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Vision – The Melbourne Principles for Sustainable Cities

Posted in Models, Policies, Visions by Ferne Edwards on May 23rd, 2007

The Melbourne Principles for Sustainable Cities were developed in Melbourne, Australia, in 2002, during an international Charette, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. The Melbourne Principles consist on ten short statements on how cities can become more sustainable.

Although they are designed to be read by decision-makers, they are an excellent guide for everyone in what defines urban sustainability and provide a good starting point on the journey towards sustainability. They can also apply to any city in the world. Although all the Principles are central to create sustainable cities, No. 8 “Expand and enable cooperative networks to work towards a common, sustainable future” is perhaps the most pertinent for SustainableMelbourne.com and SustainableCitiesNet.com. This example illustrates the need for multiple approaches, people and institutions to work together to create sustainable urban environments.

The Principles are:
1. Provide a long-term vision for cities based on: sustainability; intergenerational, social, economic and political equity; and their individuality;
2. Achieve long-term economic and social security;
3. Recognise the intrinsic value of biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and protect and restore them;
4. Enable communities to minimise their ecological footprint;
5. Build on the characteristics of ecosystems in the development and nurturing of healthy and sustainable cities;
6. Recognise and build on the distinctive characteristics of cities, including their human and cultural values, history and natural systems,
7. Empower people and foster participation;
8. Expand and enable cooperative networks to work towards a common, sustainable future;
9. Promote sustainable production and consumption, through appropriate use of environmentally sound technologies and effective demand management;
10. Enable continual improvement, based on accountability, transparency and good governance.

A copy of the Melbourne Principles can be downloaded at no cost from the internet.

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