Your Town - Sustainability by Design 35.5

Published: September 2009

“Sustainability” is a monstrous concept. Perhaps no other term exposes such a vast gulf between frequency of use and level of understanding.

With its newest issue, Your Town: Sustainable by Design, Alternatives jumps in to fill that gap. Deborah Curran uncovers sustainability’s wicked nature, while Ray Tomalty and Mark Redwood fill the reality void. They apply sustainable concepts at the grassroots level in urban communities in Canada and around the world.

In our 3rd annual environmental education directory, we turn our focus to community-based research, plus much more.

 Read selected articles and web extras from this issue

Here's what else you get when you buy the issue:

News & Notes: 35.5 

Letters to the Editor: 35.5

Wicked - Deborah Curran
If you feel like community sustainability is a moving target, that’s because it is.
     Ten Traits for Wicked Problems
     They Mean It When They Say It
     View a preview of John C. Camillus' paper, Strategy as a Wicked Problem, by clicking here.

Zoned Out - Dan Murray, Jennifer Lynes
Bylaws can preclude municipalities from becoming vibrant, mixed-use neighbourhoods.

Shiny, Slick and Sustainable - Jennifer Taylor
Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City is an experiment in sustainability built on oil money. But will it work?

Inside an Ecovillage - Diana Leafe Christian, Jonathan Taggart
Photo essay by Jonathan Taggart with introduction from Diana Leafe Christian.

Slumdog Sustainability - Mark Redwood
When struggling to improve conditions in poor neighbourhoods in the developing world, sometimes the most important resources are the ones you can’t see.
     Focus Cities Research Initiative
     View an audio slideshow for the Focus Cities Research initiative by clicking here.

Meeting of the Minds - Tegan Renner
Community-based research brings the ivory tower into the town square.
     Banff Stories (McMaster University)
     Brokering Partnerships (Carleton University)
     Resourcefully Wasteless (University of Victoria)
     Neighbourhood Laboratory (Université du Québec à Montréal)
     Mapping Food (York University)
     Saving Saskatchewan (University of Saskatchewan)
     Fair Farming (University of Prince Edward Island)

54 Halls of Green Learning
Track down Canada’s greenest campuses, coolest field courses and most suitable environmental courses.

In Review: Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy  - Mark Brooks
Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy by Peter G. Brown and Geoffrey Garver

Brain Mulch: The Seventh Sin of Greenwashing

Publication of this issue was made possible by The Gosling Foundation; The Salamander Foundation; and the support from our many subscribers. We acknowledge the financial support of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (; EJLB Foundation; Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation; The McLean Foundation; Ontario Media Development Corporation; Ontario Trillium Foundation; Ontario Work Study Plan. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) of the Department of Canadian Heritage toward our project costs. The support of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo and the Waterloo Environmental Studies Endowment Foundation is appreciated.'

Here's what's online:


Your Town - Sustainability by Design 35.5
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