Evolution of Urbanization & Sustainable Development Concept

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When: January 1, 1942, Who: representatives of 26 nations   |   Where:  Washington DC  |  Action: Signing the Declaration of the United Nations   |   Official Declaration: 24 October 1945

In the urbanization process through human history, sustainable development is a concept that was introduced recently. Write your own definition/understanding of the concept and why the current definition by the UN (our common future report) may be insufficient. And then mention the top milestones in the evolution of urbanization process and why do you think these are the ones that influenced the development process more.

(Sustainable Development in Cities, USP 514 Class Discussion)

#Sust_Glob_South

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45 thoughts on “Evolution of Urbanization & Sustainable Development Concept

    • R. Tom Evans
      USP 514
      9/2/16

      Homework 1.5 Sustainable Development and the Evolution of Urbanization

      According to the UN’s Brundtland Report, Sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, and if defined by Google it’s “economic development that is conducted without depletion of natural resources.” Sustainable development always sounded like a bit of an oxymoron to me, since development implies growth – something I had inherently seen as the core problem behind the environmental crisis. Whether it’s GDP or population, de-growth (shrinking) had always been the target in my mind to get the world back to a safe level environmentally speaking. Sustainable re-development seemed to be my preferred terminology for awhile because in my mind it doesn’t imply growth so much as it does change. Regardless of the terminology applied, sustainable development aims at minimizing (or better yet reversing) the negative effects of humankind not only environmentally, but also socially.
      While some may have once argued that sustainability is only an environmental issue (my past self being one of them), the truth is is that sustainability encompasses far more about the human sphere than just that. As discussed in class, “Sustainability” is somewhere at the center of a metaphorical triangle with “Ecology”, “Economy”, and “Equity” at that triangles vertices. These three factors should be considered when assessing the sustainability of something. Something can be economically and ecologically sound (as many elitist environmental schemes are), but completely inequitable – and that isn’t really sustainable in all regards now is it? The question of what we as a society are trying to sustain should inform us that this is more than just a one dimensional issue. Assuming we want humankind to be sustained (which is a big assumption in itself), we have to include equity and economics into the picture.
      Peter Marcuse said “sustainability alone is insufficient”, and by this he was referring to the fact that many bad things also have the ability to sustain themselves (look at capitalism for example). Sustainability is a too vaguely holistic term, but for the assumptions of this paper let’s just assume it is the positive intersecting range between what is socially equitable, economically feasible, and ecologically sound. However, maintaining this sweet spot is where things get tricky because conflicts are constantly arising between these separate factors. Between the factors of economics and ecology, property conflicts arise. Between ecology and equity, developmental conflicts arise. And between equity and economics, resource conflicts arise. Yet at the heart of these potential conflicts is supposed to be sustainability. If sustainability is so seemingly difficulty to achieve, is it even sustainable in itself?
      While sustainability and sustainable development may be complex goals to shoot for, a look at the evolution of urbanization may provide some insight on the problems that need fixing. Urbanization can be traced back to the pre-industrial era, in which human agriculture allowed for more permanent cities. Due in part to restricted transportation and limited access to common resources, cities were (and are) often limited in size which promoted denser living. With the Industrial Revolution, technological advances allowed for human populations to expand in numbers and location.
      As cities became denser, the need for ecological planning came about to address several issues. Denser cities sometimes became centers for filth and unequal access to cleaner environments. Partially because of this, Olmsted designed New York’s Grand Central Park in order to create equal access for everyone to natural spaces. Later park networks became a way of creating more equal access with the benefits of a large park because they were connected, and the benefits of small spread-out parks at the same time. The advent of the railroad allowed the wealthier elite to leave congested cities, and thus the emergence of suburbs came about (expanded even more so by the interstate highway).
      Beyond ecological planning, sustainable development took the form of environmental mitigation, wherein National Parks and wilderness were set aside as public sanctuaries. Sustainable development and global environmental issues are supposed to be the focus of the present era, followed by post sustainability, but such categories are hard to assess from the present vantage point.

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  1. USP Homework #1
    Based on lecture and discussion in class on Monday I have a bigger understanding of the concept of sustainable development. Trough out the years the environment in cities have been gotten a lot worse. It got worse during the 1970s. I think it got wore because during that time of the year there was a lot of immigrants coming to America throughout the world, because of the many people coming to America the population started to increase. When the population increase a lot of people starting polluting the environment by driving cars a lot, free ways, etc. There were a lot of cars during that time because of industry. There were a lot of factories that used coal to make electricity and coal cause a lot of pollution to the environment. The urban evolution started with pre-industrial revolution meaning there wasn’t a lot of people immigrating to America during that time. Therefore, there wasn’t a lot of factories, coal, cars, and population was low. However, the next stage was the Industrial Revolution. From that point on the environment started to get worse. It did because there were factories, and people started to make weapons like guns because they are getting ready for world wars. After that the next step was the beginning of ecological planning. The beginning of ecological planning because of factories and gas vehicles it started to get into the environment killing many animals and making a lot of them endangered. When the governor found out about this they stated to make plans to protect the wildlife from becoming more endangered or worse extinct. During the 1970s like I mentioned earlier people started to immigrate to USA from other countries and factories was correcting more gas vehicles for people to drive. It was also during the Vietnam war. USA used a weapon called agent orange to try to find ways to attack the Vietnam people. After the war people stilled used agent orange to kill pesticides in plants. However, they didn’t know that birds were getting affected and lots of them were dying off especially the bald eagle. In the present after the war was over there were a lot of people starting to drive more, there were a lot more freeways, and some places lack public transportation. Since there were a lot of freeways and many places in the world was lacking public transportation many people started to drive around everywhere which caused a lot of pollution into the atmosphere, environment, and depleting the ozone layer. Since a lot of people were driving gas vehicles and not taking public transportation, bike or walk it started to warm up the word causing Global Warming, and climate change. Since that was really bad many people started to get educated about the environment, climate change, and etc, there were many new solutions in trying to make the environment better. As for now it has gotten a lot better because there are now more public transportation and more people is taking them, cars started to evolve from gas into hybrids or electric vehicles which is making the environment a lot cleaner. Other than that NGOs also started to built parks for people to enjoy the environment like national parks and which allow the environment to be more healthy and getting better.

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    • Based on the lecture and the discussions that were held in class, my understanding of Sustainable Development is that it is a concept that emphasizes on development in many forms that in the long term seeks to be sustainable. Meaning that the specific development meets the current needs for the present, while simultaneously do not harm or compromise the needs for our future generations. The aspect of need in my opinion may be interpreted in different ways, such as the physical needs for human beings. For instance, if we design projects and conduct architecture that use up a vast amount of resources then ultimately the people that might be affected and suffer as a consequence will likely be of low-income in particular in the third world. If the average citizen in a western country would analyze their ecological footprint then most likely it’ll show that if every single human being on the earth lived the way we live, then our planet would simply not be enough to sustain us all. I also consider sustainable development an approach to target some concerns, such as limitations on resources. In order for human beings to sustainably move forward, we must do our best assure that we do not over consume natural resources since it’ll eventually affect the future generations but even at the present with several environmental concerns brought up in recent years. Initially I believe that the process of expanding urbanization was intended for industrial purposes and to develop cities into the better. As time went and the more urbanization took place, lots of benefits and revenue was gained in terms of financial increase and mass production/consumption at the same time which would move nations forward. Hence in order for more people to become part of a developing society, urbanization had to take place and more and more people left the rural areas to relocate the cities and therefore the cities needed expansion. As far as being sustainable is concerned, I believe that prominent environmental philosophers such as John Muir and Giffort Pinchot came up with their respective ideas in regards to what would become inevitably negative for a sustainable society. With both the conservation and the preservation beliefs regarding the environment, urbanization can now work according to somewhat of a framework in order to be as sustainable as possible. I agree with Pinchot’s belief that it is legitimate to hand the responsibility of sustainably taking care of the environment of certain professionals, however at the same I also believe that Muir is right that in some circumstances natural habitat should be completely left alone. As mentioned before, the urbanization process perhaps evolved with the mentality of expanding society and make cities more industrialized. However with great concerns rising up involving the environment, it is fair to say that human beings both within the public and the private sector are now more or less taking responsibility to ‘’urbanize’’ in a more sustainable way. Overall, I consider sustainability and sustainable development extremely critical for both the present and the future. In order for human beings to continue to move forward and live progressive lives, we must also make sure that use methods are not harmful and do not overuse resource in excess. Indeed, there are needs that need to be met and fulfilled for the sake of human beings. However we simply have to make sure that we do not comprise and limit resources in the present while also do our best not to harm the ability of future generations to meet their needs in their lifetime. With more industry, human beings have been successful in physically harming the environment we maintain ourselves in. In addition, we have also harmed both human beings and ecosystems as well. We have as a result of major industries all over the globe, polluted the air and water, performed habitat destruction, and caused an increase in the temperature of the global climate. All of these aspects are heavily important for the future generations to be able to succeed and move forward in the world that they will live in, but most importantly if we do not find more means to be sustainable we will soon find ourselves with natural issues as a result of harmed ecosystems and resource exploitation.

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      • Thorough reflections. Good that you brought the different contexts and geographies (North & South). In addition, the shared responsibility between public and private sector in urbanizing our land is very true, however,r through the class, we may try to learn more who is more influencing this process (the public or the private sector).
        Governance & Value system are going to be a essential in determining that.
        Keep the good work.

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    • Good Philip Chau. Brining the US experience and the post Vietnam war development process is a good reflection. Also linking car driving with climate change is a good example of acting locally and influencing the global scale.

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  2. From my understanding of sustainable development, the definition is development that fulfills the present social and economic needs while considering the amount of resources available as of right now and making sure that the resources will have the chance to regenerate for future use.
    John Muir believes that the best way to protect the environment is to completely leave it alone. As much as I’d like to keep our environment pristine much like John Muir’s idea, I think that we have grown accustomed to our actions so much that we have become dependent on the resources available to us. However, I do not support using resources as much as we’d like because that will eventually lead to destruction of the world no matter how economically successful it might look. In a sustainable development, we need to keep in mind that there are limits to how much we can afford to grow or else we will hit that ceiling. A sustainable development is finding the balance between what is socially acceptable, economically viable while being environmentally sustainable .
    There were a few moments in the evolution of urbanization which shaped the development process. First, the moving of factories to the city. This means that many of the jobs are there which led to people moving closer to it. Then the building of parkways, which made it easier and faster to get to one place. This made it possible for upper class to move and live somewhere else but still has easy access to the city. Another one that seemed to influence the process was the building of railways. This drove out middleclass people since they can now reach the city for jobs but not be in the congested living area. With the developments in the industry and it’s impact on the environment, it became visible that public health was taking a toll. This led to developing Environmental protection which also shaped the development. Each of these milestones determined what was to consider in a sustainable development.

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  3. Kimanthe Kithika

    Concepts of Sustainable Development: Finding Sustainability

    I think that sustainable development in cities depends on resolving the competing interests of ecology, economy and equity both in place-making and place-making legislation. Steintz’s essay locates sustainability in three important ideas advanced by Patrick Geddes’: the Valley Section, which segments a cross-section of the landscape into specific land uses, with mining, resource extraction and forestry located furthest inland; followed by farming, hunting and fishing activities situated at the mouth of the valley curve. Contrary to modern theories and practices, Geddes then locates key city development as being determined by the planning of urban parks, gardens, cultural institutions and public life, with ‘transport routes and industrial, commercial and residential’ uses of the landscape being of secondary importance, which thereby prioritizes urban land’s use-value over its exchange value, and has only recently been practiced in the United States.
    Indeed, reactions to the excessive pollution and spoiled land created by and during the Industrial Revolution in cities spurred Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City model in England, followed shortly thereafter by the City Beautiful movement in the continental and coastal United States, and later championed by today’s New Urbanism movement, which I am a supporter of, and in which the landscape culture informs urban design aesthetics. Overall, Steintz’s preservationist concept of sustainable development is substantially normative, in that it presents the discipline of urban planning as best shaped by thinking like a landscape architect; equally recommended is Daniels look at sustainable development from a more legislative and progressively conservationist perspective, and in those terms locates five principal ‘Eras’ crossed from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day.
    The first inaugurates National Planning conference of 1909, which transpired during the reformist progressive era in national politics and helped produce the National Wildlife Reserve System in 1903 and the U.S. Forest Service in 1905. The Second Era initiatives, transpiring between 1920 and 1969, balanced ecological regional planning, in which, under the Regional Planning Association of America, human-centered geography is situated into ecological systems in environmentally benign ways and produced the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Endangered Species Act and culminating in 1970 with the National Environmental Policy Act, which required all Federal projects to be screened for potentially harmful environmental effects. The Third Era milestone revolved around environmental site cleanup and remediation of toxic soils, which led to the creation of the Federal Superfund and the city planning concept of brownfield site development for commercial, residential and light industrial re-use, once the toxic impacts of heavy industrial usage were identified and decontaminated.
    The Fourth Era signaled a ‘backlash’ to increased environmental regulation, seen as injurious to industry, but also saw a balance struck between the competing local planning priorities of economic growth and quality of environmental life. The Fifth Era, beginning in 1987 and prefaced by the report of that year’s World Commission on Environment and Development, added social justice to the list of environmental planning priorities and defined sustainable development as “development the meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, thereby presenting the concept as more of a journey than a destination—towards increasing the political will needed to develop more sustainably over time.

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    • Good. Linking the place making (physical) with the place-making legislation (institutional) is an important point for sustainability. It also highlights the importance of governance in this formula.

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  4. Sustainable land development includes practices and innovations that aim to develop or improve the land through the management of natural resources in order to meet the needs of all humans. This is done in a manner that will ensure future generations access to these resources as well as the conservation of natural ecosystems. My understanding of sustainable development is that it encompasses many aspects of daily life, from transportation to access to clean air and water. Sustainable development as defined by the UN in the Our Common Future report is slightly insufficient in my opinion. I think that in addition to not compromising future generations to meet their own needs, it should also mention that the present generation should be actively trying to set up an improved framework for each future generation. This way, with each progressing generation it becomes easier to satisfy everyone’s needs and less harm can be done to the environment. The process of urbanization has evolved and each new improvement has gained inspiration from previous improvements in various countries. Green spaces began to gain popularity in England in the 19th century with the construction of massive estates. These estates housed large spaces filled with greenery and plants solely for aesthetic reasons. As time went on, this idea evolved into creating green spaces within cities. The construction of Central Park in New York City is an example of this evolution. Frederick Law Olmsted is credited with the design of the park along with a few others. Olmsted is also credited with doing important studies that led to the creation of Yosemite National Park, the first of many to come in the United States. This was monumental because it was one of the first signs of a nationwide recognition of the importance of preserving incredible ecosystems and the environment. Olmsted also hired Gifford Pinchot, who guided some of the earliest efforts to conserve the environment by using sustainable practices. Pinchot’s progressive thinking toward the environment was a big influence on the development process. The idea of large centralized parks then evolved into parkways. These were intended to increase mobility while adding greenery throughout the city. They also aimed to increase accessibility to the large centralized parks. This idea then further evolved into the creation of many small parks throughout large industrial cities. This was done in order to create more green spaces in more parts of the city, and again to increase accessibility to these parks. By putting small parks in many different neighborhoods, people were more easily able to go to them and enjoy their beauty. These milestones in the evolution of urban development are notable because they reflect how the enjoyment of nature has gone from only being accessible to the elite and wealthy, to being more widespread and available to even those who live in less affluent neighborhoods. As the country’s population continues to grow the need for sustainable urban development is crucial. I hope that there is an increase in green spaces, parks and addition of trees throughout cities. They are not only beneficial to the aesthetics of the city; they also improve air quality, provide habitats for various species and create areas where communities can come together and organize for a more sustainable future.

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    • Good one.
      I think you may work to incorporate your added part in the definition in a well articulate way.
      Your words:

      “….. I think that in addition to not compromising future generations to meet their own needs, it should also mention that the present generation should be actively trying to set up an improved framework for each future generation….”

      Great addition and moves us from sustaining to adding more value. Lets try to shape it further and coin it through your future work and publications.

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  5. Prior to enrollment of this course, I always thought of sustainable development as going green or doing something the old fashion way because things were simpler back then, utilizing less materials, and toxins. I never thought of sustainable development as the long term ability of a system to reproduce, so simple and straight to the point. What I also thought was interesting in class, the comparison between John Muir and Gifford Pinchot. I heard of John Muir, the naturalist who helped preserve parks and open space for nature. However, I haven’t heard of Gifford Pinchot. I understand Pinchot desire to provide materials for society to grow and harvest but I think we fell short in terms of tree planting vs. tree removal. It’s true we need trees for building, and we need trees to provide oxygen, but I think Muir way of life was more sustainable. Watching the video about environmental cleanup was also interesting. Why did it take long for people to come to the realization that waste was a problem? I think recruiting professionals during the 70’s was a smart idea because they found ways to reduce the problem without causing more pollution. After the environmental cleanup era we entered into the sustainable and global environmental issues era during the 80’s and 90’s. There are so many things that impact the environment negatively. Deforestation, waste, and gas emissions are contributors to global warming which is destroying our planet. The era we’re in now, post sustainability, is appearing to be and ongoing process of incorporating sustainability in all communities across the world. The question is are we too late to reverse the damage we already cause to the planet? Is sustainability useless as this point? Looking forward to discussing this in class, also want to discuss more about equity, economy, and ecology.

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  6. Last Monday’s discussion resulted in me coming away from the class with a newfound understanding and appreciation of the idea of “sustainability.” It has always existed, long before we gave it a modern makeover. An example being, in order for farmers to keep producing crops before industrial agriculture took over, they needed to manage the plant growth to keep nutrient rich soil that would continue to produce food for an ever growing population. They had to find a way to manage and sustain the production value of the soil. In modern society, we need to sustain different things, and so sustainability takes on a different meaning. As humans we’ve used so many of our natural resources for generations without giving thought to what comes for the generations after our own. Nor did we think of the ways in which our usage of resources changes our environments and our very planet. But by now, most people know that we have to live differently if we want to continue to live on this planet. Most planners would agree that we cannot keep building new and widening existing freeways to get people from one point to another. We need to invest in alternative transportation means, but which one in particular is what people disagree on. Each possible alternative comes with many caveats. The overuse of resources being one. Sustainable development can no longer simply be about living and building without using any resources or using only the bare minimum of what we need. We have to start thinking about creating new, green ways of building cities, and connecting them that won’t lead to a net loss on our resources and our planet. Sustainable development should be one of the first things in planner’s minds when starting a new project, or even working on something older.

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  7. Sustainable Development – Concept and Influences
    Sustainable development is thought to help cities and the people to deal with climate change. Even though it is a fairly new concept in literature, sustainable development has been practiced throughout history, often out of the need to improve communities. I will reflect on the concept of sustainable development, based on the lectures, discussions and readings, and explore milestones in history that had an impact on city development.
    The United Nations defined sustainable development as “[a] development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Based on this quote, one can see that sustainable development encompasses not only the present generation, but also the future generations that have yet to come. It gives a voice to the people of the future, that were previously not part of the discussion when it came to developments. Any project that is being designed, will be useful to the present generation and the future generation. Architects, planners and designers have to think not only about present needs, but also need to consider future needs.
    Sustainable development also requires to plan for future needs of resources. Buildings are mainly constructed with recycled materials that before, were thought to be waste. This way, we will be able to minimize our impact on the limited resources that are available on earth. Population is growing, and with that, the impact humans have on earth. Sustainable Development is a way for us to mitigate the negative impacts, while improving and restoring the environment.
    It is also important to note that Sustainable Development considers social justice issues. During the process of development, people living around the project have a voice. The design of the project is adjusted to the ecological flow of the community. It is build for the community and its current and future needs without compromising their integrity and living situations.
    One of the earliest milestones within in the development process happened during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Uncontrolled city development started to take it’s toll on the environment and cities started to deteriorate. What was significant, elite people were at the forefront, demanding public parks that would improve the quality of life. As mentioned above, part of the Sustainable Development is to improve people’s life, while helping the environment.
    Olmsted and Vaux played a large role in bringing the concept of connectivity into the development process. They realized that a single large park is insufficient due the fact that it would be inaccessible for some people and it would only improve the life of people around the park. Nature is an system that is based on interconnectivity. Olmsted and Vaux realized this, and made the concept of interconnectivity a part of development. Its is a way to connect people and the ecosystems.
    The last important milestone, is still ongoing. Since 1998, we came to the conclusion that sustainability is insufficient. In our current language, sustainability is too vague and as a lot of loopholes that causes bad projects to be perceived as sustainable, even though they don’t meet all the needs.
    We can’t have sustainable development while capitalism and other oppressive systems are still in place. Sustainable development will need to happen on the local, regional, national and global level. It will penetrate every aspect of people’s life. It started as a concept of developing cities, but has now grown to a concept of developing society.

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    • Good reflections.

      “…..Architects, planners and designers have to think not only about present needs, but also need to consider future needs….”

      They might be responsible for a very small part of the development process: (the end product) … while many other layers shape the policies, the building codes, regulations, laws, designated areas for protection/development, land uses

      Indeed, surrounding communities have to have a say in any project that impact them. We have to assure that and always question the mechanism in which this civic engagement is happening.

      I like linking sustainable development and capitalism do not go together but the right balance shall be found one day.

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  8. Since sustainable development is a concept that was introduced recently, taking a handful environmental classes showed me that there cannot just be one definition for it. For my understanding of the concept, I believe that sustainable development means to search for the best way to use natural resources or resources in general without compromising future generations. The evolution of urbanization helped shape and define the definition of sustainable development because technology made it easier for humans to consume a lot of resources. This is turn meant that resources began to be limited and a long-term system needed to be introduced in order to keep the needs of society running without damage. To an extent, I agree with the United Nation’s definition of sustainable development because if we take Gifford Pinchot’s idea of conservation, then the concept of sustainable development should aim to protect natural resources for future generations. However, all this cannot be true to a full extent since we currently have to consume large amounts of resources to adjust to the needs of a growing population.

    The first milestone in urban development during the preindustrial revolution, city planners simply focused on landscape beautification. This helped influence urban development because it gave inner cities an aesthetic view. By the time the industrial revolution took off in the United States, it brought filth to the cities and deteriorating housing conditions that were unhealthy to live in. This second milestone allowed city planners to incorporate parks in cities and developed the park system, which gave city residents an escape from their filthy housing conditions. This is a turning point for urban development as its main goal shifted from beautification to making the city healthier and cleaner to live in. As the park system began to grow, parkways connected parks so that it gave city residents accessibility who initially did not live near parks to gain access to them without having to travel long distances. Moreover, during the industrial revolution, the railway system helped influence urban development because it connected the city to the outer suburban areas. Since cities were congested and filthy, elite residents had the means to move out and thus the development of suburban neighbors began to take off; railways supported decentralization. Now that cities began to be decentralized as living quarters, urban sprawl helped influence ecological planning, which is the third milestone, by changing the typology of parks that added public gardens, city square, and playgrounds.

    The fourth milestone revolved around environmental cleanup and by doing so meant refining geographic information systems (GIS). By refining GIS with adding more layers, this gave planners more accurate detailed information about the land, which would allow them to gain a better understanding of how to manipulate the land and keep track of it. Refining GIS is definitely influential to the evolution of urban development because planners and scientist can now have an accurate depiction of the geography of a city, suburban area, or the natural environment itself. The next two milestones influence the evolution of urban development by making the concept more difficult to put into practice. With increasing global environmental issues, sustainable development now revolves around equity, ecology, and economy. Without a harmony of all three, the concept fails. The post sustainability milestone brings more complex conflicts that break up the harmony of equity, ecology, and economy. Development conflicts create a barrier between ecology and economy. Property conflicts create a barrier between the economy and equity. Resource conflicts create a barrier between ecology and equity. These barriers lack environmental justice and therefore make the concept of sustainable development a difficult concept to put into practice.

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  9. Based on the lecture and the discussions that were held in class, my understanding of Sustainable Development is that it is a concept that emphasizes on development in many forms that in the long term seeks to be sustainable. Meaning that the specific development meets the current needs for the present, while simultaneously do not harm or compromise the needs for our future generations. The aspect of need in my opinion may be interpreted in different ways, such as the physical needs for human beings. For instance, if we design projects and conduct architecture that use up a vast amount of resources then ultimately the people that might be affected and suffer as a consequence will likely be of low-income in particular in the third world. If the average citizen in a western country would analyze their ecological footprint then most likely it’ll show that if every single human being on the earth lived the way we live, then our planet would simply not be enough to sustain us all. I also consider sustainable development an approach to target some concerns, such as limitations on resources. In order for human beings to sustainably move forward, we must do our best assure that we do not over consume natural resources since it’ll eventually affect the future generations but even at the present with several environmental concerns brought up in recent years. Initially I believe that the process of expanding urbanization was intended for industrial purposes and to develop cities into the better. As time went and the more urbanization took place, lots of benefits and revenue was gained in terms of financial increase and mass production/consumption at the same time which would move nations forward. Hence in order for more people to become part of a developing society, urbanization had to take place and more and more people left the rural areas to relocate the cities and therefore the cities needed expansion. As far as being sustainable is concerned, I believe that prominent environmental philosophers such as John Muir and Giffort Pinchot came up with their respective ideas in regards to what would become inevitably negative for a sustainable society. With both the conservation and the preservation beliefs regarding the environment, urbanization can now work according to somewhat of a framework in order to be as sustainable as possible. I agree with Pinchot’s belief that it is legitimate to hand the responsibility of sustainably taking care of the environment of certain professionals, however at the same I also believe that Muir is right that in some circumstances natural habitat should be completely left alone. As mentioned before, the urbanization process perhaps evolved with the mentality of expanding society and make cities more industrialized. However with great concerns rising up involving the environment, it is fair to say that human beings both within the public and the private sector are now more or less taking responsibility to ‘’urbanize’’ in a more sustainable way. Overall, I consider sustainability and sustainable development extremely critical for both the present and the future. In order for human beings to continue to move forward and live progressive lives, we must also make sure that use methods are not harmful and do not overuse resource in excess. Indeed, there are needs that need to be met and fulfilled for the sake of human beings. However we simply have to make sure that we do not comprise and limit resources in the present while also do our best not to harm the ability of future generations to meet their needs in their lifetime. With more industry, human beings have been successful in physically harming the environment we maintain ourselves in. In addition, we have also harmed both human beings and ecosystems as well. We have as a result of major industries all over the globe, polluted the air and water, performed habitat destruction, and caused an increase in the temperature of the global climate. All of these aspects are heavily important for the future generations to be able to succeed and move forward in the world that they will live in, but most importantly if we do not find more means to be sustainable we will soon find ourselves with natural issues as a result of harmed ecosystems and resource exploitation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thorough reflections. Good that you brought the different contexts and geographies (North & South). In addition, the shared responsibility between public and private sector in urbanizing our land is very true, however,r through the class, we may try to learn more who is more influencing this process (the public or the private sector).
      Governance & Value system are going to be a essential in determining that.
      Keep the good work.

      Like

  10. My understanding of sustainable development is defined by the UN that is the long term ability of a system to reproduce resources. In other words, sustainable development maintains a balance between the human need in improving our lifestyles, and at the same time persevering and conserving natural resources and ecosystem, so can other future generations can depend on it. Sustainable development started way back before the UN created it in the pre and Industrial revolution were cars, railways, and incorporated cities were starting to be built. They were two approaches of sustainability development that some people thought it was perfectly balance way in conserving resources and improving out way of life. Gifford Pinchot was a conservationist who thought that people should definitely take natural resources to built an urban life, but they could take small or enough natural resources. He thought as long as people didn’t over take and use natural resources, it was a perfect way of a sustainable balance. John Muir on the other hand, was a preservationist who thought that people shouldn’t waste and use the wild life nature for any resources. I learned that these two approaches are distinct, but reflects the similarities that both recognized the existence of environmental problems and the extent of environmental destruction it can create if we over use our resources in improving urban lifestyle. I think one of the issues how the UN in our Common Future in sustainable developments in cities in the past is that many people and planners weren’t thinking about the future generations. It is supposedly defined for sustainable developments to met the needs for future generations on how others should balanced the triangle of equity, economic and environmental objectives. But the reason why it has failed and its unsustainable is simply because people plan more about the present goals, and not worry about the consequences it can have on the future generations. People tend to care more about the development that meets the needs of the present and short term goals without compromising and caring about the future generations, and the harm it causes in our environment. Sustainable development should always be about the long term reproduction of the system since sustainability is insufficient. Another issue is people failed to see the drawbacks and issues an unsustainable development creates in the global environment. I learn that people need to redefine and heavily improve sustainability because it’s current definition and structure is rather incomplete. Overall, people need to take action because the sustainability development in improving our global issues for the future apparently will not be fully met until a very long time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good.
      This is a good cause but not the only one. In your own words:

      “……it has failed and its unsustainable is simply because people plan more about the present goals, and not worry about the consequences it can have on the future generations…..”

      Let’s dig deeper through the class to find out other reasons.

      Also this statement is very important. And one needs to find out (which people) … are we all equally responsible?
      “……Overall, people need to take action because the sustainability development in improving our global issues…..”

      For future discussion in class:
      Who decides if this plan is only taking onto account the present and not the future and where do we draw the ling between serving the present and protecting our resources for the future.

      Like

  11. Simon W. Hagene
    2nd September
    USP 514 – Amir Gohat

    Sustainable Development: Action with Foresight
    In a world populated by more than seven billion people, we increasingly become aware of how fragile our planet Earth truly is. Air and water pollution, lack of food and water, among many other areas we human beings keep affecting for the worse. Urbanization is a trend, where younger people seek themselves towards areas that has it all- the trendy clubs, the food and perhaps your friends or family. There’s a growing pressure on the cities, however, it has in fact been so for over a century. What are really the solutions for better, more sustainable urban areas? Why haven’t we implemented all those already existing? These questions linger in the air as I breathe in the exhaust from the roads I pass every day.
    Top Milestones
    When reading Carl Steinitz’ “Landscape Planning,” it got me thinking of what I was interested in regarding urban development. I enjoyed his focus on large landscapes of ecological and cultural significance under pressure of change, also pointing out the history of how urban sustainability came to be. There are a few milestones he mentioned, as well as some that aren’t right here, that I’d like to present.
    Frederik Law Olmsted & Calvert Vaux(19th century). The “founders of landscape planning,” were behind the idea of Central Park in New York City. It was(and still is) a highly symbolic project of what urban areas and cities needed to incorporate; some people call it green lungs, simply green areas that are essential to any human’s well-being. Through more natural surroundings, it also helps purify air for example.
    Frederik Law Olmsted & John Muir(19th century). They worked together to help establish a new type of park, the great Yosemite National Park, the very 1st national one in the United States. We learn to appreciate, to protect the nature and its wildlife, thus also experience the difference from unprotected, urban areas.
    Simon Wannehag Hagene USP 514 – 2nd September Amir Gohat
    NEPA. National Environmental Protection Act, passed by U.S. Senator Henry M. Jackson and signed into law by President Nixon on January 1st 1970 in the U.S. It was important in regards to integrating environmental values into decision-making, a broad national framework that puts in certain requirements for airports, highways, parkland purchases and other federal activities.
    European Union(since November 3rd 1993). Countries cooperating are among the most valuable strengths in society- they found solutions together, got inspired by each other and thereby built highways, railways and more- a well connected Europe is certainly part of great urban developments. Promoting peace and sustainability goes hand in hand.
    Montreal Protocol(since 1st January 1989) When CFCs(chlorofluorocarbons) and certain other substances were proven to be the reason behind ozone depletion, an international treaty were designed to phase out the production of it. It was a strong signal that even the smallest of things in this world can make so much damage; our biggest current challenge being the increasing amount of CO2.
    Sustainable as a word may be insufficient, because, sustainable for whom? I’ll leave that one for another paper. However, my opinion is that it’s about understanding the importance of science, of our complex world, its challenges as well as opportunities. We have to respect natural processes and all wildlife out there, as we depend on a thriving planet in order to sustain a healthy life for ourselves. In urban areas the planting of trees, creation of parks and beautifying of areas is proven to increase our own happiness and well-being. Less cars and more bicycle roads will get us more active, meaning less air pollution as a result. Further great public transportation and energy efficiency standards in housing is along with other planning with foresight, what delivers true sustainable development.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sustainable development as a concept can be summarized as way of developing land that uses sustainable materials, utilizes smart design to reduce resources during operation, and having an environmental impact report done on the land that may be developed. This way of building is akin to a philosophy of taking as little resources as possible to create the building needed while disrupting the least amount of habitat as possible. Our current practices, even though they may appear sustainable, have their limits. Even building that receive the prestigious LEED platinum certification could possibly be quite disastrous for the environment without the right planning. For example, a building built “sustainably” could be on top of where a marsh formerly held a thriving ecosystem that is now uprooted and dead.

    My vision for what sustainable development could become includes the requirements of providing a service to the community, receiving input from locals of all classes, and having the enthusiastic support of the people who are most affected by the project. The developers should also be held responsible for the inevitable disruption of habitats. This can mean avoiding land that needs to be cleared, offsetting harm by planting trees and native plants in surrounding areas.

    Top milestones in the evolution of urbanization process and why they are the most influential

    The Industrial Revolution is the most dramatic point in history in regards to urbanization and how we build. This is when people were abandoning county life for a more bustling economy in cities. This means a dense population in a small environment and most resources for consumption had to be brought into the city. Previously people were responsible for their own family’s food, water, shelter, medicine, and other amenities, but then switched to becoming laborers with a single function. As second generation city dwellers grow up they lose the understanding of where our resources come from and their connection to the natural work. The burning of fossil fuels in a large scale also kicks off the start of the Earth’s climate crisis.

    The period of ecological planning is a response to the industrial revolution, but is not sufficient in addressing its core issues of unsustainable living. In more modern times the United Nations has responded to climate change and environmental degradation through global initiatives but they have been taken lightly by ruling class of the world who profit from the destruction of our planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Simon W. Hagene
    USP 514
    2nd September

    Sustainable Development: Action with Foresight

    In a world populated by more than seven billion people, we increasingly become aware of how fragile our planet Earth truly is. Air and water pollution, lack of food and water, among many other areas we human beings keep affecting for the worse. Urbanization is a trend, where younger people seek themselves towards areas that has it all- the trendy clubs, the food and perhaps your friends or family. There’s a growing pressure on the cities, however, it has in fact been so for over a century. What are really the solutions for better, more sustainable urban areas? Why haven’t we implemented all those already existing? These questions linger in the air as I breathe in the exhaust from the roads I pass every day.
    Top Milestones
    When reading Carl Steinitz’ “Landscape Planning,” it got me thinking of what I was interested in regarding urban development. I enjoyed his focus on large landscapes of ecological and cultural significance under pressure of change, also pointing out the history of how urban sustainability came to be. There are a few milestones he mentioned, as well as some that aren’t right here, that I’d like to present.
    Frederik Law Olmsted & Calvert Vaux(19th century). The “founders of landscape planning,” were behind the idea of Central Park in New York City. It was(and still is) a highly symbolic project of what urban areas and cities needed to incorporate; some people call it green lungs, simply green areas that are essential to any human’s well-being. Through more natural surroundings, it also helps purify air for example.
    Frederik Law Olmsted & John Muir(19th century). They worked together to help establish a new type of park, the great Yosemite National Park, the very 1st national one in the United States. We learn to appreciate, to protect the nature and its wildlife, thus also experience the difference from unprotected, urban areas.
    Simon Wannehag Hagene USP 514 – 2nd September Amir Gohat
    NEPA. National Environmental Protection Act, passed by U.S. Senator Henry M. Jackson and signed into law by President Nixon on January 1st 1970 in the U.S. It was important in regards to integrating environmental values into decision-making, a broad national framework that puts in certain requirements for airports, highways, parkland purchases and other federal activities.
    European Union(since November 3rd 1993). Countries cooperating are among the most valuable strengths in society- they found solutions together, got inspired by each other and thereby built highways, railways and more- a well connected Europe is certainly part of great urban developments. Promoting peace and sustainability goes hand in hand.
    Montreal Protocol(since 1st January 1989) When CFCs(chlorofluorocarbons) and certain other substances were proven to be the reason behind ozone depletion, an international treaty were designed to phase out the production of it. It was a strong signal that even the smallest of things in this world can make so much damage; our biggest current challenge being the increasing amount of CO2.
    Sustainable as a word may be insufficient, because, sustainable for whom? I’ll leave that one for another paper. However, my opinion is that it’s about understanding the importance of science, of our complex world, its challenges as well as opportunities. We have to respect natural processes and all wildlife out there, as we depend on a thriving planet in order to sustain a healthy life for ourselves. In urban areas the planting of trees, creation of parks and beautifying of areas is proven to increase our own happiness and well-being. Less cars and more bicycle roads will get us more active, meaning less air pollution as a result. Further great public transportation and energy efficiency standards in housing is along with other planning with foresight, what delivers true sustainable development.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Amanda Jimenez
    USP 514
    Homework #1

    From the information gathered from class and the readings my understanding is that sustainable development is designing a city while taking the natural environment into consideration. With the ever growing population and the needs that come along with a large population there has been a gradual shift towards more sustainable practices in developing cities. In the reading “A Trail Across Time” it outlines the path to sustainable development, starting with implementing green space into cities while transitioning into concepts of preservation and finally planning for a sustainable future on a global scale. Each era has their specific milestones guiding future generations to sustainable development. One of the most important people who kick started the movement was John Muir and Gifford Pinchot, who although had varied views of what they saw as the meaning of sustainable development were advocated for as much preservation of the natural environment as possible. In the second era some of the milestones were the requirement of an Environmental Impact Assessment when starting a development and this was implemented by both the EPA as well as state agencies. This milestone now forces developers to consider the environmental impact of their project and sets the stage for companies to take interest in the goals of agencies such as the EPA. Moving forward to the present day era we are now focusing on global issues concerning the environment while developing cites and urban spaces with the goal of having the least amount of impact as possible. In modern day cites are practicing sustainability with incentivizing citizens to make ‘green’ choices. An example of this is the use of a reliable public transit method as well as smaller issues such as making shoppers bag for a grocery bag. Along with protection and preservation of the natural environment the goal of sustainability is to increase the quality of life for citizens in urban area. Sustainability is also fighting for the right for all people to live in a world free from pollution and surrounded by nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good. The summary and reflections you provided is comprehensive. Through the coming work, keep an eye also on the scale dimension. The city/park or (urban/nature) remains an environmental balance. The integration of the social factors is equally necessary to achieve suitable development in its comprehensive meaning.

      Like

  15. By: Kunwa Pang
    Sep 2, 2016
    USP 514
    Assignment 1
    Sustainable development has been advocated as a rational and targeting for long-term development to cities’ planning today. People realized the importance of sources consuming and the influences of the present planning that might directly and indirectly affect to the futures of earth. The video that we watched during the class exactly explains why sustainable development is so important to our current society. The man in the video is reflecting all human being and what they have done to the earth through the human histories. At first, human beings have done so many things that only satisfy themselves without caring other species and the environments. Human beings learned from mistakes and experiences to protect the world even though it was quite late to come up the theory. Sustainable development is too ideal to me since I think there have so many factors would reduce the efficiency of practicing the development. For example, all people have their own bias and most of them would always put themselves in the first place, which definitely impedes the application of sustainable development since mostly sustainable development’s decisions are made for the best interest for the public but not for personal. As well as the example that professor you talked about in the class, the mayor probably would accept the money to cut down the trees for his own benefit. Another example, people put so much effort on reducing gasoline consuming by promoting electric vehicles, but many people would put their personal interests ahead of the public interest. However, I am not saying that sustainable development doesn’t work in our society, but it just like an ultimate goal that we probably couldn’t achieve but approach. Another reason I said people could only approach sustainable development is that our societies and environments are changing everyday. We could only rely on the prediction of the future based on our knowledge and research data, so that makes sustainable development becomes more difficult to be efficient.
    According to conservatives and liberal toward on the control of resources, I would go for the conservatives since I think profession could bring up a more rational and complete systems in terms of the control of resources. That is also very important to sustainable development because it is required to consider more than one factor to make decisions. Today, sustainable development includes so many consideration, such as animals, water and plants but not just toward the favors of human beings. Therefore, professional aspects become critical in this case now.
    Moreover, we could see how sustainable development has been improving through the histories. From the origin, people only were aware of adding landscapes and natural elements in urban planning, and afterward they realized the importance of parks and public places. Those reflected that people have learned more how to protect their environment in the best way as they could think of during different periods. Therefore, I believe human beings are also able to react with the unpredictable changes and amend the practices of sustainable development in order to keep approaching the sustainable life.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Steven Childs submission:

    The definition of sustainable development is the ability of humanity to maintain growth to meet the needs of the people, but to also not hinder the capability of future generations to meet their needs by the over use or misuse of natural resources in the present. I believe that for global sustainable development there needs to be a recognition of how we creating energy, and the effects it has on the environment currently. Society needs to gravitate towards more efficient energy resources. The multimillion dollar lobbying for fossil fuels in American politics is holding the US back at achieving sustainable development. For there to be sustainable development there needs to be economic growth without the harming of the natural environment now and in the future. Another way the Our Common Future reports sustainable growth is working in low income and poor communities. Sustainable growth is funding these communities for a more economically sound future to create prosperity. Many countries are currently in debt to lenders and seek quick ways to pay that money back. Often times as stated in the report, these poor countries turn to nonrenewable resources to service the debts. Seeking ways to alleviate the debts of these poverty stricken societies without harming the environment is key to achieving global sustainable development as well. I don’t find it fair that countries are forced into paying back insurmountable debts by polluting their countries. When it comes down to it for sustainable development to be achieved on a global level, informed choices is what will determine our future. Many countries need to set aside differences from the past and work together to achieve sustainable growth through the means of science and reason, rather than borders and boundaries.
    The milestones that influenced urbanization and our development process can date back to the beginning of time to the modern age. I believe the industrial revolution changed the face of the globe in terms of urbanization. The rapid increase in new technologies like the train and automobile increased the efficiency of delivering consumer goods. Trade began to skyrocket and along with that so did the economy. The industrial revolution scarred the face of the worlds natural environment, but connected the earth’s nations like never before. The industrial revolution made cities grow at an exponential rate in population and energy use. This rapid growth was poorly thought out in terms of the environment and there was no regard for the use and abuse of the natural resources. Whatever made the most capital was the way industry worked back then. Capitalism has no regard for the natural environment. Capitalism grew as fast as the cities did in the industrial revolution and it’s what shapes our society today.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. All your reflections and feedback actually complement my recent tweet thatI am trying to promote:

    The hashtag I am promoting:
    Addressing the sustainability of the global south by launching a conversation across geographies and disciplines

    #Sust_Glob_South
    #SFSU

    Like

  18. David_Yamaguchi_ 02 September 2016_Assignment

    Ideas of sustainable development ranges from developing for present and future generations, building in consideration of watersheds and preventing run off that can impact bays, impact of the development on natural process and landforms, the less carbon foot print, and putting back to the earth that is taken from the earth. The 1987 United Nations definition of Sustainable Development is “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” In many textbooks and lectures in Urban Studies and Planning courses, Sustainability promotes balance between equity, ecology and economy-(3 E).

    Before the term sustainable development was promoted, it was practiced though of the elders. When thinking of how elders from my grandfather’s generations lived in Hirado, Nagasaki-ken, Japan; they had sustainable farming practices, which included the use of outhouses and from the filled outhouses, my grandfather would use the fecal matter to fertilize the Persimmon and Loquat orchards. With waste water from the bath and sink water from dish washing, my grandfather would use the water for his nearby plants. The way of practice wouldn’t over impact the sewage system. In the present day there isn’t really any advocacy of using sewage for fertilizing or watering plants, but there has been a movement to reroute the grey water to provide irrigation for the back and front yard plants.

    During industrialization, many moved to the urban areas near the factories. In the observations of Fredrich Engels, many lived in squalor, filth of sewage smell, and disconnected from nature. To get the citizens more connected to nature, Olmstead and Vaux advocated and designed parks in the city, during the era parks like Central Park in New York, Golden Gate Park in SF, Balboa Park in San Diego, and many other parks in the urban areas. To this day, the parks provide a place where people can gather for protests, festivals, yoga, tai chi, or sometimes undesirable uses as homeless camps. Outside of the human enjoyment, the parks can promote a mini eco-system to places for flood control.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. In the lecture presented to us on our first class meeting Monday. My understanding of the overall definition of sustainable development is, that we essentially have to consume our resources in a rational manner in which we do not exhaust them completely. Gifford Pinchot and John Muir who we talked about Monday were pioneers in this way thinking. John Muir who had a more extremist approach to this concept had ideals that consisted of leaving all natural resources, habitats and land alone which; in perspective would be the correct thing to do. With how fast the human race was technologically evolving this was something that wasn’t ideal at all. At the forefront of new advances, cures, and demand of economic goods Muir’s ideals were something that perhaps would of held these things back. Furthermore Pinchot had a more conventional approach to the issue; he suggested that we use these resources but, in a rational manner. His whole philosophy relied on essentially Implementing planned use and renewal methods, to our consumption of resources. Do I think in today’s society we have done either of these concepts correctly? No, but I think Pinchot’s method of direction is a great definition of what sustainable development should be.
    The factors, which shaped the evolution of urbanization and its development process, came for a number of sources. The mass infrastructure and expansion of cities during the industrial revolution played a great role in this. With an ever-expanding growth of population in cities due to better job opportunity and economic stability, it created mass congestion and waste. This was due to the demand of goods and services of the ever-expanding population in cities during the industrial revolution and after. This set the standards at a global scale for city development therefore; as these demands expanded at a global scale into the 21st century, consumption of our natural resources became overwhelmed by the supply. This development at a global rate is essentially what influenced sustainable development. Today’s cities need to be structured more in innovative ways to expand more but waste less and, cities such as Frankfurt and Amsterdam are great pioneers in this evolution today.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Based on the lecture and class discussions I think sustainable development is creating development in a way that it does not do so much damage to the earth. Some development actually gives back to the earth by adding plants and trees into their design. The Academy of Sciences in San Francisco added a green roof to their design; from an airplane it looks like the regular green landscape. Using certain materials and the orientation of the building can also contribute to sustainability. Using natural resources for good instead of exploiting them is a big issue today. We need food, and shelter; and that takes up acres of land for food and cutting down acres of trees. If we can design in a more sustainable way then we can reduce our carbon footprint and keep earth healthy for future generations.
    The population is growing day by day and there needs to be shelter for all those people. It seems to me that the younger generation wants to experience the city life instead of the suburban way of life. Cities are getting denser so planners and architects need to create sustainable living environments to meet their needs. I’ve heard of old factories where designers would demolition or renovate the building to add living and public spaces. In a city such as San Francisco where space is limited that is a good solution to sustainable design.
    The evolution of building design has the same concept I believe. People used to build houses with whatever they had around them like dirt, mud, sand, clay, branches, and leaves. Now a days we use the wood from trees to build houses. Another good solution is to recycle materials. By demolishing a building we can reuse its materials. We can melt some of the metal and create new metal and we can crush the concrete and lay out foundation bedrock or fill. We need sustainable development to keep the people and the earth safe for many years.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. USP 514
    Assignment 1

    Based on the lecture and discussion in class, sustainable development is defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Initially when I heard the term in class, I thought of the concept as essentially just development that would help society become more sustainable. However, there are more factors that are involved. The main part of the definition that is most interesting to me is the language “without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This component of the concept suggests that we know or have an idea of what future generations will need. In reality, society only truly sees the needs and problems that it needs to fix for immediate satisfaction of what is considered sustainable. To be able to predict what future generations will need may be beyond our way of thinking. For example as discussed in class, past generations would carelessly consume resources without thinking about the consequences. Nowadays, we start to see the value of the natural resources we have in this world and are more careful in the consumption of them. Something will usually always be compromised when it comes to sustainable development. It comes down to what we value the most. It can be something such as time, money, food, space, etc. For instance, we may invest more of our tax dollars towards public transportation because the community needs or values faster and more reliable modes of transportation within a city. But how do we know that this would not affect the ability of future generations? What if the shift of tax dollars to public transportation were allocated from funding that went towards public education? From the lecture and class discussion, it is almost hard to believe that sustainable development even exists. Yet you can visibly see nowadays that humanity has evolved over the many years we have been in this world. We have come a long way with understanding how the earth works and have improved our lifestyles with revolutionary technology, discoveries, and ideas. Sustainable development can be thought of as a biased concept depending on the individual that interprets it. Its results are considered successful to a certain crowd and unsuccessful to another. Values of the community play a huge part in deciding what is defined to be sustainable. We can only try our best to accommodate each and every person’s opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Based on the lecture and discussion in class, sustainable development is defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Initially when I heard the term in class, I thought of the concept as essentially just development that would help society become more sustainable. However, there are more factors that are involved. The main part of the definition that is most interesting to me is the language “without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This component of the concept suggests that we know or have an idea of what future generations will need. In reality, society only truly sees the needs and problems that it needs to fix for immediate satisfaction of what is considered sustainable. To be able to predict what future generations will need may be beyond our way of thinking. For example as discussed in class, past generations would carelessly consume resources without thinking about the consequences. Nowadays, we start to see the value of the natural resources we have in this world and are more careful in the consumption of them. Something will usually always be compromised when it comes to sustainable development. It comes down to what we value the most. It can be something such as time, money, food, space, etc. For instance, we may invest more of our tax dollars towards public transportation because the community needs or values faster and more reliable modes of transportation within a city. But how do we know that this would not affect the ability of future generations? What if the shift of tax dollars to public transportation were allocated from funding that went towards public education? From the lecture and class discussion, it is almost hard to believe that sustainable development even exists. Yet you can visibly see nowadays that humanity has evolved over the many years we have been in this world. We have come a long way with understanding how the earth works and have improved our lifestyles with revolutionary technology, discoveries, and ideas. Sustainable development can be thought of as a biased concept depending on the individual that interprets it. Its results are considered successful to a certain crowd and unsuccessful to another. Values of the community play a huge part in deciding what is defined to be sustainable. We can only try our best to accommodate each and every person’s opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. The way sustainability is set up by the UN is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”. I agree with this statement; however, I would also add that we should not only meet the needs of the present and future, but also greatly improve the lives of people in the present and future. An example would be: not just sustainably managing the logging of existing forests (like is happening in parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains), but perhaps rehabilitating land and forests that have been destroyed in the past and forgotten about, (creating more “natural” land).
    The way I see it is that on a topic of anything environmental there is the polarity (or spectrum) of the unabashed capitalists that take from the environment whatever they want in order to make a profit. On the other side of the spectrum are people like John Muir; people who put the protection of the ecosystem as the priority above all else. Pinchot would lay roughly in the middle of this spectrum with his idea of using resources wisely. I think that we must be thankful for what the capitalists did for us, as they are responsible for the availability of electricity in our homes, widespread transportation, and our modern comfortable way of living. capitalists (or industrialists) developed vast swaths of the world and allowed millions of people access to employment, shelter, and a consistent way to provide for our families. Industrialists accomplished most of this before the concept of an ecosystem had even budded. After the industrial revolution, and resources started becoming more scarce, rivers started to become too polluted, and the air became toxic. People like John Muir started to speak out. This mindset allowed us the wisdom to protect some of our most beautiful land in the U.S. and create the national parks. I believe John muir was very ahead of his time – predicting what he saw coming which was the total and complete destruction of the natural world. In large part John Muir’s ideals really didn’t start taking hold until the 1960’s when people really woke up to the idea that the greed of the industrialists was destroying our planet. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that the UN created an official definition of sustainability. People started to expanded what they viewed as success from success within their own direct human communities to the success and well being of all creatures, humans, plants, the ecosystem.
    At our current time on this planet we have people at all points on this spectrum of industrialists to preservationalists. It is my view that in order to create a truly sustainable world we need to integrate both values of Muir and Pinchot. It is important to preserve as much land as we possibly can in order to maintain some level of biodiversity in “untouched” places like our National Parks. However, we are a growing population and we need resources, so what better way to harvest resources than to do it in a sustainable way like Pinchot proposed.
    unfortunately it is the capitalistic industrialists that hold most of the power, wealth, political influence, etc. So, ultimately, it is going to take the power of the public sector to pressure those in power, and to elect government officials to promote sustainable development going forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Damir Hudovic
    Prof. Gohar
    USP 514
    Sustainability, A History
    Sustainability – a word whose meaning would appear obvious and commonsense, is not necessarily so in practice. It is only relatively recently where issues of sustainability have come to the forefront. Ancient humans were more in touch with nature’s ebbs and flows because so much of their livelihoods depended on them knowing how their environments functioned. I believe modern man has become so separated from his natural place because so much of what we rely on is so detached from its ecological essence. We live in a modern society of a vast global supply chain, which we only interact with partially. Our basic needs are taken care of in the “developed” world, to the point where we take for granted the resources that sustain us. It becomes easier to gleam how we got to such a state when our impacts are disconnected from the world around us. Sustainability in our modern understanding, will require us to look back at pre-Industrial societies and how they were able to live in-tune with nature. This is not to say that all ancient peoples were automatically eco-friendly i.e. Easter Islanders. If we are to trace the origin of this lack of regard to resource allocation, we must look at our cultural Abrahamic roots, where God has bestowed the Earth upon mankind to be used up at our own discretion. We need to reframe this narrative to one of being caretakers of the Earth and ensuring its splendor. Another facet which we must tackle is endless growth for growth’s sake. This was only possible after the Industrial Revolution’s exploitation of billions of years of stored solar energy in fossil fuels. Instead of rationing it out as the precious resource that it is, humans decided to go on a manufacturing binge. True, we did raise a lot of people out of poverty, but we also massively increased the population and along with it environmental degradation. Living standards have improved for much of the world, with notable amounts of people outside of this shared prosperity. Consumerism promotes the consumption of disposable goods instead of ensuring everyone has their basic needs met. It seems to me a matter of priorities.
    Sustainability, as defined as being able to perpetuate itself indefinitely, means we must find a way to replenish the resources that we consume in a balanced fashion. The ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ continues to be a pressing issue today, such as over-fishing and water rights. The challenge comes about when juggling various interests among a diverse population of “who gets what”. Hypothetically speaking, which world agency should be in charge of enforcing environmental rules? Is this agency democratic, or is it imposed on a humanity that cannot manage its own affairs fairly? These are important questions to raise in the coming decades. I argue it is better to be prepared and mitigate the damage than to run off a cliff going full-speed. Quotas and regulations are anathema to most Americans, but we need to realize what is at stake and come to grips with the fact that we no longer have a whole continent of untapped resources at our disposal.

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  25. Homework (Sep 2.)

    Based on the lecture and discussion in class, I now have a greater understanding of Urban and Sustainable development. It is defined as meeting the needs of the present while not compromising the future generations. To me I started to realize that it is much greater than just the platforms such as Gov. in which development takes place but there are also concepts such as the communities, patterns of travel, and essentials to life that go along with what sustainability requires. Sustainable development can be seen in many different ways although I see it in a way of economic development that does not deplete our resources but can make them better. Although in many aspects of development it is hard to otherwise visualize not disrupting an area in order to better generate economic status as well as keeping the area sustainable to all around it. Evolution of technology has played a large roll in the influencing development and its process. Growing society is always changing and pushing for more space, development, as well as a better economic system. This is why many values of individual communities can play a large roll in how a development takes place. Evolution of building and design has allowed society to find better systematic ways of sustaining resources, traveling systems and economic patterns throughout society. Due to the factors of growth and evolution society had to find new way to deal with development during the industrial eras. Due to high demand of services, job opportunity and stability would rise although it would take different effects when the populations begin to rise in central areas dramatically. In which comes and urban sprawl and a push toward the outer regions of a city. This would bring new change to a more open platform of development and greater options for economic development and infrastructure for a society. Although now days many regions are developed and populated they are always growing either Vertically or Horizontally. It is important that we can figure out ways to become sustainable so that our resources will not deplete. An example that we can look at today is the water crisis in the Central valley. Although it has a lot to do with our Environment changing it also has to do with how we have been able to plan for a sustainable future.

    Tretten Hagen.

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  26. USP 514
    Professor Gohar
    Homework II
    Kimanthe Kithika

    (a) Based on the lecture and discussions in class, please write a single page introducing the most significant environmental components influencing the area you live in. Give examples of how such factors interact with or influence people’s life. It shall be posted on the SGS Blog on the class relevant post and it will be collected and graded.
    Earthquakes and faulting are the major factors shaping the San Francisco landscape. For this reason the city and county of San Francisco has implemented a mandatory ‘Soft Stories’ ordinance program that has, since 2013, required tenants, property owners, design professionals and contractors to submit screening forms to the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) by a DBI-scheduled deadline. Per DBI’s website at http://sfdbi.org/softstory, DBI has achieved over a 99% response to the program. Buildings that have not complied with this requirement are placarded and issued Notices of Violation (NOV).
    “The program has been designed to increase the safety of buildings during an earthquake. It requires that, if a building has been determined through a screening process involving the Department of Building Inspection (DBI), the building’s owner, and a licensed design professional to be a part of this program, their buildings must undergo a seismic retrofit. The work will be required to be done to the building’s lower level (only), and will be started and completed according to the tier in which the building has been placed. (SFDBI.org)”.
    The properties identified under this Program have been categorized into four tiers, which can be identified on a zoning map. Tier I consists of any building containing educational, assembly, or residential care facility uses (Building Code Occupancy E, A, R2.1, R3.1, or R4) on any story; Tier II consists of any building with 15 or more dwelling units, except for those assigned to Tier I and IV; Tier III consists of any building not falling within the definition of another tier and Tier IV consists of any building containing ground floor commercial uses (Building Code Occupancy B or M), or any building in a mapped liquefaction zone. There are 4995 buildings on the city’s Soft Story Property List, as of 09-07-16, with most located in the northern half of the city, mainly in areas zoned for residential and commercial use.
    The seriousness of building liquefaction in San Francisco’s land bank is evidenced by recent news coverage concerning the Millennium Tower in the city’s downtown area, a 58-story skyscraper built on landfill that is leaning 18 inches further to the west and into the earth from its original position. San Francisco’s liquefaction zones cover almost the entire northern half of the city, with the most serious areas located along the northern and eastern shoreline; the city’s entire downtown and SOMA districts are similarly affected. Buildings in these areas would have to be fixed to the bedrock up to 200 feet below, underneath what used to be the ocean floor, to be considered seismically safe.
    (b) Mention two major elements of the built environment that are crucial to sustainable (economy, ecology, equity) development but are not implemented properly in your area and will impact people’s quality of life. It shall be posted on the SGS Blog on the class relevant post and it will be collected and graded.
    Proposition O, on San Francisco’s November 2016 ballot, will impact projected office development in Candlestick Point and the former Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard, a former Redevelopment Agency project area in the city’s Bayview/Hunter’s Point District. The voters will be asked to exempt a total of 8 million square feet of office space development from Proposition M, which limits new office real-estate development to 950,000 square feet/year. If passed, the proposal is sure to lead to increased gentrification in the area, as well as a possible surge of low-income residents from the area as development continues apace, and which might render many of the evacuees ineligible for the construction workforce development services initiated by the project. Thus, it could be very difficult to maintain the existing equity while achieving economic and business development goals in the Southeast.
    In the city’s Fillmore district, an affordable housing development backed by Supervisor London Breed is being blocked by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) because of a neighborhood preference selection process that would offer the first opportunity to occupy the finished development to the residents currently living in the area—already, there are 3500 applicants for the project. The discrepancy between supply and demand is so vast because San Francisco has a long history of underbuilding, especially of housing stock.

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  27. Nicholas B. Evans
    Homework #2
    9/16/16

    I am from the East Bay Area, specifically the areas of Martinez, Concord and Walnut Creek. Sustainable development in theses areas usually means having to build up and increased density near public transit areas. Some components of sustainability in use in these areas are a reduction of greenhouse emissions. Allocating more openspaces, protecting current openspaces and actually preserving the state and communities parks that are around the area. There is also more library and civic building being built in more accessible areas within the downtown city areas.
    I think that there are some examples of how sustainability is applied in these areas within the context of how AB32 (Global Warming Act) and SB375 (2008 Sustainable Communities Strategy). SB375 links land use and transportation while it specifies the majority of future construction to be compact, high-density, low-income housing next to mass transit. This is used to force residents out of their cars and single family homes to ostensibly reduce GHGs. As the AB32 calls for the reduction of GHG’s to pre 1990’s levels by 2020. (I don’t think we are on track).
    Some projects that I believe fall under these state obligations are the building of housing near the Bart corridors, specifically in my area an example would be the Pleasant Hill Bart commuter housing and the West Oakland public housing near the Bart lines. These are sustainable because they encourage less greenhouse gas emissions while taking land that was less dense and put high density housing in place. With housing being close to Bart this encourages families to have less cars. It changes the dynamic of the housing normality for the area, which is single family homes to a higher density more urban environment. This can increase how much the people who live by Bart actually take Bart because of the ease and accessibility that the housing provides. I think this also changes how people spend their money. I think that with the households having one or no automobile they are more encouraged to spend their dollars in their community and around their homes.
    The area that I live in encourages people to move into expensive downtown condos, that are near Bart lines, this housing has access to civic libraries and amenities. I believe this is how the planners use sustainability to change the urban landscape from single family homes to higher density housing that may or may not be affordable.

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  28. John Pascual
    USP 514 – Homework #1
    Prof. Gohar
    *Write your own definition/understanding of the concept and why the current definition by the UN (our common future report) may be insufficient. And then mention the top milestones in the evolution of urbanization process and why do you think these are the ones that influenced the development process more.
    I guess sustainability has a lot to do with public perception and the ability to conform or not with what is being done about issues that influence our world as a whole. For example, how do we best utilize urban land growth while respecting and representing the people that inhabit the land. This in itself is tricky as many cities evolve and embody a culture, a history, and a character. In addition to cities who carry many characteristics, sustainability is a newer political idea. Not even close to three centuries have passed to fully understand the term “sustainability,” mainly because it has been eroded with other terms like “climate change” or “carbon emissions.”
    In terms of sustainable methods of urban planning, ecological planning are ways to spark innovation, preservation, and influence public opinion and public interest within the use of landscape. This I can relate to the “perceptions to the space,” and the impact this have within the interaction of political spheres or social spheres. I find that today, the creation of green space doesn’t really embody the public opinion unless public intervention is implemented or adhered. (i.e. Mark Zuckerberg’s new home plan in Palo Alto) Much of public property is maintained by the idea of what was created during the 20th century, which serves the question – Is smart growth the way of the future? And if so, does it remain effective or is it not really utilized? Which methods can make smart growth better for most? I like to think questions like these because they are interrelated and bring in key ideas for sustainable communities with sustainable futures.
    I would think that as time progress environmental practices would best serve the people and evolve into something greater. But in reality, this is not ideal and more needs to be done to protect and sustain the Earth. One of the ideas that influence the development process more is the post sustainability where key resources are being depleted and smart growth does not reach anywhere near places struck by disaster cities or disaster economies like South-East of the United States and Third-World countries.

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  29. In my eyes sustainability has to do with the public or the people living in a specific area. Sustainable development is the construction of living space and conservation of the resources you have in order to survive. It is such a new term and it is always evolving that so there is no established of meaning what it means. Along with the climate science it has been associated with there is constant change. Sustainability looks at energy usage and housing which something we all rely on in our lives. To be sustainable it takes little amounts of energy and is efficient. Along with that it will be able to be used overtime without breaking down and no longer working. With the growth and development of cities and urban areas sustainable development has and will become more expensive to establish and maintain. Again the population growth has had an influence on the process, also the way we burn fossil fuels I think has had an influence. With such a large output of greenhouse gasses, I feel that it is important to work on developing a sustainable environment to offset our consumption and output.

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