Building Connections: Community-Based Phytostabilisation/Remediation in southern Africa

The purpose of this project was to scope the potential of phytostabilisation – planting designed to keep materials in place - as an environmentally sensitive, inclusive and low-cost strategy that will allow for an enhanced social resilience in the face of food insecurity and economic precariousness (keeping roads working) while at the same time enhancing the ecological resilience of much needed arable lands (designing roadsides that mediate erosion and can potentially even become productive in their own right) and the long-term social resilience of communities that are precariously connected via these roads.

This foundation-building project brought together a range of expertise to produce a cohesive inter-disciplinary strategy for enhancing a ‘slow’, socio-ecological resilience by engaging social arts and public pedagogies with environmental sciences to help bridge the gap between immediate needs and sustainable futures. This dynamic involved an engagement with:

1. Public and community based pedagogies to understand and educate those involved in the possibilities, requirements, and implications;

2. The arts to engage social imaginations of alternative futures, civic belonging, and community cohesion;

3. Geochemistry, engineering, and agronomy to ensure the appropriate and effective design of techniques and selection of organisms;

4. Geopolitics and environmental governance as a means of envisioning the broad social, political and cross-border contexts within which these can be proffered; and 5. Community, cross-cultural, and multimodal facilitation. 

PI and Co-Is

PI: Dr Mia Perry (School of Education, University of Glasgow

Co-I: Professor Deborah Dixon (School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow)

Start and End Date

Oct 2016 – Jan 2017

Funder and Funding Amount

ESRC (Impact Acceleration Account); £13,000

Project News

This project proved to be a fundamental stage to the development of what became the Sustainable Futures in Africa Network (SFA). The meeting served to explore existing issues, commonalities and distinguishing factors across regions, and forge the path for needed research projects. This group went on to merge with the CSPE Network (Communities of Science and Practice Engage) (ESRC funded Strategic Network project) to form the larger and still growing Sustainable Futures in Africa Network.

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