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Sustainable Development: Understanding the Green Debates



Sustainable Development: Understanding the Green Debates

Mark Mawhinney

ISBN: 978-1-405-15094-1 April 2008 Wiley-Blackwell 200 Pages


Can there be a common definition of sustainable development?

Views on sustainable development range from those of the mainstream economist to the hardened environmentalist – via many shades of green. This book offers a clear overview of the debates and sets out the various theories, providing an accessible introduction for all who now need to understand how sustainable development affects their working practices.

The text is structured around key questions on the concept of sustainable development:

  • Does it define a starting point, a process, or the end-goal?
  • Can it provide a coherent theory?
  • Is it a workable concept in practice?
  • Is it ‘balanced’ or does ‘balance’ form part of the solution?

Mark Mawhinney explores the various strands of thought that claim to define sustainable development - as a concept, a theory or as a set of principles. He also highlights gaps in understanding that often arise and attempts to break down the barriers to a common understanding - redefining current concepts in terms that will help to progress the debate on sustainable development.

An overview; The 'traditional economist's' view of the debate; The 'environmental' arguments; Some of the shades in-between; Practical interpretations of the debate; Missing elements in the debate; Breaking down entrenched positions; Redefining the debate; References; Index
'I can strongly recommend this book to those within the construction community seeking a broader understanding of sustainable development. The beauty of this book is that it provides as appropriately placed, cogently argued, stepping stone within comfortable reach of the majority construction community. I hope it is widely read and sets the groundwork for the thousands of steps to follow.'

David Shipworth
The University of Reading

* examines the range of views put forward under 'sustainable development'
* clarifies and simplifies existing theories
* provides a useful introduction for people on the fringe of the debate