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Educational research and development to promote sustainable development in the City of Helsinki: helping the Accessible Helsinki Programme 2001-2011 to achieve its goals

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The City of Helsinki has decided to improve the planning, design and building of accessible environments. The Accessible Helsinki Programme is designed for all inhabitants, not only for the disabled and elderly. The needs of disabled and elderly people are important, but so too are the needs of both able bodied children and adults, life cycle analysis of construction and of buildings, ecological, economic, cultural and social sustainability. Educational research and development are a facilitating aspect of the Programme to monitor and improve the quality of thinking and acting in the Programme. Educational theories to promote the Programme are presented in this paper. Improved concept mapping as a metacognitive quality tool is introduced. As a pilot study, ten "experts" and decision makers in the Programme were interviewed and their conceptual frameworks indicating how they understood the Programme and the role of education in it were concept mapped. The results provide a good starting point for shared understanding and further educational research and development in the Programme.

Keywords: sustainable development, education for sustainability, accessible city, concept mapping, improved concept mapping, research and development, educational research, didactics of sustainable development, lifelong learning

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