Presentation on theme: "Structural Responses to Municipal Sustainability: An International Review MNL 2008 Symposium Gander, May 9, 2008."— Presentation transcript:
Structural Responses to Municipal Sustainability: An International Review MNL 2008 Symposium Gander, May 9, 2008
Sustainability Many definitions exist, most deal with three key dimensions: 1.Economic well-being 2.Environmental stewardship 3.Social equity But how these three things matter, and if one matters more, is the crux of the issue.
Sustainable Communities Two contrasting dimensions: Communities that are growing too fast to be sustainable. Communities that are steadily declining to the point they are not sustainable. Generally the first category deals with very large cities (but also includes some smaller places that have been discovered), while most small and remote places are in the second group.
Sustainability and Ecology An organism is viable/sustainable only if it occupies a unique ecological niche. Organisms compete for survival, and only those that adapt to their environment survive. If two organisms try to occupy the same niche only one will survive. If the environment changes an organism may find its niche disappears. In economics this is called differentiating your product to gain a competitive advantage. But somebody has to want to buy your product.
Contrasting environments Logistics economy Disposable society City focused Credit is cheap Services drive growth Commodities and transportation are cheap Open and globally oriented Low income growth is offset by housing appreciation Sprawl supports urban growth Technology is accommodating Down-sizing economy Recycling society Nation focused Credit is expensive Services grow slowly Commodities and transportation are costly National security is important Low growth in income and house prices Sprawl is too expensive Technology is limiting
Impacts for rural areas – still at a net disadvantage, but in different ways Less growth in urban fringe More expensive transport costs for everything Smaller budgets for national and provincial government – more downloading likely Higher business costs in urban areas (congestion & rent) Places with commodities will do well, places with amenities will not do as well More incentive for consumers and firms to purchase locally, but internet shopping will continue to expand Rural areas more competitive with off-shore locations, but labor quality and availability will be key Property tax base will not grow significantly
Local Structural Changes Some urban oriented policies wont go away – high gas taxes, opposition to tobacco, recycling, opposition to seal hunt. More domestic tourism in response to higher costs and security concerns – provides new opportunities like, adventure tourism in Kentucky When the environment changes some places collapse – eastern Germany In rural places the desire to preserve conflicts with the desire to grow – tourism in Highlands of Scotland Without strong local leaders opportunities are missed – local government has to be progressive, but it cant be if senior government is too restrictive – Lubeck equine tourism Aging population in rural places changes the dynamic from excess workers to labor shortages
What does this mean for communities in Newfoundland and Labrador? Communities and their leaders have to be able to answer three questions. 1.What economic functions are now carried out in your community that provide a reason for its existence – what is its current ecological niche? 2.Which of the current economic functions are at risk if the broad environment shifts from a logistics economy to adown-sizing economy – how are you threatened? 3.What new functions could you perform that could make you competitive – what will your new niche be, and is there already someone there you have to displace?