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On building sustainable communities: A perspective for HFE practitioners
This paper is aimed mainly at Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) practitioners. It addresses the sustainability of communities, since without them there is no real human future. It also fits current concerns about climate change and general sustainability. However, our understanding of the characteristics of sustainable communities is still insufficient, as is evidenced by the different perspectives extant in the HFE literature. This paper provides a further perspective based on systems ergonomics, intended both to extend our socio-technical understanding and to assist HFE practitioners in contributing to a broad approach by which to contribute to the never-ending renewal process for these communities. Without such an approach many communities will become unsustainable, with collapse as their end, as Tainter originally, icily, explained (Tainter 1988). The paper begins with a definition of a ‘sustainable community’, including its legal basis. Its sustainability goals are outlined, based mainly on principles of social justice, since without people there is no community. Then there is a discussion of the characteristics of sustainable communities, the classes of resources available to maintain sustainability, and some of the complexities and hindrances to this maintenance. The last sections link this conceptual landscape to HFE practice by outlining approaches and processes that move from the conceptual landscape in this paper to current practice.
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
- Design and Creative Arts