Community Engagement: Traditional Approaches
For decades, typical city planning in the United States excluded from the decision-making process those residents who were directly or indirectly impacted, sometimes forgetting them entirely. Among the many injustices, historic neighborhoods, often home to minority communities, were demolished to create new highways, displacing life-long residents. Landfills were built next to low-income residential neighborhoods or upstream from fragile surface and ground water sources.
Since addressing sustainability is a new concept for many governments, an opportunity exists to transform the old methods of city planning. More and more cities are modeling a civic-minded approach that plans for population growth and resource conservation. But governments alone are not capable of or solely responsible for broad-scale change. The practice of sustainability, however small, is a decision every individual makes every day. When united and committed, citizens and their governments have the power to achieve meaningful reform.