Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Ecolink: Ecocentres as a tool for local sustainable development and for environmental research implementation, Final Project Report

Project ID: EVG3-CT-2002-80011
Funded under: FP5-EESD


During the last two decades, the creation of many technical centres and scientific parks could be observed in most of European countries, often motivated by environmental, social and cultural concerns, to solve specific local problems of environment and\or to promote new approaches of development.
Most of these centres are now well known beyond the limits of their region, and they play considerable economic and social roles, by generating directly important income and creating (or helping to maintain) many jobs.
Besides these two types of impacts, which are generally perceived as the most important ones, because they are supposed to represent the essential part of the so-called "economic impacts", ecosites also play essential roles in several domains where traditional economics still miss the mark. These site-based organisational structures, that we shall call here ecocentres or ecosites, serve:
- to limit, interrupt or repair past or present damages to natural resources, or avoid the degradation of sites and landscapes after the decline of those activities which have produced them;
- to work out, experiment and\or promote new technologies in various domains (transport, construction, agriculture, water, energy and waste management);
- to train professionals (technicians, engineers, searchers, administrators) for the sectors in which they innovate;
- to increase public awareness of new problems facing society, of corresponding risks, and of the efforts which are being made to confront them;
- to attract important influxes of tourists, in particular when they locally cooperate with other attractive sites to develop the same or other activities (sports, leisure, culture);
- to encourage the emergence of a new philosophy for the management of the environment and of the corresponding policies, through better information, commitment and responsibility of actors (principles of governance)

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