Communities are part of the human condition; most of our lives take place in a community context. We aren’t always aware of the role communities play — that people form communities for a reason. We also aren’t aware of all the ways communities provide for our needs. Communities are where we have our homes and care for our family and friends; communities provide employment so we can meet our needs for meaningful work and income; communities empower us to shape our own present and future; communities allow us to maintain a clean environment and a supportive infrastructure.
In short, we form communities to meet our common needs. But you know that few of our communities really meet all of our needs. They succeed in some ways, but leave us unfulfilled in others. Sometimes they meet the needs of a few people very well, and leave many others insecure. This workbook presents an approach that you and your community can follow to better meet everyone’s needs. It will help you find the way to make your community more sustainable — making sure that the way we’re meeting our needs today doesn’t jeopardize the ability of future generations to meet theirs.
What is a sustainable community? A sustainable city? If we form communities to satisfy our common needs, then both the community itself and the role it plays meeting our needs has to be sustainable — healthy, resilient, long-lasting. This is what we mean when we refer to “sustainable” communities: communities that satisfy people’s needs now and in the future. Sustainable community development is the process of working to meet and achieve balance between our economic, social, governance, and environmental needs, and a balance between the needs of current the generation and those of the future.