Sustainability For All
Can GDP measure QoL?
Quality of Life specifics
– wealth and employment – enjoyable built environment – physical and mental health – education
– recreation and leisure time – social belonging and contribution – refinement of skills or trades
the case for needing sustainability metrics
It is often clear when quality of life provided to human inhabitants by the built
environment falls below a universal threshold.
Slums – the quality of life for residents is reduced directly by the density
of people in a given area coupled with non-functioning environments
Some cases are less clear…
when the causes for reduction in quality of life are not spatially proximal or of
direct accessibility by sensory perception:
– a low income neighborhood is near a dump site that accepts toxic waste without proper containment measures.
– rural areas that have chemicals leached into their groundwater as a result of less-than-stringent transportation or were polluted in a time when there were no rules on transportation of toxic substances and people are still unaware of or trying to mitigate effects.
Slums and worst case scenario factors are examples of what is clearly below the
threshold of environmental justice.
-For these circumstances immediate satisfaction of basic needs make it clear what resources need to be allocated to assure quality of life
For the people fortunate enough to have satisfaction of basic needs
-quite often associated with use of resources beyond what is required to sustain basic needs
-somewhat more challenging to “draw a line” as to what resources could be re-allocated to future uses
– Some needs are easy to identify
– Thresholds based on human perception are variant
The quality of the human experience is as much a subject of environmental factors that have specific potential to degrade a person’s health through less than ideal conditions as it is a construct of responses to internal and external factors.
-Measurements of reported well being are measurements of a person’s resilience to imperfect environmental conditions
and in that way are, instead, measures of character or personality especially when well-being is reported against all odds
Understanding of the concept of well-being will bring greater understanding of the relationship between
humans, their environment, and what constitutes a quality existence