Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sustainible Cities -Assignment 1

Hi everyone! I just recently joined the class, so here is my first assignment.


(a) It seems that Hallsmith has the concept of community as one overlying theme which is comprised of social, economic and political factors. Each plays a role as a key concept in the reading. These factors interact in a web-like fashion all affecting one another in a particular hierarchy: the social goals drive economic goals which in turn drive political goals. The sustainable community is discussed in terms of how each facet of communal living is connected with each other in convoluted ways. It is the relationships between these concepts that drive the possibility of sustainable living. In certain ways, the very definition of a community makes one sustainable. Communities are systems or organizations that are built in order to nurture success and positive growth. Examples Hallsmith gives of community social needs include “peace, health care, lifelong learning, meaningful relationships, a sense of belonging, self-expression, self-esteem, beauty and spiritual life”. To achieve many of these goals there requires an economic need – money. Hallsmith says economic security can be achieved when people pursue their “creativity and natural productivity” which can be sustained by the natural world. It is the political responsibility to foster this sustainable atmosphere. Together these all make up the community.

(b) This reading was very relevant to our course in an interesting way. Our course is essentially the political aspect of a community that was such a key concept to Hallsmith. The political part was what essentially helps drive the community. The class was built to embrace the social needs of the students by encouraging self-expression and meaningful relationships. “Economic security” is achievable as we have the ability to be creative and naturally productive in class and the class itself is the organizational factor that helps to solidify the community. Our course is essentially defined by the key concepts of Hallsmark’s writing.

Typically, I personally do not think of communities in such a logical perspective. The depiction of the sustainable community in this step by step, logical way allows me to think more strategically of the community of which I am a part. Each of us contribute to our communities in one way or another and this scientific approach to dissecting it helps me to begin seeing my own role.

(c) What I would really like to know is where the environmental aspect fits into the big picture from my perspective. What is the environment? Is it a social, economic or political factor? I think that it may deserve to be a subsection of the community as a whole, not a subsection of its individual parts. I understood what was mentioned regarding the environment, but I felt that it did not fit in properly. As a critique, I found the reading to be repetitive. I think the concepts were explained fairly well in general, but the reading seemed rather unorganized as it jumped from one key concept to the other only later to refer back to the first one. The charts were not of great help to me and if Hallsmark was a little more succinct there would have been no great need for them.

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