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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3312

Title: Sustainable development: which policy process - autocratic or democratic-leads to more durable policy and environmental outcomes?
Authors: Estornell, Paula
Keywords: Environmental engineering;Sustainable development--Planning;Land use--Planning
Issue Date: 22-Jul-2010
Abstract: Urban growth in America is unsustainable. Sprawl and the corresponding degradation of fragile natural resources is well documented (NRC, 2002). Governments, scholars and practitioners are examining land use governance to determine which policy process models deliver more effective policy outcomes that ensure a higher degree of implementation so that sustainable societies are realized. Many studies show participatory environmental governance brings more equitable and effective decisions and enjoys greater support by affected parties (Fung, 2002; Innes and Booher, 1999; Margerum, 2008; NRC, 2008; Reed, 2008). However, studies showing association between the planning method and environmental outcomes and studies comparing collaboration to other decision making methods are limited (Koontz and Thomas, 2006; Leach, and Pelkey, 2001; Levine et al, 2009; McGuire, 2006). A few studies have concluded that environmental outcomes of participatory governance cannot be measured (Sabatier et al, 2005) or the process is simply not effective at bringing environmental outcomes (Layzer, 2008; McGlosky, 1996; Peterson, et al, 2004). Furthermore there is a debate about the practical application of a common theoretical framework used to study participatory governance-Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action (Fischer, 2003; Healy, 2008). This study answered the call for more research to compare the efficacy of policy processes and to understand the association between these processes and environmental outcomes using Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action as a framework. Specifically, this qualitative and quantitative study examined the policy process and contextual factors associated with sustainable land use practices in the Mid-Atlantic in order to better understand what circumstances surround successful implementation. Using survey results from over one hundred municipal officials across four states, the study found communities that used a higher degree of public participation and collaboration in land use policy development had a greater amount and breadth of sustainable development projects built. Examination of contextual factors indicated communities with greater wealth and political support had a higher degree of implementation of their sustainable development policies. Examination of policy process and contextual factors together showed similar correlations between these variables and policy outcome. Finally, results indicated communities who collaborated would have fewer impacts to water quality from urban stormwater runoff.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3312
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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