International Review of Education

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 339–354 | Cite as

Fostering inclusive, sustainable economic growth and “green” skills development in learning cities through partnerships

  • Margarita Pavlova


One of the requirements of building a learning city is working to ensure its sustainable development. In 2014, UNESCO developed a framework of the key features of learning cities, at the centre of which there are six pillars or “building blocks” which support sustainable development. This article focuses on the third of these pillars, “effective learning for and in the workplace”. The author analyses a number of conditions to address this aspect in the context of “green restructuring” which is geared towards facilitating the sustainable development of learning cities. She argues that, at the conceptual level, an understanding of the nature of “green skills” (what they are) and the reasons for “green skills gaps” (why they exist) are essential for the processes of effective learning and strategy planning in sustainable city development. The specific focus of this article is at the policy level: the conceptualisation of partnerships between technical and vocational education and training (TVET) providers, industry, government and other stakeholders with the aim of fostering the production, dissemination and usage of knowledge for the purpose of sustainable economic development and the “greening” of skills. The author proposes a new model, based on the quintuple helix approach to innovation combined with a policy goals orientation framework to theorise the ways in which learning cities can foster sustainable economic growth through green skills development.


green skills conceptualisation greening economy partnership model for greening learning cities sustainable economic growth workplace learning 


Valoriser croissance économique inclusive et durable et « compétences vertes » dans les villes apprenantes via les partenariats – La création d’une ville apprenante implique entre autres de faire le nécessaire pour garantir son développement durable. L’UNESCO a élaboré en 2014 un cadre de référence pour la ville apprenante, reposant sur six piliers ou « éléments constitutifs principaux » qui soutiennent le développement durable. Le présent article se penche sur le troisième de ces piliers, « Apprentissage efficace pour l’emploi et sur le lieu de travail » . L’auteure analyse un certain nombre de conditions pour aborder cet aspect dans le contexte de la « restructuration verte » destinée à faciliter le développement durable dans les villes apprenantes. Elle établit qu’il est essentiel, pour les processus d’apprentissage efficace et de programmation stratégique dans la création d’une ville durable, de cerner au niveau conceptuel la nature des « compétences vertes » (de quoi il s’agit) et les raisons du déficit en pratiques écologiques (pourquoi il existe). L’article se concentre spécifiquement sur le niveau des politiques: la conceptualisation de partenariats entre prestataires en enseignement et formation techniques et professionnels (EFTP), industrie, gouvernement et autres parties prenantes, qui poursuivent le but de faciliter la production, la diffusion et l’utilisation des connaissances servant le développement économique durable et l’écologisation des compétences. L’auteure propose un nouveau modèle fondé sur l’approche de l’hélice quintuple de l’innovation, associé à un cadre d’orientation des objectifs stratégiques. Ce dernier théorise les moyens par lesquels la ville apprenante peut soutenir la croissance économique durable à travers l’acquisition des compétences vertes.



The work presented in this paper was fully supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. HKIEd 18601515).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature, and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International Education and Lifelong LearningThe Education University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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