Fashioning the sustainable city: how can ecology, social concerns and economic development be reconciled?

At the Rio Summit (1992), ‘sustainable development’ was defined as development that reconciles three areas: economics, social concerns and ecology. This balance—difficult to set up and often captive to environmental concerns alone—is the focus of texts in this section on transition. The very nature of these texts shows how difficult it is to guarantee a balance between climate change, the fulfilment of everyone’s needs and rational use of resources.


  • What supports or prevents the reconciliation of the three pillars of sustainable development at the local level?

  • What are the contradictions between current policies and projects and the objectives of sustainable development?

  • How can we adapt knowledge and practices to include the need to reconcile the three pillars of sustainable development?

  • How can we prepare citizens for the transition to sustainable societies and territories? What role do educational systems play in this process? How can new relationships between the educational system and local authorities be designed to strengthen their cooperation in the creation of the sustainable city?

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