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Development of an online decision support aid to facilitate progression of Irish sustainable communities

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posted on 2023-10-18, 11:58 authored by Anne Bennett

Climate change, increasing consumption of resources and dependence on fossil fuels pose significant risks to communities, nations and the world as a whole. Sustainable development has long been recognised as a strategy to counteract these negative impacts. Previous studies have stressed the need to involve voluntary communities at local level, in implementation of successful sustainable development programmes, in order to achieve national and EU targets for reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Within the context of EU countries, Ireland has one of the poorest records for GHG reduction and increased renewable energy strategies, therefore urgent improvement is necessary to meet environmental policy targets.

This project focused on the promotion of sustainable communities at an Irish local level. Through review of literature and building on previous work carried out in the Centre of Environmental Research in UL, several key barriers to progression of sustainable communities were identified. These included a deficiency in the provision of technical, legal and financial content at the local level, thereby preventing communities from sourcing information on setting up legal organisations and obtaining funding. The objective of this project was to bridge the pre-determined knowledge gap by disseminating the identified information at the local level in an accessible and user-friendly manner. Critical review of existing web aids and comparative analysis on development platforms provided a strong case for the construction of an accessible web based Decision Support Aid (DSA). For the purpose of this project, a web based DSA is described as an information tool in the form of a website, which guides users through decision stages, providing them with information, so that they can make an informed decision at the end of the process. The web based DSA was developed using a tailored Web Development Life Cycle methodology and employment of WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The prototype was evaluated and modified based on feedback to deliver the finalised version. Evaluation suggested that the web based DSA possessed the potential to act as an enabler towards local level sustainable action in Ireland.

History

Faculty

  • Faculty of Science and Engineering

Degree

  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Bernadette O’Regan

Department or School

  • Chemical Sciences

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