Published: 13th Feb 2012

‘Eco cities’, urban ‘place-making’, and the ‘Big Society’ – what do these things have in common? The answer is they are all concepts of sustainable settlements (low carbon, more equal and prosperous living) that are most likely doomed to failure. Why might they falter? These visions for local self-determination are fragile if they are not connected to resolving transnational governance problems ranging from reform of the international banking system through to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Vice versa, global efforts to move beyond GDP as the primary measure of development or to adapt to climate change can be undermined by weak local leadership. Seminal thinking over the past four decades from Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful (in the 1970’s) to A Future Worth Choosing by the UN’s High-Level Panel Global on Sustainability (released in January 2012) have gone some way to highlighting the point, without quite being able to square this … (To read the full article, subscribe below)