What Does Sustainability Mean to You?

Although the word sustainable is normally associated with the actions and processes related to the maintenance of natural resources, its definitions goes beyond that comprehending as sustainability the combination of three different pillars implemented in the thought behind the construction of a specific element that interacts with its society/economics/environments without extending its natural limits.

Social Sustainability Human rights and necessities are secured to all and communities without compromising their use of social resources and allowing them to continue with activities related to their livelihood. Going beyond that, a design that wants to implement social sustainability incorporates physical elements that support social and cultural life understanding the positive and negative impacts of their systems and managing to introduce elements that do not only satisfy the common human needs but tries to form societies.

Economical Sustainability The building of the project does not compromise other communities in resources or economic independence and supports their growth without impacting negatively the other pillar of sustainability. Since economy refers to the conservation of resources it's related to the support of different levels of production indefinitely and interacts hand to hand with environmental and social elements; you are not able to achieve economic sustainability while compromising the environment, it's society or culture.

Environmental Sustainability The integrity of different ecological elements its maintained and the resources used are able to replenish themselves at a considerable rate, guaranteeing that future generations won't be jeopardized by the decisión we make today. Sustainable construction should not only promote environmental protection but should come up with ways to utilize the necessary resources for a greater good or a lesser impact by deciding upon greater choices for materials, energy and water utilization, etc.

New Civic Center at Universidad de los Andes- Bogotá, Colombia | Taken from:

The building has spaces designed to respond to the pedagogical needs of the University and is the first step in a bid to integrate the campus with its surroundings, implementing in its designs a public library, squares and terraces that seek to incorporate the population of the zone, in the spaces of the university thinking about social sustainability as part of its design.

Brooklyn Grange Farming Rooftops - New York, NY | Taken from:

Micro-farming or urban farming has become a relatively recent practice that promotes economic sustainability, reduces carbon emissions, increasing local economic growth while utilizing spaces that were previously vacant or inefficient. Since the new implementation of the green roof law in New York City, this practice has become more common and a pretty good example of it is the Brooklyn Grange company which designs, builds, and maintains urban green spaces by promoting sustainable living (food sold at markets) and local ecology through food, education, and events.

Escondido Village Graduate Residences - Stanford, CA | Taken from:

Another good example of environmental sustainability is the new graduate residences located at our university. EVGR has water recollection tanks, composting, and recycling programs that strive for a zero-waste community, green cleaning products, lighting systems that utilize LED bulbs, other energy and solar alternatives that reduce their usage.