Eco-municipalities and Sustainable Sweden often work with somewhat complex concepts and words, when we are actually trying to make society more simple. On this page you will then find a summary of concepts and words that are used throughout the website so you can understand what we really do. Some of these concepts we do not work directly with, but we decided to explain them for an easier understanding of sustainability.
- Capacity Building
- Green Business
- Municipalities in Sweden
- Low-hanging fruits
- Urban Greening
Back-casting – as opposed to forecasting – is a method used in planning long-term projects. Put simply, forecasting predicts the future based on current conjectures and the current state of situation. Back-casting defines a specific goal for the future and from there looks back to the present to see what has to be done in order to reach this final goal. Hence, we often use it to better determine and carefully plan step by step each project in which we’re involved. You can find a more detailed definition of this concept here.
Capacity building, or capacity development, is a concept born in the 1990s and referring to the process by which individual and organizations obtain, improve, and retain the skills and knowledge needed to do their jobs competently. It is mostly used in issues of international development to allow individuals, communities or countries getting independent from international aid and achieving sustainable results by building their own capabilities on the long-term. Throughout those decades of experiences with the eco-municipalities, we’ve noticed how essential a good capacity center for sustainability is for the success of the eco-municipality process on the long-term.
Eco-Tourism / Sustainable Tourism
It is defined by the International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education” (TIES, 2015). It is a form of practicing touristic activities without doing harm to the local environment, the people and helping them improve their life conditions and their access to education through tourism.
This Swedish tradition is the craddle of many innovations. Whenever you feel the need to take a break from your work, or to have a discussion with partners or friends, you do it around a nice hot drink and a pastry to stimulate your motivation !
According to the business dictionary, a Green Business is a business functioning in a capacity where no negative impact is made on the local or global environment, the community, or the economy. A green business will also engage in forward-thinking policies for environmental concerns and policies affecting human rights. Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/green-business.html
Municipality (in Sweden)
Different countries have different definitions of what a municipality is. As in most countries, the municipality is the smallest level of administrative entity. But unlike other places, in Sweden, the municipality does not correspond to one city or village alone. It often consists of one big city and its neighbouring smaller villages. Thus, the average size of a municipality is 15.000 inhabitants, and the country is divided into 290 municipalities, which is much less than for instance France’s 36.000 municipalities or Germany’s 11.000.
Municipalities in Sweden also have much more powers than their European counterparts. They are responsible for most of the local services : schools (from pre-school to secondary school), emergency services (except policing), social services and elderly care, health and environmental policies, sanitation and urban planning.
A low-hanging fruit refers to any benefit that can be achieved with minimal effort, and which would be a loss not to take advantage of given how easy it is to obtain. Thus the expression refers to it as a low-hanging fruit that is easy to pick if you take your time to reach for it.
Urban Greening, often called as or linked to Urban Forestry, is a form of Urban Design that concentrates on creating or improving green spaces. More and more cities realize how capital it is to have green spaces in order to enhance both the physical and mental health of its inhabitants. This is where urban greening comes in, to strategically implement vegetation throughout cities. Urban Greening sometimes – but not always – also includes urban agriculture initiatives.
The workshop is the core moment of each SSA Tour. A “workshop” simply refers to a moment where we sit down to talk, ask questions, make and present projects or just share our experiences on the ongoing progress.