Natural heritage and urban growth: ethics, sustainability education and governance

J. Lutas Craveiro, I. Duarte de Almeida
2009 Sustainable Development and Planning IV   unpublished
The relationship between urban and rural areas can no longer be considered a territorial antagonism. Urban growth and the density of both buildings and population pushes the rural world into a position dependent on political action, commonly expressed in terms of lacking technology and scarce resources. Additionally, for the first time in human history, the bulk of the population occupies urban areas. Nevertheless, since the 'non-urban' type has the privilege of a better environmental, the
more » ... ronmental, the emergence of environmental issues has changed the social value of both rural and non-urbanized areas. The 'rural world' now seems to be the holder of the traditions as well as the local identity values. In the present paper the main question can be sketched out in the following terms: how has the urban growth shifted the opposite urban-rural relationship into city-hinterland integration? This question is one step ahead of the dichotomy 'modernity-tradition' and leads us to think in terms of 'change-conservation' dichotomy. We must regard a city as a macro-organism that achieves and maintains its balance through an equitable distribution of functions: residence, public/private services, and leisure. To rule a city is to develop policies that promote well-being and citizen involvement. A city without participation is not sustainable and a city threatened by the scarcity of resources or by environmental risks becomes a frightened city. Public participation cannot be a result of collective fear. We must think about urban planning as territorial planning of land uses. There is a democratic form of doing that: public participation and environmental concern as a civil value. We discuss in this work some questions on environmental ethics, the contents of public campaigns of sustainability education and we present a reflection about urban areas subjected to quick growth in Portugal.
doi:10.2495/sdp090191 fatcat:todxtgvhtzcsrblqkwdwpncs7q