Sustainability and Livability

Sustainability and Livability

Conceptualizations of Sustainability

Sustainability has diverse explanations depending on different people. Sustainability is best understood depending on the area it is being used; thus, in an organization, it is first placed in the institution on the operational and managerial level (Opresnik & Taisch, 2015). One conceptualization of sustainability is the ability to maintain something or someone at a certain level or rate. This argument looks at the issue at hand and whether it can be maintained at the same level; thus, this presents the argument of sustainability. Another term, conceptualization, focuses on how one can maintain the standards at a certain level or serve to better them over time. Regarding the environment, sustainability defines the idea of which services and goods are produced through means which do not use resources that are harmful to the environment. However, regardless of the conceptualizations of sustainability, they are all based on the issue of a certain level, which needs to be maintained. They also try to argue on the need to maintain or better something rather than going lower, and they refer to the need to ensure that something is of the expected quality. Sustainability looks at the process by which certain implications of a move are proposed in a bid to maintain them (Pope, Annandale, & Morrison-Saunders, 2004). Therefore, this presents the argument that sustainability requires a process or factors to keep it in check.

Conceptualizations of Livability

Livability has developed alongside sustainability, and it acts as a principle for policy and planning (Ruth & Franklin, 2013). Livability presents a notion of something more tangible, and it is conceptualized as an aspect that shapes infrastructure investments and public perceptions (Ruth & Franklin, 2013). Unlike livability, the concept of sustainability offers a more intangible notion.

The concept of livability can be conceptualized in different ways. The first conceptualization of livability is a concept used in general public discourse and urban planning since it is an issue that represents value, behaviors, and priorities (Gough, 2015). Therefore, livability in this concept has just enough to exist. Livability can be conceptualized as the now and here, focusing on tangible and immediate interventions and conditions (Gough, 2015). This conceptualization contradicts sustainability, which focuses on the needs of the present without compromising those of the future. However, it can focus on the future, but it should not alter that. The argument of sustainability and livability often depends on each other to understand each concept better. Another conceptualization of livability is the notion of living for the moment and not regarding the next moment.


The conceptualization of sustainability can be defined to mean living in a bid to maintain certain standards or to better them. This argument serves to show that sustainability has to exist where a certain level or limits are set. The conceptualization of livability can be used to refer to living for the present. This presents the argument on the need to live for the moment and individuals acting in ways that offer positive results for the moment. These conceptualizations differ in that one aims at maintaining standards or a certain level while the other one focuses on the moment and how to react to it.


Gough, M. Z. (2015). Journal of Planning Education and Research. Reconciling Livability and Sustainability: Conceptual and Practical Implications for Planning, 35(2), 145-160.

Opresnik, D., & Taisch, M. (2015). The Conceptualization of Sustainability in Operations Management. Procedia CIRP, 29, 532-537.

Pope, J., Annandale, D., & Morrison-Saunders, A. (2004). Conceptualising Sustainability Assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 24(6), 595-616.

Ruth, M., & Franklin, R. S. (2013, November 14). Livability for all? Conceptual Limits and Practical Implications. HHS Public Access, 18-23.

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