What Makes Sustainable Communities, Sustainable? #TEDActiveSUS

What Makes Sustainable Communities, Sustainable? #TEDActiveSUS

The TEDActive Sustainability Project will look at best practices in community organizing. PSFK engaged our expert network to provide stimulus for the attendees working on this project.

Timothy Ryan, PSFK Labs
  • 22 february 2011

The team at idea-sharing conference TED have been asking for folks to get involved with TEDActive Projects. The TEDActive Sustainability Project will look at best practices in community organizing, and explore radical solutions to push the sustainability movement forward. PSFK actively engaged our expert network, the PurpleList, to provide stimulus for the attendees working on this project. Today, we publish the answers that came in from around the world to the following question:

How can we help the sustainable community maintain its own growth?

Deanna Lawrence is an expert in the marketing and advertising industries and is located in Ann Arbor.

Enable the authentic voice of each issue. Compelling methods of communication and true emotional connections will inspire movements. Nurture cultures to embrace the gift of diversity within each project and more importantly do not stifle people-to-people interaction. Seek out and celebrate original ideas to strengthen emotional connections.

John Voelcker is an expert in green and electric cars and is located in New York

Get ordinary citizens–not just advocacy groups and advisory bodies–to advocate for funding for research, limited trials, and purchase incentives at early stages of technology.

As for the community itself, “walking the walk” and integrated new sustainable practices into everyday life are the most effective way of broadening the discussion by demonstrating to non-enthusiasts that sustainability is possible, practical, and has an impact.

And, of course, make it about money: The fastest way to get someone to change their life is to explain that they can save money.

Timothy Ryan works in the writing and editorial industry and is located in Brooklyn

A sustainable community’s growth hinges on its ability to frame the conversation with respect to the existing community’s needs. Change can be slow and arduous, especially when it involves redirecting longstanding habits, but by focusing on the benefits that residents can derive from participating in sustainable practices, sustainable communities will be greeted with acceptance and grow. Therefore education and inclusion, become essential to informing better decisions that not only help achieve the sustainable community’s end goals, but also help build support from local residents that in turn can eventually lead to larger, structural change at the government level.

Furthermore, while no doubt enacting change, sustainable communities often represent a return to traditional values. By focusing on core sentiments-community, equality, fairness- sustainable communities may find their message resonating with a wider audience, and enjoying an influence that far surpasses its humble beginnings.

Ivan Sanchez is an expert in brand planning and is located in Bogota

Three things:
Desirability: Sustainability, as many things in life should look and feel desirable. All cultural, political and social movements have specific elements that make them desirable to be part of. Movements need to have a common goal, a common enemy, heroes, myths, symbols and rituals.

Choices:I see that a lot of plausible causes are not succesful when engaging people to act. But i’ve realized that it is not that the cause is not powerful enough, but that the options to join in are not as organic or easy to reach. Sustainaility needs to stand closer to people and give options to join in.

Expand the notion of profit: Companies that are serious about innovation are usually better at making money. Sustainability projects more often than not, create better ways to do things at many levels, so many people can get a plethora of benefits.

Mark Lightowler is an expert in branding, marketing and sales and is located in Basel

The planet, except for our attempts to do otherwise , is the master of resilience and sustainability. Looking to bio-systems that are self sustaining will help us understand how organize sustainable communities.

For example I have always wondered if the mathematics and structure of the human vascular system can be used to organise road travel. Replace red blood cells with cars and they are very similar. The body is fantastic about optimizing its traffic even when there is a blockage.

The PurpleList: How can we help the sustainable community maintain its own growth?

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