Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainable communities are defined as towns and cities that have taken steps to remain healthy over the long term. Sustainable communities have a strong sense of place. They have a vision that is embraced and actively promoted by all of the key sectors of society, including businesses, disadvantaged groups, environmentalists, civic associations, government agencies, and religious organizations. They are places that build on their assets and dare to be innovative. These communities value healthy ecosystems, use resources efficiently, and actively seek to retain and enhance a locally based economy. There is a pervasive volunteer spirit that is rewarded by concrete results. Partnerships between and among government, the business sector, and nonprofit organizations are common.
Sustainability includes the principles of futurity, equity and participation. It is about fairness, now and in the future, for people and the planet. A sustainable outlook concentrates on quality of life and meeting needs rather than simply producing commodities. Peoples' active involvement and commitment are the best guarantee of fairness. We need to think long-term so that the physical and social environment lasts. Central to the outlook of sustainable cities is an integrated view that sees the whole picture across the scales of time and space, from now and into the future, the local and the global, and the micro and the macro.
The Hannover Principles aim to provide a platform upon which designers can consider how to adapt their work toward sustainable ends. Designers include all those who change the environment with the inspiration of human creativity. Design implies the conception and realization of human needs and desires. Insist on rights of humanity and nature to co-exist in a healthy, supportive, diverse and sustainable condition. Recognize interdependence. The elements of human design interact with and depend upon the natural world, with broad and diverse implications at every scale.