Students:Local residents group instructions

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Background information: what the landscape means for us

The surrounding landscape is above all our living environment.

We need to perceive it with all our senses as well as rationally – to know as much as possible about its history, natural conditions, etc.

We are not able to envisage or undertake great and visible changes in the surrounding landscape, but much can be achieved through daily upkeep in our immediate neighbourhood (there are lots of us)!

Who we are

Local people living permanently in the area. We might have spent all our lives here but our parents or grandparents probably came here with some of the waves of migration following the Second World War, so our historical roots don’t go very deep. Our basic needs are mostly of an economic and social character: job opportunities and/or the possibility to earn from private activities (agricultural), and beyond that we need to feel at home here and that means having a family living in a supportive atmosphere, positive relations with other people, and some feeling that we can contribute to the community. However, environmental aspects are of great importance as well: a nice, healthy environment for us and our kids that includes natural and aesthetic aspects, and a bit of culture to strengthen our emotional relationships and roots in the region.

Our interests include the education sector (we are interested in educational programs focused on regional history, geography etc., but also programs with a real practical focus that provide a pathway to stable and sustainable jobs), faith based activities and other possible aspects of our daily life.

What we want

To satisfy the basic needs presented above we need a framework of conditions such as:

Stable and predictable policy that enables us to plan activities from a long-term perspective. Access to information that coincides with our interests. The possibility to influence decisions that are of strategic importance to have a stake in the future of the region.

What do we need to explore (potential themes for dialogue with local stakeholders)

  • Do a stocktake of all our regional assets and the skills of the local population
  • Ask tourists about their preferences
  • Know as much as possible about our immediate neighbours – to be able to communicate with them, establish regional associations of interest, create regional networks…
  • Negotiate cross-border cooperation
  • Ensure an information flow from local authorities

Demands towards the other groups

  • Environmentalists - we want them to ensure good living conditions for us. On the other hand, we might not appreciate the restrictions that might be imposed on our activities as a result.
  • The mining company – it does not concern us a great deal except those of us that are employed by it (there are a few of them among us) on one hand, and those that might feel threatened by exceeding the mining limits on the other (a larger number of us). We could tolerate them under certain conditions – as long as everything is transparent. We are interested in subsidies in different areas of social life they are offeri; on the other hand, we might want to know whether these are real investments in development, or only “end-of-pipe” solutions. …
  • Tourists – we need them for economic profit but we do not want to be disturbed by them.
  • Scientists – they are probably a marginal group for us. We could maybe sometimes use their arguments to support our positions in the negotiation process.
  • Regional government – we expect all services & a development strategy oriented mainly toward our interests. We want to know (about what’s going on), be involved (in decision making), and not be disturbed by them too much (not willing to attend all those boring meetings in our spare time).

What we are offering

Daily upkeep of our nearest and also more distant surroundings.

As employees we ensure basic services such as transport, education, health care, …

We create a “sense of community” here, and the social atmosphere is dependent on our input.

Tasks for the group

Compile accessible information about the region from a historical and environmental perspective – text: 2 pages long that provides a framework, a kind of “regional identity” statement based on facts.

Receive input from local people – you should question those you meet during the lectures, visits and excursions, or in normal conversation when you meet somebody relevant “in the street”. Concentrate on those representatives of real stakeholders that could affect your life.

Use “value neutral” information from diverse sources when preparing your SWOT analysis of the current situation (natural and other conditions, policy, institutions, services that you need,…) – positives, negatives, risks, opportunities.

Using the outcome of the SWOT, express your interests clearly (relevant for the current policy debate) – use the opinions of the local people you have explored through conversations on various occasions. Your interests might be oriented toward maintaining traditions or finding very innovative opportunities. However, you have to agree within the group on a list of priorities for future development.

Develop your arguments for supporting your visions of the future, and identify an area for negotiation with other groups: find your own positions that should be defended against those other groups and acknowledge those interests which you could occasionally compromise on …

On this basis, develop a strategy for the most appropriate regional development that you will defend against the other interest groups, identify potential conflicts that should be negotiated, and prepare yourself for the final negotiation & conflict resolution process!

Creative Commons Author: Jana Dlouhá. This article was published under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. How to cite the article: Jana Dlouhá. (13. 08. 2022). Students:Local residents group instructions. VCSEWiki. Retrieved 17:46 13. 08. 2022) from: <>.