A sustainable community is one that is ecologically, economically and socially healthy and buoyant. Such a community strives to meet its challenges through integrated solutions rather than through patchy approaches that will probably meet one of these goals at the expense of the rest as this will only deteriorate the quality of life (ISC, 2013). Sustainable development is a concept that has just emerged. My interest lies solely on sustainable community and how employment fits into it taking Thornbury a town in Bristol as a case in example. My interest in this topic was spurred by the fact that world population is rapidly increasing and states as well as authorities must formulate and implement good policies that will avert any challenges associated with rapid population growth as it pertains to economic, social and environmental aspects. However, most weight shall be on the analysis and review of literatures that explicate the concept of a sustainable economy.
Analysis and review of literatures
Traditionally, city and community designers lacked the visualization and understanding that would have spearheaded them towards environmentally friendly and sustainable conditions that would have allowed human beings to live in synchronization with environment. A combination of this and poor individual choices plus negligent consumerism led humanity to a crossroads (Kawakami, 2013). However, in the modern world things have changed because it has dawned on many planners and scientists that we cannot carry on building communities that are unmaintainable and we must adjust our regimes (Amin, 2009). This path would have led to severe health problems, extinctions and loss of natural resources. In the 21st century, nothing is necessary as a global call to action (Kao, 2010). Humanity have to break with the outdated lifestyles and face modernity head on as this is the only way of averting and handling the challenges associated with the current rapidly growing population.
Beneath is a figure of how the various aspects interrelate.
A sustainable community focuses on the present as well as the future and beyond the next election or budget since it is concerned with the quality of life that is acceptable as per the measures guiding development in a certain area or general regulations (ISC, 2013). It commendably manages its financial, natural and human resources to meet its present needs while ensuring that adequate resources are available and fairly distributed so that it can be used in meeting the future needs. According to Kawakami (2013), a sustainable community must ensure healthy ecosystems, economic security, better quality life and an operative governance reinforced by expressive and broad-based resident involvement.
In a community that is economically sustainable, the members of that community equitably benefit from a strong and healthy economy that is centered entirely on the community members. Thornbury Town Council was quite aware of this when designing various development projects in the town. Ever part of the town has some good income generating projects that not only benefit the residents but also Bristol in general.
According to a report released in March 2009, levels of deprivation have considerably fallen in the town as well as in the neighborhoods to equitability in resources dissemination and exploitation. Access to improved community services is not in question and the crime rates have also fallen meaningfully. Policy developers have taken a more specific approach to solve specific issues facing the town rather than focusing on borough or city-wide initiatives. For instance the Thornbury Town Council in partnership with local businesses involved the residents in building a public toilet in St Mary’s Centre to ensure that all citizens will economically reap from the project and also benefit from the presence of the facility in the town. Additionally, the presence of the facility will also help in improving the social welfare and environmental conditions in the town as there will be no irresponsible discarding of wastes (Bergh, Button & Nijkamp, 2007). Additionally, there is a Council Chamber (hall) that all persons are free to hire for meetings or conferences. Within it, there is an excellent exhibition room that can be used by business persons to showcase their products to the public in a bid to boost trade in the town.
An economically sustainable community has an economic base that is economically viable (Kao, 2010). Thornbury has a safe factor that ensures that the town centre remains a welcoming and vibrant place for all local and international investors. This encourages people to get involved in economic activities that take place at community level. Additionally, the arts festival, food fairs and annual carnival creates a good opportunity for people to get together and visit the centre of Thornbury where they explore viable economic activities that can yield favorable returns. It is believed that a strong economy can create work for local people and ensure that the level of customer service offered by town centre staff.
Meaningful employment opportunities for all citizens are another factor of great importance in an economically sustainable community. Thornbury improves awareness of local employment opportunities by providing information to all job seekers in a bid to help them obtain employment. It has done everything possible to enable people find job in the centre of the city. Pubs and other hubs have been upgraded to enhance their appearance and make them inviting and cater for a broader customer base. This has boosted the tourism industry. This is a major factor that makes Thornbury distinct from other towns in south of Gloucestershire.
The improvement of social amenities and infrastructure has enabled Thornbury to attract quality and specialist retailers in order to encourage investment. Businesses have flourished and many individuals have been able to obtain employment from the business sector. This can be attributed to the efficiency of Thornbury Town Council in providing licenses and passion policies such as those requiring landlords to upgrade their premises at least once a year to ensure that they are in good conditions (Bucks, Ashworth, Wilcock& Siegfried, 2010). Local ownership of businesses has also been maximized and virtually all persons are free to commence their business so long as they meet the requirements stipulated by the Town Council.
The importance of public transport in the economy of Thornbury cannot be underestimated. Bus links within Thornbury and to the centre of Bristol is a key employment resort that has become a source of income to many. Public transport industry is further expected to expand due to the expansion of business activities in the town and its constantly increasing population. The planning of the town is also modernized with well-planned and structured buildings, infrastructures and sewerage systems.
An alternative source of employment for Thornbury residents is the thriving tourism industry. The town offers an ideal base for vacationers to sightsee the villages and towns of the Severn Vale including South Wales, the Wye Valley, The Forest of Dean and Cotswolds. It has the only remaining Tudor Castle which has grown to a prestigious hotel (Avon, 2009). Amenities and services of the town have kept pace with its growth coalescing gorgeous remarkable buildings with contemporary developments. This and other activities that take place at the town centre make it a favorable touristy attraction. The tourism industry has provided employment to over 132, 000 people, and this just hint on the prominence of the industry in the town (Bucks, Ashworth, Wilcock& Siegfried, 2010).
Modern technology, effective planning, and education systems are of utter significance in developing a sustainable community. Amin (2009) indicates that responsive and manageable job training and education programs enables the workforce adjusts to upcoming prerequisites. Thornbury has incorporated up-to-date technology principally in the field of business, administration and education. Several training institutes are found all over the town and ensures that employees are updated and keep at pace with the contemporary issues and changes in the world of business as well as empower them to meet the diverse needs, tastes and preferences of the constantly changing customers (Avon, 2009). There are organizations that teach communities how to draft policies, set investment priorities and implement changes that will make the streets safe and appealing to the users. Additionally, there is a Green Building Toolkit that assists the Thornbury Town Council in identifying strategies that support squashed development which features sustainably build buildings and homes (Amin, 2009). Additionally, Thornbury Town Council the Sustainable Land Use Code Audit which evaluates zoning and subdivision regulations to incorporate the sustainability of the community goals, create incentives and remove any impediments (Avon, 2009).
An outstanding fact about a sustainable community’s success is that its realization depends entirely on its member’s involvement and commitment through dynamic, organized residency, responsive leadership, healthy and caring community institutions and responsible businesses and other institutions of significance in the society (Bucks, Ashworth, Wilcock & Siegfried, 2010). Biological diversity, conservation of resources, infrastructural enhancement and appropriate technologies to reduce pollution coupled with effective planning will suddenly result to a sustainable community that will be happy and warmly enjoying the gifts of nature. However, Kao (2010) notes that planning alone cannot solve the problems that might face a global community since it may not fully create a community that is sustainable.
However, deprivation has a major factor that hampers the development of a sustainable community. Kawakami (2013) advocates that new typologies for categorizing deprived economies and their neighborhoods must be identified and enforced. The four categories are isolate, gentrify, escalate and transit. Each of this demonstrates a different attribute that will shape the level and necessity for strategy intercession to wrestle the fundamental factors accountable for persistent levels of deprivation (Kawakami, 2013).
As elucidated above, a sustainable community is quite important and necessary in the current enlightened and sophisticated world and effective planning is a key to accomplishing this. The dignity of human existence must be endorsed by ensuring that most of their rights and freedom are met through effective planning and development. The society, ecology and economy must interact effectively in a manner that will make the environment healthy and friendly. Economic empowerment must be established and propagated.
I feel that all states should consider creating sustainable communities as this will help not only in improving the subjects’ life but also improving the general standards of life in the country. Value for human life is of utter importance and should not be compromised at any point.
Amin, A. A. (2008). Developing a sustainable economy in Thornbury. Dakar, Senegal: Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa.
Beaver Valley Heritage Society (2009). Beaver Valley study (B.V.S.). Thornbury, Ont: The Society.
Bergh, J. C., Button, K., & Nijkamp, P. (2007). Environmental planning. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Bristol (England) (2004). Deprivation in Bristol 2004. Bristol: Bristol City Council.
BUCKS, R. S., ASHWORTH, D. L., WILCOCK, G. K., & SIEGFRIED, K. (2010). Assessment of Activities of Daily Living in Dementia: Development of the Bristol Activities of Daily Living Scale.
ISC | What is a Sustainable Community? (2013). Retrieved from http://www.iscvt.org/what_we_do/sustainable_community/
Kao, R. W. (2010). Sustainable economy: Corporate, social and environmental responsibility. Singapore: World Scientific.
Kawakami, M. (2013). Spatial planning and sustainable development: Approaches for achieving sustainable urban form in Asian cities. Dordrecht: Springer.
Lahdelma, R., Salminen, P., & Hokkanen, J. (2000). Using Multicriteria Methods in Environmental Planning and Management. Environmental Management. doi:10.1007/s002670010118
Thornbury (Avon) (2009). The official guide to Thornbury Town. Gloucester: British Pub.