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There are many definitions of sustainable development, including this landmark one which first appeared in 1987: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (from the World Commission on Environment and Development’s – the Brundtland Commission report Our Common Future – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987).

The Long and the Short of It –People concerned about sustainable development suggest that meeting the needs of the future depends on how well we balance social, economic, and environmental objectives–or needs–when making decisions today. (The World Bank Group)

Sustainable Economic Development strategies encourage the following best practices:  (James Nixon, Sustainable Systems, Inc. 2009)

-Businesses that specialize in environmental products and services (the cleantech business cluster) to start-up, locate, and grow in the region.

-All businesses in a region to become greener and, at the same time, more economically productive.

-Sustainable real estate development to take place—development that is mixed use, mixed income, walkable, energy and resource efficient, and transit oriented.

-The regional financial, workforce, and educational infrastructure to understand sustainable enterprises, in order to encourage investment in the sustainable economy and to prepare people to participate effectively as workers, consumers, and investors.

-The regional physical infrastructure to provide energy, water, materials, buildings, and mobility in a way that is both ecologically and economically efficient.

-The region to be recognized as a place that is in the forefront of the sustainability revolution, becoming an economically, socially, and environmentally better place to live, work, and locate a business.

Separately, each of these best practices can make a significant contribution to the emergence of sustainable economic development in a municipality/region/state, but taken together, they can show the way to building a sustainable economy that provides strategic economic advantage in the global economy.