توسعه پایدار در برنامه ریزی منطقه ای: جستجو برای ابزارهای جدید و مشروعیت تجدید شده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|29251||2006||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Geoforum, Volume 37, Issue 6, November 2006, Pages 921–931
This paper focuses on sustainability appraisal as a key technique for pursuing the political goal of ‘sustainable development’ within English planning. We conclude that unlike many planning tools of the past which have sought to depoliticise decision making by using more ‘scientific’ techniques, the early experience of sustainability appraisal has instead repoliticised them, by highlighting where tensions exist but without providing solutions.
Sustainable development has entered the lexicon of British planning centre stage. No substantial local or regional planning document is now complete without mention of how it seeks to support ‘sustainable development’, often adopting sets of principles and objectives which might variously be derived from central government documents, regional sustainable development frameworks, an authority’s own deliberations over what it means by sustainable development, or other sources. Moreover, since the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act, sustainable development has become a statutory purpose for planning in England and Wales. The notion of sustainable development is closely bound up with a resurgent confidence within the planning profession that it has something important and distinctive to contribute to society—however like so many others the planning profession remains unclear about what is meant by sustainable development. This comes in part from the many ways in which sustainable development can be defined and drawn into policy debates: as an abstract concept and set of related principles, as a policy agenda, and as a source of legitimacy for different types of policy (Blowers and Evans, 1997 and Haughton and Counsell, 2004a). For planners there are the added problems of how to mediate in debates between groups which use different understandings of ‘sustainable development’ to legitimate their particular views of how policies should be developed (Vigar and Healey, 2002, Rydin et al., 2003 and Haughton and Counsell, 2004b). In this respect it is important to note that despite strong efforts to provide clear national guidance on what is meant by sustainable development, in practice the term remains subject to widely varying interpretations. Even within government it is possible to argue that different departments have tended to prioritise specific aspects of the sustainability agenda. Planners have been drawn to focus on the environment and the participation aspects of the social dimension to sustainability, the Environment Agency has focused heavily on the environmental dimensions, and the Treasury and Department of Trade and Industry have sought to ensure economic growth considerations are always to the fore. It is worth noting too that running parallel to the requirement to put sustainable development at the heart of the planning system has been a direction that greater transparency and engagement with stakeholders is required. In this paper we draw on the literature on governmentality to focus on the role of sustainability appraisal in regional planning, using the theory to interrogate the competing rationales for how the technique has been introduced and used. Sustainability appraisal has emerged as a key technique in ensuring planning documents attend to sustainable development (Smith and Sheate, 2001a, Smith and Sheate, 2001b, Short et al., 2004 and Benson and Jordan, 2004). We focus here on the introduction of sustainability appraisal into Regional Planning Guidance (RPG), the policy arena with which its formative stages are most associated. It is worth noting that sustainability appraisal was advocated by central government in the late 1990s as a means of assessing both RPG and Regional Economic Strategies (RES), with the approach subsequently being adopted by those preparing development plans, regional housing strategies, regional waste strategies and others. The main aim of this article is to interrogate critically the use of sustainability appraisal as a means of mediating between alternative understandings of sustainable development. As part of this we use ideas of governmentality to examine how new political subjectivities are being created, involving analysis of how stakeholders in planning are being drawn into using and supporting a particular approach to sustainable development. We take issue with some aspects of the governmentality approach, arguing that it needs to engage more with the ways in which actors shape and resist their incorporation into processes for legitimating state goals. In undertaking this work we engaged in an analysis of published regional planning and related sustainability appraisal documents, plus 121 semi-structured face-to-face interviews undertaken with policy makers and stakeholders across the eight English regions in 2000–2003. The interviews spanned different stages in the policy-making process in the eight regions. In most cases the interviewees were policy makers in central and local government, government agencies, regional bodies, pro-development interests and environmental NGOs.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Sustainability appraisal has now been assimilated into the core of regional planning processes and practices, reflecting the concerns of a government keen to regulate planning according to its own view of sustainable development. We have sought to analyse this in terms of debates on governmentality and its associated ‘technologies’. Focusing on this emerging technique, we have examined how debates about its adoption have embodied competing underlying philosophies and professional and scientific knowledges, notably involving selectivities in choosing the sustainability approach rather than alternatives such as strategic environmental assessment. This approach allowed us to examine a complex rewriting of the policy architecture of planning in ways which normalised a particular definition of sustainable development, involving a rewriting of the national strategy for sustainable development, the creation of Regional Sustainable Development Frameworks, the requirements to integrate policies across different sectoral strategies and their respective stakeholders, plus the development of the sustainability appraisal technique as a way of tying all these together. The analysis has interrogated the complex nature of some of the disputes over the general principles of sustainability appraisal, and identified some early operational difficulties in implementing the approach. Of these difficulties perhaps the most important is that sustainability appraisal has not developed as a ‘neutral’, ‘scientific’ or more ‘objective’ technique, and instead actually returned decision making to the political process. What it has achieved, alternatively, is a greater transparency in the decision-making process and, where sustainability appraisal has been run in conjunction with stakeholders groups, it has increased the legitimacy of the resulting findings. In governmentality terms then we can see that the combination of the new metrics of sustainability and the way in which key groups have bought into the process, has worked to enhance the capacity of the state to ‘govern’ sustainability within both the planning process and those policy spheres tied into it through processes of ‘policy integration’. The participants in effect could be said to be reinforcing the legitimacy of the government’s approach to sustainable development as well as the technique itself, whilst simultaneously enhancing their own political status in relation to the state. Yet as we have seen, the key actors are not passive in how they have engaged with sustainability appraisal and have sought to variously, shape, contest and selectively utilise the technique in ways which suit their particular purposes. As part of this early experience of sustainability appraisal there appears to be a growing awareness of the problems about assuming neutrality and objectivity in technical approaches, not least as problems are exposed during public examinations and the like. Or to put it another way, the subjects of ‘governmentality’ are not perhaps the unwitting dupes that naïve readings of the theory might suggest. Indeed, governmentality is weak in its treatment of ‘agency’, which is problematic given that, as we have seen here, those who are involved with sustainability appraisal argue vehemently about its underlying philosophies and biases, and seek to unpack and expose them in the form of continuing critique. As part of this critique they are also contesting the tool’s use in redefining the boundaries of the planning system itself, as it seeks to become more integrated with other decision-making processes. Stakeholders engage with sustainability appraisal so far as it either has independent value as an addition to the pool of knowledge on a subject, or in so far as they feel they can use it to further their own ends. Sustainability appraisal then exercises something of the disciplinary effects suggested by governmentality, but this should not be over-estimated as it was also powerfully resisted, reworked and selectively coopted by some fairly sophisticated players in the planning process. As a technique, sustainability appraisal ensures that particular processes are followed and that consideration is given to the effects of planning policies on the different facets of the sustainable development agenda. This is a major advance which should not be under-estimated, but as our analysis has sought to reveal, sustainability appraisal is not itself an objective technique. In fact it is pervaded with value judgments both in its process and also quite often in its content. In fact we would go further and argue that unlike many other planning techniques which have sought to depoliticise decision making by using more ‘scientific’ techniques, sustainability appraisal has instead repoliticised them, by highlighting where tensions exist but without offering to provide solutions. Sustainability appraisal then has institutionalised and channeled conflicts about sustainability, without necessarily resolving them. As a result of the processes involved it could be argued that the capacity of the state to govern and contain these conflicts is enhanced, as new subjectivities are formed and with them the legitimacy of the state is partly at least strengthened. We can see evidence of these new subjectivities when we look carefully. At the outset we might have been able to predict criticisms of the new approach supporting the government’s weak market based approach towards sustainable development, with its related concern to avoid prioritizing any one of the pillars of sustainable development above the others. Yet intriguingly, for all the problems which people have pointed to during this research, sustainability appraisal has proved a fairly resilient technique, garnering widespread support, including from some environmental groups. For social interest groups in particular, the approach represents an important way of starting to re-orientate plan-making towards a greater awareness of the importance of social issues in relation to the environment. In conclusion then, we have perhaps only begun to see how sustainability appraisal is developing as a planning technique and we can already see that as people reflect on these early experiences new refinements, new subtleties and new ways of engaging with, or disengaging from, the technique are emerging. In short, as well as mediating between differing knowledges, preferences, priorities and philosophies, the process of sustainability appraisal is helping generate new knowledges and understandings of the issues being debated. As part of this we may be seeing a new faultline emerge within planning policy, as we come to terms with the fact that the new modes of deliberative engagement within the process of sustainability appraisal come under criticism for failing to result in major changes in policy direction or in concrete policy outcomes. So whilst sustainability appraisal has helped to achieve the planning system’s goal of greater transparency and participation, the failure to generate an improved capacity to govern economic, social and environmental conflicts may yet undermine this achievement.