Introduction: Transition Challenges and Pathways to Sustainable Community Systems: Design and Systems Perspectives
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This chapter provides a background to the various dimensions of sustainability that we understand as the critical pillars of sustainability for any community system. Based on these five key dimensions, the contributions in this book have been categorised into five broad sections. This chapter discusses these five critical dimensions – relationships, institutions, production, organisation and governance – from design and systems perspectives for the sustainability of any community system. Under each dimension, critical factors are presented as a spectrum; where characteristics of each factor at one end of the spectrum tend to create locking-in effects, control by a few, inequity and unsustainability in the long run, while at the other end characteristics of the same factors facilitate equity, freedom and sustainability. With reference to characteristic of each factor, the chapter inherently argues that design for sustainability needs to be anchored on the natural principles of interconnections and interdependence.
Discussions in the chapter uncover that although sustainability appears to be fuzzy, blurred and impossible; making our communities and society sustainable is within our collective choices in the way we choose the direction of each of these factors under the five critical dimensions. Figures 1.1 and 1.2 of this chapter summarise the critical dimensions and the spectrum of each of the twenty-five factors. In the final analysis, this chapter implies that if people in small communities and various external stakeholders, including government officials, development and corporate executives, recognise the current design flaws and simultaneously make efforts to unlock themselves from the various lock-in effects, our transition to sustainability will be easily achievable.
KeywordsTransition strategies Sustainable communities Relationships Institutions Production Organisation Governance Design Systems science
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