chapter  7.1
4 Pages

ESD and 'Sense of Community'

WithGraham Meltzer

The Western model of urban development is associated with a gradual loss of community, typically manifested in relationship breakdowns and social alienation. This chapter explores the link between a group's 'sense of community' and the environmental values and practices of its members. The environmental movement has been effective in opposing singular acts of destruction of wilderness and rainforest, but far less successful in addressing endemic lifestyle issues which may ultimately reek greater havoc. What discussion there has been of broader ecologically sustainable development concerns, has been circumscribed by matters of housing affordability, transportation, residential density, and land-use. Material consumption becomes a psychic substitute for the satisfying social interaction that a sense of community engenders. The value of the cohousing model in regard to social and environmental sustainability is its recognition of, and attempt to address, some of the failings of late 20th Century society: the breakdown of community, alienation of the individual, and the neglect of disadvantaged groups.