I find it hard to define ‘sustainable development’ that consists of a social, economic and environmental framework in which requires improvements within human interactions, but heavily interpreted by politicians, academics and journalists in a positive and negative context. In terms of this concept, sustainable development is an elaboration that encounters the requirements of the current without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland, 1987). However, in Chapter Two, ‘Privatizing London’, Anna Minton described sustainable development as a method that promotes less emphasize on improving its existing infrastructure with ‘an increasing consumption of environmental resources’ (Imrie and Lees, 2014:29). Overall, this reflects upon the use of sustainable development in a situation that involves political and social issues.
The political terminology of this concept seemed to be a fashionable statement to promote innovative ways to encourage local communities to understand the term, but restricted to be self-conscious of the environment than social and economic infrastructure. Minton stated a camouflage strategy from the government to promote sustainable development as an environment opportunity, but really, it is based on building private properties (Imrie and Lees, 2014:29). Politicians have a way to misinterpret information for the public to read that seemed valuable but failed to enhance its specific details as to the benefits of an economic success for themselves rather than the local communities.
The term is heavily discredited due to how politicians and developers explain its theory model without practice in an incompetent approach that has less effect on changing the quality of growth and critically analyzing ways to give a better social and economic environment. Its economic and social development can commonly strengthening that focus on how education and health can raise human productivity (Bruntland, 1987, p.41). In addition, this enforces economic developments to accelerate social development by providing opportunities for low-income families and individuals by providing diverse education and employment.
It is problematic to reclaim the term based on how we define the term that does associate with the government, but have our own interpretation from social and economic experience. The government will find it easy to use a political tool to explain the context of sustainable development, as the public have suffered from social and economic injustice. The editors in ‘Privatizing London’ referenced design theorist and philosopher, Tony Fry determined to create a relationship between design, sustainability, and politics that needs to be refined as ‘sustainment’ (Imrie and Lees, 2014:40). In support, this deepens the issue of wider responsibilities from politicians to make decision that promotes health and education for future generations in terms of creating an environmental product.
I will not defined this as ‘sustainable development’, but maybe this is related to the concept of a ‘cultural transformation’ as an individual with its own cultural philosophy and political knowledge to promote a systemic approach to change its existing social and economic infrastructure to benefit the community as a whole to renovate a better environment.
Brundtland, C. (1987). United Nations Documents. Our Common Future, Chapter 2: Towards Sustainable Development. Retrieved from http://www.un-documents.net/ocf-02.htm
Imrie, R., & Lees, L. (2014). Sustainable London? The Future of a Global City. New York: McGraw-Hill.