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Development and Challenges to Development

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According to the United Nations, development is a process of expanding people's choices, the most critical of which afford them greater opportunities for living long healthy lives, becoming educated, and gaining access to the resources necessary to realize quality lives.Development efforts at a minimum should create an environment conducive for people to develop their full individual and group potentials and to have reasonable chances of leading productive, creative lives in accordance with their needs, interests, and abilities in free and secure societies (Adapted from Human Development Report, UNDP 1990).

During the period since World War II, a number of organizations including the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, regional development banks (such as the Inter-American Development Bank),Development.jpg regional governance groups (such as the Organization for American States), trade organizations, and the United States Agency for International Development have been responsible for shaping development policies.

(CC Image of Earthship (right) by Gazzat5 (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Although tremendous economic growth has occurred during the post-WWII period, many analysts complain that development efforts based on GDP growth have failed to meet the basic needs of too many individuals, communities, and nations.

The United Nations Indicators of Sustainable Development: Guidelines and Methodologies discusses the following indicators – poverty, governance, health, education, demographics, natural hazards, atmosphere, land, oceans, coasts, freshwater, biodiversity, economic development, global partnerships, and consumption and production patterns.

Furthermore, to develop in a sustainable manner, we will need to combine appropriate technology with traditional and contemporary knowledge regarding our relationship to the greater ecosystem and the impact of our day to day lives has on it. Since we spend most of our time, energy, and finances on our houses and other buildings, this is where some of the greatest changes should take place as we attempt to sustainably develop. 

Both capital rich and poor nations and people need to have access to building materials and policy in place that allows them to build appropriate housing. The following is a list of low-energy building methods and technologies:

List of Low-Energy Building Techniques




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