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Sustainable Communities

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Research conducted by the United Nation Development Programme suggests that an estimated 6.5 billion people are expected to live in cities. Sustainable communities are a futuristic vision of living standards that meet diverse requirements of the residents and the ecosystem, with the primary objective to preserve the environment and contribute to a better lifestyle. Like any transition, the concept of sustainable communities focuses on long-term solutions – anticipating and adapting to changes presented to us in the current volatile landscape. The most important takeaway is to ensure all necessities are addressed, while simultaneously preserving resources for future generations.

An outline to sustainability communities:

  • Identity – It is essential to create a sense of identity and belongingness.
  • Preservation – Improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gases.
  • Preservation of the biodiversity
  • Restoration
  • Resilience – preparing for potential climate and economic shocks
  • Responsible use of resources
  • Social cohesion
  • Creating opportunity – education and wellbeing

Protecting and enhancing the environment

A sufficient supply of high-quality water is required for both community use and local ecosystems. To ensure an adequate water supply to satisfy future needs, communities and jurisdictions must collaborate.

  • Land

Minimize waste and dispose in accordance with current good practice.

  • Energy
    Pollution and its detrimental effects are caused by non-renewable energy sources in power generation, at home and at work, and in transportation. Energy conservation and the use of renewable fuels are less expensive and more environmentally friendly options.
  • Air and Climate
    Declining air quality and climatic change have the potential to harm the natural ecosystem as well as human health. Limiting or eliminating the release of pollutants, can help communities sustain air quality.
  • Biodiversity
    Due to the unique responsibilities that each species performs in maintaining ecological balance, biodiversity is particularly vital for achieving sustainability. Integrative approaches to managing, conserving, and enhancing wildlife populations and habitats appropriate to their area can help communities promote healthy wildlife.

Social Requirements

  • For all members of the community, adequate health care, safe and healthy housing, and high-quality education are required.
  • Recognize individuals’ rights and responsibilities.
  • Maintains a secure environment free of crime and hostility.
  • Encourages a sense of belonging, place, and self-worth through cultivating a sense of community.
  • Adaptability to changing situations and circumstances.

Economic Sustainability

Economic sustainability requires that a business or country uses its resources efficiently and responsibly so that it can operate in a sustainable manner to consistently produce an operational profit. To achieve this goal, all segments of the community must partake, both in determining community needs and in identifying and implementing innovative and appropriate solutions.

  1. A diverse and financially viable economic base.
  2. Reinvestment of resources in the local economy.
  3. Maximization of local ownership of businesses.
  4. Meaningful employment opportunities for all citizens.
  5. Provision of job training and education to help the workforce adjust to future needs.

Key Takeaways [11]

  1. Improving the quality of life without increasing environmental degradation and without compromising the resource needs of future generations.
  1. Decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation by:
  • Reducing material/energy intensity of current economic activities and reducing emissions and waste from extraction, production, consumption and disposal.
  • Promoting a shift of consumption patterns towards groups of goods and services with lower energy and material intensity without compromising quality of life.
  1. Applying life-cycle thinking which considers the impacts from all life-cycle stages of the production and consumption process.
  1. Guarding against the rebound effect, where efficiency gains are cancelled out by resulting increases in consumption