Equity in Sustainability

Equity’s visibility has increased as a core component of sustainability in recent years.

Sep 1, 2014

Equity’s visibility has increased as a core component of sustainability in recent years. Leading cities and regions are now making equity central to their sustainability efforts—in name and in practice. Sustainability is commonly defined as the Three Es (environment, economy, and equity), the triplebottom line (planet, people, and profit), and as a next-generation term for environmentalism. While The Three Es and the triple-bottom line have equity and a focus on the well-being, health, and livelihood of people embedded within them, sustainability is often framed with environmentalism as the primary focus. True integration of equity is emerging slowly; this work has continued and deepened over the last thirty years. While the initial environmental focus reverberates, strong integration of equity—and economic issues—in sustainability, as an equal player to environmental concerns, is emerging. Equity is now appearing more frequently in the local sustainability plans that provide the structure and framework for activities underway in cities.

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