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Chapter 7 - The Sociology of Sustainable Development

148 table 75 sustainable seattle indicators 1995

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Unformatted text preview: 7.8). While GDP per capita has been steadily increasing since the 1950s, the GPI per capita peaked in the 1970s and has declined since. National governments have also attempted to adjust their national accounting to include environmental resources. The National Research Council, for example, has recommendations for how the U.S.’s National Income and Product Accounts should integrate environmental components.144 A number of cities have attempted to become “sustainable cities” and a great deal has been written about urban sustainability in the United States and abroad.145 The Sustainable Seattle project shows how national and international level indicators can be applied at a local level. Seattle’s example differs from the indicators above in that those indicators are “top down” whereas Seattle’s project has been “grassroots.”146 Hundreds of volunteers from Seattle worked over a three-year period to create “Indicators of Sustainable Community.”147 The group defined sustainability as, “long-term health and vitality— cultural, economic, environmental and social.” The community identified forty indicators of sustainability fitting into five categories: (1) environment, (2) population and resources, (3) economy, (4) youth and education, and (5) health and community (see Table 7.5). These indicators can be assessed annually to ascertain whether Seattle is moving in a sustainable or unsustainable direction and in which areas of sustainability the city is doing best. Other cities have engaged in similar community projects, for example, Sustainable San Francisco, Sustainable Manhattan, and Sustainable Boston; and there are similar statewide programs: Sustainable Maine and New Jersey’s Sustainable State project.148 Table 7.5 Sustainable Seattle Indicators, 1995 Environment • Wild salmon • Wetlands • Biodiversity • Soil erosion • Air quality • Pedestrian friendly streets • Open space in urban villages • Impervious surfaces Population and Resources • Population • Residential water consumption • Solid waste generated and recycled • P...
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