March 13, 2005
...Six months after taking office, Clinton created the 25-member President’s Council on Sustainable Development by Executive Order. Top heavy with leftists from government and environmental sectors, the council also included a few appointees from the business world. By 1996, the council and supplemental task forces, had made sweeping recommendations for implementing the U.N. model for a "Sustainable America."
Their how-to manuals for transforming the country covered virtually all areas of American life, including agriculture, the economy, health issues, population stabilization, education, housing, transportation, and community development, all of which incorporated biodiversity strategies.
One of the most disturbing "sustainability" documents originated at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – "Community Sustainability: Agendas for Choice-making & Action" [see document below]. A draft guide for developing sustainable communities in the U.S. and internationally, the "sustainability roadmap" was prepared for yet another U.N. environmental summit, the 1996 "urban-ecological" Habitat II at Istanbul, Turkey.
The radical 26-page guide called for a blending together of workplace, housing and nature where Americans would live in highly-concentrated, heavily-controlled urban clusters, i.e., "human settlements." They would rely on "transit, walking and bikes" for transportation and support marketplaces incorporating "consumer collectives," "eco-buying cooperatives" and "workers collaboratives" in a climate of "eco-justice."Meanwhile, the sustainable development doctrine dominated the Clinton administration’s agenda, flowing unhindered through legislative and regulatory arteries to infect policies at every level of government. Federal mandates and a multitude of "incentive" programs, e.g., public-private partnerships, in housing, transportation, education, banking, commerce, foreign policy, and even trade metastasized sustainable development throughout the country.
Tom DeWeese, President of the American Policy Center, estimated in 1997 that sustainable development had invaded the planning policies of all cities with populations of over 50,000. Yet few Americans had ever heard the term; even fewer knew what it meant.
Today, however, talk of sustainable development and its equivalent terms is common, though many people still fail to understand the significance. Smart Growth, the New Urbanism, Liveable Communities, Liveable Regions are simply catchy synonyms for sustainable development policies, while words like visioning, stakeholders, habitat protection and collaborative approaches are used in the implementation process...
August 14, 2011
John Adams said, “Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist.” The Decalogue emphasized private property in “Thou shalt not steal.” George Washington stated, “Private property and freedom are inseparable.”
Private property was so important to our Founding Fathers that its principles were included in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The right to property is surmised in the owner’s determination of land use, as long as its use does not “disturb the equal rights of another.”
The Declaration of Independence states that “...all Men…are endowed by their Creator with Certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” United Nations Charter and Declaration of Human Rights are based on the idea that rights are granted and rescinded by men.
The UN third world nations planners devised Agenda 21 on three suspect principles: Equity, Economy, and Environment, all controlled by government because “individual rights must take a back seat to the collective.”
In 1964, UN developing nations called for the establishment of a New International Economic Order, asking that multi-national corporations be regulated and foreign property nationalized, asking to establish commodity monopolies, and requesting transfer of technology and technical assistance.
Developed nations ignored this declaration but developing nations promoted these ideas at other conferences. In 1976, the Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat One) declared that private land ownership and wealth are the primary reasons for social injustice. The 65 page socialist document recommended land use:
- redistribution of population in accordance with resources
- government must control the use of land in order to achieve equitable distribution of resources
- land use must be controlled through zoning and planning
- government must control excessive profits from land use
- urban and rural land reform should be done through public ownership of land
- public authorities should hold developing rights of land and should be separated from owner rights
The 1987 UN report, “Our Common Future” by the World Commission on Environment and Development focused on the policy of sustainable development: land use, education, and population control and reduction. Sustainable Development made nature and its protection the central principle for all member nations.
The 1992 UN Bruntland Commission released the official UN Agenda 21 with its 40 chapters and the 178 nations who signed and agreed to implement UN Agenda 21 at the conference in Rio de Janeiro. Signatory for the United States was President George Bush.
All countries agreed that decisions must be made based on how they will affect the environment. Property is evil and creates wealth for the rich at the expense of the poor. Business is evil, should be controlled by the community, while the owner is responsible, and pays taxes. Wealth was produced at the expense of the poor and must thus be confiscated and given to the poor. No private enterprise should exist, only public-private partnerships. These ideas are tenets of socialism/Marxism.
UN Agenda 21 set out to abolish private property, control education, control and reduce population, and control the economy. The global plan was called “Sustainable Development.”
Every of the 40 chapters contains policies that member nations must adopt such as demographics, settlements, sustainable communities, water control, land use control, role of business, energy control, role of industry, international mechanisms of implementing the agenda, and the institutions used to implement the policies.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Biodiversity Treaty. The treaty was used to implement UN Agenda 21 in the United States, “Creation of national strategies, plans, policies, and processes which are crucial in achieving a sustainable world.”
Dr. Michael Coffman revealed a map to the U.S. Senate of the proposed development of the Wildlands under UN Agenda 21 in the U.S. This map had red, yellow, and green zones noted as Core Reserves and Corridors with little or no human use, Buffer Zones with highly regulated use, and Smart Growth with human settlements.
President Clinton signed Executive Order 12852, creating the President’s Council on Sustainable Development to translate UN Agenda 21 into public policy administered by the federal government. The Council created the first UN Agenda 21 called “Sustainable America,” with 16 “we believe” statements. The ultimate goals were to abolish private property, control education, control and reduce population, and control the economy.
To aid in implementing UN Agenda 21 a Consensus Process was developed: Stakeholders of the Affected Group select an Initiator who then selects a Decision-Making Committee (steering committee); Policy Decisions are pre-determined by a Facilitator and not by the Committee (they cannot vote). Consensus is the process in which objections to the proposal are erased. The Affected Group has to abide by the pre-determined decision with no voice in choosing the decision-maker or the outcome.
President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD) published “Sustainable America, a New Consensus,” which contains 150 policy recommendations taken directly from UN Agenda 21. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown said that his agency can implement 67 percent of the recommendations administratively, using rule-making authority.
Land Management Agencies promoted land use policies based on ecological or aesthetic consequences. The agencies appropriated millions in grants to state and local governments and set up land trusts for the purpose of acquiring private property. For example, by 1997, 43 million acres were designated roadless areas, 1/3 of land in America was owned by government and ten percent by states, 21 national monuments were expanded. (Donna Holt)
How was UN Agenda 21 implemented at the grass roots? Millions in grants were awarded to state and local governments by American Planning Association and EPA through “visioning.”
A Visioning Council (steering committee) made up of businessmen, politicians, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and people who stood to gain financially from the implementation of the goals of UN Agenda 21, worked with the EPA, the American Planning Association, the Conservation Fund, the National Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club.
The Visioning Council received their proposal from the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD) and proposes it as local goals for the community. The “Consensus” would remove any objections the public may have had. The result was the “vision” and the new plan of action. The entire process took 12-18 months.
The Initiator would make press releases to introduce the idea of Sustainable Communities and to build huge public support; the elected officials signed on without any questions asked. They either did not understand the nefarious intent or were financially complicit in the vision. Some local government officials had no idea that the plan came from the United Nations Agenda 21.
Partners of Sustainable Development are ICLEI, International County/City Management Association, American Planning Association, Renaissance Planning Group, Florida Forever (largest public land acquisition program in the U.S.—9.8 million acres purchased). They provide technical support and assistance with SD, management training, performance measurement, rural and urban planning.
In June 2008, The One Planet Communities proposed: (data from Donna Holt)
- 58 percent less electricity
- 65 percent vehicle mileage down time
- 23 gallons/water less per person
- 50 percent reduction in car ownership
- 40 electric car solar powered charging stations
- Reduction of footprint from 6 homes to 2 homes by 2020
- Stacked homes to avoid expansion of housing developments
- Five minute lifestyle (5 minute walk or bike from your home to shop, work, live, go to school)
- Walk or bike within the community
- Car-sharing for short distances or from one stacked community to another
- High speed rail for longer distances
- Car ownership will disappear
Current consequences of UN Agenda 21:
- Sustainability is taught k-12, colleges, and universities
- Colleges teach how to “build earth’s sustainable workforce,” “sustainability manager for carbon accounting,” “corporate sustainability manager,” “energy auditor,” “engineering sustainably certified homes,” to name just a few
- Children are well indoctrinated into Sustainable Development practices
- Government schemes to control future use of agricultural land and water through the recently passed White House Rural Council
- San Joaquim Valley in California was turned into a virtual dust bowl last year when water was denied to farmers in order to protect the delta smelt; 40,000 people became unemployed; less vegetables and fruits resulted in higher prices
- Regulatory taking of land, especially in Florida, Miami-Dade County
- Rationing of water, electricity, and fuel
- Expensive retrofitting of homes—people will be forced to leave their homes if they cannot afford the expensive retrofitting
- Denied building permits and thus land is deemed worthless
- Private property abolished to prevent urban sprawl
- Land shortage
- High density living
In June 2011, President Obama signed the White House Rural Council. To make good on the promise to control rural life and its resources, on August 8, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the EPA announced a national partnership “to improve rural drinking water and wastewater systems.”
The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, who chairs the White House Rural Council and thus controls 16% of U.S. land, “is working to coordinate USDA programs across the government and encourage public-private partnerships, to improve economic conditions and create jobs in rural communities.” I guess the government has finished “saving or creating the three million jobs” in urban areas, they are now moving into rural areas. Here is UN Agenda 21 in action through its Hallmark public-private partnerships, to “fundamentally change” and control the use of water, resources, and agricultural land.
The overwhelming view among scientists is that the planet is warming and human activities are a major cause.
October 7, 2011
This document came out of Missouri. The public was not supposed to have access to it so please feel free to share it with anyone.
HUD is heavily involved with UN Agenda 21. If you are not convinced that UN Agenda 21 is out to destroy the U. S. of America, then you need to read the HUD document below.
For more ammunition in our fight to prevent Sustainable Development in our communities, here is one of the most important documents about Sustainable Development that we have, short of the Global Biodiversity Assessment.
I have had my copy since 1996, before I had a computer. My copy is well-worn and tattered. This one was marked up by another activist and emailed to me years later, but they hit many of the issues which jumped out at me early in the game. Now, thanks to Henry Lamb, Ray Cunio, Tom DeWeese, Dr. Michael Coffman and others, when I look it over, it is glaringly understandable, which is rather scary in itself. It even refers to ecosystem management and biosphere reserves.
If I were hi-lighting the document for things that are already in process, or we hear mentioned in the news frequently, it would be marked up considerably more. I find the document becoming more revealing around page 20. That is where someone has slipped up and begins talking in people talk instead of greenspeak and international doublespeak. It also reads as if it is coming straight out of the mouths of the Obama administration, doesn't it?
You will find the references to miniaturization of housing, furniture and appliances, etc., on page 20. On page 21, housing over shops, high density residential living and downtown residential living is addressed. The multiple family stacked housing is discussed elsewhere, but is really being played up now in FEMA planning and some of the other agencies.
Page 15 briefly addresses media sheds and air sheds...control of what we are to be able to listen to. It also addresses urban growth boundaries.
Page 24 addresses eating less meat and instead eating more tubers and legumes. No more meat and 'tators...sounds as if it is to be beans and 'tators instead. Crazy people.
This document doesn't go into lengthy detail as to how to accomplish these goals. That is to be left up to public officials "guided" by radical environmentalists, money-hungry regional planning commissions, and regulatory agency stacked councils who, of course, know what is best for all of us, as evidenced by the economy of this country these days.
The public was not supposed to have access to this document, so please feel free to share it with anyone who walks, talks and/or breathes.
Office Of The Assistant Secretary For Community Planning and Development
COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY; AGENDAS
FOR CHOICE-MAKING & ACTION
A Local Action "Roadmap" For Our Choices As Concerned Citizens
A Draft Guide - Presented September 22, 1995, Washington, D.C. *
*Notes: This synthesis of local Community Sustainability organizing frameworks, agendas, contexts and strategy options is drafted at the personal request of the Honorable Wally N'Dow, Secretary General for Habitat II, the U.N. urban-ecological summit of June, 1996 in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a guide, or "sustainability roadmap," for anyone seeking to focus on the transition from the unsustainable to the sustainable for their own community. It is the work of Andrew Euston, FAIA, Senior Urban Design Program Officer and the Leader for Sustainable Community Development Explorations, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, as evolved over the past three decades in continual cooperation with local innovators and leaders of the emerging trans-disciplinary field of Sustainable Community Development in the U.S.
As a draft guide it is prepared for initial public comment and inquiry at the World Bank's Washington, D.C., third annual conference on environmentally sustainable development, October 2-6, 1995. Contact with the author, Andrew Euston, FAIA, may be made by mail at Room 7244 HUD, Wash., DC 20410: by phone (202-708-1911): or by Fax (202-708-3363). All comments are welcome.
COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY: AGENDAS FOR CHOICE-MAKING & ACTION
A Local Action "Roadmap" For Our Choices As Concerned Citizens
Summary: A COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY "ROADMAP"
The idea of a "roadmap" is used here to identify both the territory (conceptual, organizational, physical, etc.) and the sense of possibility or choice we have as the citizens of modern urban-rural industrial society. The author's intent has been to provide a definitive explanation of what "sustainable communities" (places), or preferably the broader term of "Community Sustainability" (culture plus places), can come to mean for modern society -- that others may fill in the many "blanks" of omission and detail left by this aggregation of operational parts of an overall local level sustainability agenda.
Modern scientists say that modern society must significantly rebalance itself in a generation or less (please see Conclusion). Some people claim that ours is already a "post-industrial" society. Others even argue society is soon to reach a "meta-industrial" time (beyond industry). Here an alternative argument is asserted that:
(a) modern humanity is fast populating the entire global landmass:
(b) this means massive impacts on land, water and resources in order to have the necessary industralized infrastructures that modern communities demand;
(c) this now means the impaction of massive urbanization far past anything seen before apart from earth changes, glaciers or asteroid collisions; and
(d) the results are to demolish much of nature's diversity and stability, unless a rebalance can be attained - - an urban-rural industrial rebalance with ecology, as a fundamental paradigm of authentic, meaningful national/global human security.
-1 (Page numbers included to mark original document pages)
Two centuries of industrial revolution, led by the "developed" world, have set the stage for modern society's transition to sustainability. With the "developing" world intent upon catching up, or at very least having its own industrial revolution, our collective modern challenge is to build on the lessons of the first phase. It is an ultimate challenge and it concerns the entire human family, whether rich or poor, or of North or South.
One choice is to go as we go and do as we do - - without regard to the grave cumulative changes that have undermined the earth as humanity's cornucopia, our bread basket, our source of health, vitality and pleasure, and of hope for our future. This, we are told by science, is the unsustainable choice. The other choice is to create a deliberate transition to sustainability - - that is, to design it, for one definition of the word "design" is "to intend for a definite purpose".
Such rebalancing implies that:
(a) we act with intent as individuals according to our levels of understanding and concern about these realities and the narrowing time frame in which modern society may seek to work out its transition;
(b) we shift our consumption, extraction and harvesting patterns and technologies;
(c) we even reframe our ethical choices within the new reality that ecology confronts us with in these circumstances; and
(d) the level at which people can be most hopefully focused is in their communities - - where it is that the social, economic, ecological, and resource interests must first be defined.
The vision offered here addresses all such considerations as matters of hopeful possibility - - dependent upon on the actions taken now by concerned citizens. The vision is for "Community Sustainability", defined as the condition of social, economic and ecological harmony that people require, deserve and must create where they live, if their lives and their inheritors' lives are to be meaningful, wholesome and hopeful. To mobilize meaningful responses to our society's realities means that each community come to terms with its choices, act integratively for the maximum effect and join forces in common with other communities where interests can be seen as shared.
All places differ. There can be no universal formula for creating Community Sustainability. There are certain generic aspects involved, however, and these are the primary focus of this "roadmap". A fundamental overall premise put forth and addressed in alternative ways below concerns urbanization. Population, industrialization and communities all mean urbanization today. It is our modern global society's major physical system. Urbanization has to become a coherent, explicit focus of our modern society's choices, if we are to pass along an economically viable, a socially humane and acceptable, and an ecologically workable future society. This is required of us by sustainability, modern society's key Third Millennium paradigm.
Introduction: SOCIETY'S TRANSITION TO COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY
"Sustainability" is defined here as the reshaping of our modern urban-rural industrial society's economics in accordance with the dictates of the natural ecological systems of support upon which we and our social and economic systems must depend. Modern society - - our modern, global, urban-rural industrial society - - is already embarked upon an imperative transition in values and assumptions that addresses the realities of the long term health of the social, economic and environmental systems necessary to support this explosive modern society.
Underway is a fundamental human evolutionary cultural transition about systems, ecology, diversity, integration and creative choice. What differs from previous transitions (as from hunter-gatherers to farmers or from agricultural to industrial society), today we must anticipate the consequences of our choices or face grave setbacks for the human family as a whole.
Humanity's collective imperative now is to shift modern society rapidly onto a sustainable path or have it dissolve of its own ecologically unsustainable doings. So says science. For society this is a combined social, economic and ecological imperative. It can be a hopeful imperative, for sustainability offers many benefits of efficiency, conservation, partnership, enterprise and creative choice. Necessary elements for this shift are laid out here as one of many possible menus for action. The action called for here is focused on the local community level of intentional individual and collective choice.
Pursuit of society's imperative of sustainability is not merely a prerogative of a powerful few, nor some 'fine-tuning' option of free-wheeling status quo economic interests, nor the assignment of the dominant structures of governance. Sustainability is a fresh ethical paradigm for science, for society and for every responsible and concerned individual - - one whose imperative devolves to the local levels of place and community, where we each live. It is a shift required of modern society as a whole.
We may see this shift as a hopeful prospect, if we are taking positive action and making concrete choices for the good. The guiding inquiry can be simple enough - - what are the true interests of our community? Out of it modern society may choose for its present and future well-being. We have to begin the dialogue. It can best begin at home. There are an infinitude of options. Given both the predicament of our inescapable ecological imperative to rebalance ourselves, and the arrival of unprecedented electronic communications tools, we are in fact already redefining our options. The question is, for what ends? If not for Community Sustainability in its broadest sense, then where else is the meaning of our modern exploits to be found?
Ours is to include a search for new forms, or revised forms, of urban, rural and industrial development. How we shape and supply our communities is the crux. How we respect and restore the land and its natural diversity is dependent on the way communities are designed. How industry proceeds and how technology is shaped will fix the future outcome. Basically, communities (urbanization, that is) are society's largest industrial products, ecological impacts and shapers of consumption. These consequences are what we have to focus on in order to become sustainable.
As the exploits of our vastly expanding industrial society shift from those of raw exploitation into those of natural reintegration and regeneration, the pace and integrity of the process must depend upon a new sense of citizenship and personal commitment among concerned people. This has always been the case for society whichever its modes and paradigms of understanding. Now, in this "information age" of the global "economic casino", only the focus and intent of concerned citizens can serve to shape a coherent and meaningful outcome for society as a whole.
Society can be successfully organized for concerted action on differing levels of scale, and many places are. Complex? Yes! And yet there can be highly constructive, highly creative and highly preferable outcomes, when we gain a sense of where we can focus and how. That is the purpose of the presentation of community possibilities that follows - - the possibilities of Community Sustainability, that is.
If you choose to act, then what becomes the universe of the issues you may hope to influence? Resolved here is that for most individuals the key "universe" is what we understand to be our communities - - places, yes, yet ones of variable scales that depend on what we understand to be our own interests With sustainability the interests of a "community" could be at one time a focus on the immediate neighborhood for some people, while for others living in the same place it may be about their larger region. Offered, therefore, is a framework for defining what your community's interests may be, if you identify yourself as a citizen of a community you choose to make sustainable. What this implies for us as individual citizens and what can be done together is the focus of what follows below.
Concerned citizens in today's world can build a new basis for a hopeful outcome. They can get acquainted with the ideas about sustainability and see for themselves what is of primary interest to bring about. Whether it is about changes in the way City Hall acts, or how industrial products impact local ecology, or what we have to choose from as consumers, people need to take an active part in the direction of things that will determine the future for those they love and for where they live.
Community Sustainability is of a complex nature, to be sure, but it can be made manageable. Certain concepts and basic menus are involved. There is no one formula. It is more a matter of gaining in perspective, like learning a challenging new game. 'Complexity and change' are already the names of today's game. Fortunately, today's information systems can be used to make complexities become far more accessible.
Becoming "sustainable" is a challenge that is not to be resolved in any hurry, but for hopeful communities it must become their fundamental way of operating. For those actively concerned about sustainability there is ample room for hope. Governance systems can be intractable, yet today's trend is toward more and more local citizen say. Such a trend serves those mobilized around common aims. Concerned interdisciplinary-minded citizens are especially valuable to the process of become sustainable. Does that imply credentials are required? No, for there is ample room, as well, for individual intention, commitment and invention.
All of modern society's possibilities involve choices, but what guides the direction, if concerned citizens do not organize and take positive action? And how better for people to concern themselves directly than for their own community's future? Today we might say that the future of the human family is being reshaped by seven basic forces: human population expansion, urbanization, industrialization, ecological degradation, resource depletion, information technology, and human expectations. Redirecting these forces towards Community Sustainability is a transition that has become central to any hopeful possibilities modern society may aspire to create.
Each of the seven basic forces cited above can be influenced by how communities choose to act as a whole about the outcomes they would prefer. Making complex choices as a feature of sustainable community life is to become the most fateful alternative we are to have as citizens of modern society. Community Sustainability in America can have tremendous pioneering influence upon the entire human family. How can Americans, how can any citizens, become informed, motivated and organized sufficiently to shape such complexities into forms that get them where they want to be? This question is addressed below through an overall framework of contexts and approaches - - a sustainability roadmap - - where strategic emphasis is on shaping our communities. What follows outlines and briefly expands upon the kinds of subjects there are to choose about, some perspectives that can guide our thinking and some approaches that can guide our actions.
A New Challenge: THE SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGE
Modern society's great challenge is that urbanization, including the resulting physical infrastructures, land use patterns and the consumption demands, is ecologically unsustainable as it stands. Warnings from science have been issued. By science's consensus we have but decades to recast the ways we operate as a modern society with respect to earth's natural ecological systems of support. How appropriately each nation, each metropolitan region, and in turn each community designs itself now will determine how economically competitive it is, as well as how socially and ecologically sustainable.
That our communities can be reshaped, planned and designed to be sustainable has become critical: to humanity's present cohesiveness and its future well-being; to the viability of modern civilizations' economics, and ultimately to the restoration of the earth's ecology upon which both these fundamental human ends now depend.
We can and must get to the core of the matter - - the task of rebalancing urbanization within nature. At the national level, we must be focused locally. As a complex, whole physical system, each modern community is formed of multiple sub-systems, networks, structures and resource bases, both manmade and natural (identified here as "Community Sustainability Infrastructures") that support our diverse modes of modern life. It is locally in the technological, scientific, cultural and economic rebalancing of these infrastructures that our key options are to be found. This local rebalancing can be done within the dictates of natural ecology, and this task has become civilization's central challenge - - an enterprise termed here "Sustainable Community Development (SCD)".
A New Vision: A VISION FOR MODERN SOCIETY'S REDESIGNING ITSELF THROUGH COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY
Sustainable Development is becoming a significant idea both abroad and here in America. It addresses the future in light of population, resources or ecological diversity. "Sustainable Development" describes a means. For society a means must have a goal. Stressed here is the idea that community, and hence the advancement of "Community Sustainability", is that fundamental goal. It is one that people everywhere can readily accept.
The vision is for "Community Sustainability", defined as the condition of social, economic and ecological harmony that people require, deserve and must create where they live, if their lives and their inheritors' lives are to be meaningful, wholesome and hopeful.
Population when combined with community means urbanization. Urbanization is addressed here as a larger system (in itself a new, if unnecessarily destructive, sub-system of nature) that consists of a broad set of sub-systems. These systems may be termed collectively as "Sustainable Community Infrastructures". These infrastructures, and the process of shaping our modern communities through them, is the key to modern society's future sustainability.
Perhaps society's best physical options for sustainability lie in the reshaping of its local community infrastructures to preserve and restore their area's carrying capacities for supporting human settlements. These options can be manageable, preferable and profitable. We have the needs of both people and nature to respect and balance - - whether we are dealing with urban cores, suburbs or "edge cities", or reclaiming toxic and hazardous urban "brownfields", or encroaching upon unspoiled or agrarian "greenfields". To conserve the carrying capacity of nature and land is to reconcile our communities' infrastructures with their natural counterparts, such as expanding the urban forest cover that greatly reduces summer heat or safeguarding the underground water aquifers that store rain for our use.
Whether it concerns their energy efficiency, or preserving land for their food production or protecting their water and its quality, communities have tremendous collective impact on society's future. The reality is that urbanization has become modern civilization's principal driver of negative impacts upon earth's natural ecological systems and potentially upon humanity itself. It is society's major industrial product. Hence dealing sustainably with urbanization is to deal with a basic cause rather than with symptoms. It is a challenge to communities, a collective challenge. Making technology sustainable can be seen as part of this challenge, particularly industrial technology.
The rebalancing of the myriad local, county, region and state levels of public and private choice that, when aggregated, shape our communities must therefore be of central concern, as we look ahead. The infrastructures of community development are a vast part of industrial production. Then there is the consumption of "raw" land for urbanization and for its rural extensions. The rebalancing of urbanization with nature is critical to society's future economic sustainability.
Active concern for this rebalancing can add a new depth of meaning to modern society - - our presently fragmented, stressed and economically stratified global society. If we are to heal socially, we can get further along by attending to the economic and ecological supports society knows it has to depend on as part of its healing process.
A New Perspective: COMMUNITIES ACTING FROM A FRESH POINT OF VIEW
The transition from unsustainable to sustainable means action - - - integrative public, profit and non-profit action. This means choosing to act from a fresh, integrated point of view. By reframing their local choices and investments, communities can create authentic choices for sustainable living. How? Adopting integrative frameworks for "Community Sustainability" is one means for understanding interests and for identifying preferred options. There are four basic components for such integrative local action - - specifically:
I: THE SOCIAL COMPONENT OF ACTION or Community Partnership - whereby public, profit and non-profit sector citizens create cooperative ventures and agendas to uplift their community's level of dialogue, awareness and action about their common interests and options for making choices that benefit the present and support the future in terms of sustainability;
II: THE ECONOMIC COMPONENT OF ACTION or Community Enterprise - whereby communities claim the great economic, cultural and social benefits to come from the transition from unsustainability to sustainability in the ways we build, consume, work, play and live. The Community Sustainability Marketplace (see below) is a major part of this component:
III: THE ECOLOGICAL COMPONENT OF ACTION or Community Conservation - whereby communities identify their longer term natural and human ecological issues and address them, recognizing in the process how sustainability is becoming the ultimate bottom line for the economic decisions that direct their environmental (built and natural), resource and consumption options;
IV: THE INTEGRATIVE COMPONENT OF ACTION or Community Design - whereby design means the active intention to integrate these above three: the social, economic and environmental. Design involves all three. It takes design, or intent, to weave these complexities into a viable, sustainable whole. For example, today in America many see its sprawling physical urban design land use patterns to be major drivers of environmental pollution and resource over-consumption, of uneconomic over-extended physical infrastructures and of wasted prime agricultural land, as well as causing social and economic hardships for the many without private mobility and public transportation.
A New Framework: A BASIC THREE-CONTEXT FRAMEWORK FOR COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY ACTION
To address the concerns of community sustainability there are three local community contexts to consider:
- A. the local actions by which we can effect change in our society,
- B. the physical systems or physical infrastructures involved, and
- C. the physical scale or land uses of the tasks at hand.
What follows is an overall framework of terms and elements that comprise the local process of Community Sustainability. These form a three-dimensional matrix:
A. THE COMMUNITY'S CONTEXT OF ACTION;
As introduced above ("A New Perspective:"), local Community Sustainability Action needs to happen within four basic arenas:
I. Community Partnership, or the social contexts,
II. Community Enterprise, or the economic contexts,
III. Community Conservation, or the human resource, built and natural ecological contexts, and
IV. Community Design, or the contexts of integration.
One can find communities, large and small, where pioneering efforts have begun. Most Americans (80% or more) inhabit areas that combine urban, suburban and rural areas, or metropolitan regions. It is perhaps at this scale of land use where our greatest challenges exist. Metropolitan area in the U.S. that have been successful within these our contexts include: Minneapolis/St. Paul for Partnership: Chattanooga for Enterprise; Austin for Conservation: and Portland, Oregon for Design.
B. THE COMMUNITY'S CONTEXT OF INFRASTRUCTURES;
Sustainable Community Development will progress only if local infrastructures are fully sustainable. Traditionally we have seen infrastructure as large public and private works - - systems and networks such as roads and rails, reservoirs and power plants. Now, in order to bring the four action contexts of community sustainability together, we must expand modern society's understanding of "infrastructure" to include and to integrate all the basic systems of support that allow modern civilization to operate. From this broadened perspective, we must consider not just the physical network systems but others as well:
- 1. natural ecological systems (aquifers, urban forests)
- 2. physical network systems (mobility, energy, water)
- 3. physical in-fill systems (homes, industry, parks)
- 4. info/communications systems (tele-marketing, tele-medicine, tele-commuting, INTERNET, cybernetics)
- 5. regional resource systems (lakes, farms, forests)
- 6. global resource systems (atmosphere, oceans, soil)
- 7. social infrastructures (guilds, sects, sub-cultures)
- 8. economic infrastructures (banking, commerce, barter)
C. THE COMMUNITY'S CONTEXT OF LAND;
Finally there is the context of the land - - whether urban or rural, industrialized or natural. Communities involve place and scale. The metropolitan region represents a most critical scale for sustainability. Basic metropolitan contexts of land include:
- a. neighborhoods
- b. urban centers
- c. suburbs
- d. rural land resources
- e. regional land resources
A New Set of Options: SOCIETY'S AGENDAS FOR SUSTAINABLE ACTION
We reshape our lives as we reshape our communities and their infrastructures - - as we design and plan, expend and employ for urbanization. Sustainable Community Development, as America's primary route to Community Sustainability, has many facets. Two basic ones are: (a) the process of local choice-making (public and private investment decisions) that shape what's to come - - an activity called here "Local Urban Environmental Design"; and (b) the choices to be made at the larger metropolitan/regional scale.
Steps we'll need to take through Sustainable Community Development can be immediate, intermediate and long range. Most community infrastructures are longer-term in their development and their consequences. In America, today's community options favor cars rather than people. Greater potential convenience, economy and health can come with other mobility options that are available now. Looking ahead, for most communities transit, walking and bikes become people's preferred choices because they work and because people want it that way. Today we have numerous planning and design options that look ahead - - by interrelating jobs and work, by blending together workplaces, housing and nature and by generally restoring the natural resource base.
A Menu: COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY ACTION AGENDAS
The lists and notations below show how broad the scope of information and activities is that populates the Community Sustainability agenda roadmap's territory. They represent a concerted action agenda for modern society. They offer contexts for taking action, institutionalizing specific administrative measures, framing choices and mobilizing forces. This is not a plan but rather an inventory of and a structure for what society can choose to do. Studied in sequence, they provide an additional conceptual framework for understanding each agenda in context with the next and with the whole. These agendas for local action identify ways to shape local agendas for promoting community sustainability, including potentially ones own livelihood and lifestyle. Such agendas have been grouped under the following headings:
- A - Sustainable Community Development (SCD)
- B - Community Visioning
- C - Local Urban Environmental Design
- D - Interdisciplinary Technical Assistance
- E - Community Information Systems
- F - Community Sustainability Scans
- G - Community Sustainability Infrastructures
- H - Generalized Ecosystem Approaches
- I - Rural-Urban Regional Action
- J - Landscape Ecology
- K - Local Micro-Economics/The Community Sustainability Marketplace
- L - Industrial Ecology (Energy Efficiency/Environmental Technologies/Green Products/Natural Infrastructures)
- M - Consumer Education
- N - Eco-justice and Equity
- O -Community Measurements/Indicators/Benchmarks
Agenda A: Sustainable Community Development (SCD)
"SCD" is a search for balance within modern society and with nature. As viewed here it is an umbrella activity that contains all those agendas identified below and many others besides. These are by nature public, profit and non-profit as well as social, economic and ecological in focus. With emphasis on the integration of these constituent elements, SCD is what we do to make our communities work - - how communities can sustain themselves - - bringing everybody to the table, to guide the choices and investments that shape the future.
SCD includes the customary roles of local governments, commercial interests, civic groups and the local public media. Key to SCD, the ordinary citizen is sovereign and is accountable (by future generations) for and challenged by these times and their imperative for achieving a rapid transition to Community Sustainability. So, therefore, what follows - - from the visioning of possibilities to the measuring of outcomes - - begins to fill in the blanks of what, specifically, can be done to achieve this transition.
Agenda B: Community Visioning:
The range of visioning techniques in place in the United States used for collective public visioning is broad, and rooted in neighborhood advisory committees, church group retreats, mass-participant events organized to choose agendas and define priorities, or a variety of design and planning participatory processes. Often these activities lead to the emergence of new partnerships between parties willing to work together for specific sustainability agendas.
Agenda C: Local Urban Environmental Design (UED)
UED, or design administration, is a management concept about integrative local popular choice-making and official and investment decision-making. It matured during the 1960-'80 (U.S.) urban revitalization epoch - - twenty years of extraordinarily wise and unwise local, state and federal level public/private efforts to make over American cities physically, socially and economically.
In cities and metropolitan regions there are the customary structures of government, both formal and informal, that significantly shape the local future. UED roles may appear informal and ad hoc in these conventional contexts, but they are of the essence for those communities (above, say, 50,000 in pop.) intentionally seeking to become sustainable. UED, as a valued management approach, often overlays customary organizational systems and structures. Its concerns are with flexibility, creativity, performance, quality information, real-cost accounting, active public outreach and informativeness, attention to strategic investments and to lost- opportunity costs, and many other local governance considerations.
UED is an interdisciplinary domain of design that can involve the "environmental design arts" of architecture, planning, engineering, landscape architecture, landscape ecology, the natural and the social sciences, law, community organizing and more. It is also about design as deliberate intent for achieving a specific purpose. It is about a community's creative and flexible local interdisciplinary, public and private civic choice-making tied to local administrative and investment decision-making.
Also involved are certain elemental features of local public/private UED operations only touched upon here. There should be authentic interdisciplinary professionalism at higher administrative levels and in key departments such as those of planning, public works, zoning and economic development. UED typically employs focal teams and coordination groups of a diverse cast - - ones suited to specific tasks in the development aspects of the community. It may employ public campaigns and such integrative management structures as key-agency lead assignments, private consultants, ombudspersons, quasi-governmental organizations, and inter-jurisdictional compacts.
UED means introducing innovative legal, administrative and informational features - - both informal and institutionalized - - introduced so as to guide local choices that effect the built and natural environment. A place using this approach will tend to be clear about its quality of life goals, its ecological contexts, its overall experience of public safety, amenity, decent standards of home and work places, etc. Equally significant will be the role of the volunteer citizen, the accessibility of public decisions to neighborhood and civic input, the pursuit of highest information quality and the provision of education and public communication designed to empower citizens in such actions.
Agenda D: Interdisciplinary Technical Assistance
Such tools and methods as these exist for most communities. They are an essential part of any interdisciplinary local Urban Environmental Design administration approach, wherever that philosophy has been adopted:
- general - (from a wide range of sources) assistance to agencies/governments/business/neighborhoods/etc.
- guides/videos/tech.studies/trainings/visual simulation
- conferences/forums/workshops/speaker series/call-ins
- clinics/charettes/community visioning/retreats
- graphics/photography/audio-visuals/design communications
- ordinances/organizational concepts/integrative structures
- best practice cases/bibliographies/strategy menus
- outreach campaigns for sustainability and its elements
Agenda E: Community Information Systems
No topical outline is suggested here. This burgeoning agenda is one almost everybody living in the "information age" is becoming aware of in general. Already many people are becoming users of INTERNET electronic conferences and other media. In any given community there are often those with the latest equipment and skills required to tap the technologies involved. There are many challenging new concepts - - such as electronically recasting our communities as "learning institutions".
There are also tools that are often high-priced now: geographic information systems-related analysis of projected costs and impacts of alternative choices to development; tools for visualizing projected changes to urban and natural fabric; for group interplay and collaboration on projects; for tying together local settings and situations into pre-packaged informational packages to present to public audiences; etc. As these costs come into range, a vast shift in engagement and empowerment will come for concerned lay citizens seeking to grasp their community's interests in finer, more strategic detail.
Agenda F: Community Sustainability Scans
The scan is a basic information tool. It helps people grasp the concept of Community Sustainability in the first place. It helps us comprehend the order of magnitude of problems and the logical or strategic points for intervention. A scan can be an ongoing data process or not, depending on resources available, the nature of its purposes, and other factors. It may be technical, data-rich and targeted, or general and diffuse and still serve their purposes. The information process involved is sometimes closely related to the topic below of indicators and benchmarks, but is usually more of a targeted planning and decision-making mechanism.
"Scans" that portray sustainability activities come in numerous variations. Many U.S. communities are assembling inventories of their public and private sector sustainability agendas. Elaborate profiles have been assembled in places concerned with energy, fuel costs or other local capital draining "imports". Citizen groups are taking stock of the local volunteer, academic, public and private sustainability-related accomplishments and failings.
Agenda G: Community Sustainability Infrastructures
What do they consist of, these infrastructures? There are the networks of transport, power and water; there is the infilling development of homes, businesses, manufacturing or recreation; there is the natural infrastructure of urban forests, underground water supply, greenways and parklands; there are the infrastructures of communications and electronics; there are the resource-base infrastructures that comprise each community's region and beyond this of the global biosphere.
To become sustainable, communities will be taking the benefits, costs and the consequences of all these basic infrastructures into fullest account. The new processes required for doing so are to create a new basis for economic vitality, a new meaningfulness for how we make our livelihoods, and a fresh context for the redefining of what it means to be part of one's community.
The following eight over-arching systems are the physical and technical supports of urbanization. They combine the natural and the industrial. They are modern society's essential supports, taken both individually and together. Their integration is the great challenge before us - - as the prerequisite for achieving our transition to Community Sustainability:
- 1. natural ecological systems (aquifers, urban forests)
- 2. physical network systems (transportation, energy, water)
- 3. physical in-fill systems (homes, industry, parks)
- 4. communications systems (tele-marketing, -medicine)
- 5. regional resource systems (lakes, farms, forests)
- 6. global resource systems (atmosphere, oceans, soil)
- 7. social infrastructures (nations, sects, groups)
- 8. economic infrastructures (banking, commerce, barter)
Agenda H: Generalized Ecosystem Approaches
The following definition is from _The Ecosystem Approach: Healthy Ecosystems and Sustainable Economics_, Page 17, Vol. 1 - Overview of the Report of the (U.S.) Interagency Ecosystem Management Task Force, June, 1995, President's Council on Environmental Quality:
"An ecosystem is an interconnected community of living things, including humans, and the physical environment within which they interact. The ecosystem approach is a method for sustaining or restoring natural systems and their functions and values. It is goal driven, and it is based on a collaboratively developed vision of desired future conditions that integrates ecological, economic and social factors. It is applied within a geographic framework defined primarily by ecological boundaries. The goal of the ecosystem approach is to restore and sustain the health, productivity, and biological diversity of ecosystems and the overall quality of life through a natural resource management approach, one fully integrated with social and economic goals."
- interdisciplinary decision making
- integration of the social, economic and ecological
- coordination of public, profit and non-profit actions
- use of multi-purpose/-party/-jurisdiction partnerships
- bio-geographic, watershed, soil, micro-clime ecosystems
- corridors - transportation/rivers/bike/hiking/greenways
Agenda I: Contexts for Rural-Urban Regional Action
This agenda is especially profound since it has much to do with the reconnection of modern society to land and nature. Within one's ingrained and culture-bound outlook toward nature, we can expand our personal connectedness to region as a spatial resource base, as a commonwealth of interrelated communities of interest (large and small), and as the community of nature of which we are a part. This list identifies a wide range of community interests tied to both the geography and the psychology of regional space:
- basic commercial/industrial/economic regional links
- bio-regions/multi-metro regional constellations & circles
- smaller, contiguous rural-urban community constellations
- linear parks/coastal regions/agro-forest ridges & valleys
- watersheds/airsheds (acid rain)/mediasheds (TV, cybernets)
- alignments along rivers, roads, main highways, railways
- biking/hiking/trails/scenic & historic touring districts
- soil/geology infrastructures/park & forest urban gateways
- college/university/trade school/tourism linkages
- regional jurisdictions (commissions, watersheds, TVA, etc.)
- regional history (Native American lands, ethnic settlements)
- regional culture (crafts, music, sports, resorts, etc.)
- region-focused consortia/urban growth boundaries (UGB's)
Agenda J: Landscape Ecology
Design, or deliberate intent, is essential for achieving community sustainability. The land - - and the landscape we can visualize and attach our deepest selves to as sentient beings - - is our future. Ecology, or the diverse natural systems of earth's bio-sphere, is the basis for earth's bio-sphere. It is the very basis for the evolution and perpetuation of life - - including our own. Therefore "landscape ecology" is the term of art put forth here as the action agenda necessary for integrating the urban and the rural of modern society - - by bringing nature into our communities and by preserving the rural landscape's ecological basis for preserving the human future.
This emergent and critical field of sustainability specialization combines design creativity and infrastructure development with the natural sciences' accountability for the consequences of what we alter. The field's origins in the United States are with the creative genius of Scotsman Ian McHarg (_Design With Nature_) of the University of Pennsylvania and Philip Lewis (_Tomorrow By Design - A Regional Design Process for Sustainability_, John Wiley publishers, forthcoming in April 1996) of the University of Wisconsin. Both men have given shape to the necessary tools for bringing natural science into the on-the-ground choice-making that communities must now make.
Landscape ecology as a field - - as shaped by the eight combined land-applied decades of landscape architects Lewis and McHarg - - is one that no set discipline formally oversees. This field is the confluence of fresh paradigms that, like "sustainability" itself, are necessary for making a transition to a future that does not rob from people tomorrow in order to make possible some temporary benefits for us now. In securing its vital place in this urgent business of transition it can be expected to evolve as a "trans-disciplinary" field of complex problem solving and creativity.
Agenda K: Local Micro-Economics/The Community Sustainability Marketplace (see the two sections that follow "Menu")
- The "Community Sustainability Marketplace" (see "Emergence")
- personal savings/credit unions/local shares and currencies
- day care/elder/volunteer/traveler aid/shelter provisions
- Community Supported Agriculture/consumer collectives
- work shares/co-ops/tool libraries/loan centers
- employee owned businesses/collaboratives
- value-added manufacturing/value-added agro-forestry
- used and reconditioned equipment trading/swapping
- true-cost and life-cycle accounting/"natural capital"
Agenda L: Industrial Ecology (Energy Efficiency/Environmental Technologies/Green Products/Natural Infrastructures)
Industrial ecology, or industrial metabolics, is about efficiencies of cost and so-called "economic externalities" (social and ecological costs). Today industrial production systems are subject to daily testing for all kinds of considerations. The idea of "zero-defects" has become a widespread approach for industry in recent decades. With the shift towards sustainability now is added the objective of "zero-emissions" or "zero-pollution".
- bio-indus. ecology/bio-mass water trtmt./indus.-metabolics
- energy technology/environ. technology/industrial ecology
- green bldg. stds./indigenous materials/"smart" buildings
- edible landscapes/xeriscaping/permaculture/organic agricul.
- consumer ecology training/eco-buying cooperatives
- eco-preneurship/community sustainability marketplaces
Agenda M: Consumer Education
(via schools, public media, non-profits, etc.)
- youth involvement/celebrations/clean-ups/design events
- video/TV media/cyberspace/groupware/visual simulation/etc.
- information on products/residential design/appliances/etc.
- diet/alternative medicine/preventive medicine/exercise
Agenda N: Eco-justice and Equity
This is a most critical option for the well-being of a community -- its stance towards decency and fairness, physical accessibility and economic opportunity. Active civic and public sector help and attention to resolve and avert specific environmental or eco-justice issues is a key part of the overall community sustainability paradigm. While part of the cure may be pollution prevention, the basic issue here is a society's commitment to healthy communities for all its citizens. Whatever their causes, the effects of social neglect and oppression have definite long term costs to the community. Socially, economically, and environmentally an organized and concerned civic culture is central to the present and future health of a place.
Agenda O: Community Measurements/Indicators/Benchmarks
Community indicators measure what may be happening, whereas community benchmarks give numerical or other targets for desired achievements. Places are introducing such tools using the widest variety of information sources to: (a) to establish an on-going basis for tracking changes that inform a community about itself in a public attention-getting way: (b) raise the local dialogues on sustainability to increasingly "audible" levels: and (c) to mobilize critical masses of citizenry towards broadened sustainability-focused community action. Below, cited from the tenth annual report, "Life in Jacksonville (Fla.): Quality Indicators for Progress (QIP)", are that City's current "key indicators" for its nine main categories (of 74):
- 1. Education: - public high school graduation rate.
- 2. Economy: - net job growth.
- 3. Public Safety: - people feeling safe walking alone at night.
- 4. Natural Environment - days of air quality index in the good range
- 5. Health: - infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
- 6. Social Environment: - people believing racism is a local problem.
- 7. Government/Politics :- people rating local government leadership good/excellent.
- 8. Culture/Recreation: - city financial support of arts organizations.
- 9. Mobility: - # commuting times 25 minutes or less.
A New Economics: ECONOMICS-BASED PARADIGMS, MANDATES AND COMMITMENTS FOR SEEKING COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY
A new ecologically balanced economics will drive the pursuit of Community Sustainability within modern society's all-encompassing urban-rural industrial civilization. It will be based upon a vast new integrative marketplace that supports the positive evolution of new mandates and paradigms, termed here the "Community Sustainability Marketplace" (see "The Emergence of .."below). This global marketplace is destined to recast the meanings of industry, work, play, health, agronomy, communications, learning and much more. To create this marketplace we will need robust, authentic new paradigms and action mandates for both economic and community development, as well as new paradigms for the continuing evolution of community itself.
Modern society must begin sustainability somewhere. In many ways the most manageable economic option governing our urban civilization's shift from the unsustainable to the sustainable is how we choose to build -- that activity termed here "Sustainable Community Development; or SCD." Communities can choose to recast and reintegrate how they plan, design and build for sustainability. It can best begin by its choices in how we build our communities.
To seek sustainability through Sustainable Community Development, a framework for local action is essential. Using the three local contexts - Local Action, Infrastructures and Land (ref. "A New Framework..." above) -- the nature of national, state and local mandates for Sustainable Community Development can be framed. Crucial is the forging of coherent links between federal, state and local levels.
In America, a sequel to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 will be one needed commitment - one that ties economic policy to national ecological security. At all levels of governance there must be commitment to the integration of society's social, economic and ecological objectives. Equally critical is a commitment to sustainability on the part of every citizen. Such commitments alone can serve to distinguish the future outcomes of Sustainable Community Development from society's current conventions of unsustainable, status quo development. By following such a path, we may come to distinguish sustainable economics from conventional economics.
The Emergence of the "COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY MARKETPLACE"
More and more, communities are being forced to face the longer term prospects of increasing costs of sprawl, auto-dependency and the drain of local capital for fuel needs, community infrastructures, etc. They are finding that efficiencies come from alternative patterns of development, new appropriate technologies and new attitudes towards resources. As these trends grow, the pace of innovation is accelerating. A vast new global market is emerging.
Termed here the "Community Sustainability Marketplace", this ecologically innovative market will become the focus of jurisdictions everywhere to reduce waste, compete and replace declining resources (food, fish, trees, pulp, fiber, fuel, ores, etc.). Planning and design for these changes will result in new infrastructures governed by a global-cost basis for raw and processed materials, by real environmental cost accounting and, depending upon its progress, by a shifting societal outlook.
Where such economy-based innovation has been gradual until now, the coming waves of Sustainable Community Development and infrastructure to come will be characterized increasingly by:
- Cost-effective reliance upon natural ecological infrastructure systems: for refrigerants (CFC-free zeolite), air quality/cooling (urban forests, up wind bio-mass planting, green belts, etc.); for water supply management (aquifer protection and recharge strategies): food production (urban gardening, suburban edible landscaping, urban-rural truck farming and community-supported farming): recreational land use/agriculture strategies: fire protective landscaping: water conserving xeriscaping: etc.
- Energy/resource efficient Community Sustainability Infrastructure technology alternatives such as: community energy systems (CECs), district heating and cooling (DHC), thermal storage, cogeneration, alternative energy systems, etc.): TAXI 2000 personal rapid transit -- now in development stages at University of Minnesota and elsewhere: decentralized, natural waste water treatment technologies (constructed wetlands, solar aquatic, earth filtered, etc.): natural soil remineralization alternatives to toxic chemical fertilization (from road aggregate quarries, reservoir silts, etc.: indigenous, "waste" and alternative materials (fly ash, coal residuals, sulphur, caliche clays, composite wood fiber, straw/clay, straw bales, bamboo concrete reinforcing, etc.).
- Consumption-reducing reliance upon "green" and appropriate technologies and designs employing: "electronic highway" tele-commuting, tele-marketing, tele-medicine, etc.: digitalized magazines, news"papers", textbooks", picturebooks", etc.:increased miniaturization of motors, appliances, tools, furniture components, building components, etc.; space conserving design using mirrors, lofts, storage consolidation systems, trash compactors, multiple use room/equipment systems; reusable container systems and cartage systems; design of longer lasting durable goods for a growing market segment that rejects planned obsolescence; increased "green seal"-oriented purchasing in the mainstream marketplace; myriads of soft and appropriate technology alternatives.
- Planning and land use for Community Sustainability Infrastructures, efficiency and livability that encourages: in-fill over sprawl: compactness, higher density low-rise residential: transit-oriented (TODs) and pedestrian-oriented development (PODs): bicycle circulation networks; work-to-home proximity; mixed-use-development: co-housing, housing over shops, downtown residential; inter-modal transportation malls and facilities; water conservation, wetlands restoration, sound flood plains uses; land use planning tools such as geographic information systems (GIS), Planning for Community Energy, Environmental and Economic Sustainability (PLACE3S), Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LISA), urban growth boundaries (UGBs).
- An overall societal shift in attitudes towards Sustainable Community Development: towards patterns of living and land use to be found in the more sustainable arrangements of many Western European countries where trolleys, rapid transit, trains and biking, walking and hiking are encouraged by infrastructures, technologies and business investments: towards cost and resource efficiencies - - with their ecologically beneficial side effects: towards pollution prevention and industrial ecology; towards "beyond-compliance" corporate values; toward increasing emphasis upon healthy diets, exercise and recreation that uses the geography of the nearby region (or "community constellation") to its optimum; towards community service activities aimed at combined recreation, education and environmental restoration; towards the reintroduction of nature to the urban landscape; and towards a reconnection of society as a whole to the elements and energies of nature and the rural landscape.
- Sustainable Community Development economics: including social and ecological investment portfolios, public privatepartnerships and physical development financial proformas; true-cost accounting; life-cycle costing; local capital retention; replacement economics; production and services value-added strategies; community currencies; credit unions, employee-owned businesses; commercial banking supports for communities such as "green lining" versus "red lining" (loaning encouragement versus denials), EEMs (Energy Efficient Mortgages), IDAs (subsidized Individual Development Accounts) for publicly or privately matched low-income
twelve regional U.S. privately held Federal Home Loan Banks); women's micro-loan enterprise lending circles: U.S. federal and state subsidy and matching fund plans for home ownership savings and loans; industrial ecology complexes and "zero-emissions" industrial incubators and mixed-use districts; sustainable enterprise parks and technology incubators; urban "brownfields" reclamation and pollution-prevention redevelopment programs; transportation/ land joint development and public investment value capture.
Many such innovations are increasingly in place in the more conserving economies of Scandinavia, Japan, the Netherlands,Germany and Switzerland, as well as in cities such as the exemplary Curitiba, Brazil, Vancouver, Canada, and Kaundborg Denmark. Kaundborg's community sustainability agenda involves a thirty year old heat/gypsum/fish/power/etc.-based "closed-loop" industrial metabolic use of natural resources. Germany has instituted a nationally mandatory use-reuse "waste" management process. Brazil and China (in selected pilot efforts) promote sustainably integrated bio-mass energy/food/fibre production.
New systems of planning to encourage "green" development are used by such places in the United States as Austin, Texas (the Green Builder Program), and Tucson, Arizona (Civano Newtown), or in the Netherlands Econolia (government subsidized) and Morra Park, Drachten (privately financed). In many nations citizens are taking the lead. Industrialists are beginning to take an active part, finding significant savings and profits are awaiting them. Globally, the dialogue has begun about how we build and how we shape communities sustainably.
Conclusion: COMMUNITIES "RE-MAPPING' FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Science says this ever-industrializing civilization, as it goes, is unsustainable. Ecologically these are matters of national and international security according to the warnings of science: including the "Warning" released in 1992 from Atlanta by the Union of Concerned Scientists (over 1500 signatories and 99 Nobel science laureates); and that released jointly by the National Academy of Science and the British Union, also in 1992. They see this urban-rural industrial society having but three, two or even but one decade in which to significantly recast itself. Recent atmospheric findings by climate sciences greatly underscore these grave concerns.
Clearly, both urbanization and ecology must be in the equation. Urbanization is industry's largest aggregated product - - its major impact upon both mankind and nature. Our rapidly urbanizing species is nearing 50% metropolitan, heading for the great majority of us within one more generation. In fact, globally urban population is expanding at twice the rate of the human family itself! The U.S. is almost 90% metropolitan region dwelling. Already over twenty-six metropolitan areas are near or over ten million in population, several over thirty. Yet people do not readily "see" urbanization, or "see" their own collective interests in the forms that urbanization takes.
If the two domains, ecology and urbanization, are not bridged soon, the way ahead will be very much limited. Importantly, our modern sciences, commerce, industry, academia, politics, government bureaucracies and the public media have not truly "seen" urbanization either - - certainly not as the causal influence of unsustainability it has become. The U.S., for instance, has 5% of world population and uses 25-30% of world resources. Its spread out and environmentally costly urbanization is one expression of how this holds true.
Concentrating on the trees, we've failed to see the woods. Our communities are humanity's foremost physical artifacts, yet they get designed in an unconscious way, proceeding in many ways on counter-productive paths. Globally, no one has been "watching the store". Notable exceptions have included certain United Nations colloquies, including its several summits, where the importance of the interfaces between urbanization and ecology are becoming increasingly explicit. Yet nations are few that base their policies upon these realities.
Through its pioneering communities the United States is now in a promising search of the sustainable in broadest terms of the social (Community Partnership), the economic (Community Enterprise), the environmental - - both built and natural - - (Community Conservation) and the reintergration of all three (Community Design). The fate of its communities raises most of the social, economic and environmental crises and opportunities before civilization as a whole. There are many U.S. communities with such an agenda. It is one that invites the full spectrum of citizen interests. It is a politically non-partisan theme so far, this theme of Sustainable Community.
No attempt has been made here to depict the different forms future settlements may take. It may prove unlikely that the future will support highly centralized, 19th-century "Victorian" technology-based places. More likely, there will be the linking up of networks of communities of varied sizes within quite varied and multiple regional contexts, such as "Community Constellations" linked by compacts based upon common interests. Between the communities will be rural landscapes - - highly
functional landscapes - - based upon entirely fresh understandings of landscape ecology and its integral relationship to the sustainability of urbanization.
For this hopeful future we may envision an entirely fresh set of infrastructures that use fully automated, very light, elevated rail systems for daytime metro region travel and nighttime goods movement, such as have been conceptualized and being positioned for production at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; we will see all settlements linked up by extensive bike, recreation and agro-forestry "E-ways" (environment-ways such as in Madison, Wisconsin; we will find healthy, productive soils where there is decline and erosion through the widespread use of remineralization from igneous and volcanic rock sources (much of it the surplus quarry fines, or "rockdust", from concrete and asphalt-type road construction or from reservoir silts); we will be growing foods, dietary supplements and herbs that make over our unsustainable reliance upon foods and medicines that have adverse soil, environmental, or health side-effects less and less land will go for animal husbandry and more for grains, tubers and legumes.Gradually, decent standards of equity will be in place for women, for children and for the disadvantaged; the "peace dividend" will be forced upon us as the insane costs of military armament becomes challenged globally.
Today, fortunately, an American ethical shift is getting under way towards sustainability as an accepted paradigm. The White House has hosted a range of non-partisan dialogues for this subject, including the President's Council on Sustainable Development, a two-year industry and environmental sector reporting effort to complete its findings this year. It is to give strong emphasis to "sustainable communities". What pioneers in the local sustainability exploration processes under way here are sensing is that Community Sustainability is a truly powerful organizing paradigm. Many U.S. communities are already performing as leaders in a wide variety of operational contexts - contexts such as center city revitalization, neighborhood development, quality of life, governmental decentralization, fiscal stability, metropolitan integration, public/private interplay, or public information access.
"Community Sustainability" employed as a conceptual framework for re-mapping modern society's new Third Millennium reality - - and as a roadmap for local action - - can help mobilize each individual community and thereby society as a whole. As critical mass is reached in this direction, as this idea takes hold gradually and in a wide diversity of places, it holds greatest promise for the future of the human family.
This new reality acts within three basic levels of society: it is about personal choices, preferences, concerns and fulfillments; it addresses one's local contexts of community; and it is about mobilizing the community's interests as projected into the regional dimensions of the land. The concerned citizens of modern society are expanding their basic sense of reality and of possibility by engaging themselves across these three levels of personal awareness and action. It is the direction local action must adopt to influence the global patterns from which local outcomes evolve.
Sustainability at the community level is how we can integrate our lives, strengthen our economics, reconnect our society with nature and heal this planet of its potentially avoidable, human-induced ecological decline. The meaningfulness of these new Community Sustainability possibilities affects people. The sense of responsibility for their community's choices expands. In the future this will become evident to most people, and, in the near future, hopefully to all those who are concerned for their own communities. Surely an expanding U.S. commitment to Community Sustainability now is one of global society's more hopeful paths for bringing about a transformation of how sustainably all nations produce and consume.
The recognition of this subject, Community Sustainability, is of central concern to modern, global urban-rural industrial society. Its integrative message embraces the social, the economic and the environmental - - it per force includes jobs, opportunity, equity, quality of life, efficiency and health.
Today modern society's collective challenge is to contain the excesses of its urbanization while time yet remains. We must reform the negative ecological consequences and thereby, in both social and economic terms, transform the future in a hopeful way. We can and must design a common future based upon settlement patterns, technologies and attitudes that work with nature rather than against it. The goal must be to create both economically viable and ecologically sustainable communities for all human families everywhere. Such shifts will take their time. First the local choices that incrementally shape the local future have to become focused, deliberate and integrated with respect to local interests and to Community Sustainability. This is the grassroots answer and the international bedrock for a hopeful outcome ahead - - one that is becoming obvious to more and more concerned citizens everywhere.
This document was hand-typed by Laura Mize, a long-time ECO member. It would not have been available on the web without her effort. - Freedom.org