A sustainable community is one that acknowledges the interconnectedness of social, economic and environmental goals and has a comprehensive set of policies designed to satisfy the multiple benchmarks that define sustainability. According to the Centre for Sustainable Development at Simon Fraser University in Canada, “Sustainable Community Development (SCD) aims to integrate economic, social and environmental objectives in community development.” (“Why Sustainable Community Development”)
In the context of the city of Newcastle, this cluster of goals and interrelated policies was compiled in The Australia Institute and Newcastle City Council authored report entitled, Indicators of a Sustainable Community, published in 2000. The report begins by noting, “Sustainability incorporates economic, social and environmental attributes of the City as they affect the quality of life of community members.” It goes on to note that sustainability is not a goal to be achieved but rather a process to be worked on with communities becoming more or less sustainable: “The challenge for policymakers and others involved in improving the quality of life in Newcastle will be to review these indicators over time and integrate them into management and decision-making processes within the City.”
Interestingly, both of these indicators are important although they may, at times, be contradictory. It is not unheard of for crime rates to be dropping in a community at the same time that residents perceive themselves to be less safe. Therefore, this evaluation of crime and public safety in Newcastle will be conducted through analysis of actual crime rates and public perceptions of criminality and safety.
The Indicators of a Sustainable Community report clearly identifies as one Desired Outcome improving community perception of safety. It defines the benchmark for this as, “Measuring how fear of crime impacts on people’s decisions to participate in activities outside the home indicates the community’s perception of safety.
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