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Type: Thesis
Title: Planning for holistic sustainability: a study of the ’process’ in Kerala (India) and Sweden.
Author: Sharma, Vigya
Issue Date: 2008
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences : Geographical and Environmental Studies
Abstract: Numerous attempts have been undertaken to deliver a common understanding of the concept of sustainability. Most of these attempts however, have remained contested and ineffective. Weak conceptualisation has also affected the process of operationalisation of sustainability. This thesis addresses the above issues by firstly, interpreting sustainability and its underlying principles from a perspective that draws together social, economic, environmental, cultural, and institutional conditions and cross-linkages. Secondly, and more importantly, the research focuses on ‘how’ to operationalise sustainability across different regions. In doing so, the research acknowledges the significance of planning pathways in the process of achieving sustainability. The research has been conducted using two case studies that critically examine the effectiveness of contemporary sustainability planning processes in Kerala (India) and Sweden. A total of 42 in-depth interviews, three focus group discussions and several participant observations have contributed to primary data collection for the two case studies. The research has developed a set of ‘substantive’ and ‘process’ criteria based on which planning efficacy in Kerala and Sweden has been evaluated. By focusing on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’ aspects of the sustainability problematique, the research findings contribute new knowledge that reduces the chasm between theory and practice with regard to operationalising holistic sustainability. The research also demonstrates that despite significant differences between social, economic and environmental settings, planning for sustainability in both Kerala and Sweden largely exhibits similar behavioural patterns. For instance, both regions suggest the importance of public participation and community engagement in achieving sustainability while planning process in both cases suffer from lack of integration between different components, issues and discourses and weak mechanisms of plan evaluation and feedback generation. The research thus argues that the division of the world into the developing South and the developed North does not affect the process of operationalising sustainability in any significant way. Finally, the thesis highlights implications of sustainability planning on policymaking and identifies priorities for governance that better reflect the complexity underlying sustainability operationalisation.
Advisor: Hugo, Graeme John
Lane, Marcus B.
Suh, Jungho
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2008
Subject: Planning -- Sweden.
Planning -- Kerala (India)
Sustainable development -- Sweden.
Sustainable development -- Kerala (India)
Keywords: planning; sustainability; operationalisation
Provenance: Copyright material removed from digital thesis. See print copy in University of Adelaide Library for full text.
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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