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Assessing Social Sustainability in US Cities: A Systems Approach

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Brundtland’s definition of sustainability is the ability to “meet the needs of the present<br/>without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” (IISD, 2021). But<br/>what if there are

Brundtland’s definition of sustainability is the ability to “meet the needs of the present<br/>without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” (IISD, 2021). But<br/>what if there are no future generations? Social sustainability, the sector of sustainability that<br/>foregrounds the well-being and livelihoods of people (and thereby continuation of humanity), is<br/>included in definitions within the sustainability field, but less developed in sustainability<br/>practice. In an effort to bridge this gap of knowledge, 14 U.S. cities and over 100 sustainability<br/>policies were analyzed for their social sustainability performance. An eight-item analytical<br/>framework that deals with differing areas of social equity guided the analysis. Results found that<br/>most cities’ sustainability departments fell short of truly addressing social sustainability<br/>concerns. Out of the eight items, the most frequently addressed were housing security and racial<br/>and gender equality whereas few, if any, cities addressed the more specific social concerns of<br/>immigration, technology and media, or arts/cultural preservation. Future research is<br/>recommended to gain a better understanding of the ways existing cities can improve in this area.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Assessing Social Sustainability in U.S. Cities: A Systems Approach

Description

Brundtland’s definition of sustainability is the ability to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” (IISD, 2021). But what if

Brundtland’s definition of sustainability is the ability to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” (IISD, 2021). But what if there are no future generations? Social sustainability, the sector of sustainability that foregrounds the well-being and livelihoods of people (and thereby continuation of humanity), is included in definitions within the sustainability field, but less developed in sustainability practice. In an effort to bridge this gap of knowledge, 14 U.S. cities and over 100 sustainability policies were analyzed for their social sustainability performance. An eight-item analytical framework that deals with differing areas of social equity guided the analysis. Results found that most cities’ sustainability departments fell short of truly addressing social sustainability concerns. Out of the eight items, the most frequently addressed were housing security and racial and gender equality whereas few, if any, cities addressed the more specific social concerns of immigration, technology and media, or arts/cultural preservation. Future research is recommended to gain a better understanding of the ways existing cities can improve in this area.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05