Jonathan Porritt recently gave the Frederic J Osborn Memorial lecture 2011 for the Town and Country Planning Association. A witty and devastating appraisal of the Localism bill – where ‘sustainable development’ is mentioned an uncountable number of times, but is never defined and is therefore meaningless.
He identified a number of government papers which refer to environmental limits and ecosystem services, which are not picked up in this bill, and pointed out the lack of reference to ‘place making, well-being of communities and health’ – all of which are not mentioned at all.
It was agreed that a definition is required. The Sustainable Development Commission had given five useful principles and these need to be embedded into the document. AECB Board member, Fran Bradshaw of Anne Thorne Architects attended this talk. During a conversation with one of the developers after the meeting he suggested that “meeting the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” was contained somewhere within the document, but you would need to look hard for it.
So it’s over to us to take it up and write.