Sustainable development is a contested concept, but continues to be popular at all levels of organization. At the grassroots level, many groups are creating networks to address ecological and social issues associated with sustainable development. These groups do not always achieve their objectives as originally envisioned, but, as shown through the examination of a grassroots effort to create a pedestrian zone, a partial success can be an important step in the process of sustainable development. Such efforts can increase local social capital and thus the ability to address sustainable development issues, they can serve as educational examples that increase general knowledge of alternative development models and they can inspire similar efforts in other places. There is a need to document such grassroots sustainable development initiatives in order to provide templates for other interested groups.