Posted by: chrismaser | September 23, 2009




Jane Silberstein and Chris Maser


Choice—a simple but powerful word—changes the world every day in ways both great and small. People, having appropriated choice from the dawning of humanity, value it, vie for it, and die for it. Yet, many people have little or no concept of the sense of freedom that comes with the ability to choose or the sense of responsibility that comes with the consequences of one’s choice.

Choice. Thurgood Marshall and Mahatma Gandhi understood it. They made no apologies for wanting it equally for themselves and for all other people. They did much to make the world see that individual choice—implied by basic human rights—has no meaning unless it is universally available to all people. The ability to choose confers upon each individual a sense of value, self-confidence, and the dignity of being human.

But, are we trying desperately to see life as a series of painless options by ignoring the hard choices about the future health of the environment and thus the health of our children, their children, and their children’s children? Or, are we purposefully passing the buck into the future, so those for whom we choose but give not voice can pay the social-environmental bill when it comes due? If the outcome of a hard choice is good, then people will scarcely remember the pain. The question is whether we have the wisdom and courage to be responsible and not only make the hard choices but also live with compassion.


Referenced in the “Kerala [India] Land Use Bill, 2002.”

“This book should be read, studied, and then used by all local planners and planning boards.”—R.L. Smith , Choice.

“Silberstein and Maser have written a must-read book for anyone interested in local community planning with a definite sustainability twist. I read it for a paper on sustainable participation and found it to be quite easy to read; plenty of case examples and thought-provoking ideas make sure of that. I especially liked reading about the everyday problems that are so common in community planning, it makes it easy to relate to.”—A review from Sweden via

“LAND-USE PLANNING FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Jane Silberstein, Chris Maser. The first book to incorporate land-use planning with sustainability. Reviews the foundations of current land use practices from historical, constitutional, economic, ecological, and societal perspectives. Analyzes the results of these practices and suggests alternative methods for guiding and controlling the ways in which we modify the landscape. Readers will discover an array of ideas for modifying conventional planning for and regulation of the development of land.”—Urban & Community Forestry

Land-Use Planning for Sustainable Development. 2000. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL. 203 pp.

If you want more information about this book or want to purchase it, visit “BOOKS” on my website.

If you want to contact me, you can visit my website. If you wish, you can also read an article about what is important to me and/or you can listen to me give a presentation.

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