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The New Zealand Footprint Project – update from Ella Lawton
Submitted by Sean Rioux on July 27, 2011 - 8:38pm.
Understanding the make up of resources a community uses to maintain its lifestyle is an important step towards integrating a local planning approach that can set a pathway towards a more sustainable future. In some groundbreaking research, the New Zealand Footprint Project is doing just that with selected communities in the North and South Islands. Ella Lawton from Otago Polytechnic’s Centre for Sustainable Practice is project managing the research and provides a quick update here on how the work’s going.
The Footprint Project is already half way through! Over the past two months Maggie Lawton and I have been busy interviewing people throughout four of the project partner communities; and we’re aiming to have completed two more communities before the end of 2011. During the interviews volunteers completed a questionnaire to provide information about their food, consumer goods and holiday preferences, as well has their house size and amount of travel. The response from these communities was fantastic, thank you to all those who volunteered their time!
The next stage of the project is to develop the personal and community footprint calculator. Ella is currently knee-deep in New Zealand statistics and is likely to remain there until November 2011. At that point it will be time to go back out into the communities, share the community footprint and lifestyle information, and discus how these findings could influence their long term community planning and decision-making.
For more information check out the new Footprint website and blog: http://www.otagopolytechnic.ac.nz/schools-departments/centre-for-sustainable-practice/programmes-projects/footprinting.html.
The New Zealand Footprint Project will explore the resource requirements of New Zealand communities. It will ask questions that have never been investigated before regarding the amount of land we require for our community infrastructure and support our lifestyle decisions. New Zealand communities and the people within them vary depending on their history, location and socio-economic backgrounds; the Project hopes to understand these differences in more detail.
Ultimately, the project will ask communities to reflect upon and discuss the resources they currently depend on. We will explore resource trends and the effects of resource scarcity on their community in open community forums. The outcomes from these forums have potential to impact the future planning and strategic direction of these communities.