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Community-based Environmental Planning: Operational Dilemmas, Planning Principles and Possible Remedies


  • Marcus Lane
  • Geoff McDonald


The operational dilemmas and challenges associated with the practice of community-based environmental planning (CBEP) are examined. The paper examines the frequently invoked 'bottom-up' versus 'top-down' dichotomy and argues that environmental governance is more complex, dynamic and multi-scalar than this simple dichotomy implies. The paper identifies six key problems with the CBEP approach: (i) the conceptualization of 'community' which poorly accounts for difference; (ii) problems of inequality; (iii) the organizational capacity and efficacy of community groups; (iv) the scale of CBEP; (v) the types of knowledge utilized by communities in environmental management; and (vi) the potential for parochial concerns to dominate the priorities and agenda of community organizations. The paper analyses each of these issues, identifies planning principles that may aid resolution, and suggests possible remedies.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcus Lane & Geoff McDonald, 2005. "Community-based Environmental Planning: Operational Dilemmas, Planning Principles and Possible Remedies," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(5), pages 709-731.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:48:y:2005:i:5:p:709-731
    DOI: 10.1080/09640560500182985

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    2. Michelle L. M. Graymore, 2014. "Sustainability Reporting: An Approach to Get the Right Mix of Theory and Practicality for Local Actors," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(6), pages 1-26, May.
    3. Banks, Glenn, 2013. "Little by little, inch by inch: Project expansion assessments in the Papua New Guinea mining industry," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 688-695.
    4. Thomas Measham & Benjamin Preston & Timothy Smith & Cassandra Brooke & Russell Gorddard & Geoff Withycombe & Craig Morrison, 2011. "Adapting to climate change through local municipal planning: barriers and challenges," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 16(8), pages 889-909, December.
    5. Shalini Lata & Patrick Nunn, 2012. "Misperceptions of climate-change risk as barriers to climate-change adaptation: a case study from the Rewa Delta, Fiji," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 110(1), pages 169-186, January.
    6. Sutton, Abigail M. & Rudd, Murray A., 2014. "Deciphering contextual influences on local leadership in community-based fisheries management," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(PA), pages 261-269.
    7. Silva Larson & Thomas G Measham & Liana J Williams, 2009. "Remotely Engaged? A Framework for Monitoring the Success of Stakeholder Engagement in Remote Regions," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2009-11, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.

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