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Triple bottom line sustainability : environmental, economic and social.

Historically there has been a close correlation between economic growth and environmental degradation—as economic prosperity increases so environmental quality decreases. This trend is clearly demonstrated on graphs of human population numbers, economic growth and environmental indicators. Sustainable development frameworks enable the evaluation of the complex and interrelated concepts that are associated with development.

Google used its Earth Engine platform to build time-lapse images of the entire globe, showing how dramatically most of the world has changed in the last 32 years. On the Timelapse site, you can type in an address and watch megacities and mines sprawl as glaciers and lakes shrink.

There is a correlation between economic development and human well-being. Design involves problem-solving to develop products and services to enhance human well-being.  The importance of sustainability issues and strategies is critical to sustainable economic development.

Economic development consumes resources, resulting in environmental impact. Designing for sustainability is dependent upon an understanding of the short- and long-term goals and values of individuals, institutions and governments.  Perhaps the biggest change happened in cities. The number of megacities (with more than 10 million citizens) more than doubled over the past two decades. The sprawl is staggering to watch: Shenzhen, a town of 200,000 people in 1985, now covers an area roughly 33 times larger than Manhattan.