate in supplemental or "co-curricular" service-related activities • Deliberately choose sites to maximize encounters with community members actively immersed in issues related directly to the course content • Learners intentionally "reflect on" their service related observations and experiences Hironimus-Wendt, Robert & Larry Lovell-Troy, 1999. “Grounding Service Learning in Social Theory.” Teaching Sociology 27:360-372.
In Conclusion... • Evaluation? • Next steps?
In Acknowledgment... Thanks to: Faculty Fellows in Service Program at Cornell University Cornell University, especially the Public Service Center’s New York City Programs Department of Natural Resources Students of Urban Environments NYC partners