Sustainable and Ethical

Chapters 1 and 2 lay foundations: express definitions, establish theory, explore philosophical understandings. These are precursors to the practical guidelines given in later chapters: the 'Charter' (chapter 3), 'Growth Pattern Management' (chapter 4), and 'Urban Growth Management' (chapter 5). The reader versed in planning theory principles and philosophy, or bent on getting to grips with planning practice, can make direct access to the Practice section.

What impresses the newcomer to the Anglo settler society nations of Northern America and Australasia is how resource discovery, scientific and technological invention, and political force have so powerfully and rapidly imprinted a 'right-ness' over the last two hundred years (pastoralism and agriculture as well as plantation forestry, along with urban settlement) and a conjoint 'wrongness' (flora, wildlife and soil evisceration, along with much misery for the indigenous 'first' peoples). What is easily overlooked is that in earlier centuries the Old World was also subjected to resource discovery, inventions and political forces which vastly modified the landscapes of those times - sometimes to a state of disutility.

Hindsight, into the working relationship of the inhabitants of Anglo settler societies - North American and Australasian - is the context for this book. It is a project which derives its rationale from a situation where most developers in OECD settler societies acknowledge environmental issues in the breach, and pursue projects for profit - a circumstance where the outcome for both profit taking and environmental conservation clearly could be more mutually supportive.

This scene-setting chapter focuses attention upon key issues explored in three passages: first there is some delving into 'development', 'planning' and 'sustainability'; second there is an attempt to deconstruct the meanings of 'property', 'interests' and 'neomodernity'; and the third passage provides a foundation understanding of sustainability in the neomodern context of the 'triple bottom line' paradigm - which is an amalgam of growth, community, ethical and environmental factors.

The historical connection between development and planning - that is between pragmatic development and politically led planning - is not a conundrum of the 'chicken or egg' kind, for clearly the development thrust for investment return

Figure 1.1 Anglo settler society nations. 'New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, all with strong frontier traditions, small [low density] populations, and a British-induced cultural dislike of cities, share the American [suburban] experience' (Kenneth Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier, 1985).

'Since the mid-eighteenth century, more of nature has been destroyed than in all of prior history.' Hawken, Lovins, Lovins, Natural Capitalism, 1999

has always been dominant. Land-use patterning originated with community conflicts which arose when landowners set out to exercise their property rights unfettered, excluding all outside influence, even in some instances resisting zoning, that most normative of interventions.

At best, land policy determinations were arrived at previously with some assembly of data and analytical input as the precursor to either a 'letting out of the belt' or a 'filling in the gaps' pattern based on an expansive 10-to 20-year look ahead, inducing low densities for at least the first ten years. At worst, land-use practice was based on expansionist greed, originating with landowners and developers working with 'booster' local government leadership, largely ignoring or overriding planning advice and input. As evidence, the Anglo-settled North American and Australasian nations are adorned with plaques commemorating the frontier intrepidity of surveyors, the project prowess of engineers and architects, and the visionary inspiration of politicians - with few plaques in place or public service medals handed out to commemorate the work of urban planners.

The reality is that planning, and planners, fell in with exploitation-led and consumer-driven developer trends. Lacking a conservancy ethic, community leaders encouraged the production and use of formula rule books and plans, promoting the com-modification of rural land assets into urban sprawl where, as evocatively related in Campoli, Humstone and MacLean's Above and Beyond (2002: 197) 'Like a dog chasing its tail we pursue the dream of unlimited space, unrestricted movement and total control (in situations where) What we want is is an unspoiled rural landscape, but in pursuing it, what we get is sprawl.' The way that suburbia exhibits these sprawl characteristics, for different North American and

Disclosed on the web by Andres Duany (1999) sourcing Jane Jacobs. 'The pseudoscience of planning seems almost neurotic in its determination to imitate empiric failure and ignore empiric success.'

Australasian situations, is well explained in Visions of Suburbia edited by Roger Silverstone (1997).1

One contemporary complication is the awesome efficacy of modern technology, another is the insatiable money-doubling expectation of investors. Some benefits can be identified for citizens, like the legal certainty enshrined by crude yet clear property rights zoning. There has also been, for property developers, the benefits to them of departures (sometimes known as dispensations) from the strictures of zoning and the rule book. There is also the freedoms for occupiers to consume and discard. All these 'certainties, departures and freedoms' are at odds with emergent community preferences to establish more socially acceptable environmental behaviour: and in pursuit of that ideal 'zoning based systems' have occasionally morphed into Flexible Zoning (Porter, Phillips and Lasser 1991) with pejorative results.

The money-based energy-fired and technologically inspired 'resource exploitation' and 'consumer discard' syndrome (explored more fully in chapter 3) has drawn political leaders and the populations of wealthier societies into a growth-on-growth maze, from which they can find neither the 'central meaning' nor a 'way out'. A socially driven planning function is one instrument of intervention available to communities for coercing, advising and regulating these development forces and consumer preferences. But it is now obvious that the outcomes (the output) are often failing society in terms of the quality and sustainability of the results being delivered up. This is a matter which calls for consumers to ensure that they win out against destructive producer preferences, pursuing, in a phrase, conservation with development.

Acknowledging the need for conservation with development is not only a matter of seizing the moment, of shifting moral ground. It is also a battle to link business and the profit ethos to the development with conservancy ethic.

With the demise of glasnost and despotic governments most nation-states and their citizens work within the only remaining proven system, democracy. That style of governance cleaves, as it always has, to a business-for-profit and a growth-on-growth ethic, with corporate environmental responsibility now inserted into a wider Corporate Social Responsibility.

In a postscript to their recent Environmental Discourse and Practice, Benton and Short (1999) put the view that there is 'one common belief: society must change its attitudes about its use of the earth'. This 'belief' I fully endorse - it is on my wish list. But 'must change'? And 'society'? My own take on the socio-environmental compact is that movements in the direction of corporate social responsibility, which include corporate environmental responsibility, can partly be induced by championing the socio-environmental cause, can be more fully enforced through the use of regulatory instruments, but can only be really effective

'The Human psyche can tolerate a great deal of prospective misery, but it cannot bear the thought that the future is beyond all power of anticipation.'

Robert Heilbroner, 'Reflections', 1991

'People became so obsessed by a hatred of government that they forgot it is meant to be their government, and is the only powerful public force they have purchase on.'

J. R. Saul, Unconscious Civilisation, 1997

'Economic growth has become the bogey of the ecologically anxious'

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Millennium, 1995

'For most ecologists, big cities are off limits'

Mari Jensen, Ecology Moves Downtown, 1999

'The complex environmental problems that challenge our future are the direct result of human, political, social and economic judgments exercised by nature and on other people during the preceding industrial age.'

Robert Collin and Robin Morris Collin, 'Sustainability and Environmental Justice', 2001 (Italics added)

when socio-environmental responsibility becomes part of profitable business practice.

I discern three business-style 'certainties' to new-age life in settler societies. The first is that new-age technology is certain -the solar-powered car will be followed by the hydrogen-powered car - and these new technologies will be as profitable to new-age business as the steam engine was to George Stephenson and the combustion engine was to Henry Ford. The second is that the bottom-line purpose of business will remain business for profit. The third is that new-age democratic governments will decree, variously, against energy use profligacy, the exploitative hollowing out of finite resources, the dumping of reusable waste, and the exposure of toxic residues to the biosphere.

Incorporating Fernando-Armesto's epilogic collation (Millennium 1995) adds in these additional 'certainties'. Four: population growth will be contained. Five: totalitarianism will return. Six: big states will continue to fragment.2 Seven: cities will wither (!). Eight: initiatives will continue to shift.

And here are two more 'certainties' rounding up the set to ten. Nine: that domestic investing and government taxation will always outweigh the economic significance of international investments. Ten: that settler society governments will always be more powerful than corporations.

My point, the point, is that the means to achieve environmental responsibility and social responsibility - better lifestyles - amounts to considerably more than moral browbeating and polemic grandstanding; what it calls for is a getting from 'here - living heavily' to 'there - living lightly'.3

Different administrations of varying complexion have diverse objectives. Different nations, and different regions within larger nations, have varying standards. Business, though, has one objective and one standard - stakeholder profits - and the generation of stakeholder profits conditions their make-up, now and in the future, within every open democracy. Governments can tax and legislate business as they variously see fit - but they will always ensure that legitimate enterprise is never put out of business. Indeed it is the job of government to fashion situations in which business can operate and profit. Business-based laws can be also passed to prohibit the dumping of toxins, to limit rates of non-renewable resource extraction, to achieve efficiencies in the use of renewable resources, and to observe the socio-environmental benchmarks and achieve socio-economic outcomes. But a dilemma confronts. First there is the morality angle about which we hear a great deal; and then there is the matter of ethics (and philosophy) which has a covert objective, to ensure that the mistakes of a free-for-all past, and the desire

Solar Power Sensation V2

Solar Power Sensation V2

This is a product all about solar power. Within this product you will get 24 videos, 5 guides, reviews and much more. This product is great for affiliate marketers who is trying to market products all about alternative energy.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment