There are two main categories of planning for sustainable communities, something that the Terra Group, under the guidance of Pedro Martin, their CEO, knows everything about. Those forms are physical and social sustainability. The physical sustainability is all about using the right building materials, making renewable technology available, recycling, and more. Social sustainability, however, requires a change in mindset. Now that Terra Group is well on its way to being successful with building and investing in sustainable communities, Martin feels it is time to address the social aspect as well. He believes that, in order for these communities to be successful, two key things have to be present.
A Decentralized Government
Sustainable communities set themselves apart from other communities because they all work together towards common goals. For instance, they may have set a target of halving their carbon emissions in a set period of time. The community would come together to determine how that can be achieved, and will put measurement tools in place to see how successful they have been. While a novel concept in this country, doing this absolutely must be decentralized. This is because central governments do not have the manpower, the time, the resources, or the capabilities to focus on a single neighborhood only. Furthermore, they cannot make arrangements for one neighborhood and not for another. According to Martin, a true sustainable community governs itself and focuses on equality and fairness at all times. In his personal vision plan, this also means that these communities will eventually serve as role models for others, at which point central government could have a bigger, albeit not exclusive, involvement.
One of the things that puts people “off” sustainable living, is the idea that it is something done solely by hippies who share everything from their toothbrush to their dining space. In reality, however, sustainable communities are simply about making the world a better place, and everybody should have the individual freedom to do that in whatever way they see fit. Freedom has to be the greatest reason for people to live sustainability. Considering sustainable communities are about being free from the government, free from the power companies, free from pollution, and more, it is strange to think that there is a stereotypical idea of the members of these communities not having the freedom to be themselves.
For Martin, only those communities that embrace personal freedom have the potential to be successful. Without that, they will either turn in hippy communes or in a Stepford Wives community. Either way, it doesn’t work. People have to be able to be who they are, dress the way they want to dress, and live their lives the way they want to do. After all, sustainability is not just about protecting the planet, it is also about protecting people. Nobody could live the rest of their lives pretending to be someone they are not.
Terra Group hopes that, through their efforts, more physical sustainable communities will be constructed. Martin, meanwhile, is placing the necessary emphasis on the social aspect of these communities as well.