Social Sustainability: A New Conceptual Framework
2. Definitions of Social Sustainability: The Dearth of Theory
4. The Conceptual Framework of Social Sustainability
4.1. Risk as the Ontological Foundation of Sustainability and Social Sustainability
- Redistributive: “The politics of redistribution focuses on injustices it defines as socioeconomic and presumes to be rooted in the economic structure of society”, as Fraser put it  (p. 6). These injustices include but are not limited to economic marginalization, or deprivation, and being denied an adequate material standard of living  (p. 7). Thus, the politics of redistribution suggest that the remedy for injustice is economic restructuring of some sort. Such efforts might involve redistributing income, reorganizing the division of labor, or transforming other basic economic structures  (p. 8). Furthermore, the distribution of environmental beneficiaries (e.g., access to clean energy) and environmental hazards (e.g., pollution) are unfairly distributed among different groups . Therefore, this concept suggests that social distributive justice entails ensuring that people have various rights, such as the right to energy, the right to adequate standards of living, and the right to clean air, water, and related resources.
- Recognition: Vulnerable groups in all countries not only bear a disproportionate share of both environmental burdens, benefits and opportunities but also lack recognition and the voice of the disadvantaged and the vulnerable in policies that determine their lives [59,62,63,64,65,66]. Significantly, social sustainability endorses politics of recognition, which encompass policies aiming “to revalue unjustly devalued identities”, and to deconstruct tendencies, such as queer politics, critical “race” politics, and deconstructive feminism, which reject the “essentialism” of traditional identity politics. Therefore, equity policy should be concerned with the principles and outcomes of social, economic, and environmental policy decisions and the ensuing effects on different social and ethnic groups .
- Participation: We propose that participatory justice is significant for developing human spaces that favorably reflect the efforts of sustainability. Following Fraiser  (pp. 30–31), we suggest that her concept of parity of participation, which assumes that “justice requires social arrangements that permit all (adult) members of society to interact with one another as peers”, is crucial for achieving social sustainability. For participatory parity to be possible, Fraiser contends that it is necessary to establish standard forms of formal legal equality. Furthermore, two conditions must be satisfied: (1) the distribution of material resources must be such that it ensures participants’ independence and “voice” to preclude forms and levels of material inequality and economic dependence that impede parity of participation; (2) “intersubjectivity” must be realized, which “requires that institutionalized cultural patterns of interpretation and evaluation express equal respect for all participants and ensure equal opportunity for achieving social esteem. This precludes cultural patterns that systematically depreciate some categories of people and the qualities associated with them”  (p. 31). Participation also concerns “meaningful involvement” in environmental decision-making processes, and the production of a space based on the conception of the people concerned, who should be allowed to produce it as their “heart’s desire” rather than as an understanding imposed on them by the state, the local government, experts and planners [63,67]. Parity of participation bolsters procedural justice through participation and space envisioning, thereby allowing communities to produce more environmentally sound places through their visions and desires. In other words, justice entails not only securing a fair distribution of goods but also recognizing the membership of people in the moral and political community and promoting the capabilities required for the functioning, flourishing, and protection of the people .
4.4. Sustainable Urban Forms
- Density, the ratio of people or dwelling units to land area, affects climate change through differences in the consumption of energy, materials, and land for housing, transportation, and urban infrastructure .
- Diversity promotes other desirable urban features, such as a greater variety of housing types, building densities, household sizes, ages, cultures, and incomes  (p. 320). Diversity is vital for cities, without which the urban environment declines as a living place , and the resulting homogeneity of built forms, which often produces unattractive monotonous urban landscapes, increases segregation, car travel, congestion, and air pollution .
- Renewal and Utilization refer to the process of reclaiming the many sites that are no longer appropriate for their original intended use and that can be used for a new purpose, such as brownfields.
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|Concept||Theoretical Premise||Main Components|
|1. Safety||Risk is the ontological foundation of the social sustainability framework. Safety and security for humans and non-humans is the fundamental requirement of sustainability and social sustainability|
|2. Equity||Social, economic, and environmental injustice pose risk to society as well as to the efforts of coping with climate change threats and uncertainties.|
More just policies and less inequality reduce the alienation of people from their living spaces, enhance their ability to cope with vulnerabilities, and foster the development of feasible environmental objectives.
|3. Eco-prosumption||It is the responsibility of society to reduce future risk and help mitigate local and global efforts.|
|4. Sustainable urban forms||Physical urban form is crucial for achieving sustainability, safety, and social agendas.|
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Eizenberg, E.; Jabareen, Y. Social Sustainability: A New Conceptual Framework. Sustainability 2017, 9, 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9010068
Eizenberg E, Jabareen Y. Social Sustainability: A New Conceptual Framework. Sustainability. 2017; 9(1):68. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9010068Chicago/Turabian Style
Eizenberg, Efrat, and Yosef Jabareen. 2017. "Social Sustainability: A New Conceptual Framework" Sustainability 9, no. 1: 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9010068