Circles of Sustainability is an approach that supports cities, communities and organizations seeking to understand and act upon basic issues relevant to sustaining positive and vibrant social life. The approach suggests that social life should be understood holistically. This is done by considering sustainability across an intersecting four-domain model: economics, ecology, politics, and culture. The approach is part of the larger methodology called ‘Circles of Social Life’.

Circles of Sustainability offers an integrated method for deciding on the critical issues associated with responding actively to complex problems. Circles takes a city, community or organization through the difficult process of deciding on the terms of its approach. It guides engagement. It allows for an understanding of competing issues and tensions. The method then provides continuing feedback and monitoring in relation to implementation difficulties and successful outcomes. Then, at the end of a project the Circles approach supports a reporting process.

The overall approach is explained in a book associated with this website published by Routledge Press: Urban Sustainability in Theory and Practice: Circles of Sustainability (2015).

For a discussion of the organizational groups co-ordinating the Circles Project, or to read about our partners please click on the embedded links.

Venice's Grand Canal at dusk

Venice’s Grand Canal at dusk, 2009

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