We have seen that our environmental management planning and decision-making methods and processes virtually all reect a fatalistic belief – that the built and natural environments are inevitably in a zero sum relationship. is has led to the use of tradeos for externalizing conict away from development planning and control systems. We cannot predict negative impacts in a complex environmental and social system, but we can nd opportunities to take direct action to increase the urban ecology. We cannot eliminate poverty in a market system entirely, but we can give everyone a higher quality of life. Change will not come from the market and political arenas simply because it would be rational, however. Our discussion has shown that there is a vacuum created by government and industry structures. It would appear that only the community sector can catalyse change is the community. NGOs could begin by creating exemplars of net Positive Development, in partnership with government and industry. is chapter provides some guidance to this process. Some principles, concepts, procedures and criteria for a more positive community-based, opportunity-creating approach have been identied. We have looked at:
• Eco-solutions using natural systems that can increase both the ecological base and public estate • Environmental planning, design and management methods and tools that can assist in the transition from negative to positive actions • Structural principles and organizational forms that planning for sustainability and eco-governance would entail
To reverse the negative approach in environmental management, planning and design, we have developed a positive approach, called SmartMode. e SmartMode process attempts to integrate innovation with development, and design with planning. It aims to turn development into a sustainability solution that generates net positive improvements over past ecological, social and economic conditions. e SmartMode process could be applied by a community group, a cooperative, a public-private+community partnership, or a new planning sphere. is chapter reviews some steps
and concepts in the SmartMode process that can help to bypass intellectual and institutional barriers to change through direct action for Positive Development. e basic steps are:
1 Establish common ground on sustainability concepts 2 Adopt a constitution for decision-making 3 Articulate project objectives and criteria 4 Conduct forensic audits for new information 5 Consider ‘how and what’ to trace and measure 6 Select appropriate methods and tools 7 Develop planning information, concepts and strategies 8 Develop design strategies 9 Apply self-assessment 10 Apply external assessment 11 Ensure relevant measurements 12 Assess accountability and performance
We have noted that planning, design and decision systems should be tailored to the nature of the problem, context and specic issues at hand. erefore the SmartMode approach is a checklist of considerations or reference points, not a prescriptive process. The above steps could occur simultaneously or in a dierent order, and so on. e following outline is not comprehensive and is not meant to stand alone. However, it summarizes many of the principles articulated in the book. is ‘12 step programme’ for recovery from addiction to negative thinking and fatalism is meant to be exible and adaptable. Positive Development projects can be seen as ‘baby steps’, changing behaviour by working together to change systems through big or little, but manageable, direct actions.