Sustainable Land Development Today - May 2008 - (Page 24)
SLDI in Focus Sustainable Land Development International (SLDI) is a member-owned organization dedicated to promoting land development around the world that balances the needs of people, planet and profit – for today, and future generations. Introducing the SLDI Knowledge Project™ Delivering on the Promise of Mass Industry Intelligence Time magazine, in its March 24, 2008 article entitled, “10 Ideas that are Changing the World”, identified sustainable development as the #1 idea for the next hundred years. The article acknowledged the significant challenge to achieving that ideal being poor solutions and problem-solving on a micro-scale, partly as a result of “outdated institutions.” The article went on to assert that, “undertaken cooperatively across the world, our generation can harness new technologies” that will help facilitate more sustainable development. Then, the appropriate knowledge and technologies must “rapidly reach all those who need them.” That is a weighty, but inspiring challenge – one in which SLDI is now beginning to take head on for our industry. As environmental awareness has skyrocketed in recent years and the land development industry has become much more highly regulated, the industry has become increasingly specialized, complex and fragmented. Stakeholder interests have become more and more diverted into specialized camps which have tended to focus on one of the environment, social justice or economic gain. The result, according to the University of Massachusetts Center for Economic and Civic Opinion, has been more organized and outspoken opposition to land development than ever before in history. What’s more, fragmentation has caused the industry to suffer from severe productivity and innovation problems. As documented in the May, 2007 SLDT article, “People, Planet and Profit,” the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined that, while the rest of the world has doubled its productivity over the last 50 years, our industry was actually more productive 50 years ago than it is today! Ineffective communication, knowledge transfer and divergent priorities have taken their toll. What’s needed is a more informed holistic perspective on the part of all stakeholders. The various stakeholders need to get on the same team, but in order to do that, they need to better understand each other’s perspective and TM the issues with which they deal. Whether your parproject ticular perspective or expertise lies in planning, finance, site design, building design, stormwater management, wastewater management, erosion control, transportation, geotechnical, community forestry, landscape architecture, marketing, maintenance, or food production for that matter, there are a multitude of vital issues about which everyone in the industry needs to learn more if we are to achieve sustainable development to a level necessary to have enough impact on the future. The land development community needs a new technology to introduce some of the knowledge everyone possesses to the rest of the industry in a rapid and efficient manner. In other words, the entire industry can benefit TM greatly by leveraging an organized, comprehensive and dynamic central repository of knowledge upon which to become more informed of the various issues we face in this complex process of land development. Enter the SLDI Knowledge Project™. As we progress deeper and deeper into sustainable land development, we must be willing and able to share the knowledge we gain with the other stakeholders throughout the world. No company or organization, no matter how big or small, can develop the dynamic knowledge base necessary to move forward in this bold new sustainable land development environment on its own. We need to work together – for everyone’s benefit. Traditional collaboration will not work. We need collaboration on a scale never before achieved. KNOWLEDGE Wiki Technology As detailed in the best-selling book, “Wikinomics,” there is a new way to develop and share knowledge that can enable all industry professionals to leverage our collective capabilities and knowledge to spur innovation, growth, understanding, and success. Through “wiki” technology, traditional collaboration can be enhanced by web-enabled collaborations on a mass scale. The Knowledge Project utilizes Wiki technology (software that enables users throughout the world to easily edit the content of a web page) to provide the infrastructure for the development of a dynamically evolving “encyclopedia” of sustainable land development knowledge. The Knowledge Project will provide the industry the opportunity to contribute to and reference this knowl- 24 May 2008 Sustainable Land Development Today
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