Sunday, August 26, 2007

Key to Sustainable Cities, Ch 2-4

By looking at the community as a whole, rather than just the government or just the economy, we can see how systems interact, either eroding or enhancing their capacity to meet future needs (their sustainability).
In decision making, it is necessary to consider the parts in relation to their effect on the system, rather than just problem-solving in isolation. Systems also affect one another; they are dynamic.
One of the determining factors of a community’s sustainability is its ability to satisfy the needs of all of its members (actors) – governance, businesses and organizations, as well as individuals and households.
Both equilibrium and entropy exist within a given system. Systems will at some level self-organize, and the more freedom the actors in a system have, the greater the possibilities for positive change.

From a design perspective, the large impact is something we strive to consider for any project or idea, but often only in a social and environmental sense—perhaps because landscape architecture often views the environment as something that needs to be preserved and protected, and the social effect, whether a design is for a park or a backyard, is often what is most apparent. The reading points out that the governmental impacts and the economic impacts should also be considered. If they aren’t taken into account, they will still happen, and the end result could be something that is in turn detrimental in another area of the cycle.

It seems as if the ‘environmental’ aspect of the systems was considered primarily in the sense that the environment provides resources. I feel that it could have been explored further, perhaps through additional scenarios, but even just in terms of the changes that would occur in an environmental system. There seemed to be a greater sociopolitical tone to the reading than there was a full exploration of the impacts upon the natural systems, and in turn, their impacts upon the social, economic, and political systems. I feel that the last connection was left out a bit.
I also found it interesting when it was pointed out that the social health had the greatest beneficial impacts; perhaps this could have been explored as well.

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