chapter  6
48 Pages

Social dimensions of sustainability appraisal

The social component is often regarded as the weakest ‘pillar’ of sustainable development, reflecting concerns about its conceptual and analytical foundations (Cernea 1997; Davis 2004). In recent years, increasing attention has been given to improving the understanding of the social pillar. New, extended and more integrative avenues of thought and approach to social sustainability have emerged in policy development and in the theoretical and applied social science literature. These include needs-and rights-based approaches based on several elements, including the analytical concept of social capital (see, for example, Putnam 2000 and Section 6.2.1.4) and the ‘capability approach’ of Sen (2000) (see Section 6.2.1.1). Much still remains to be done to clarify these frameworks and their practical application, particularly as integrative tools for relating the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development (Lehtonen 2004).