Sustainability in cities is defined in terms of the reducing of resource inputs and waste outputs whilst simultaneously improving livability. This definition is traced through the recent history of global politics and is then applied to two case studies: Australian settlements and a squatter settlement in Jakarta. Some key principles are developed that show sustainability is improved when cities get bigger and when they are denser. The data for this is provided and the implications discussed.
Sustainability or sustainable development, is the great global agenda of our time. Despite attempts by some elements of the business sector to define it as 'sustainable profits' the concept continues to provide the central challenge to our age: how we can redefine growth so that we can simultaneously improve the environment, the economy and the community. The overlapping circles approach has been adopted around the world by thousands of local governments, hundreds of national governments, and scores of global NGO's and major companies (Figure 1).