Management school hosts international sustainability conference

10 January 2011

Dr Michael Cameron

Dr Michael Cameron: "Sustainability is an integral part of what we do and teach at Waikato Management School."

The pleasures and perils of car-free living in Hamilton and practical ways small businesses can reduce their carbon footprint were among topics presented at a sustainability conference hosted by the University of Waikato Management School on January 5-7.

The Seventh International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability drew more than 180 participants from Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia to discuss sustainability issues across a range of disciplines.

Among the participants were academics, architects, engineers, design professionals, environmentalists and research librarians.

Plenary speakers included Linda Te Aho of Te Piringa – Faculty of Law on the Waikato River settlement and Waikato Management School’s Dr Eva Collins on the uptake of sustainability practices by New Zealand businesses.

“Sustainability is an integral part of what we do and teach at Waikato Management School so hosting a key academic conference on sustainability is the perfect fit for us,” said conference organiser Dr Michael Cameron.

At the conference, researchers from Waikato’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences presented their findings from a study of car-free lifestyles in Hamilton.

Masters student Bryan Lewis found participants in the study believed the benefits of car-free living far outweighed the costs. But there were two areas where they experienced problems – making trips outside the city and when they needed to transport equipment or goods.

“Car culture and current attitudes to public and active transport, such as cycling, are some of the biggest problems for car-free living,” he said. “There’s a lot of talk about promoting alternative forms of transport, but this is not reflected in transport and roading policy decisions in urban areas.”

Lewis plans to extend his study for his doctorate, researching the resilience of small urban and rural communities to changes in personal transport.

“I’ll be looking at how changes in age demographics and increasing fuel costs will impact on communities outside the main centres. My prediction is an increase in urban drift.”

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