Saturday, September 8, 2007

Agyeman Chapter 4

Just Sustainability in Practice

In this chapter Agyeman created a just sustainability index for environmental organizations in the US, as well as some international organizations, and US programs and projects. Agyeman used the Internet to search organizations that had the words “equity”, “justice” and “sustainability” in their mission statement or program issues. From here she rated the organization on how much these terms were implemented in their mission statement or program issues by assigning a number from 0 (no mention) to 3 (mission statement relates to intra- and intergenerational equity and justice). She found that 30% of the thirty selected organizations were a zero and that the average was a 1.06. The rest of the chapter is less depressing as it consists of some case studies of programs and projects some of the organizations have implemented that were considered 3’s.

I found the case studies very fascinating. I also found myself thinking some of them more than others could be applied to the city I grew up in. Thinks like the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and the Community Design Program in Oakland that provides planning and design services to low-income people. I was most impressed by Bethel New Life Organization in Chicago and their Lake Pulaski Commercial Center project, which has pooled together so many different people to create a center of community. This relates to our class in that it shows the interconnectedness of many different sorts of people, from architects and parents, to lawyers and the unemployed. The organization in itself also strives to bring many types of people in the community to benefit from its projects.

My main critique for Agyeman has to do with her method of ranking organizations in her index. I wonder whether or not searching for terms on a website is an accurate way of determining how much an organization actually practices just sustainability. I’m sure this method has a lot of room for error, but may also be correct a lot of the time.

1 comment:

concrete said...

I thought Agyeman was female too, until I read the back cover. In fact she is a he.