Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • More than 10 students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
  • English, German

Resource Description

Instruction file

Additional attachments

Rural regions as attractive places of residence? In search of solutions in 90 Minutes(Resource ID: 25)

For a lot of students their home regions are fixed points and they feel connected to their region during their studies. Furthermore many students are willing to return to their regions after finishing their studies provided that the conditions are right. This includes mainly soft locational factors like quality of life, close proximity to nature and their families. Many times those factors are better provided than in big cities. However the more pressing problems in rural areas are the lack of jobs, attractive salaries and transport infrastructures. Those factors are perceived in a more negative way in rural areas than in cities and can be key factors which prevent the return to the regions (Meyer, 2012). The teacher will provide a short introduction to the topic and explain the problems. The main part of the workshop focuses on finding solutions using the world café method. This method is a good tool to collect ideas and develop them further. All participants meet on equal terms and their diverse ways of thinking helps them to develop many different ideas.

Attached documents

  • PowerPoint Slides (Attractiveness_of_Regions_Presentation.ppt)


1. Introduction to the topic (10 min)

Content: Introduction to the topic

Method: PowerPoint slides (Attractiveness_of_Regions_Presentation.ppt)

The first part of the presentation provides an introduction to the topic “Attractiveness of Regions”. The problems are discussed using results of the survey, Meyer (2012) “Attraktivität der Heimatregion als Wohnort für Hochqualifizierte” (Attractiveness of home regions as places of residence for university graduate) . This should help the students or pupils to get a first insight in the topic and prepare them for the workshop.

2.  World Cafe: Introduction (5 min)

Content: Introduction to the method

Method: PowerPoint slides (Attractiveness_of_Regions_Presentation.ppt)

The next part of the presentation introduces the method,  “World Café”:

Goals and Design principles:

The method is very suitable for this workshop because it focuses on the creativity of each participating person. This helps to solve difficult challenges by

  1. follow-up talks (because there are several rounds),
  2. different point of views of the participants and
  3. the resulting exchange of knowledge. The reassembling of the participants at the different tables fosters deeper discussion of the topics.

The World Café is based on 7 design principles which increase the success of the method: (www.theworldcafe.com):

  1. Set the context
  2. Create a hospitable environment
  3. Explore questions that matter
  4. Encourage everyone’s contribution
  5. Connect diverse perspectives
  6. Listen together for patterns and insights
  7. Share collective discoveries

Preparation and agenda:

Depending on the size of the group, you can have up to 4 tables, with one for each topic. Each table will have one host (who does not change table) and 4-5 “travellers” (participants who change table at each round).

The World Café consists of 3 rounds: first round has 20 min, the second and third round have 15 min. An equal number of persons should sit at each table, each round.

The participants should write down as many ideas as possible on the “tablecloth” (e.g. flipchart paper) and by doing so share their ideas with all other participants. This helps to develop ideas later on.

At the beginning of rounds two and three the host greets the new travellers and gives them a summary of the ideas and results from the previous round.

For more information: Sustainicum-Teaching method “World Café” by M. Mader

3. World Cafe: a participative way to finding solutions (50 min)

Content: participative solution finding

Method: World Café

The World Café provides the possibility to develop a vision:

If we assume that we meet again in five years and we have reached all our goals. What did we do to achieve this vision?

In this workshop the following topics will be discussed at up to 4 tables:

Mobility: Spatial mobility is defined as people’s change of place. The following questions can be discussed: what places in my home region are most important to me? What has to change in rural regions (or one defined region) to improve mobility within this region and other regions?

Communication: The way information is shared between decision makers and affected persons: what media do I use? Which regional information is of importance to me? How can a region contact young people (that already moved away) and stay in contact with them?

Workplace: The availability of adequate workplaces in rural regions is an important factor for those considering relocation to rural regions: How can information about job opportunities be distributed to young people? What are possible activities?

Culture and Leisure time: Regional offers and the possibility to organize cultural events and leisure time: what cultural events and leisure activities are important to me? How can the region support me to take part in or conduct these activities?

4. Collect the ideas (10min)

Content: Present the results

Method: short presentations

In this part of the workshop the host of each table is asked to give a short presentation about the main results and ideas of his table. This provides information to the participants on how their ideas have been developed further.

5. Final discussion (15min)

Content: Discussion of the results

Method: guided discussion

The final part of the workshop consists of a short discussion. The following question can be asked: How did the personal point of view of the participants change after attending the workshop?

Necessary Documents/Materials

You need to provide:

  • Flipchart or other paper as “table cloth”(A0)
  • Pens in several colours (3 per table)
  • Projector
  • Laptop/PC for the presentation
  • Presentation slides
  • Prepare tables (according to number of participants/topics)
Learning Outcomes
- Professional: Better knowledge about the region, knowledge of methods
- Methodical: Presentation, development of ideas, development of a vision
- Personal: Discussion skills, developing solutions together by combining different ideas
Relevance for Sustainability
- In reference to rural regions: Consolidation of the regional identity, future-compliant development of economic and social goals
- In reference to the participants: Future-oriented thinking and analysing, comprehension of demographics
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Teaching Methods
Preparation Efforts
Sources and Links

Brown, J.; Isaacs, D.; World Café Community (2005): The World Café – Shaping our Futures through Conversations that Matter. San Francisco.

Mader, M. (2012): Lehrmethode World Cafe (Sustainicum-Projekt)

Meyer, Jonas (2012): Die Attraktivität der Heimatregion für Hochqualifizierte. Am Beispiel von Studierenden der Universität Graz und der Lernenden Region Zirbenland. Saarbrücken.

Funded by
Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenfächer" (2011/12)

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Jonas Meyer MSc


Jonas Meyer
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
KFUG - Karl-Franzens-University Graz
RCE Graz-Styria (KFU Graz)


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Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Written material
  • Brain storming
  • Discussion / debate