SLDI recently conducted a survey of land development professionals designed to gauge the industry’s perceptions of who/what is responsible for the current economic situation, what will be needed to improve it, the industry’s overall acceptance of and receptivity to sustainable land development principles and practices, and the industry’s current level of implementation of the most common “green” programs currently available.
More than 325 professionals responded, providing a margin of error of ±5.25%. More than 55% of the respondents identified themselves as executive level professionals, 19% identified themselves as project management level and 22% as project designers. 4% were in administrative support roles.
The results of the survey are interesting to say the least. Industry professionals place the most blame for current economic problems on financial institution decision-making, government programs and Congress, as well as personal greed. The common denominator in each of these factors most blamed is the single-minded, short-term orientation toward decision-making.
In other words, a lack of sustainable development orientation is blamed for our current economic problems. While a lack of sustainable development best practices are to blame, industry professionals believe that sustainable development is what will lift us out.
Private innovation and investment, leadership by Congress and sustainable development practices are needed to transform the economy and put it back on the path toward lasting growth.
Professionals were then asked whether they see any advantage with adopting sustainable practices, and whether true triple-bottom-line sustainable practices are achievable. The industry overwhelmingly (85%) believes sustainable development is advantageous and achievable (87%).
Interestingly, the industry is not implementing the current “green” programs to a large extent yet. Only 20% of respondents indicated that they have ever participated on even one project that follows the leading programs.
SLDI embraces the programs identified for the portions of a holistic sustainable land development system each of them addresses. Further, we will continue our research to determine the reasons those programs are receiving only partial acceptance. We will continue to seek to work with those organizations to deliver on the industry’s strong demand for holistic triple-bottom-line solutions for sustainable land development.
Reprinted from March, 2009 issue of Sustainable Land Development Today magazine.