Rural community cultural development: Small really is beautiful
Faculty of Regional Professional Studies
School of Regional Professional Studies
Theories of sustainable communities have their roots in the general concept of sustainability and, in particular, conceptions of what constitutes a “community”. As Portney noted: Ever since the term “sustainable communities” was first brought into the lexicon of environmentalism, scholars and practitioners have seized upon it to promote and facilitate various kinds of pro-environmental change. (2003:3) Whilst it is not within the scope of this chapter to explore meanings of sustainability it has generally been accepted that the term conveys many meanings to many people, a lot of them based on the concept of intergenerational equity (eg. Robinson, et al., 1990; Roseland, 1998, Portney, 2003). Rosenbaum (1993) adds to this by noting sustainability means using methods, systems and materials that won’t deplete resources or harm natural cycles. When sustainability is coupled with the idea of community (which is also abstract) finding a generic meaning for sustainable communities would be nearly impossible. It is generally accepted, however, that the idea of sustainable communities has emerged out of an understanding of the importance of individual and collective human behavior, whether in a relatively small geographical area or within the broader context of communities of interest, and how that behavior reflects in people’s interactions and relationships within society and their broader biophysical environment.