Five factors for urban sustainability - exploring influences on municipal strategic planning
Sammanfattning: In recent decades, there has been increasing consensus that sustainable urban development is critical to the future of human societies and planetary systems. The effects of population growth and the environmental impacts of human activities are evident around the world, observable not only in the rapid urbanisation of many large cities, but also in small-medium conurbations, rural communities, and even uninhabited areas. For this reason, sustainable urban development is the theme of this licentiate thesis.The thesis focuses on the role of municipal organisations, the ways in which processes to develop strategies and policies addressing urban sustainability are organised, and how other stakeholders participate in such processes. The thesis concludes by presenting a new conceptual framework that aims to inform such strategic processes - the “five factors” influencing strategic planning processes for urban sustainability in municipalities.The five factors concern the capacity of municipalities and others to act for urban sustainability; their mandate to do so; the resources available to them; the scope of their processes and intended outcomes; and their will, individually and collectively, to pursue urban sustainability. The “five factors” concept may aid future analysis of urban sustainability processes, both in planning and implementation. The “five factors” are based upon the findings of the three appended papers and the synthesis of their results in this thesis.The first and second papers present studies of energy and climate strategy planning processes in Swedish municipalities active in a national programme, the Sustainable Municipality (Uthållig kommun). Paper 1 focuses upon the organisation of processes to develop energy and climate strategies, whereas Paper 2 reflects upon the experiences of participating stakeholders in such processes. The two papers build upon existing theoretical frameworks and present empirical data from case studies of five municipalities, based on document studies, interviews and comparative analysis, in order to make conclusions about the advantages and disadvantages of variations in the form and composition of energy and climate planning (e.g. that early involvement of stakeholders results in more comprehensive strategies).In contrast, Paper 3 presents analysis of a multidisciplinary sample of academic journal articles addressing “urban sustainability” and published during the period 2011-2012. As such, this paper focuses on how urban sustainability is practiced, observed and represented in academic literature, and considers different issues that arise as a consequence (e.g. a lack of analysis of urban sustainability governance processes in municipalities). Whereas Papers 1 and 2 observe practice, making insights with reference to specific theoretical perspectives, Paper 3 provides overview and identifies wider challenges and opportunities for research on the theme of urban sustainability. Together, the three papers highlight a number of issues that influence the development of municipalities’ strategic work for urban sustainability – the five factors.
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