Cover image for The natural step for communities : how cities and towns can change to sustainable practices
The natural step for communities : how cities and towns can change to sustainable practices
James, Sarah.
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Publication Information:
Gabriola Island, BC : New Society Publishers, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 279 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
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HT241 .J34 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Sustainability may seem like one more buzzword, and cities and towns like the last places to change, but The Natural Step for Communities provides inspiring examples of communities that have made dramatic changes toward sustainability, and explains how others can emulate their success.

Chronicled in the book are towns like Övertorneå, whose government operations recently became 100 per cent fossil fuel-free, demonstrating that unsustainable municipal practices really can be overhauled. Arguing that the process of introducing change-whether converting to renewable energy or designing compact development -is critical to success, the authors outline why well-intentioned proposals often fail to win community approval, and why an integrated approach-not "single-issue" initiatives-can surmount challenges of conflicting priorities, scarce resources, and turf battles.

The book first clarifies the concept of sustainability, offering guiding principles-the Natural Step framework-that help identify sustainable action in any area. It then introduces the sixty-plus eco-municipalities of Sweden that have adopted changes to sustainable practices throughout municipal policies and operations. The third section explains how they did it, and outlines how other communities in North America and elsewhere can do the same. Key to success is a democratic "bottom-up" change process, and clear guiding sustainability principles such as the Natural Step framework.

The book will appeal to both general readers wishing to understand better what sustainability means and practitioners interested in introducing or expanding sustainable development in their communities.

Author Notes

Sarah James is the principal of a community planning consulting firm
Torbjorn Lahti was the planner for Sweden's first eco-municipality, helped form the Swedish national association of eco-municipalities, and is directing a five-year sustainable community demonstration project

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Forewordp. xiii
Prefacep. xv
Introduction: The Bumblebee That Changed the Worldp. xxi
Part I Compass for Change: The Natural Step Framework for Sustainabilityp. 1
Chapter 1 Introducing and Using the Natural Step Frameworkp. 2
Chapter 2 Sustainability: The Trouble We Have Talking About Itp. 15
Chapter 3 The Natural Step Approach: Why Is It Useful?p. 20
Part II Practices That Changedp. 27
Chapter 4 The Eco-municipalities of Sweden: A Little Backgroundp. 28
Chapter 5 Changing to Renewable Energy Sourcesp. 32
Chapter 6 Getting Away from Fossil-fueled Vehicles: Transportation and Mobilityp. 49
Chapter 7 Ecological Housingp. 60
Chapter 8 Green Businesses; Green Buildingsp. 76
Chapter 9 Journeys to Self-sufficiency: Community Eco-economic Developmentp. 97
Chapter 10 Ecological Schools; Ecological Educationp. 112
Chapter 11 Sustainable Agriculture: Growing Healthy; Growing Locallyp. 128
Chapter 12 Dealing with Wastep. 141
Chapter 13 Natural Resources: Protecting Biodiversityp. 154
Chapter 14 Sustainable Land Use and Planningp. 162
Part III How Communities Can Changep. 177
Chapter 15 What Gets in the Way of Change?p. 178
Chapter 16 Three Change Processes that Workp. 182
Chapter 17 Steps to Changep. 203
Chapter 18 Inside the Head of a Process Leaderp. 222
Epiloguep. 240
Appendix A Location Mapp. 241
Appendix B Guide to Swedish Name Pronunciationp. 242
Appendix C National Association of Swedish Ecomunicipalities (SeKom) Members in 2002p. 245
References and Sourcesp. 246
Bibliographyp. 246
Talks and Presentationsp. 254
Endnotesp. 256
Indexp. 273
About the Authorsp. 278