Sustainability Values Mapping Process

For further details, contact Dr Laura Stocker, Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute (Declan's mum)

Sustainability Values Mapping Process

The purpose of sustainability values mapping project is:


The sustainability values mapping process:

UN Decade of Education for Sustainability

The UN Decade of Education for Sustainability runs from January 2005 - January 2010. It builds on the UN Sustainable Development process that began in 1972. It also builds on the environmental education movement.

UN definition of SD

The UN definition of sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED, 1990)

Sustainability Values

Formal sustainability values include:

  • Integration of dimensions in decision-making: social, cultural, ecological, economic
  • Indigenous rights
  • Futurity
  • Equity
  • Participation and self-determination
  • Local - global interactions
  • Peace

For the purposes of working with young children, we considered the above values in terms of their rights and responsibilities to a place.

Right to be sustained

  • To be nourished
  • To be strengthened
  • To be cared for
Responsibility to sustain
  • Caring for each other - going along together
  • Stewardship of local places - caring for country
These values also relate to the National Framework values of
  • Understanding, tolerance and inclusion
  • Care and compassion
  • Respect
  • Responsibility.

Layers of place

In this process we use the idea of layers of place to deconstruct the reconstruct our understanding of place. The layers are:

Where these layers interact and synergise we call ‘sustainability hotspots’.

We may think of them simply as ‘special places’. Of course, the real world is not literally in 4 layers.

Ecological layer

The ecological layer consists of:

  • The biological world: ecosystems, plants and animals
  • The physical elements: water, geology.

It includes beaches, rivers, bushland, welands, sky.

Social layer

The social layer consists of:

  • Where and how people organise to meet their needs
  • Where and how do people belong?

It includes hospitals, police stations, train/bus stations, markets, cafes.

Economic layer

The economic layer consists of:

  • Where and how people earn livelihoods
  • Where and how people spend money
  • Technology used to generate wealth
  • Life cycle of production, consumption, waste disposal.

It includes shops, malls, industrial areas, offices, ports, farms and gardens, mines, recycling centres, rubbish dumps.

Cultural layer

The cultural layer consists of:

  • Where and how people make meaning of their world
  • Where and how they express that meaning to themselves and to others.

It includes art galleries, sacred sites, theatres, parks, cafes, markets, dance and music venues.

Juice of sustainability

In looking for sustainability we ask:

  • How do the layers interact and synergise?
  • How does the place sustain us and how do we sustain the place?

Mapping Exercise - Stages

  • Choose a base map of your area
  • Walk or ride around the place you are looking at
  • Use 4 transparent plastic overlays and mark the cultural, social, ecological and economic features on them (separately)
  • Superimpose them all on the base map by putting all the transparencies over the base map
  • Look for sustainability hotspots - that is, where features from all or several layers coincide
  • Develop final composite map (perhaps as a digital map) and attach including photos, poems, drawings, comments.