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Activity 1: What is a sustainable community?

Sustainable communities are places where people want to live and work, now and in the future.
They meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment, and
contribute to a high quality of life. They are safe and inclusive, well planned, built and run, and offer
equality of opportunity and good services for all.

Sustainable communities are:

• Active, inclusive and safe

• Well run

• Environmentally sensitive

• Well designed and built

• Well connected

• Thriving

• Well served

• Fair for everyone

Sustainable communities embody the principles of sustainable development. They:

• Balance and integrate the social, economic and environmental components of their

• Meet the needs of existing and future generations

• Respect the needs of other communities in the wider region or internationally also to make
their communities sustainable

Sustainable communities are diverse, reflecting their local circumstances. There is no standard
template to fit them all.

Source: Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

The text of this page, more details and a full reference can be found in the Word document 'What is
a Sustainable Community?'. (This is intended as general information and not as learner's material.)
Egan Wheel

These characteristics of sustainable communities are also

presented in the 'Egan wheel' named after Sir John Egan who
chaired the review into skills for sustainable communities. The
eight components have a high level of language sophistication in
both of the forms in which they are given.

Imagine you can move the spokes of the wheel to demonstrate

in a pie-chart the notional importance given to each component
in the conventional teaching of the geography of settlement.

Eight components are difficult to juggle. How would you

Figure 1- click to download large version
scaffold learning by introducing them in turn? Could you
conflate this framework to six without losing the overall
conceptual integrity? Can you identify specific terms or vocabulary to introduce or reinforce for
subsequent geographical learning?

Eight Components

Look at this version of the eight components with more

complete descriptions and examples.

Source: ASC (2006) Making Places: creating sustainable

communities. A teachers guide to sustainable communities,
Leeds: Academy for Sustainable Communities

It is not suggested here that the eight components should be

taught. It is probably best thought of as a framework for looking
at communities which can to be explored and tested by
geographical thinking. Figure 2- click to download large version

Where do you want to live?

Now watch the video Where do you want to live? (2003). This is an eight-minute video explaining
sustainable communities with professional viewpoints and glimpses of Basingstoke, Greenwich
Millennium Village and Newark.

You might like to consider the pros and cons of using this video with learners. There is a transcript
downloadable from the same page. To what extent does it succeed in conveying the bigger picture?
Or does it really come down to people wanting 'good design and facilities on their doorstep'? How
does it take into account multiple perspectives?

In the active sense, considering sustainable communities is sometimes referred to as place-making

and we will look at it again later in this unit.