From Ecocity to Ecocampus: sustainability policies in university campuses
Free (open access)
Volume 12 (2017), Issue 3
541 - 551
L.A. SANDOVAL HAMÓN, C.E. BAYAS ALDAZ, J. RODRÍGUEZ POMEDA, F. SÁNCHEZ FERNÁNDEZ AND F. CASANI FERNÁNDEZ DE NAVARRETE
Cities generate environmental impacts that have focused the global interest of scientists and authorities on the search for environment-friendly alternatives. The ‘Ecocity’ concept provides an innovative and sustainable vision of how to build and live in these settlements. Translating this vision to the university campus as a small-scale replica of a city is one of the challenges facing higher education institutions. Through teaching, research, outsourcing, association and university management, these institutions can promote and disseminate more advanced activities in sustainability. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the experiences in this area on two different campuses, one urban in a historic city and another suburban in the outskirts of a large city. The methodology adopts a qualitative method based on the technique of the focus group and in-depth interviews with academics and the ‘Ecocampus’ offices from two Spanish universities, one in an urban context and another in a suburban. The hypotheses indicate that sustainable policies in terms of setting, infrastructure, waste and water are best met by the suburban university. The sustainability efforts of the university in an urban environment stand out in energy-related indicators, transportation and education. In general, the paper suggests that higher institutions adapt their sustainability policies depending on the location of the campus; that is, in urban and suburban areas. The implications of this work addresses two perspectives, the first consists in sustainability policies of universities and the second in the contribution of these best practices to the environmental problems of the city. The originality of this study is to learn from the different experi- ences of sustainability policies of universities with different types of campuses and the influence of these in the development of cities.
ecocampus, ecocity, higher education, suburban, sustainability, urban