The term sustainable development has been around for at least 25 years. The concept revolves around the fulfillment of human needs while protecting the natural environment. The linkage between the environment and development is largely a conservation mandate.
The V1 logo that we’ve developed is modeled on a popular illustration that depicts sustainable development at the confluence of economic vitality, healthy communities and sustaining the environment. Meeting the interests of each of these three mandates requires working with a diverse range of stakeholders. There’s a good outline of the many stakeholders on the United Nations division for sustainable development website.
I believe sustainable development also must relate to meeting present needs with a great deal of forethought to future needs. It’s this forethought component that I find the most compelling in terms of the contributions of spatial decision support tools.
It’s not a difficult exercise to simply meet our current needs when it comes to infrastructure planning. The trick for thoughtful development is to balance all of the needs of diverse constituents to create a comprehensive plan that all stakeholders can be excited about, and that stands up to future needs without costly future revisions.
A lot of metrics need to be processed in order to design a picture of the future. A robust data handling and visual communication system is the most efficient means to arrive at a consensus. This is where GIS shines, with the input of detailed CAD models for engineering accuracy.