UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Toward sustainable communities : a planning framework for municipal and local governments Roseland, Mark


Some municipal and local governments are expanding their role in sustainable development, but little is known about the nature and extent of these initiatives. This study develops an urban-relevant understanding of sustainable development, then explores the role of North American human settlements in achieving sustainable development and the community-level planning implications of that role. It proposes a framework for sustainable community development, then identifies and evaluates the current range of relevant municipal and local government initiatives. The study data consist of case studies and examples of specific municipal and local government initiatives. Data sources were libraries, computerized databases, and networking. Hundreds of references and initiatives were identified, documented and reviewed. The focus of the data search was on the range of initiatives being practiced or proposed by municipal and local governments. The study develops the argument that sustainable communities require unprecedented and simultaneous emphasis on the efficient use of urban space (e.g., intensifying urban land use, increasing infrastructural efficiency); on reducing consumption of material and energy resources (e.g., generally minimizing the consumption of essential natural capital, encouraging regional self-reliance); on improving community livability (e.g., community development, healthy communities); and on organizing administrative and planning processes which can deal effectively, sensitively and comprehensively with the attendant socioeconomic complexities. The initiatives are categorized according to these criteria. Efficient Use of Urban Space includes transportation planning and traffic management, and land use and growth management. Reducing Resource Consumption encompasses atmospheric change and air quality, energy conservation and efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, and water and sewage. Improving Community Livability includes initiatives to green the city, develop a sustainable economy, and enhance both local community livability and global community responsibility. Administration for Sustainability encompasses investment and purchasing, leadership by example, environmental administration, and extending beyond municipal and local government. The study concludes that the elements for moving toward sustainable communities are being put in place but not, as yet, the necessary synthesis. The criteria of efficient use of urban space, reducing resource consumption, improving community livability, and administration for sustainability are necessary conditions for sustainable community development.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.