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Laurian L.,University of Iowa | Crawford J.,Planning Consultants Ltd
Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning | Year: 2016

Environmental sustainability goals are increasingly embedded in local planning, but implementation proves difficult. Using a survey of 217 planners working in a random sample of 146 small to mid-sized American cities and counties, we identify the organizational factors that support and hinder the implementation of environmentally sustainable practices. The analysis is based on a conceptual framework that encompasses organizational capacity, culture, structure, participatory decision-making, the framing of sustainability and contextual factors. We find that environmental sustainability implementation is lagging (although cities are generally ahead compared to counties) and that outcome evaluation is rare, precluding adaptive learning. The major barrier to implementation is that sustainability is low on political and managerial agendas. As expected, local public support, innovation-supportive organizational culture and the prioritization and framing of environmental sustainability support implementation. Surprisingly, innovation diffusion does not occur across neighbouring localities, local capacity and public participation are irrelevant for implementation and hierarchical rather than integrated institutional structures support implementation. © 2016 Taylor & Francis

Laurian L.,University of Iowa | Crawford J.,Planning Consultants Ltd | Day M.,PO Box 103 | Kouwenhoven P.,University of Waikato | And 3 more authors.
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design | Year: 2010

Despite calls for performance-oriented and evidence-based planning, the outcomes of land use and environmental plans are rarely monitored or assessed ex post facto (that is, post implementation). As a result, planners cannot know whether or why plans achieve their goals, or learn from the results of past interventions to improve planning practice. This evaluation gap is caused by a lack of methodology to evaluate the outcomes of plans and the difficulty of attributing changes to planning activities. We address this gap by proposing and testing a plan-outcome evaluation (POE) methodology. We demonstrate its broad applicability and usefulness in the context of local plans in New Zealand. The POE methodology will be useful to practitioners and academics seeking to assess the outcomes of plans in countries with western planning traditions. © 2010 Pion Ltd and its Licensors.

Laurian L.,University of Iowa | Crawford J.,Planning Consultants Ltd
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management | Year: 2016

This paper describes the frustrating reality of sustainability implementation in the USA and New Zealand (NZ), an early adopter of sustainability mandates. Local government has a key role in implementation, but has been slow to uptake sustainable practices. We surveyed senior planners in small to medium-sized local government agencies in both countries to identify which features of local government support (or hinder) sustainability in practice. Environmentally sustainable practices are not well entrenched in either country. In the USA, the framing of sustainability and public support are significant predictors of implementation. However, sustainability is rarely a priority. In NZ, local government capacity is the main driver of implementation. We recommend that planners promote sustainability values, reconcile economic development goals with sustainability (e.g., green economy model), and translate public support for sustainability into institutional priorities. NZ localities also need increased capacity and US localities need continued Federal and State support. © 2016 University of Newcastle upon Tyne

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