An applied educational learning concept for “living system” fieldwork

Susu Nousala, Claudia Garduno


The dynamic interactions of very large living systems in which we find ourselves existing and engaging with, can, at the very least be difficult to navigate, or at worst, dictate disastrous directions (Garduno et al. 2013). There have been various descriptions that are based more on perceptions that influence and stress different areas of sustainable development and sustainability. The Brundtland Report discussed the ‘inequality is the planet’s main “environ-mental” problem’ (WCED 1987, p 6), linking poverty and pollution, social justice with unsustainability. It did however; link these issues, even though there was a focus on the symptoms rather than the cause’ (Asghar 2001).

However, more recently it has been possible to view these issues as living systems, that are in themselves, adaptive complex systems, with many multiple components and properties (Nousala et al 2012: Nousala and Hall 2008: Hall et al 2010). Asghar (2001) discusses a broader perspective, by referring to the Brundtland Report (WCED 1987, p3) and the futility of focusing or dealing with the environmental problems without viewing these issues through a wider lens, to encompass the factors that underpin world poverty and international inequality.

These perceptions have also been challenged by increased understanding of richer based contexts, supported by multi-disciplinary processes of all kinds, not least of all, the expansion of educational platforms of exchange, that rely on action based research, but also statistical data base analysis.

This paper discusses the concepts of sustainability, community engagement, methodological approaches (through a social complex adaptive systems lens) and educational experiences based an educational pilot project, namely Aalto LAB Mexico (ALM). This experimental case study was based on previous research, current literature and fieldwork engagement with specific rural communities in Mexico (Garduno et al. 2013).


term 4. sustainability :term 4. community engagement :term 3.methodological approaches :term 2. social complex adaptive systems; term 1.educational platforml experiences

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