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«CSAAR (7: 2010: Amman) Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development \ Edited by Steffen Lehmann, Husam Al Waer, Jamal AI-Qawasmi. Amman: The Center ...»

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Keywords Sustainability principles, green development, enlightenment, engagement 1 Introduction Rarely are there diseussions of development poliey, research and projeets anywhere in the world today withollt overt, passionate or veiled referenee to the spirit and intent of sllstainability. Yet, the attainment of SD goals arollnd the world raise more questions than answers, espeeially in parts of Afriea and Asia, where the reslilts are disturbingly dismal. The eontention in this paper is that rigidly top-down and elite-eontrolled frameworks for formlilating and implementing SD poliey initiatives are indeed part of the eauses of poor SD aehievements in most parts of the world. Yet, while development poliey and planning seholars eontinlle to identify gaps in SD implementation praetiees through purely empirical studies, rarely are 'eourageous' steps taken to engage in theoretieal poliey modelling, where these scholars, like their counterparts in physical science and engineering, prescribe, through what this paper calls empirically-based policy cerebration, SD implementation frameworks that, if diligently tested in the context of political reality, eould elose some of the loopholes in the SD decision-making, planning and implementation processes.

The exereise in this paper is an example of such theoretical modelling, albeit informed by empirical observations and professional experience by the author.

Sinee the release of the Brundtland report, the groundbreaking report, Our Common Future, published in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), the concept and lexicon of SD were introduced into all realms of development discourse and practice. Since then, "sustainable development has rapidly aequired such global salience that it is now a strategie coneept at virtuaJly every level of international and national govemment where public policy is discussed" (Bressers and Rosenbaum, 2003:5). From international reports, such as the latest UN-Habitat (2009) report, themed 'Planning Sustainable Cities,' to grassroots programs such as those operated by Kishkinda Trust in the remote village of Anegundi in India (Conway, 20 I 0), SD features prominently in diseussions and programs aimed at making the world more liveable for eurrent and future generations.

Sustainable Architecture and Urban Oevelopment 437 In spite of the global embrace of SO as a desirable cornerstone of growth and development, Bressers and Rosenbaum (ibid) noted, quite appropriately, that "what sustainable development implies about the appropriate means to this end or about what is to be specifically achieved, is a matter of continuing debate." It is in the context ofthis debate, viewed in this paper as desirable and healthy, that the paper posits that extant SO implementation initiatives are necessary but grossly ineffective for pursuing and achieving SO ideals and goals, especially in the developing world where the challenges of daily sustenance make the cost of most current SO initiatives prohibitive. The paper examines current "green development" initiatives as an example of such cost-prohibitive SO implementation endeavours, and contends that, complementary to such initiatives must be implementation frameworks that target the root causes of unsustainable policies, attitudes and practices in different communities worldwide. The paper proposes a sustainability pentagon, which consists of five 'E-principles', as a promising integrative framework for SD implementation, from policy making to policy implementation (vision to action). The five Es include the classical three Es delineated by the Brnndtland Commission, viz, Environment, Economy and Equity. These are illustrated in Figure I. The two additional Es of the pentagon are Enlightenment and Engagement, as illustrated in Figure 2. The paper rationalizes that SO implementation will be effective only if community citizens are fuHy enlightened and aware about SD policies, options, initiatives, costs and benefits, and if they are meaningfully engaged in the processes of formulating and implementing SO initiatives. Citizen awareness and citizen participation must be integral components of any SO policy that aims to be effective. As Henrique Cardoso (2002:6) clearly stated, SO must occur in the context of "progressive governance which emphasizes democratic processes and the participation ofthe population in decision-making processes." Implicit in this view are the twin principles of engaged and informed citizens, as prescribed in this paper.

Jerry Kolo, Ph.D

–  –  –

sn Implementation: ABrief Overview of Initiatives an A Critique of the Colour-Coded Approach Efforts and initiatives to implement SD ideals and goals are ongoing in all spheres and at all levels of governanee worldwide. Implementation efforts are aeeompanied, eomplemented and enhaneed by research and scholarship efforts to understand and artieulate SD as a eoneept and framework for development poliey and implementation. At the level of governanee, for example, there have been international and loeal policies and programs aimed at aehieving SD goals.

Some of the eommonest examples are the United Nations (UN) Agenda 21 that resulted from United Nations Conferenee on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil in June of 1992; and, the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), whieh the world leaders adopted, and want aehieved by year 2015, in a Deelaration at the UN Millennium Summit in

2000. Examples of other global and loeal SD initiatives are the 1990 Kyoto Protoeol, made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) urging nations to reduee their eolleetive emissions of greenhouse gases; the green development movement, which was popularized by the Roeky Mountain Institute's 1998 book titled 'Green Development;' and, the eeo-munieipality program, initiated by Swedish oneologist Karl-Henrik Robert, founder ofThe Natural Step (TNS) (James & Lahti, 2004).

At the community level all over the world, the community being the 'theatre' of policy and program implementation, while SD policy and decision making remains the domain of policy makers, implementation is being led by professions involved in the built environment, arguably because of the immediate and visible impacts of built structures on the environment. Architects, for example, are at the fore front of designing buildings that meet pre-set sustainability requirements, while engineers are involved in designing structures and inventing technologies that meet and promote the ideals of SD. Also, the thrust of organizations and programs at the forefront of SD implementation around the world is the built environment. Popular examples of such organizations and programs are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and officially launched in 1998; the UK Building Research Establishment (BRE) Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), created in 1990 and used across the European Union; Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method (HKBEAM), which has been in use primarily in Hong Kong, China and East Asia in general, since 1996; the Pearls system, was developed by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council in 2009 for use in assessing new projects in the United Arab Emirates; the Green Star, which is the environmental design system most widely used by projects in Australia and South Africa since 2008; and France's High Quality Environmental standard or Haute Qualite Environnementale (HQE). All these initiatives represent what this paper dubs the colour-coding of SD implementation, which is a lopsided Jerry Kolo, Ph.D approach to SD implementation at the expense of a more integrative framework for all the pertinent principles of SD.

The color-coded approach to SD implementation is exemplified by no other initiative than the popular "green development" movement that now grips the world. The concept and practice of green development form a broad canopy for a myriad of ideas and initiatives that are currently being implemented in communities worldwide. Virtually every human activity today is prefixed with the term 'green' in an attempt to prod and encourage people to ensure that their activities do not harm the environment. There is a growing body of literature that is trying to bring some c1arity and focus to the broad subject of green development and its allied concepts, such as green building and green infrastructure. Randolph (2004: 134) observed that "green building" and "green development" are additional examples of emerging trends toward more sustainable design and development. Expatiating on green development, he noted "the concept aims to integrate two, often conflicting values ecology and real

estate," adding that "green development emphasizes four process elements:

whole system thinking, front-loaded design, end-use/least-cost considerations, and teamwork including community involvement" (ibid:135). He further stated


Green development includes... building designs and practice but extends them beyond the housing market to include commercial developments, beyond the site to include the community and cultural context, and beyond the building design and construction to include real estate financing and marketing (ibid:134).

Randolph (2004:134) described green buildings as "more efficient, environmentally friendly, and healthier residential designs and construction." He

noted that:

"Green building" promotes new building designs that do the following:

Provide greater energy efficiency and reduce pollution Provide healthier indoor air Reduce water usage Preserve natural resources through effective material usage Improve durability and reduce maintenance.

Compared to green buildings, Randolph (2004:95) submitted that "green infrastructure planning is still a new concept" and green infrastructure plans are called "greenprints."

Green infrastructure (GI) is defined as an interconnected network of green space that conserves natural ecosystem values and funetions and provides associated benefits to human populations. The network consists of waterways, wetlands, woodlands, wildlife habitats, and other natural areas; greenways, parks, and other eonservation lands; and working farms, ranches, and forests (idid:98).

Sustainable Architecture and Urban Oevelopment 441 Green development, like all other SO initiatives, regardless of profession, sphere of activity or nomenclature, is about using society's natural resources prudently to meet the needs of current generations while saving enough resources for future generations to meet their needs, as espoused in the definition of SO postulated by the Brundtland Commission (WCEO 1987:8). At the crux of all SO initiatives, new and not so new, seems to be attempts to minimize or eliminate, where possible, any negative impacts of human activities on society's natural resource or capital base. What this paper surmises is that green development and most other current SO initiatives worldwide tend to be concentrated primarily on the 'Environment' and, to some extent, the 'Economy' principles of Brundtland Commission 's tripie bottom line illustrated in Figure 1.

This paper finds SO initiatives wanting on the 'Equity' principle due to problems, such as the Not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) syndrome in mostly affluent communities, spatial and racial segregation in cities, and classism and socio-economic stratification especially in the developing world. The paper also contends that, in spite of significant strides and accomplishments worldwide on the 'Environment' and 'Economy' principles, there is yet a long way to go in achieving the desired integrative intent, spirit and results of SO, especially in the developing world where several intertwined obstacles continue to undermine SO implementation. Specific examples of such obstacles are the marginalization and outright ostracism of grassroots citizens from SO decision processes and the local, national and, by extension, international levels; lack of culturally contextual institutional frameworks for SO implementation; inadequate or lack of govemment capacity to undertake feasible SO policy, planning and implementation; and, sheer ignorance of ordinary citizens about govemment's SO agenda, owing primarily to govemment's failure or ineptitude in communicating such agenda effectively. While some may argue that SO funding is a more important obstacle than those listed here, the view in this paper is that it is these obstac1es that account, to a large extent, for the mismanagement of the limited funds allocated or available for SO implementation from local, national, international and philanthropie sourees.

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