About

Sustainable development is the greatest moral challenge of the twenty-first century

& community developers, planners, and activists are on the front lines.


Sustainable development is a practical and normative approach to community development that emphasizes environmentally sustainable economic development; social justice and inclusion; and democratic governance.

Practically, sustainable development practitioners advocate for community development in regions, towns, cities, and countries whose political economies aren’t meeting residents’ basic needs.

Normatively, sustainable development scholars typically advocate for social, political, and environmental goals that are intended to improve the wellbeing of residents.

Sustainable development efforts can take place in areas of the world with high levels of extreme poverty. It can also take place in wealthy areas, whose levels of development and consumption threaten the resources and stability of the rest of the planet.

In order to inform the work being done on the ground by residents, activists, community developers, and planners, Creating the Good Life explores – in a broad sense – the moral aspects of community development. It asks,

If we’re trying to make the world a better place, what exactly do we mean by “better?”

Creating the Good Life is a collaborative blog and educational forum whose purpose is to intellectually inform community development efforts by providing a space to exchange ideas, debate values, and engage interested members of the public.

Because sustainable development isn’t just about building roads, bridges, or infrastructure. It takes place within complex economic, social, environmental, and political systems, and it requires us to think critically about “the good life” and what a good society should be.

  • From a philosophical perspective, it asks, “What are the components of a ‘good life’ or a ‘good community?’”
  • From a political perspective, it asks, “How can we more equally distribute power and resources while strengthening our democracy?”
  • From a cultural perspective, it asks, ““What are a society’s values and priorities and how are they communicated?”
  • From a psychological perspective, it asks, “What really makes humans happy?” and “How can policies better reflect this knowledge?”

To explore these questions, Creating the Good Life includes

  • Essays that begin with personal reflections and end with philosophical propositions for living a better life or building better communities;
  • Interviews with thought leaders in various disciplines that highlight key findings and implications;
  • Features that spotlight progressive leaders, activists, or organizations that utilize creative approaches to community development or problem-solving;
  • Resources such as book lists, e-books, and reference documents that present complex topics in easily-understandable and accessible formats.

Interested contributors are encouraged to submit work that follows the submission guidelines here.

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