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Dimensions of sustainable development: a proposal of systematization of sustainable approaches

Listed author(s):
  • Giacomo D'Alisa


The spreading of the concept of sustainable development asks for a the definition of a sound common ground of the growing number of implementations. Here I propose a synopsis of the criticisms of the major methodological approaches to sustainability and point out the need, according to the ecocentric approaches, of a paradigm shift, from a linear to a systemic perspective, generally utilized in the thermodynamic and biological sciences. Starting from the systematization suggested by Turner, Pearce and Bateman (1996), which divide ustainability in technocentric and ecocentric, this paper shows that not all approaches consider growth always as the best solution to society problems. This implies that sustainability may be viewed as an intersection among the so-called economic, social and environmental pilasters of sustainable development. This work offers instead a concentric representation of it, whereby the environmental system contains the economic and social dimensions, since it represents the set of resources that allows dimensions' functionality. A fourth institutional dimension, participatory democracy, should be added to obtain a complete visualization of sustainable development.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, Matematiche e Statistiche, Universita' di Foggia in its series Quaderni DSEMS with number 09-2007.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
Handle: RePEc:ufg:qdsems:09-2007
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