The integral sustainability model provides a functional, balanced, self-supporting and living system, where every part works to the benefit of everything else.
This is not a series of discreet interventions or design solutions, but a systems-approach that continues to work, and to improve, over time. It includes, but transcends, solutions addressing planning, community engagement, food security, public health, economic opportunities, housing viability, energy, water, soil, waste, materials, and so on.
A project site may be underutilised, vulnerable or low value. People may be living there as it’s all they can afford, even though it lacks physical services, such as sewerage. Such sites may be susceptible to erosion, extreme weather events, or fire, or they may simply have untapped potential.
Pioneer species, such as mangroves or reeds and other aquatic plants, are planted in the first stage. They help protect coasts and riverbanks from erosion and start the process of rejuvenating the ecosystems in the area. They provide habitat for
fish nurseries and wildlife, clean the water and sequester carbon as they grow. Mangroves also extract salt from water, reducing salinity of the ground water over
Deliberate succession planting then speeds the process of introducing new species to condition the soils and create symbiotic biodiversity for a balanced, life supporting environment.
Meanwhile, constructed wetlands use natural processes, (and additional technology as required), to treat waste water up to drinking standard, improving health for the community.
FISHING AND AGRICULTURE ADDED
Food security and livelihoods for locals are improved as fish stocks increase and succession planting improves the site for agriculture. Rather than monoculture farming, food forests are used. These are integrated, multi-storey/multi-plant food gardens with high yields that require little or low maintenance: their microclimate reduces irrigation demand, they fertilise their own soil and neutralise pests.
LONG TERM WELLBEING
Over time, the return of habitat and wildlife attracts tourism and associated investment, such as hotels, to what is now a selfsupporting community. Aquaculture can also be introduced, with waste water from that treated locally and used on farms.
As sustainable food yields rise, opportunities come about for export to nearby cities, allowing for further investment in the local community
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