Can we achieve a sustainable economy?


Assistant Professor Aaron Strong; Photo courtesy of the Iowa City Press-Citizen
Assistant Professor Aaron Strong; Photo courtesy of the Iowa City Press-Citizen

Aaron Strong, an assistant professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa, hosted a discussion yesterday about the changing the structure of our economy to emphasize sustainability.

Professor Strong acknowledged that while the idea of sustainability is being discussed more frequently, it has no single definition.

He wrote in the Press-Citizen opinion page that definitions of sustainability can be any of the following:

  • Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs
  • Long-term cultural, economic and environmental health and vitality
  • Maintenance of the value of the capital stock where capital includes physical, human, cultural and environmental

While common themes exist among all of the definitions of sustainability, differences also occur in how to implement them.

The discussion focused on economic approaches as well as pollution and environmental quality, and patterns seen over time. Ultimately, researched explored whether or not the present system can adequately achieve joint goals of sustainability.

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