A System's Approach to Sustainable Development

Fail to honor people, they fail to honor you; but a good leader who talks little -- when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say, “We did this ourselves.”

Check out "Practice of Sustainable Community Development" a new book published by R. Warren Flint of Five E's Unlimited



Check out our recently completed Community Sustainability project with the Town of Dauphin Island, AL

The Dauphin Island community sustainability project is summarized in a recent publication "Seeking Resiliency in the Development of Sustainable Communities."



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Community Sustainability

Let us help you in Sustainable Community Development

Check out our project for Dauphin Island, AL in 2007 on sustainable community strategic planning. It was recently recognized as a finalist in the IAP2 Project of the Year Award. This international recognition was related to the project's diversity and breadth of sustainable strategic planning, as well as promotion of successful public participation.

Communities face enormous challenges as their social, economic, and environmental resources are depleted and destroyed. Sustainable development represents a holistic way to achieve recovery and enhance the quality of life for everyone in these communities by developing local assets to revitalize economies, limiting waste and pollution, improving the status of disadvantaged people, conserving natural resources, and promoting cooperation and efficiency.

We assist groups in building a bridge to a sustainable future by strengthening and restoring local communities. In other words, local communities will be coming back and it will be greatly to our advantage if we learn the elements that make them good places in which to live, places that reconcile human freedom and responsibility in harmony with the environment. One of the greatest demands on our social inventiveness will be building effective linkages among healthy communities to let us coordinate life-sustaining activities on a much wider scale.

Today's societal pressures, such as the economic crisis, global climate change, access to adequate water supplies, safe food, national security, and continuing degradation of the environment require new and innovative strategies in order to achieve improvement in communities. And solving local problems requires consideration, understanding, and working within the bigger picture to lessen potential unintended consequences from actions. We employ tested, cutting-edge, and emerging tools to facilitate community planning and action strategies that allow stakeholders to take charge of their own destiny and become effective change agents in their community work to achieve sustainability. And when conflicts occur we can effectively resolve disagreements to the advantage of all involved. Let us help you think about, design, and act on comprehensive strategies to seek community sustainability.

In addressing issues important to achieving sustainable communities, Five E's Unlimited works with its clients to facilitate public understanding of how one practice affects another, and how one resource affects another, by guiding adoption of Integrative Frameworks for building community capacity and Strategic Planning efforts that equally consider social, economic, and ecologic concerns. The intent is to encourage looking beyond solving problems one at a time, to envision the development of communities and systems that prevent problems from occurring.

Our community sustainability work focuses upon developing a long-term strategy and implementation plan that will help a community in achieving sustainability goals that they, themselves identify for improving community economic opportunities and social vitality in environmentally sound ways. While our approach to each community-client is determined collaboratively with local leadership, the following represents an approach with which we are deeply familiar:

  • Community Sustainability self-Assessment (CSA )
    • CSA - effective score card for promoting an understanding and measuring of sustainability in communities
    • Results assist in integrating ecological integrity, social cohesion, and relevant economic opportunities into project design and problem solving
  • Core value identification
  • Visioning
  • Goals setting (elements of the vision)
  • SWOT - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (identify issues of importance that call for action about a particular proposition or planned activity)
  • Top Ranked Objective (TRO) analysis
  • Alternative strategies for change and enhanced sustainability
  • Evaluation of alternative strategies through futuring design charrettes
  • Development of an adaptive management approach and action plan
    • timeline
    • costs
    • responsible parties

We work with groups to attract a "civic critical mass" of community participation, because without maximum stakeholder involvement there is usually not sufficient public buy-in and commitment to sustain projects. In addition, when we take on a project, our role is to fit into the existing network of client relationships and bring to this network an integrative perspective. The goal of Five E's assistance in this regard is not to change the client's objectives, but to understand those objectives so that programs can be developed to best aid the client in achieving their self-defined ambitions.

Check out our sustainable community strategic planning work for Dauphin Island in a recent publication entitled "Seeking Resiliency in the Development of Sustainable Communities." Besides our recent Dauphin Island project, examples of Five E's assistance to groups in Building Sustainable Communities includes work in the following areas.

  • Development of projects in public learning, continuing awareness, and other community capacity-building activities to create linkages among environmental, economic, social, & cultural concerns.
  • Training programs to encourage community partners to collectively explore the most effective means of achieving sustainable development, that focus concurrently on humanity, nature, and technology.
  • Work with governments, community interest groups, and business to seek common ground and resolve conflicts by articulating and clarifying crucial controversies and fostering community decision-making and problem-solving strategies, supported by our Firm's ever-increasing experience in sustainable development.
  • Facilitation to neighborhood organizations in adopting programs of environmentally sustainable lifestyles, where households partner in neighborhood and city-wide environmental stewardship projects.
  • Assistance in the community identification of indicators & benchmarks to measure progress toward sustainability.
  • Guidance nationally and internationally to assist communities in development, testing, and application of ecologically sustainable methods for improving living standards in valuable natural resource areas.

Check out our different community sustainability projects and discover what we can do for you.

General Delivery, Placencia Village, Stann Creek District, Belize C.A. ---- Phone: (512) 256-7633 ---- e-mail: rwflint@eeeee.net

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Last Update: 1/1/15
Web Author: Dr. R. Warren Flint