We define a functionally sustainable community as comprising of several cities with a large rural hinterland. In developing countries, sustainable development for cities and towns would be concerned with developing adequate standards of living based on the provision of community services and environmental quality, maintenance of trade linkages with their rural hinterland, and measures of social justice. On the other hand, sustainable development in the rural hinterland would have to deal with the means of generating revenue (by supplying their produces to the cities and other neighboring FSCs), so as to support their community services (such as healthcare, public transport, education, water supply, sanitation, electrical power) and sustain small businesses. In rural areas, there also needs to be professional opportunities and adequate level of education to service industries, so as to avoid migration to cities.
The problems that FSC(s) need to address are:
(i) Economic: financial capacity to afford community services, low affordability to pay for community services because of poverty, and encouragement to the private sector by way of facilitating their operations (export and import, etc);
(ii)Social: growth of slums in cities because of rural-to-urban migration, poor public transport, provision of safe drinking water, low level of entertainment facilities (like parks) to enhance the quality-of-life, and exploitation of migrant labor from rural areas.
The solutions for these urban-rural compounding problems are:
(i) determination of appropriate size of FSC(s) (preferably based on cultural homogeneity), such that there is adequate rural hinterland size to cater to the needs of cities and thereby gather revenue for their own sustainability; (ii) adroit distribution of population in the rural areas, comprising of the revenue generating sector (about 40%), community service sector (about 40%), and small business sector,(about 20%), such that the revenue brought into the rural townships by the revenue-generating sector is adequate to afford community services and sustain the small-business sector; (iii) adequate industrial development and a competent services sector in cities, so as to provide adequate community services and quality-of-life to the city dwellers; (iv) civilian economic democracy, such that community sectors' representatives in the legislature have responsibility to cater to the needs of their respective sectors.
|Keywords:||A Holistic Approach to Sustainable Development, Socio-Economic Democracy, Functionally Sustainable Communities at the Grass-roots Level, Legislative Members Being Elected by their Respective Association to Cater to their Interests, Self-reliant Socio-Economic Blocks, Regional Federation, World Government Parliament, Constitutional Human Rights|
Professor, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
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