Most planners have heard the term “social capital”. It is becoming common in many community development discussions. Social capital is those features of social organization, like trust, social or cultural norms, and the networks by which communities facilitate action or just keep themselves going.
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.
Using the example of the Dearne Valley in South Yorkshire, England, a notion of multifunctionality, and its potential to be utilized in post-industrial regeneration is explored.
This article describes research that builds on a previous study of social capital conducted in 2002 and 2003 in a Canadian community, exploring the relationship between agency and sustainable community development.
Community networks are self-organized groupings that form for many different reasons. Some networks, connected mainly through bonding ties, are based on personal interests and relationships; others, based mainly on bridging ties, centre around broader interests.
What makes a city sustainable? Is it a question of limits or scale - can a city be too big, can a community be too small to be sustainable? Or is it the most energy-efficient state-of-the-art green buildings and recycling programs that make a city sustainable? Or is it about good transit, walkable neighbourhoods and locally-produced foods, goods and services, or diversity?
Human societies worldwide are dealing with messy, wicked problems beyond the capacity of any one sector, community or nation to solve. In such complex, turbulent environments (Trist 1983) there is even a greater need for collaboration between sectors, communities, and countries to solve the dynamically interconnected problems human societies are now facing.
Canada’s cities have reached a critical point in their collective history. Many need significant new investment in infrastructure. But they also need a substantially different planning model to work with than they have had in more than half a century. The new model will have to focus on the uniqueness of each community's needs.