What is sustainable development?
Development is about change. Every time a new product is introduced, and people buy it and use it, the world changes a little bit. When a government builds a new hospital, or road, or introduces a new scheme for education, the world changes. When a product is modified, or a policy modified, the world changes.

All changes or developments are designed to make the world a better place. Unfortunately many changes make life better in the short term, but in the long term have consequences which can make life worse. Consider the car, for example. Private cars make it easier for those who can afford them to travel wherever they want whenever they want. But cars use up raw materials, which have to be extracted and processed - steel, aluminium, plastics. This uses lots of energy and can cause pollution. So does manufacturing the car. Using a car requires petrol or oil - and the world is running out of oil. Again, this causes pollution. Cars are much safer to drive than they used to be but there are still many accidents that cause injury to pedestrians and cyclists. Although the car industry is doing much more than previously about recycling (to conform to new legislation from the European Union), disposal of old cars is still a problem. And as more people have cars so more roads get blocked, causing delays, expense and frustration for motorists. There are costs as well as benefits from the widespread use of cars.

The driving idea behind sustainable development is that the changes that meet the needs of people today should not prejudice the opportunities of future generations to meet their needs. It means taking a long-term view about the impact of new products, technologies and systems. If we do this we can begin to address the big issues of climate change, poverty, hunger, pollution.


What is sustainability?
What is sustainable development?
Definitions of sustainability
Three dimensions of sustainable design
Why things need to change
How do we add to problems?
What would a sustainable world be like?
Climate change
Datschefskiā€™s principles of sustainable design