20 / 06 / 2024

Thriving Through Collaboration: Reflections from the PLUS Change Project

Author: BSC

At the end of May, the Baltic Studies Centre had the privilege of participating in the first General Assembly of the PLUS Change Project in Brussels, hosted by the Vlaamse Landmaatschappij. This milestone event was a vibrant gathering of minds, bringing together 23 partner organizations dedicated to transforming sustainable land use.

Our discussions over the three days have reinforced the value of collaborative research. It is clear that our collective efforts are not just about meeting project milestones, but about fostering a community that is empowered to drive real change.

Summarizing the project’s challenges and needs

A particular highlight for the Baltic Studies Centre was the co-creative session led by Elina Dace in which PLUS Changers explored the nuances of sustainable land use (SLU). This workshop was designed to challenge and expand the participants' understanding of the concept by engaging them directly in the process of defining what sustainable land use means in the context of the project.

At the beginning of the session, participants were presented with five different definitions of SLU from various sources. Tasked with selecting, adapting, or completely rewriting these definitions, the attendees engaged in thoughtful analysis and discussion, aiming to capture an essence of SLU that resonated with the goals of the PLUS Change project.

Elina Dace discussing WP5 with Marco Guzzetti from Knowledge srl

As the workshop progressed, Elina guided the groups to consider and list multiple factors that are crucial in developing and implementing SLU strategies, innovations, changes, and practices. These factors spanned a comprehensive range of dimensions including social, economic, environmental, ethical, political, contextual, technological, institutional, and cultural aspects. This multidimensional approach ensured a holistic view of SLU, fostering a rich dialogue among participants.

In the final exercise, groups were asked to revisit their initial definitions in light of the factors they deemed important. The influence of recent PLUS Change webinars on ethics and justice, conducted by Guido Caniglia and Marina Knickel from KLI (The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research), was evident as groups reported back on their revised definitions. The discussions reflected a shift towards incorporating terms such as "fair," "just," "balanced distribution," "needs of all beings," and "democratic integrative approach." It was clear that the session not only provided a platform for redefining SLU but also for embedding deeper ethical considerations into the core of the PLUS Change project.

PLUS Changers in one of the co-creative sessions

The outcomes from this session are set to influence the project’s approach, ensuring that it remains adaptive and responsive to the complex realities of land use.

Looking forward, we are excited about the impact our joint efforts will have over the next three years, not just in our fields but in driving societal change toward sustainability. The foundations we’ve built in Brussels promise a future rich in innovation and collaborative success.

To learn more, visit: