THE ROLE OF THE UNIVERSITY
At this stage and depending on differing national and political strategies, the universities and municipalities of each country have separate duties and their own budgets. There is little collaboration between the two institutions at this level. In the Swedish case, the Gothenburg University Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies of Human Conditions plans to start courses in collaboration with the city of Gothenburg and the Ecocentrum. These courses are entitled “Basic Courses on Living Environment”.
The aim of such courses is to give ecological and environmental information to the “international groups” living in Gothenburg.
These groups, as mentioned in the course proposal, previously had little chance to gain real knowledge of new environmental and ecological events because of language deficiencies.
The ecological courses for international groups help a great number of new residents in Sweden learn about environmental issues at the academic level.
All interested people with an international background are welcome to participate in the courses. There is no age limit, and all residents of Gothenburg are eligible to attend without registration or tuition fees. Students are selected by interview, acceptance being enhanced and facilitated by:
– a common language of communication, i.e. Swedish, English, .. – being able to contribute ecological ideas to the group. These can be novel ideas that solve specific problems or general ideas that originate, say, in an older or different culture and which can be transplanted. The overall aims of each group are the exchange of ecological information and the generation of new material for new courses.
Another role of universities in such local networks is to offer the results of the university research to citizens via municipal support.
An example of such research has already been proposed as an ecological solution for Mölndal’s city texture integration.