Potential for social learning in sustainable regional development: analysis of stakeholder interaction with a focus on the role of scientists


  • Jana Dlouhá
  • Martin Zahradník




social learning, sustainable development, regional issues, actor analysis


This article is concerned with regional development and its dimension of (un)sustainability: it analyses conditions for the success or failure of environmental or SD strategies from a social point of view. The authors share their experience acquired within the process of compiling a database of case studies from different regions of the Czech Republic and from abroad, and subsequently provide a brief analytical overview of cases in this special issue. The analytical perspective focuses on the roles of actors in a dialogue about regional sustainability issues within cooperative or conflict situations, and a description of the communication processes at play, especially within the science – policy interface. An analytical tool (actor analysis) is employed to explore network characteristics, the relationships of the actors involved and the process of deliberation itself where different approaches to “nature”, “environment”, and/or “sustainable development” were conceived but often not agreed upon. A comparative meta-analysis of different cases helped to formulate several hypotheses: for a successful sustainability transition on a regional level, future visions are necessary and should be discussed and shared by stakeholders. Necessary innovation is often the result of the involvement of experts and might be provided from outside the region. Dialogue should be based on respect for actor diversity and their viewpoints (this is a condition for social learning), as well as a commitment to contribute to the “common good”. Where local actors had only to choose between controversial extant solutions, a deadlock in communication often resulted. The establishment of a communication framework for actor involvement appeared to be beneficial, which is also an opportunity for facilitation of these processes in practice.


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Author Biographies

Jana Dlouhá

RNDr. Jana Dlouhá, Ph.D.

Environment Center
Charles University in Prague


Envigogika chief editor

* I am an expert in environmental education and e-learning, my research position in the Charles University Environment Center includes coordination of national and international research and networking projects.

* I have been teaching Czech and foreign students in the international study e-learning programs since 2007.

* I am founder and editor in chief of the peer reviewed journal Envigogika (since 2006).
* Since 2003 I am co-editor of the national environmental encyclopaedia Enviwiki (educational toolkit and Open Education Resource)

Martin Zahradník

Environment Center
Charles University in Prague


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22. 06. 2015

How to Cite

Dlouhá, J., & Zahradník, M. (2015). Potential for social learning in sustainable regional development: analysis of stakeholder interaction with a focus on the role of scientists. Envigogika, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.14712/18023061.476