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Governing local sustainability


  • Bob Evans
  • Marko Joas
  • Susan Sundback
  • Kate Theobald


This paper draws upon the DISCUS (Developing Institutional and Social Capacity for Sustainable Development) research project, co-funded by the European Commission. The project was undertaken during 2001 - 2004 and involved an in-depth study of 40 European towns and cities in order to understand the institutional and social factors and conditions that might contribute to policy 'achievement' or 'failure' in local sustainable development policy and practice. Based on the findings of this research it proposes a conceptual framework for local sustainable development, linking the concepts of institutional capital, social capital and governance to provide a model for understanding the governing of local sustainability. The research shows that in those cases that exhibit sustainable development policy achievements, there are also greater levels of civil society activity and knowledge regarding sustainability issues, and high levels of institutional capacity. Confident local government is crucial to the development of institutional capacity and to institutional learning. One aspect of this is local authorities being equipped to address the longer-term issues and to have a strategic vision for a sustainable future.

Suggested Citation

  • Bob Evans & Marko Joas & Susan Sundback & Kate Theobald, 2006. "Governing local sustainability," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(6), pages 849-867.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:49:y:2006:i:6:p:849-867
    DOI: 10.1080/09640560600946875

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    Cited by:

    1. Paul, Bénédique, 2009. "Institutional capital: A new analytical framework on theory and actions for economic development," MPRA Paper 39018, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Michael Howes & Liana Wortley & Ruth Potts & Aysin Dedekorkut-Howes & Silvia Serrao-Neumann & Julie Davidson & Timothy Smith & Patrick Nunn, 2017. "Environmental Sustainability: A Case of Policy Implementation Failure?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-17, January.
    3. Paul, Bénédique, 2009. "Reclaiming Institutions as a Form of Capital," MPRA Paper 39017, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Thomas Hoppe & Arjen van der Vegt & Peter Stegmaier, 2016. "Presenting a Framework to Analyze Local Climate Policy and Action in Small and Medium-Sized Cities," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(9), pages 1-41, August.
    5. Jose M. Barrutia & Carmen Echebarria & Patrick Hartmann & Vanessa Apaolaza & Ainhize Eletxigerra & Alexander Velez, 2015. "Towards Territorial Sustainability Systems: A step forward," ERSA conference papers ersa15p1238, European Regional Science Association.
    6. Marko Joas & Bob Evans & Kate Theobald, 2007. "Local Agenda 21 in Europe. The second phase of ecological modernisation in local government (English version)," EKONOMIAZ. Revista vasca de Economía, Gobierno Vasco / Eusko Jaurlaritza / Basque Government, vol. 64(01), pages 92-105.
    7. Shona Johnstone & Rosalyn A. V. Robison & Rachel Manning, 2013. "Delivering Social Sustainability Outcomes in New Communities: The Role of the Elected Councillor," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(11), pages 1-29, November.
    8. Beau Warbroek & Thomas Hoppe, 2017. "Modes of Governing and Policy of Local and Regional Governments Supporting Local Low-Carbon Energy Initiatives; Exploring the Cases of the Dutch Regions of Overijssel and Fryslân," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(1), pages 1-36, January.
    9. Carmen Echebarria & Jose M. Barrutia, 2013. "Factors Affecting the Attitude of Local Authorities towards Local Agenda 21," ERSA conference papers ersa13p1082, European Regional Science Association.
    10. Carmen Echebarria & Jose M. Barrutia & Itziar Aguado & Vanessa Apaolaza & Patrick Hartmann, 2016. "Capturing the benefits that emerge from regional sustainability networks: The Castile–La Mancha network of sustainable cities and towns," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95, pages 27-49, March.

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