Sustainability Planning is to development as preventive medicine is to health. This is the parallelism often drawn between a pro-active involvement in management issues in one’s neighborhood rather than a reactive resignation to it– until crisis develops. Preventive medicine requires people to take an involved stance by being knowledgeable and motivated towards healthful habits and practices; as sustainable development necessitates that people remain in active participation with the decision making within their community.
In response to the question if pedestrianization is a sustainable strategy or can be considered as a sustainable development approach, the components of sustainability could be cited as the justification that indeed it is. The Three-E’s of Sustainable Development (Environment, Economy, and Equity) are the measure of appropriateness of any initiative and will be used herein as our integrated sustainability criteria.
The following lists each sustainability criterion which can relate to pedestrianization, and gives possible issues within each topic.
1. Environmental – refers to the surroundings of humans and other life forms that support them and limit their activity according to basic physical laws. Environmental factors affect our current well-being and establish the majority of the heritage we leave to our children’s children. Environmental issues can include: pollution prevention, climate protection, biodiversity, habitat preservation and aesthetics.
2. Economic – relates to available resources and how these are organized to meet human needs and goals. Financial or monetary factors mostly comprise our means of influencing environmental and societal factors. Some Economic issues are: business activities, employment, productivity, tax burden, and trade.
3. Equity – (also called Social) is a composite of personal interactions and how they are structured. Homo sapiens have evolved to be dependent on human relations; hence, the sustainability of societies is a necessary condition for meeting human needs. Some Equity issues are: social relations, human health, community livability, cultural and historic values, and public involvement.
Although the Three-E’s are a trilogy of separate sustainability issues, they always overlap as non-isolable facets. For instance, pollution is an Environmental concern, but it is likewise a health (and Equity/Social) concern, and affects the tourism potential (Economic) of any location. Planning solutions, particularly when taken in the context of sustainability strategies, must always be upon the integrated-holistic interaction of all the issues.
Because resource depletion and air pollution have the greatest long-term ecological risk and are prone to being neglected in planning and development, sustainability is often narrowly defined in the context of these two. Attention must be called that a wider contextualization should always be more appropriate.