Page 34

CASE STORY: THE BENEFITS AND PITFALLS OF COLLABORATIVE SUSTAINABILITY PLANNING Partnership-based and collaborative approaches, particularly for sustainable community development, are in many ways a common-sense solution to issues of limited capacity, information, and communication in small communities. With the recent introduction of initiatives such as integrated community sustainability planning and expansion of sustainable development from three to four, or even five, pillars (social, ecological, economic, cultural, and governmental/institutional), some problems with sustainability planning have become increasingly obvious. In numerous policy domains (such as public health, environmental policy, natural resource management, and even economics), it became quite clear that the bureaucratic impetus toward compartmentalization, specialization, and targeted policy instruments and interventions has several shortcomings. Goal dependencies of existing institutions are insufficient and partly contradictory: the different specialized actors compete, their perspectives are at odds, and their combined activities lead to policies with insufficient impact. In response to this newly identified need for sustainability planning, many actors in local governance and many voices in Canadian academia have argued that a new comprehensive tool would have to be developed. What would it have to be? It should be a sort of visioning tool at the level of the collaborating group, for which goal dependencies have to be maximized. At the same time, this tool has to be buffered from existing lower and higher level policies which could again undermine the sustainability effort. Many believed that some new form of community or governmental collaboration would generate the desired tool. Meanwhile, the complexities of collaboration itself are often not acknowledged. Creating and utilizing collaborative methods such as partnerships, clusters, teams, and even crowd-sourcing have been put forward as ways of generating “value add� to the research, participatory action, planning, policy, and governance activities taking place in small, rural, and remote communities. Such collaborative initiatives within and across municipalities, and sometimes linking different levels and scales of governance, are commonly seen as a means of facilitating broader access to resources, as well as of creating efficiencies and avoiding redundancies, fostering or contributing to community-based autonomy and responsibility, and improving the problem-solving capacity of the partners or communities involved. In other words, the expectations for collaboration are high, and the methods at hand and their outputs are very diverse, sometimes leading to a new institution or a new plan for

22

Boom and Bust: a guide

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Advertisement