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Geographies of Sustainability: Low Impact Developments and Radical Spaces of Innovation

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Abstract

Drawing upon low impact development (LID), a radical approach to housing, livelihoods and everyday living, this article interrogates the notion of sustainability and argues for greater attention to be paid to its geographies. We wish to reconceptualise the geographies of sustainability to do five things: (i) pay close attention to ‘actually existing sustainabilities’; (ii) consider radical solutions; (iii) consider sustainability as holistic, integrating social, economic and environmental factors; (iv) be more assertively political; and (v) include a clearer consideration of scale. Drawing on a detailed case study of LID, we identify seven insights into how geographers, and others, can further shape debates about geographies of sustainability. LID emphasises flexibility, holism, engaging with questions of scale, transferability, mixed and modern approaches, and popular participation whilst acknowledging the difficulties of practising sustainability. All of this allows LID to offer valuable insights into how geographers could be considering questions of sustainability.

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