Community level action towards sustainable development has emerged as a key scale of intervention in the effort to address our many serious environmental issues. This is hindered by the large-scale destruction of both urban neighbourhoods and rural villages in the second half of the twentieth century. Communities, whether they are urban hubs of experimentation or rural hubs of traditional techniques and methods, can be said to have a level of community vitality that acts as a site of resilience, adaptation and innovation in the face of environmental challenges. This paper outlines how community vitality acts as a cornerstone of sustainable development and suggests some courses for future research. A meta-case analysis of thirty-five Canadian communities reveals the characteristics of community vitality emerging from sustainable development experiments and its relationship to resilience, applied specifically to community development.