Local Environment

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Online ISSN: 1469-6711
Publications
Article
In an unequal society, undesirable wastes often end up in the poorest and least powerful communities, becoming part of the economic and environmental milieu of the inner city. Two contradictory responses to waste reflect contrasting theoretical paradigms. Some wastes can become assets in local economic development, creating incomes through scavenging, industrial jobs in recycling plants or new businesses using locally available materials. Other wastes are an assault on the community that receives them; toxic wastes, polluting facilities and industrial by-products often create local health hazards rather than development. Waste as an asset is consistent with the free market model of economics. The inner city, 'endowed' with waste materials and low-wage labour, has a comparative advantage in labour-intensive processing of materials that the rest of society has discarded. Waste as an assault on the community is consistent with a different model of environmental risk. Some by-products of industry are so hazardous that they should not be produced, or should be tightly regulated. Each model has a realm of validity; the balance between the two depends on which wastes are hazardous, and which are just ugly resources waiting to be discovered.
 
Article
Based on the findings of the 2004 national survey of Italian Local Agenda 21s (LA21s) involving 535 local authorities, this viewpoint outlines the progress achieved in Italy, and describes the strengths and weaknesses of the Italian LA21 processes. At the time of writing, there were more than 160 Local Forums facilitating participation with a range of different stakeholders groups, 100 Action Plans had been produced, and 1300 projects had already been implemented for local sustainability. The findings from the survey indicate that Italian local authorities are starting to develop effective frameworks for enhancing local sustainability policies, capacity building within local communities, and improving innovation in local government and decision-making processes.
 
Article
This paper contributes to discussions of procedural aspects of environmental justice, understood as having procedural and substantive dimensions. It argues that the struggle for environmental justice must recognize the oppression of disabled people as part of the essential broadening of the notion of citizenship, which continues to be the focus for struggle for the international disability movement. Its case study of an area of South Wales suggests that at present disabled people, and the struggles of the disability movement, do not really feature in the way environmental activists (inside and outside government) see the world. This huge omission must be addressed, but in a way that avoids interpreting disability as an administrative category, and must engage with disablement as a political and contested notion. The paper develops the significance of this contention by considering the case of Deafness, which is entirely different from hearing impairment. The paper's case study, presented as an illustration of its arguments, shows that to regard Deaf people in South Wales as part of some generic category of 'disabled people' would be to ignore their self-identification as a distinctive linguistic community. Moreover, there is some evidence that Deaf people have a distinctive view of, and set of concerns about, quality of life, reflecting their distinctive experience of social injustice and marginalization. This underlines the necessity for a serious engagement with disablement as a political category, and the disability movement as a struggle for social justice, within the promotion of environmental justice.
 
Article
This case study concerns the effect of meanings and use of language by a local newspaper in relation to an environmental incident in a town in south-east England that will be called Woodbridge. It explores the implications of insensitive, or misleading, use of language over a four-month period towards the end of 1995 through recordings and observations made at the time. The event is explored through the eyes of a local teenager called Tim who was involved in a school environmental education research project and who became a key player in the developing out-of-school conflict. Although the account concerns a controversy that raged several years ago, it nevertheless raises general concerns regarding newspaper coverage of environmental issues at the local level, the tension between profits and reporting truth and the apparent lack of a medium- to long-term approach to environmental issues. All names are fictitious to ensure anonymity in what remains a sensitive memory.
 
Article
The contributions of local community action groups to environmental care and restoration is usually justified and evaluated in terms of improvements to environmental quality. This article explores social benefits in the form of increases in social capital and action competence that also flow from their actions, benefits that may not only help restore degraded but also contribute to the stock of good will and skill in the community that may even prevent or minimise future environmental problems. This article documents the emergence of action competence and social capital in two community catchment groups in South-East Queensland. The findings suggest that social capital is enhanced through processes of community participation in the catchment consultation processes. The article concludes that the relationship between social capital and action competence is complementary, with social capital and action competence being mutually enhanced by the social learning that accrues from the process of community participation.
 
Article
After the last few decades in which the importance of `local' knowledge has been emphasized, attention must now turn to better understanding how such knowledge is communicated to certified experts (scientists) and vice versa. This paper examines how expert knowledge is co-produced in agriculture by local and non-local experts for the benefit of both. The argument is informed by an empirical case study of sustainable farmers and agriculture professionals in Iowa. While much has been written about how the conventional and sustainable models of agriculture rest upon different epistemological orientations, little has yet been said about how those different experts (local and certified) interact with each other. Building upon the work of H. M. Collins and Robert Evans, and their tripartite model of expertise (of no , contributory , and interactional expertise), I investigate the different forms of expertise that exist within agriculture. In doing so, specific focus is placed upon interactional expertise for creating meaningful exchanges (or interactions ) between scientists and non-scientists.
 
Article
In 1995 the provincial government of British Columbia, Canada, passed new legislation encouraging regional districts to prepare Regional Growth Strategies. The strategies were to be means of coordinating municipal action on regional issues. They were also meant to facilitate pursuit of sustainability objectives, including reducing urban sprawl, protecting environmentally sensitive areas, providing affordable housing and decreasing pollution. This paper examines the experience so far in one region that chose to prepare a growth strategy: the Capital Regional District (CRD) at the south end of Vancouver Island. Growth-management planning in the CRD has been and remains both critical and difficult. The region expects a substantial population increase over the next couple of decades and has a limited land base for urban expansion. Many citizens recognise that their quality of life is high, but vulnerable and, as a result, public support for effective growth management is stronger in the CRD than in many other provincial growth areas. However, BC does not have a tradition of strong regional governance and the CRD as a regional authority is the creature of sixteen municipalities and electoral areas. Seven years into the process, effective growth management still faces substantial challenges, including the persistent jurisdictional protectionism of CRD municipalities. Nevertheless, there have been positive achievements and an admirable diversity of individuals, organisations and initiatives continue to push municipal and regional officials towards a more sustainable future.
 
Article
Concepts of sustainable development have stimulated innovation in the delivery of environmental management. In particular, new partnership approaches have been developed in recognition of the need to adopt more holistic perspectives and facilitate multi-sectoral and cross-sectoral working. River catchments are complex systems and have been one particular focus of experimentation in environmental management mechanisms. This paper provides a brief overview of river management experience in the UK, charting changing approaches in terms of scope and organisation since the 1970s. This sets the context for a more detailed examination of the Mersey Basin Campaign and, in particular, its River Valley Initiatives. The paper concludes with an evaluation of the merits of this approach in relation to sustainable river management.
 
Article
The aim of this paper is to examine whether the concept of environmental capacity is useful for implementing local sustainability. This concept suggests that there may be thresholds to the total amount of development that an area can sustain without losing its critical environmental features. By means of a case study in the popular seaside town of St. Julian's, Malta, the research uncovers a number of tensions for environmental capacity assessment, surrounding the themes of knowledge, environmental justice and modernity. It concludes that the concept does have transformative potential, challenging received wisdom about the relative usefulness of expert and lay knowledge, bringing to light processes responsible for significant differences between the residents themselves, and with other groups, and uncovering a critique of understandings of progress based on physical land development. However this potential is curtailed by weak institutions and the impotence of local residents when business and politics strike an alliance.
 
Sustainable Many participants spoke of the benefits of stewardship for future generations accrued through volunteering. One participant saw catchment volunteering as distinctly different from other forms of volunteering because of the long-term commitment and vision required of environmental volunteers: 
Article
This paper discusses findings of a study of catchment care volunteers drawn from the east coast of Queensland, Australia. Catchment volunteering includes individuals in not-for profit stewardship groups with a catchment focus. Catchment volunteering was experienced by participants as maintaining a balance of perspectives; developing/maintaining an identity; networking; learning; empowering; and sustainable. An illustrative model (the Outcome Space), representing a set of scales, shows the relationship between conceptions. Results indicate that catchment volunteering offers many benefits to individuals and local communities. Although there were frustrations at times, many volunteers expressed deep levels of satisfaction about their volunteering experiences. Results suggest that satisfied volunteers are those that manage to balance volunteering with other aspects of their lives; identify strongly with some aspect of volunteering; enjoy learning from their volunteer experiences; and were willing and able to share and apply their new knowledge in a variety of ways. They also made friends with other volunteers; felt valued by others in the group, and believed that what they do is important. For these respondents, volunteering contributes richly to the fabric of their lives, providing meaning and satisfaction in routine activities, enhancing local communities and building sustainability.
 
Article
Regionally specific sustainability processes that account for diverse environments and populations and that integrate social, economic, political and ecological spheres are being developed in Western Australia. A coordinated commitment to sustainability principles and a participatory philosophy by the state and local governments is necessary. This requires a transformation of the public service, from a director of passive programmes and laws to a facilitator of community projects and outcomes, towards an enabling state. An international participatory paradigm provides an array of concepts and methods for local and regional communities in partnership with government and industry to achieve this. Participatory methodologies are utilised successfully around the globe to create an institutional framework that facilitates a process of dialogue, partnership, networking, learning and managing change. This paper examines the potential contribution of a participatory approach to improve the participatory capacity of regional communities and both local and state governments towards the facilitation of regional sustainability processes.
 
Article
Collective management of resources has enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence across resource governance, but many questions remain. What benefits are created and who are the recipients? Are these benefits and incentives sufficient to enable communities to collaborate for longer-term management? A clear conceptual framework is needed to better understand these social, economic and environmental impacts. The paper responds to this need and presents a new tool to analyse benefits and benefit-sharing within and between communities in relation to poverty reduction and conservation through two cases of community fisheries management in Lower Mekong Basin.
 
Article
Brownfields have been a powerful force attempting to advance both sustainability and economic development. The author, principally using U.S. examples, advances the belief that the true benefits potentially offered by Brownfields can only be fully realized by using tools such as found in the application of Community Benefit Agreements. In a similar way use of Community-Based Participatory Research frameworks holds out similar promise. The proof of this promise will only be found in the implementation of these models.
 
Article
This paper presents the story of a project undertaken by researchers who are active participants in the national Australian debate over place and belonging. It arose from the desire to ground this debate, which brings issues of ecological sustainability, reconciliation and multiculturalism together, in more localised action aimed at building a ‘place-responsive society'. The project was carried out as a case study in a region that combines part of the Sydney metropolitan area and the separate ‘city' of the Blue Mountains, and involved a consultative committee and then a regional forum of conservationists, environmental educators and community workers. The researchers explored existing place-oriented initiatives in the region and developed practical projects for the future, most notably a proposal for ‘totemic species' work within schools involving local Aboriginal people. The research demonstrated, more than anything else, that indigenous Australian approaches to ‘place awareness' and nature conservation remain highly relevant in contemporary Australia. It also showed that bioregional awareness and the notion of place responsiveness can add value to more traditional approaches to nature conservation and environmental education. There are opportunities to galvanise local action that can integrate community and environmental work and revitalise professional practice in both areas, but the effort involves working constantly with difference and conflict.
 
Article
This article is a primer on the emerging role for Information Technology (IT) in the Environmental Justice (EJ) movement. It explores current and potential uses of IT by EJ organisations fighting to protect vulnerable local environments and it addresses some of the barriers to more widespread movement efficacy via e-advocacy. We argue a chief but not insurmountable barrier is the disproportionate access to, and knowledge of, the benefits of using IT in the struggle for equitable decisions about environmental impacts.
 
Article
This article presents the findings of a survey of farmers' markets customers in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada. The recent growth of farmers' markets in North America and the association of these markets with local food systems development provoke examination to gain insights into consumer motivations for patronizing these markets, and to then reflect on their potential role within locally oriented and sustainable food production systems. The survey carried out on customers of three Niagara region farmers' markets corroborates previous studies that noted that socioeconomic and cultural factors such as the importance of food freshness, support of local farmers and the local farm economy, and social interaction—embeddedness—are key expressions of people's support and interest in farmers' markets. This work serves to heighten our understanding of consumer attitudes toward direct marketing via farmers' markets, yields useful speculation about these markets and their roles in sustainable local food systems progress, and also raises critical questions about such customer patronage and associated farmers' markets potential in local food system development.
 
Article
Some neighbourhood environments have become dumping grounds for locally unwanted land uses (LULUs) that middle-class Americans do not want near their homes. LULUs may combine with other pariah land uses to collectively undermine the quality of the local environment, reduce investment, government services, the proportion of middle-income people and associated businesses. As important neighbourhood attributes are lost, illegal activities, derelict structures, trash-strewn lots and the concentration of poor and unhealthy people may increase. This paper describes the theory behind the impact of pariah land uses through examples of the downward spiral experienced by Camden, New Jersey and the south Bronx, New York. It then documents the experience of one community, Elizabethport, New Jersey, in reversing that downward spiral. Success in Elizabethport came from the synergistic activities of local, state and federal governments, community groups, and not-for-profit organizations as they struggled to regain control through local environmental management, rebuilding, and reducing crime. Social capital was also strengthened by using a local community health concern—that of childhood asthma. Efforts to reverse the downward spiral of urban decay from pariah land uses should be multi-faceted, spurred by local efforts that address local concerns.
 
Article
Public health and human rights are complementary approaches to promoting and protecting human dignity and well-being. The aim of this paper is to examine international provisions and national policies on health and human rights that regulate the health system in Nigeria, along with the institutional arrangements created for the design and implementation of health services. The paper reviews the framework for policy formulation and planning on health matters and emphasizes the responsibilities of the state to implement Millennium Development Goals and international obligations of human rights. It highlights the importance and impact of gender and reproductive rights on health system performance and concludes by proposing legal strategies to improve health outcomes in the country.
 
Diagram to illustrate the stages in fieldwork methodology 
Article
This article reports the findings of a qualitative study with residents living in six deprived neighbourhoods in the UK and the front-line workers and local policymakers responsible for the renewal of these areas. The study was an attempt to raise awareness of local environmental concerns in the context of a national and local policy agenda, which has, until recently, largely overlooked the impacts of degraded environments on the lives and activities of the people who live in them. A key aim for the study was to raise people's concerns with local decision-makers and examine how far these might be addressed through the existing financial, administrative and legislative arrangements for neighbourhood renewal in the UK, namely Local Strategic Partnerships. The research was designed to provide practical lessons and policy recommendations for others wishing to raise the profile of environmental justice in the context of neighbourhood level regeneration projects, in both the UK and elsewhere in the ‘developed' world.
 
Article
The engagement of UK local authorities is vital if national government is to meet its climate change commitments. However, with no mandatory targets at local government level, other drivers must explain engagement. Using a Geographic Information System, this study compares the spatial distribution of action on climate change based on past actions and stated intentions to a suite of relevant independent variables. The Action Index created is among the first to quantify climate change engagement beyond a simple binary measure and provides a useful comparative study to recent work in the USA. The Index enables investigation of both mitigation and adaptation, which show different trends in relation to some variables. The study shows that action is strongest where the voting habits of the local population suggest environmental concern and where neighbouring local authorities are also engaging in action on climate change. Physical vulnerability to the effects of climate change is a motivator for action only where the dangers are obvious. Action is less likely where other resource-intensive issues such as crime and housing exist within a local authority area.
 
Article
Despite the apparent failure of international negotiations and renewed criticism of the accuracy of climate science, responses to climate change continue in households, cities, fields, and meeting rooms. Notions of “doing something about”, or “taking action on” or “mitigating and adapting” to climate change inform practices of carbon trading, restoring native forests, constructing wind turbines, insulating houses, using energy efficient light bulbs, and lobbying politicians for more or less of these actions. These expressions of agency in relation to climate change provide the focus of our enquiry. We found that relationships or social networks linked through local government are building capabilities to respond to climate change. However, the framework of “mitigation–adaptation” will need to be supplemented by a more diverse suite of mental models for making sense of climate change. Use of appropriate languages, cultural reference points, and metaphors embedded in diverse histories of climates and change will assist actors in their networked climate change responses.
 
Article
This paper addresses claims that the value-added wood industries contribute towards an economically and environmentally sustainable forest economy in British Columbia, Canada. The small firms that comprise the value-added industries have grown in number, are relatively labour intensive, draw upon diverse, small volume timber supplies, and serve a wide variety of niche markets. Conceptually, the study is informed by an integration of the flexible specialisation model with green entrepreneurship. Empirically, the study adopts an extended case study approach and is based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with respondents of 41 small firms that represent various value-added wood processing activities in Metro Vancouver and with industry associations. The study found that these firms are modestly flexibly specialised and locally embedded but inter-firm networking is weak. As green entrepreneurs, they reveal variation in environmental awareness and performance but are adopters rather than leaders.
 
Site Classification in the Automatic Monitoring Networks
Article
This paper provides an assessment of the tools required to fulfil the air quality management role now expected of local authorities within the UK. The use of a range of pollution monitoring tools in assessing air quality is discussed and illustrated with evidence from a number of previous studies of urban background and roadside pollution monitoring in Leicester. A number of approaches to pollution modelling currently available for deployment are examined. Subsequently, the modelling and monitoring tools are assessed against the requirements of Local Authorities establishing Air Quality Management Areas. Whilst the paper examines UK based policy, the study is of wider international interest.
 
Article
In the context of the desire to steer urban transformation towards sustainability transition, the development of proposals for alternative futures assists policy-makers and practitioners in focusing on impact by organising the various drivers, particularly spatial ones that cause an interactive urban system to transit. This paper presents the methodology that has been developed by the Chair for Urban Development, Munich University of Technology (TUM) as it was working within an inter-disciplinary research team on a project commissioned by the municipality of Nuremberg. The objective of this project was to develop ideas for regenerating the formerly industrial area of Nuremberg West (NW) under the guiding theme of sustainable urban development. This methodology focuses on the development of proposals of positive and possible transformations of NW in the year 2050 based on the analysis of economy, housing and space at various scales and a systematic assessment of trends. These alternative futures became framing and guiding narratives to internalise and anchor the debate in-between the various disciplines involved in this project.
 
Article
Originally conceived as practices of resistance against a globalising food market, alternative food networks (AFNs) have recently gained a growing international scientific attention and policy support in the field of rural development. However, it remains difficult to define AFNs as they may assume very differentiated forms and follow very different paths, both from their objective and their spatial organisation viewpoint. This paper proposes a territorial, theoretical and empirical approach to the analysis of AFNs, based on the concept of territoriality as defined by Claude Raffestin and other geographers. On the basis of said concept, AFNs are analysed through three correlated dimensions: space, resources and relations. It is hereby argued that the analysis and definition of AFNs strictly depend on their specific territorial dimensions, assessing on a case-by-case basis their organisation and environmental, social and economic relations, with reference to their diverse organisation scales. At the same time, multiple AFNs may coexist in the same territory and concur to re-define the local food regime and the relationships among food production, distribution and consumption, and territory.
 
Article
The different approach of specialists and general public to environmental topics has often led to contrasting positions. After decades of strong debate, however, there seems to be a growing agreement on the need for overcoming a mere contraposition in favour of an integration of opinions. This paper aims to contribute to the topic by shifting the setting into the urban environment, through the case of Pisa Municipality, Italy. It compares the scenarios described by the latest State of the Environment Report – expression of the technical evaluation – with the perception of citizens measured by a direct survey. Results were first used to investigate any disagreements about quality of environmental matrices, entity of pressures exerted on them and characteristics of determinants. They were then used to identify the range where the integration of the two positions might be pursued and finally collect, in view of future policies, indications on locally adoptable key factors and strategies.
 
Article
Community-based renewable energy could help in achieving energy targets and altering energy behaviours. It has been found in other studies that the extent to which local residents are involved in a scheme, either through ownership or active participation, can be the key to acceptance and increasing energy awareness. Here, we explore motivations and barriers to involvement with residents in three communities in Cumbria, UK. The study uses questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to explore themes of ownership, levels of involvement and community cohesion, and examines how these influence residents’ willingness to accept or participate in a local initiative. Through exploring these themes we additionally find that residents hold place-based attachments to both physical attributes and social interactions within the community. These attachments appear to be influential in residents' willingness to participate in local renewable projects and in acceptance of certain renewable technologies. For instance, there was overwhelming support for localised hydropower due to the historical legacy of industrialised water-power use in the region.
 
Article
Max-Neef's theory of human-scale development (HSD) directs attention to an issues-based, locality specific agenda through self-identification of community issues by local people. This paper reports on a two-day HSD workshop run on the Gold Coast where an eclectic group of 20 participants worked through Max-Neef's framework to diagnose their communities' current reality, visualise what their community could be and discuss how to 'build bridges' between the current reality and their Utopian community. This work is part of a broader research programme looking at participatory community development.
 
Percentage Changes in Total Employment for Surveyed Organisations
Comparison of Environmental Worker Employment Trends Reported by ACF/ACTU and by the Green Skills 2002 Survey
Article
There is no doubt that one of the fastest growing international industry ‘sectors’ is environmental goods and services. The size of the annual global environment market is estimated at around A$1,000 billion (Department of Industry, Science and Resources, 2000, p. 21). There are many cases of extraordinary growth in ‘green jobs’ in recent years. For example, worldwide demand for organic agricultural produce has grown 20% every year for the last 10 years, and is anticipated to grow from US$11billion in 1997 to US$100billion by 2006 (McCoy and Parlevliet, 1998). Data presented in the Sustainable Energy Policy Green Paper (Department of Primary Industries and Energy, 1996) predict the world demand for renewable energy to grow by 82% in the period 1990 to 2020. This article reviews the current state of knowledge about green jobs in Australia. It draws some initial conclusions about what is likely to ‘drive’ worldwide green job generation in the foreseeable future, and then reviews recent work that examines the implications for Australia. The main focus, however, is a recent Western Australian industry survey undertaken to determine the current nature, and future potential, of green jobs in that State. The article concludes with a range of policy recommendations for government.
 
Article
This metadata relates to an electronic version of an article published in Local Environment, Volume 13, Issue 1, January 2008, pages 55-66. Local Environment is available online at informaworldTM at http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a790788953 Periods of institutional change are crucial to developing a capacity for just and participatory natural resource management. Whilst the need for such change is often widely recognised, shifting to a new regime is typically uncertain, tentative and uneven. Transitions between regimes are crucial periods when institutional foundations for justice or injustice can be laid for decades. Transitions need to address both formal institutional structures and the informal values, networks and resources that underpin these structures. New South Wales, Australia, has recently undergone a period of major reform in natural resource management, involving substantial institutional and legislative changes. This period of reform illustrates transitional issues of rescaling and changes to decision-making structures. Increased attention to these issues during institutional reform and to the process of transition itself is essential to developing sustainable forms of environmental governance.
 
Article
The aim of this paper is to use Erikson's approach to human development, and specifically generativity, as a framework by which to explore older people's experiences of environmental stewardship activities. Using data from a large qualitative study of environmental volunteers resident in the coastal fringes of Queensland, Australia, the paper provides important, illustrative, empirical support for Erikson's theory of generativity in later life. Findings suggest that older people are much more likely to connect their environmental actions with the longer-term future, and express a need to leave a lasting legacy for future generations. According to respondents, the later years are a time to contribute to the environment as part of a broader cycle of life. The environment is also an important site for intergenerational activities. Whilst the work presented here is only a small, localized study, use of Erikson's theory of human development as a framework helps demonstrate the importance of a generative response in later life.
 
Article
The introduction of the Green Deal provides evidence of the UK Government's commitment to improving the energy efficiency of our ageing and underperforming housing stock. However, the issue of what to do with those buildings which for reasons of historical or architectural significance do not lend themselves to conventional fabric interventions has not been addressed fully. A residents' survey was conducted at the Grade II listed Barbican Centre in London, to characterise levels of occupant comfort and satisfaction, to identify any problems experienced by the residents, and to explore possibilities to improve the energy performance of the estate without compromising its status as an iconic example of post-war architecture and planning. This paper explores how occupant feedback surveys can inform the development of energy-saving interventions at an atypical case study site.
 
Article
Environmental justice studies that focus on the management of municipal solid waste (MSW) typically examine the unequal distribution of associated health and environmental risks in minority social groups and the political processes that generate these inequalities. With the aim to complement current views on the field, in this work, we explore whether there is an issue of environmental justice in municipal systems' grade of self-sufficiency in treating the MSW that they generate and in their effort to close their material cycles. The methodology used is based on the concept of urban metabolism and is applied to 12 coastal municipalities of Barcelona's Metropolitan Region in Spain. The metabolism of the MSW flows of each system is analysed to examine (i) the system's efficiency to close its MSW cycles, corresponding to an indicator of environmental sustainability, and (ii) the MSW export and import flows, as an indicator of social sustainability. The results demonstrate a positive correlation between socioeconomic status and the externalisation of MSW treatment-related hazards. The proposed indicator proves to be an excellent tool for the evaluation of both the environmental and social performance of a system considering MSW management.
 
Article
A survey of energy activity in urban areas in the UK was carried out in 2012 with the aim of better understanding the range of activity in this field and of aiding decision-making to facilitate the roll out of a more decentralised approach. Adopting a sociotechnical approach, urban energy was understood not simply as the decentralisation of generation, but also as efforts to promote ways of living and working that contribute towards lower energy consumption. A Delphi approach consisting of a two-stage iterative web-based survey received responses across the public, private and third sectors. Indicative findings suggest a wealth of drivers for urban energy and different “driver profiles” for the sectors, and therefore the need for flexible policy approaches. The survey builds on research that highlights pervasive barriers to progress in this field and, therefore, to the importance of developing solutions that enable urban energy to make a more significant contribution to the UK energy budget.
 
Article
This paper examines the nature of the relationship between sustainable waste management behaviour between the 'home' and 'work' settings. A questionnaire survey of 566 employees of the Cornwall NHS (National Health Service) was used to examine the nature of the behaviour between the two settings and to understand the main factors influencing the behaviour. The results indicate that there is strong link in the behaviour of individuals between the two settings, with employees who practised recycling activities at home also being more likely to practise a similar behaviour at work. There was also some similarity in the level of sustainability of the behaviour between the two settings. These behaviours were strongly influenced by the underlying attitudes and beliefs of the staff towards the environment. The implications for policy-making to improve sustainable waste management behaviour amongst individuals in England and Wales are also discussed
 
Article
This paper challenges “Big Society (BS) Localism”, seeing it as an example of impoverished localist thinking which neglects social justice considerations. We do this through a critical examination of recent turns in the localist discourse in the UK which emphasise self-reliant communities and envisage a diminished role for the state. We establish a heuristic distinction between positive and negative approaches to localism. We argue that the Coalition Government's BS programme fits with a negative localist frame as it starts from an ideological assumption that the state acts as a barrier to community-level associational activity and that it should play a minimal role. “BS localism” (as we call it) has been influential over the making of social policy, but it also has implications for the achievement of environmental goals. We argue that this latest incarnation of localism is largely ineffective in solving problems requiring collective action because it neglects the important role that inequalities play in inhibiting the development of associational society. Drawing upon preliminary research being undertaken at the community scale, we argue that staking environmental policy success on the ability of local civil society to fill the gap left after state retrenchment runs the risk of no activity at all.
 
Eastside in context  
Location of three development sites within Eastside
Article
Sustainability has come to play a dominant discursive role in the UK planning system, particularly relating to urban regeneration. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the role that sustainability plays in a major regeneration programme, known as Eastside, currently underway in Birmingham, the UK. That this £6 billion redevelopment is now widely talked about by such key players as Birmingham City Council and the Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands, as having a central sustainability agenda points to the growing importance of the ideal of sustainability in planning and regeneration agendas. In this paper, we investigate in detail how and why sustainability has become part of the planning discourse for Eastside and critically evaluate what impact, if any, this is having on public policy decision-making.
 
The valuation of knowledge and SIs 
Article
This paper describes some of the insights gained by the authors in the development of an approach for systemic sustainability analysis to arrive at sustainability indicators (SIs) for development. The paper describes the problems of perspective and mindset which such research involves, and the necessity to rethink both the purpose and content of SIs as well as taking into account the perspective of the researcher. The result represents a new perspective on the classification of SIs that serves to highlight one of the central difficulties encountered so far with these tools, namely their limited use in management and the setting of policy. We argue that this is due in large part to the nature of the SI frameworks created to date, even if carried out in a 'participative' mode. The framework itself is representative of a mindset or paradigm of understanding which, when applied as the sole device, we find less than adequate in achieving useful SIs. SIs arising from this mindset tend to be quantitative and explicit (clearly stated and with a defined methodology), while in practice most people's and institutions' use of SIs tends to be more qualitative and implicit ('understood' to apply in vaguer terms, with no defined methodology). These two paradigms or mindsets are represented here as the reductionist and the conversational: the first is characterised by quantitative and explicit indicators (or QNE* indicators); and the second is characterised by qualitative and implicit indicators (QLI* indicators). We suggest that what is required is far more research on the evolution and use of QLI* SIs (and the mindset which is necessary to develop them), in order to best appreciate how they can be hybridised with the QNE* group. The result may be termed 'multiple perspective' SIs.
 
Categories a of interviewees. 
Article
Making the transition to a green economy is a major policy driver in the UK and other countries. Entrepreneurs are suggested as being at the forefront of this transition and as a driving force for sustainability. These “green entrepreneurs” may represent a new type of entrepreneurial behaviour combining economic, environmental and social aims. In this paper, we present empirical work conducted with green entrepreneurs in the UK green building sector. Buildings have significant impacts on the environment, both in terms of materials and post-construction energy demands. Drawing on sustainability transitions theory, we examine the role of green entrepreneurs in affecting change and suggest that green building niches are less consensual than previously theorised. In theorising green entrepreneurs, we also point to the need to consider them within wider networks of activity rather than as lone actors and the implications this has for policy.
 
Article
In a review of policy frameworks for low-energy buildings and built environments over 20 years in England, the paper identifies a transition from the early years when the connection between energy and the built environment was only just beginning to be recognised, through to a more coordinated approach to carbon and buildings in the period to 2010. It identifies fives key trends: a greater reliance on regulation; the growing importance of the retrofit agenda; more tightly targeted subsidies; more finely tuned market-based instruments to shape and structures energy efficiency and decentralised renewable energy markets; and a shift from the dominance of market rationality towards a more nuanced understanding of how inter-related change in energy systems and built environments is achieved.
 
Article
Forest certification, particularly that of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), is frequently claimed to constitute an effective and democratic private governance arrangement for responsible forestry. It has, however, recently been questioned whether this view holds true for the northernmost countries, which have traditionally been presented as successful examples of forest certification. Yet there is little research on the perceived legitimacy of forest certification at the local level, which is where the standard implementation takes place. This paper examines how the perceived legitimacy of forest certification is created as well as challenged at the local level in Sweden, drawing on Steffek's [2009. Discursive legitimation in environmental governance. Forest Policy and Economics, 11, 313–318] conceptualisation of discursive legitimation and Bernstein's [2011. Legitimacy in intergovernmental and non-state global governance. Review of International Political Economy, 18 (1), 17–51] definition of legitimacy as well as semi-structured interviews with forest companies, reindeer husbandry (indigenous Sámi) and environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs). The results reveal that local ENGOs question the FSC's decision-making process and results, while both the ENGOs and reindeer husbandry see few opportunities to influence long-term forest management. These findings highlight the difficulties of managing power asymmetries in certification and the challenges involved when certification standards are translated from policy to practice.
 
Article
This article brings together the concerns of environmental and disability movements through examining the role of transport. Both movements critique current transport policy and practice. The disability movement has analysed how it marginalises the needs of disabled people, while environmentalists argue current transport trends are unsustainable and marginalise alternatives. Although these critiques operate independently and even seem opposed to each other, a common agenda can be developed through extending the social model of disability. The social model can be used to understand how car dominated transport systems can be understood as disabling populations larger than those conventionally recognised as “disabled”. The car offers the technological fix of enabling abilities, in particular speed and strength, but in practice disables in a number of ways. Urban sprawl and traffic increase barriers to participation and access for many both “able-bodied” and “disabled”, while car dominance damages social interaction and limits sensory perception. Furthermore, the car economy is a major cause of impairment through crashes and physical inactivity. Understanding these together requires integrating the social model of disability with an eco-social model of impairment. This can show how unequal forms of social organisation are embodied in people and environments to produce patterns of impairment, disability and disadvantage. Finally we suggest policies that point towards sustainable societies with increased opportunities for broader social participation. The article argues that the two movements can create and benefit from a shared vision of socially inclusive, low energy, sustainable transport. Published (author's copy) Peer Reviewed
 
Comparative summary of the elements of practices according to different theorists.
Participants in the study.
Article
The introduction of extensive wind power in pursuit of 2050 carbon reduction targets presents a major challenge to electricity networks because when the wind blows (supply) does not necessarily match when people want to use electricity (demand). As electricity storage remains very expensive, flexible demand will have an important role in balancing the grid. While there is scope for smart solutions such as automation and pricing, people will need to become more flexible in the longer term. Accordingly, the aim of this research was to look at time-shifting energy use. Using practice theory helped move the study beyond a merely technical, individualised or structural approach. This interdisciplinary research used 24-hour in-house observations, interviews, metered energy data and three energy time-shifting challenges. The results challenge current approaches to demand response and suggest that disruption is a normal part of everyday life around which practices are able to rearrange themselves and that it is, therefore, possible to consider changing energy-use practices. While it is necessary to consider the relationships between practices and the fact that they are temporally and spatially anchored, it is possible to locate agency within them and therefore to suggest strategies for changing them. Unlocking this flexibility remains the challenge but a range of innovative options for doing this is suggested.
 
Article
The solar settlement (Solarsiedlung) in Freiburg, Germany, has been widely hailed as an eco-city or green city neighbourhood and a blueprint for sustainable urban development. However, as there is a noticeable lack of critical analysis of what constitutes Solarsiedlung as an “eco-city”, this paper studies narratives and practices of sustainable urban development. First, we look at Solarsiedlung as a best-practice model – a narrative that was produced and perpetuated by architects, urban planners, investors and academics celebrating this neighbourhood as a technologically leapfrogging, economically sound and socially integrated project. Second, we explore the everyday practices and lived experience of the residents in Solarsiedlung. Bringing together these two perspectives, we contribute to a more comprehensive understanding and critical reading of the interplay between the ecological, economic and social dimensions of sustainable development as seen from different viewpoints. Findings indicate that Solarsiedlung as a best-practice model is embedded in growth-oriented neoliberal strategies that are in conflict with the everyday practices and lived experience of the residents. Our findings put into question the widely assumed transferability of best-practice models in sustainable urban development.
 
Sanitation and solid waste management activities of NGOs and CBOs (%).
Challenges/constraints met by NGOs and CBOs in sanitation and solid waste.
Article
The inability of local governments to provide basic environmental services in African urban centres often results in the involvement of other actors in urban sanitation and solid waste provisioning, such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs) and private companies. Although NGOs and CBOs are becoming increasingly engaged in urban service provisioning, little systematic knowledge exists on the kind of activities they take up and the results of these activities. This paper reviews the role of NGOs and CBOs in sanitation and solid waste management in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. Against the background of a modernised mixtures perspective and the partnership paradigm, an assessment is made of NGOs and CBOs in provisioning these environmental services. Data were gathered through a survey, face-to-face interviews, and the use of scientific literature, official reports and informal documents. Over 40 NGOs and CBOs were found to be actively involved - often in partnership - in the implementation and development of sanitation and solid waste activities. Their results are, however, seriously hampered by financial, policy and political challenges in implementing successful sanitation and solid waste collection projects
 
Article
Urban regeneration policy and projects could facilitate the implementation of spatial policy responses to mitigate climate change and adapt to its consequences in cities. However, the potential role of urban regeneration in creating climate-friendly urban environments is not sufficiently evaluated and understood. Considering this gap, the paper aims to explore the potential linkage between urban regeneration and climate change. The case study analysis focuses on two urban regeneration projects, representing two major approaches of regeneration practices in Japanese cities, namely “project-based” and “plan-based” approaches. Research findings demonstrate that urban regeneration could help in reorganising existing urban areas in a climate-friendly manner. As a cross-cutting field of urban policy, urban regeneration could also help in creating synergies between mitigation and adaptation goals. Yet, achievement of such outcomes via regeneration projects necessitates the existence of an overriding urban development vision, political commitment, and willingness to implement binding and structural measures.
 
Article
The concept of sustainable development has highlighted the need to involve those who use a natural resource in helping to manage and maintain it. This has prompted the development of monitoring programmes involving volunteers who collect scientific data on the state of the natural environment. This paper argues that interpretation theory and practice provide a sound basis for the design and implementation of volunteer-based coastal monitoring programmes. Integration of multiple interrelated objectives in programmes relies on sound 'audience' research, including planned evaluation procedures. Three case-studies are presented which serve to identify and highlight the benefits of broadening the primary scientific focus of monitoring programmes to include greater consideration of participant motivations, skills and knowledge in the design and delivery of programmes. Discussion in this paper focuses on coastal monitoring programmes but the stated benefits might also be expected when applying this approach to other natural resource monitoring programmes.
 
Article
In Germany, plans at the local level to construct wind turbines often find support as well as rejection – often in both cases for ecological reasons. In this paper, we argue that the key to understanding local wind energy debates is to analyse the interrelations between collective identities and concepts of place. Based on the discourse theory of Laclau and Mouffe, we analyse how two completely contradictory place notions have evolved in a local dispute in a small town in Germany, and how existing political identities have been modified, realigned and superseded in the course of the conflict. Furthermore, we show how the involved discourses are characterised by strong continuities with respect to an earlier struggle over an asphalt mixing plant.
 
Article
A notable feature of development aid since the 1960s has been a paradigm shift from centralised project planning and management to decentralised approaches. The transition from top-down to bottom-up elevates the concept of localism in project management for vulnerable groups. This change resonates well in community-based resource management schemes in privileging the locale in terms of generation of knowledge and how problems and remedies are enunciated. Localism conceptualised as devolving central-level government functions to non-state actors in social service delivery is contradictory and seems to negate state powers. This paper explores this trajectory to explicate the forms of localism and the contradictions from its multiple conceptualisations that influence energy access. Using qualitative methodology and interviews, it analyses renewable energy projects directed at poverty alleviation in rural communities in Nigeria while deploying a political ecology framework of power relations to highlight the dynamics of localism. While localism is touted as a constraint in the development process due to localism of action, the paper demonstrates its prospects and how scaling-up of operations may augur well for altering its conceptualisation and with far-reaching consequences for community sustainable energy projects.
 
Top-cited authors
Michele Betsill
  • Colorado State University
Yvonne Rydin
  • University College London
Nathan McClintock
  • Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique
Geoff O'Brien
  • Northumbria University
Phil o'keefe
  • Northumbria University