Synchronization of sustainable development and land development


Term Paper, 2015
16 Pages

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Table of Contents

Introduction and Background

Literature Review

Methodology

Results

Discussion

References

Synchronization of sustainable development with land development

Kristopher Adam Orlowski

University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract: Sustainable development, particularly the word sustainable has been overused and misused to the extent that its true meaning is no longer thought of especially in the field of land development. There are intrinsic conflicts between the notions surrounding the development of land and sustainability which is heightened by society and its values. These are the fundaments for the knowledge gap existing between uniting true sustainability with that of land development that is accustomed modern society in terms of definition and notion, let alone a model. This has led to three objectives of this research project which include; 1) Scrutinization of how development of land since the Industrial Age has conferred to our notions of sustainability; 2) Exploring possible synergies and tradeoffs between land development and sustainable development; 3) Identifying the possible ways and implications of the change towards a sustainable society. A strong methodology evolved around an integrated conceptual frame work is used which involves multi-scale perspectives in aiming to achieve comprehensive insight on this complex issue. Significant outcomes are expected which are not already prevalent in literature, principally, exploration of synergies and tradeoffs between sustainable development and land development that can be exploited and handled to put forward the ideals of true sustainable land development.

Introduction and Background

Issues

The word sustainable is overly misused in the context of land development to the extent that its core meaning is forgotten or rather ignored (DuFault & Kho1, 2015). Land development and management is hastily becoming a concern due to the growth in population and rapid urbanization. The scarcity of land will affect everybody in the most dramatic ways as it is core to our survival on numerous levels from food production to livelihood.

Sustainability and land development in their own right have an innate conflict due to the underlying competing principles. This complex issue revolves around the notion that growth is not sustainable and thus current practices of land develop is also not sustainable. Values of accumulation and consumption are deep rooted in society and are amongst the prime root sources leading to land degradation. Therefore it is clear that a profound change right down to our individual character is needed to ensure new norms to be established in society so that conduct on a national and global scale will pursue sustainability.

Context

The year is 2015, the world is generally currently at peace, there are a mixture of developing and developed countries most of the latter democratic, all forms of inequality are high across the globe, fossil fuels are globally relied upon, population is seemingly ever increasing, cities are growing rapidly and land use is becoming ever more pertinent.

Project Scope

Area of study is restricted to the topics of sustainable development and land development which will be looked into on and individual, societal and global scale. The timeframe in question is from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the present and futurity.

Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is the progression towards sustainability. In its richest sense, sustainability is the ability to continue to act or behave a certain way indefinitely.

As Jonathon Porritt, Chairman of the British Government Sustainable Development Commission eloquently put it “If something is sustainable, it means we can go on doing it indefinitely. If it isn't, we can't” (Poole, 2005).

Land Development

The development of land simply refers to the human impact on a parcel of land or in the general sense ground area. It may involve:

a) anthropogenic altering the landforms from a natural or current state to a desired state for ease of use or other benefits

b) building and constructing on top or within landforms for the benefit (usually economic) of the owner or users of the land

Such purposes of land development and its uses are those evolved around housing, agriculture, infrastructure or industry.

Sustainable Land Development

Sustainable land development is the term which relates the development of land to the ideals of sustainability. Essentially it’s sustainable development in an applied manner. In this sense we can discreetly list a number of key goals as shown in Table 1 below that sustainable land development would achieve.

Table 1: Sustainable land development desirables

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Ideally resources are to be shared and communities equally consume and produce in the same manner. That is the equity principle overrides cadastral boundaries.

Literature Review

Previous Studies

There have been numerous studies into perceived forms of sustainable development of land. Perceived in the sense that none are self-sufficient or otherwise meet all the goals listed in Table 1 (p. 2). One of the more recent and ‘greener’ models of land development is that of CSD (Conservation Subdivision), also known as Conservation Development. The former term was made popular by Arendt (1996, 1999, 2004). In essence CSD maximizes open space which act as the organizing structure of the development which is in the form of a series of protected lands which encompasses the area and supremely interconnect with neighbouring communities as a conserved natural system. This does not necessarily mean the development must have fewer buildings nor does it mean that there will always be less profit for a developer (Soule, C. 2000). Houses are closer together and lots are generally smaller, they are arranged to preserve as much land as possible. The cost benefits for developers and utility service providers are primarily in the form of savings from not having to construct as much infrastructure such as those evolved around roads, pathways, drainage, sewerage, water, gas and electricity (Mohahmend, 2006).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Conventional site plan (left) and Conservation subdivision (right)

Source: Arendt, R. (1999). Growing Greener: Putting Conservation into Local Plans and Ordinances.

Fiscal benefits are plentiful as there are decrease costs in: maintenance of public infrastructure, providing fire and ambulance services, police protection to even collecting garbage. However lack of incentives to compensate for reduced profits from lots has been identified as a barrier by numerous authors claiming this to be a primary economic factor against CSD (Allen et. Al 2012, Bosworth 2007, Bowman 2009, Carter 2009). However this is not without challenge, it’s been contended that in fact in conservation development houses not only sell for more, they sell faster and also and save on construction costs when compared to houses built in a conventional development. (Bowman, Thompson, & Colletti). This demonstrates how uncertain and undeveloped the field of conservation subdivision is and that there are every opportunity to capitalise on this type of development that can profit industry and the environment.

Considerations around environment are inherently prioritised in CSD design due to the development revolving around open space and protected lands. Therefore there are benefits to biodiversity and wildlife when good CSD incorporates sensitive protected land such as riparian areas (Lenth, Knight, & Gilbert). This can be extended to claim conservation of scenic views, historic and archaeological features, recreational provision and perhaps most significantly farmland conservation. Conservation of farming land is a pressing issue as shown in developing countries where there are rural households that participate in agricultural activities but do not have enough land to even produce food for their family, this problem will only increase with rising population (Timmer, 2015).

It must be noted that CSD does not encompass anything more than allocation of space to residential area and open areas. There is so much more that needs to be taken into consideration when building for the future. It has been established that for human society to be sustainable we must not confine ourselves only with our relationship with the environment, rather we should be concerned with the nature of society and the way it is organised (Espinosa Salazar & Walker, 2011). Therefore a primarily hard sustainable view, encompassing holistic considerations including issues of population, growth and values which can lend together with the principles of conservation development in order to better resolve sustainable land development.

Limitation and Scope

Even when we develop a theoretical sustainable land development model, land management is powerfully governed by laws and regulations, as well as public expenditure priorities (Bank, 2006). How to best alter these laws and regulations to promote sustainable land development is outside the scope of this project however it is an opportunity for further research.

Methods Used

The multidimensional issues of sustainable development and land development ought to be looked at on different scales. This is due to complexity of the problem as this issue changes in terms of its own composition when looked at from different scales. Simply put multiple scale problems hold different properties on different levels, the problem with this is that the “existence of distinguishable complete mechanisms” acting on different scales (Brackbill & Cohen, 2014). Therefore using a multi-scale approach such as that proposed for this project (individual, societal and global) in applying the methodology gives possibility to insight with a comprehensive system perspective.

A conceptual framework is used as the basis of outlining methodology. This exploits the nature of the issue and the method of applying perspective of different scales as it has been demonstrated and concluded that conceptual frameworks are a qualified and proficient way to tackle issues covering small and large scales (Maxwell, J. 2009, Ravitch and Riggan, 2012). Since the topic of synchronization of sustainable development with land development encompasses diverse ideas (many conflicting), it is necessary to use an open methodology which can accommodate this need. The use of a conceptual framework meets this need as it is a principally a method to organize ideas to achieve the purpose of a research project (Shields, Patricia and Rangarjan, N. 2013).

Conclusions Drawn

Conservational design of subdivision coupled with current best practices in home design, newest technologies in energy and efficiency and values akin to preservation is where current industry and society is up to in terms of progression towards sustainability in a land development context.

Currently works in the fields of sustainability and land development are arguably miss-focused, in that there is a seemingly overwhelming consensus in that we shall adapt our model of land development to fit into popular sustainability principles rather than starting with fundamental sustainability principles and evolve land development around them. That is the notion of sustainability itself must be part of the core to any application of it so as to keep the meaning of the word prevalent and meaningful.

Knowledge Gap

The knowledge gap is in that of the uniting of true sustainability (that which can continue indefinitely) with that of land development accustomed modern society in terms of definition and notion let alone a model.

Research Questions

Formed from the literature review the intention of addressing these particular research questions outlined below is to provide new insight into the issue.

How does the development of land since the Industrial Age confer to our notions of sustainability?

What are possible synergies and tradeoffs that can be drawn from land development and sustainable development?

In what ways and with what implications can the change towards a sustainable society be brought about?

Methodology

The research in question will be directed in a three tiered manner which is evolved around the scale or boundary of consideration. The three levels of scales that are being referred to are:

1. Individual
2. Societal
3. Global

An overarching progression of contemplation and analysis is recognized and followed with a mindset of any of the former scales or boundaries of consideration. This is referred to as the conceptual framework and is simplified graphically in Figure 2 below.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2: Conceptual Framework, Author's own figure.

Method

Keeping in mind the three levels of scale throughout each stage, the conceptual framework in use begins with characterization of sustainable development and land development in their own respected light, which is as they are perceived currently as an individual entity.

Stemming from these characteristic description are links of association between the two. They are revolved around the:

a) notions one may comprehend that are associated between sustainable development and land development.
b) implications of pursuing either land development or sustainable development on the feasibility and state of the other

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 3: Butterfly diagram, Author's own figure.

The butterfly diagram above shows that the understanding sustainable development and land development as their own sense and detailing the notions and implications between them permits an informed finding of a synchronized sustainable development and land development schema. The conception and constitution of such a schema will entail thought experiments and conversant and well- versed conjecture.

Analysis of synchronization between sustainable development and land development will yield distinct synergies and tradeoffs which can be exploited and handled.

Results

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 4: The conundrum of synchronized land development and sustainable development, Author's own figure.

Table 3: Coordination and organisation table of definitive studies

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Table 4: Coordination and organisation table of prominent notions and views

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Discussion

Tables 3 and 4 have been created with the aim to aid in comparison and understanding a rounded and holistic view of the issues in question and further develop on them in the context of synchronizing sustainable development with land development. In fact it is shown that all current prominent notions and views are compatible with this research and together offer a balanced view.

The conundrum of synchronized Land development and Sustainable development is shown in figure 4. There are clear differences in the core principles and concepts between the two on all scales, individual, societal and global. Based upon current notions and the implications of these notions on the item itself one can source what these notions must have their own implications of affecting the item itself in order to transform them into a state where they are in synchronization. That is, that the idea and reality of land development is itself sustainable development.

The individual, societal and global nature of this issue as depicted in figure 4, draws the need for understanding of all people and their belief and attitude system in order to drive change towards sustainable land development. Ecological Economics ‘Policy assessment and simulation of actor orientation for sustainable development’ excellently rationalises this view:

“Sustainable development is not arbitrary. It has to remain within the strict boundaries of an accessibility space that is defined by physical constraints (laws of nature, causal relationships, physical environment, solar energy flow, material resource stocks, carrying capacity), by constraints of time and system laws (delays, inertia, permissible rates of change, feedback, and self-organization), and by the constraints of human actors (intellectual and organizational ability, culture, ethics and values, technology, social and political system) (Bossel 1998a, 1999). Behaviour is shaped by the perceptions of these constraints by the human actors, not by their actual state. These perceptions — the cognitions of actors — are therefore powerful determinants of future development, and must be properly accounted for in policy assessments and development studies.” (Bossel, 2000)

Thus value systems and perceptions are the underlying resistors but also prospective drivers for the shift to a sustainable society.

As value systems and perceptions take time to change particular additional measures can be implemented in order to bring about this desired state more promptly. One of such is described below in the context of synchronizing sustainable development and land development through the understanding of synergies, tradeoffs and their implications to better shape the measure to be emplaced.

Idea: Ensure everyone has a right to use of land. Take away the ‘right’ to purchase land/property that you directly will not use. Modify land tenure for companies to only use land for ‘best use’ based upon geographic/inherit suitability for current needs/demands from society. Meaning take away the privilege to privatise monopoly of land and exploitation of land.

Synergies

- Increase liquidity in the market which further allows for rapid development and change
- Equity principle is met at a basic level
- Encourages higher density living as population increases
- Tackles the core primer to the threat of humanity, overconsumption. Creates a foundation for rapid change in other aspects of consumption, such as food, water, resources and goods
- Technology advancements, especially in the 3D cadastre
- Concentration of wealth limited in not only in itself occurring but its impact on the environment
- Affordability of living is significantly increased
- Transparency in the cadastre and relevant information can be made open
- Institutes favourable outlook from travellers to host nations/regions
- Will draw out a sense of belonging for each individual
- No homelessness and lower poverty levels

Tradeoffs

- Traditional economics of land abolished
- New norms needs to be established
- Travelling overseas or to regions where you do not know anyone may be more difficult
- Each property must have a “permanent” registered “user”, nobody can be a “user” of two properties simultaneously
- Nations/states have more control of foreigners but locals have more freedom
- Conformity in the way people travel and stay in a nation other than their own
- Lower immigration and increase in us and you mentality between nations

Implications

- Cooperation on a large scale necessary to ensure best use of land
- Cooperation on a societal scale to create this norm
- Cooperation on an individual scale to live this way and ideally advocate

Such thought experiments which utilises the conceptual framework as presented in figure 2 may lead to new understandings, holistic views and potential steps to work towards true sustainability, one of which can be implemented today for a planned and controlled indefinite future. This process of thought experiment can be carried out on current land systems such as CSD (conservation sub division) in which are clearly not sustainable due to it being built around growth. A hard sustainable view, encompassing holistic considerations including issues of population, growth and values which can lend together with the principles of conservation development in order to better resolve sustainable land development enough so that the notion will change from land development to land redevelopment.

Conclusion

The methodology used is that of a conceptual framework which is geared around the foci of the set of research questions presented. The method outlined encompasses this conceptual framework and procedurally outlines the relationships and associations between elements. In doing so, addresses in detail each research question and hence achieves the project outcomes.

An integrated conceptual frame work have been used involving multi-scale perspectives which has achieved its aim in providing comprehensive insight on this complex issue of the synchronization of sustainable development with land development.

The project outcomes are that of answering the proposed research questions. The proposed research questions are formed from the basis of a detailed literature review into the topic of sustainable development and land development. The intention of addressing these particular research questions is to provide new insight into the issue.

They are as follows:

How does the development of land since the Industrial Age confer to our notions of sustainability?

The rapid increase of use of land for resources to bring us here today has drawn us to question our current trend and motivation with the concern for the future. The word sustainable is often termed to describe this awareness in many aspects to the level in which it has been overused and misused to the extent that its true meaning is no longer thought of especially in the field of land development. The intrinsic conflicts between the notions surrounding the development of land and sustainability is heightened by society and its values. Thus there is a need to unite true sustainability; that of which ensures the ability to continue to act or behave a certain way indefinitely with that of land development.

What are possible synergies and tradeoffs that can be drawn from land development and sustainable development?

There are numerous potential synergies in synchronizing sustainable development with land development, some of the more prevalent ones are as follows:

- Increase liquidity in the market which further allows for rapid development and change.
- Technology advancements. Especially in the 3D cadastre
- Concentration of wealth limited
- Housing affordability is increased
- Transparency in the cadastre and open information can be simply established
- Institutes favourable outlook from travellers to host nations/regions
- Tackles the core primer to the threat of humanity, overconsumption. Creates a foundation for rapid change in other aspects of consumption, such as food, water, resources and goods
- Will draw out a sense of belonging for each individual

Tradeoffs are required to in order to facilitate this synchronization. Primarily there are two:

1. Traditional economics of land abolished
2. New norms needs to be established

In what ways and with what implication can the change towards a sustainable society be brought about?

Value systems and perceptions are the underlying resistors but also prospective drivers for the shift to sustainable society.

As value systems and perceptions take time to change particular additional measures can be implemented in order to bring about this desired state more promptly. One of such is described in the context of synchronizing sustainable development and land development through the understanding of synergies, tradeoffs and their implications to better shape the measure to be emplaced. That is: Ensure everyone has a right to use of land. Take away the ‘right’ to purchase land/property that you directly will not use. Modify land tenure for companies to use land for best use based upon geographic/inherit suitability current needs/demands from society. Meaning take away the privilege to privatised monopoly of land and exploitation of land.

Recommendation

How to best alter laws which govern regulation of development of land in order that they align and promote sustainable land development and how best to transform their current norms voluntarily is an outstanding opportunity for further research and development.

References

Allen, S. (2015). A guide for North Carolina communities in the use of conservation design for land use planning. The North Carolina Urban and Community Forestry Program, NC State University. Accessed at http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/conservation-subdivision-handbook.pdf

Arendt, R. (1999). Growing Greener: Putting Conservation into Local Plans and Ordinances. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Arendt (1999). Growing Green: Conservation Subdivision design. Planning commissioners journal, number 33. Accessed at http://plannersweb.com/wp-content/uploads/1999/01/155.pdf

Arendt, R. et al. (1996). Conservation Design for Subdivisions: A Practical Guide to Creating Open Space Networks. Washington, DC: Island Press

Bank, W. (2006). Sustainable land management.: challenges, opportunities, and trade-offs: Washington, DC : World Bank

Bossel, H. (2000). Policy assessment and simulation of actor orientation for sustainable development. Ecological Economics, 35(3), 337-355. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(00)00218-4

Bowman, T., and J. Thompson. (2009). Barriers to implementation of low-impact and conservation subdivision design: Developer perceptions and resident demand. Landscape and Urban Planning, 92(2): 96-105

Bowman, Thompson, & Colletti. (2009). Valuation of open space and conservation features in residential subdivisions. Journal of Environmental Management, 90(1): 321-330.

Brackbill, J. U., & Cohen, B. I. (2014). Multiple Time Scales. Burlington: Elsevier Science

DuFault & Kho1, (2015). 'Sustainability': Is it a dirty word? While consumers endure the semantics, what words can enable real discussion, and not just greenwashing - or eye rolling?. theguardian.com. Accessed at http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/25/sustainability-eco-green-natural-buzzwords- greenwashing

Espinosa Salazar, A. M., & Walker, J. (2011). A complexity approach to sustainability. [electronic resource] : theory and application: London : Imperial College Press ; Singapore : Distributed by World Scientific Pub. Co., c2011.

Hostetler, M., & Reed, S. (2014). Conservation Development: Designing and Managing Residential Landscapes for Wildlife. In Urban Wildlife conservation(pp. 279-302). Springer US.

Johnston, C. S. (1995). The Rokeach Value Survey: Underlying structure and multidimensional scaling. Journal of Psychology, 129(5), 583.

Lenth, B. A., R. L. Knight, and W. C. Gilbert. (2006). Conservation value of clustered housing developments. Conservation Biology, 20(5): 1445-1456.

Manecke, K (2010). A better way for every beautiful place in America slated for development. LandChoices Accessed at http://www.landchoices.org/conservationsubs.htm

Maxwell, J. (2009) Edited by L. Bickmam and D. Rog. Designing a qualitative study in The Sate Handbook for Applied Social Science Research (p. 222). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Milder, J. C. (2007). A framework for understanding conservation development and its ecological implications. Bioscience, 57(9): 757-768.

Mohamed, R. (2006). The economics of conservation subdivisions. Urban Affairs Review, 41(3): 376-399. Poole, M. (2005). Touchstones: Ethics for the Survival of Our Species. Goldpanner Books.

Ravitch, and Riggan. (2012). Reason and Rigor: How Conceptual Frameworks guide Research (p. xiii), Thousand Oaks CA: Sage

Robinson, J. (2004). Squaring the circle? Some thoughts on the idea of sustainable development. Ecological Economics, 48(4), 369-384. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2003.10.017

Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values: Free Press.

Shields, Patricia and Rangarjan, N. (2013). A Playbook for Research Methods: Integrating Conceptual Frameworks and Project Management (p. 24.). Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.

Soule, C. (2000). The conservation subdivision design project: booklet for developing a local bylaw. Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Accessed at http://www.greenneighborhoods.org/OSRD.pdf

Tespinosa Salazar, A. M., & Walker, J. (2011). A complexity approach to sustainability: Theory and application: London: Imperial College Press; Singapore: Distributed by World Scientific Pub. Co.

Timmer, C. P. (2015). Food security and scarcity: Why ending hunger is so hard: Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press

Acronyms

CSD - Conservation Subdivision

Resources

This theoretical study did not require any specialised software, equipment or facilities. General access to online repositories, scientific databases and relevant literature was provided by the University of Melbourne via their library facilities.

Acknowledgements

An expression of gratitude is made towards Assoc. Prof. Graham Moore for cooperative and available support in supervision of this project. A show of appreciation is duly righted to Dr Yongping Wei for her generous and comprehensive guidance and advice.

16 of 16 pages

Details

Title
Synchronization of sustainable development and land development
College
University of Melbourne
Author
Year
2015
Pages
16
Catalog Number
V313811
ISBN (Book)
9783668179011
File size
1010 KB
Language
English
Tags
sustainability, sustainable development, land development, kristopher orlowski, orlowski, Synchronization of sustainable development with land development, sustainable land development, green, synchronization, optimisation, future, development, climate change, global warming
Quote paper
Kristopher Orlowski (Author), 2015, Synchronization of sustainable development and land development, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/313811

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