June 5, 2011
Dept of Social Work, Amritapuri
As nations around the world endeavor towards sustainable development that supports the marginalized and preserves natural resources, various sectors of society are introducing more efficient and ecologically minded practices.
Research scholars focusing on developing countries presented papers at the International Conference on Society, Technology and Sustainable Development, highlighting such practices.
Dr. Christy P. Gomez, Faculty of Technology Management, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn, Johor, Malaysia outlined a sustainable model for new residential developments in Malaysia.
“The shift to a new development model is easier for developing countries that have not become overly accustomed to highly unsustainable practices such as overreliance on non-renewable resources,” he said.
Building sustainably remains a challenge for the world-wide construction industry as it learns how to use eco-friendly materials to make healthy, non-toxic environments that do not waste energy resources.
George Okechukwu Onatu, Department of Town and Regional Planning University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein campus elaborated on a sustainable transport system now used in South Africa.
“One of the legacies of apartheid was the lack of connectivity between the so-called townships and the Suburbs,” he said.
To bridge the gap and unite people, travel was required and it cost. “Most residents commuting from the township to the city not only spent a huge amount of money on travel, but also got tired due to the commute,” he added.
Addressing these concerns as well as transit congestion and carbon emissions, the cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Metro jointly introduced the public rapid bus transport system, Rea Vaya BRT.
Onotu conducted research measuring the rapid bus transport sustainability. His findings showed BRT to have reduced travel times, lowered travel costs and decreased carbon emissions.
Other papers highlighting sustainable practices in developing countries included a paper outlining a model for livelihood assessment and intervention strategies for humanitarian agencies, presented by Vivek C. K., Plan International.
Ardra Manasi from IIT Madras presented her research on sustainability issues in Indian urban planning.
Such efforts made by developing nations mark the changing times and the level of global response needed to make the shift to establishing a more sustainable way of life for all.