From environmental information systems to social networks: fostering co-operation in the ETH-UNS Case Study for sustainable regional development .
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The ETH-UNS Case Study is part of the master program in Environmental Sciences. It is a hybrid combiningteaching, research, and application. Joint problem solving between science and society is a major principle of our work. In our view, such approaches area prerequisite in developing strategies towards a sustainable society. However, this requires improved organization of knowledge, co-operation of work and communication among all people involved. Co-operation and communication is needed at least (a) within and between the different study teams, (b) between the study teams and local agents and (c) among local agents with a view to sustain local social networks. Since its beginning in 1994, the ETH-UNS Case Study has used a broad set of IT-tools t o support co-ordination, communication and co-operation of work. Starting form a incomplete peer-to-peer system, we advanced to a centralized file sharing system, and are now embarking into an integrated, dynamic network approach. A new web-based information system, named «living document», will be updated and supplemented continuously. The «living document» will support group work, communication among participants from inside and outside university and co-ordination of activities.