Sustainable Development an Important Component in the Design of Modern Housing Options

World Habitat Day 2017

Sustainable development is now an important component in the design of modern housing options in an increasingly environmentally conscious society. In the Wider Caribbean region, it is crucial that this development incorporates the concept of Integrated Coastal Zone Management to ensure that appropriate infrastructure is in place for the proper management of waste and wastewater. Additionally, the selection of locations which do not adversely impact the coastline and surrounding ecosystems, such as nearby reefs or seagrass beds, must be considered. This is particularly linked to careful land use management and integrated planning, as the heavy cost associated with large scale relocation of communities due to poor land development along the Caribbean coast is well documented. Such steps, with due consideration for setback limits, therefore help to reduce housing costs in the long-term by safeguarding homes against the impacts of sea live rise and storm surge.

Overall, the Caribbean marine and coastal ecosystems are threatened by a number of factors in addition to unsustainable development. To help overcome this, one of the most holistic approaches currently employed by the SPAW Protocol under the Cartagena Convention to protect these ecosystems is through Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) “which recognizes the need to protect entire ecosystems instead of individual species.” This approach further acknowledges the important role of ecosystem services which can offset many developmental costs in constructing affordable housing when done in a sustainable manner.

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