The idea of community looms large in the current environmental debate. It offers a locus of action that complements both the national and international protocols and the individual behavioral changes that have, until recently, dominated the environmental agenda.
The practice of designing and redesigning for sustainable community development, however, still lags far behind. We are just beginning to understand what makes some communities thrive while others struggle.
For a community to thrive in a complex environment, it must strike a delicate balance between planning proactively and remaining alert to emergent, unexpected changes. This dance of prediction and adaptation is a hallmark of the human response to the complex dynamic environments in which we live and work. The capacity of an individual or community to plan or initiate action is known as the exercise of agency.