This term is used to get across the idea that people, through their own enterprise and initiative, have much to contribute to sustainability. This is because:
a) people and organizations know what they need and
b) with support, people can improve their lives and communities.
While the best known successes in urban sustainability have been top down and directed by experts, such an approach cannot do enough in many parts of the world. More resources are needed to overtake urban problems. The only untapped resource is the energy and initiative of people. The Biosphere Eco-City (BEC) approach applies this latent potential. It does this by encouraging independent projects within a framework of cooperation. When this happens, a much larger area of sustainability is addressed. The enterprise of individual stakeholders provides benefit for everyone.
Here we are using the word enterprise in its literal sense “willingness to venture, bold undertaking, energy, and initiative.” A key objective of the Biosphere Eco-City approach is to encourage independent initiatives for sustainability.
Currently, most efforts for sustainability are led by government and directed by experts. These achieve good results where enough resources are available. But a top-down approach cannot provide all the enterprise needed for positive change. This is even more important in cities that are impoverished and the only untapped resource is the energy and initiative of people.
People in communities, businesses, and other organizations have many ideas on how to address their needs and their relationships with the natural world. The Biosphere Eco-City works to turn the latent potential of citizens and organizations into a resource for sustainability. It does this by encouraging decentralized projects and coordination among independent (and public) decision makers.
The following diagram, including only a few stakeholders, illustrates the additional benefit of independent action with coordination: