Building Sustainability Through Collaborative Planning

Building Sustainability Through Collaborative Planning

V. Ghomashchi 

University of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Town of Stratford, PEI, Canada

29 February 2012
| Citation



Collaborative planning can influence efforts to build social capital and make consensus towards sustainability and sustainable development. The present study attempts to demonstrate the crucial role of social capital and capacity building as ‘tools’ and ‘targets’ of the sustainability journey. This paper briefly reviews the sustainability literature related to planning. Considering the collaborative approach to planning and the associated concepts, the present study aims to make a link between collaborative planning and sustainability. Finally, this paper suggests two conceptual models to explore and explain the interaction and implications of social capital and sustainability. The first model considers sustainability through an integrated dynamic system and explores how collaborative planning can generate sustainability through capacity building. The second model will present a framework of thinking and acting for collaborative sustainability.


capacity building, collaborative planning, social capital, sustainability, sustainable development


[1] WCED The World Commission on Environment and Development (The Brundtland report), 1987.

[2] Goldstein, B. & Butler, W., Expanding the scope and impact of collaborative planning. Journal of the American Planning Association, 76(2), pp. 238–249, 2010. doi:

[3] Dwivedi, O, Kyba, P., Stoett, P. & Tiessen, R., Sustainable Development and Canada: national and international Perspectives, Broad View Press: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, 2010.

[4] Sumner, J., Sustainability and the Civil Commons, Rural Communities in the Age of Globalization, University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 2007.

[5] Martens, P., Sustainability: Science or Fiction? Sustainability: Science, Practice & Policy, 2(1), pp. 36–41, 2006.

[6] Edwards, A., The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift, New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, Canada, 2005.

[7] Ehrenfeld, J., The Roots of Sustainability. MIT Sloan Management Review, 46(2), pp. 23–25, 2005.

[8] Grosskurth, J. & Rotmans, J., The scene model: getting grip on sustainable development in policy making. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 7(1), pp. 135–151, 2005. doi:

[9] Reez, W., Globalization and Sustainability: Confl icts or Governance? Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 22(4) pp. 249–68, 2002.

[10] Bridger, J.C. & Luloff, A., building the sustainable community: is social capital the answer? Sociological Inquiry, 71(4), pp. 458–472, 2001.

[11] S eymoar, N., The Sustainable Cities, PLUS Planning Cycle, 2008.

[12] Roseland, M., Towards Sustainable Communities, New Society Publisher: Gabriola Island, BC, 2005.

[13] Healey, P., Collaborative Planning, Macmillan: London, 1997.

[14] Innes, J., et al. Planning Through Consensus-Building; A New View of the Comprehensive Planning Ideal, University of California IURD: Berkeley, 1995.

[15] Jacobs, J., The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Random House: New York, 1961.

[16] Thierry, V. & Tyndale, W., Culture, spirituality, and development, in Development and Culture, Edited by D. Eade, Kumarian Press, Sterling USA, pp. 1–24, 2002.

[17] G iampietro, M., Complexity and scales: the challenge for integrated assessment. Scaling in Integrated Assessment, eds J. Rotmans & D. Rotmans, pp. 293–327, 2003.

[18] Innes, J.E. & Booher, D.E., Consensus building and complex adaptive systems – a framework for evaluating collaborative planning. Journal of the American Planning Association, 65(4), pp. 412–423, 1999. doi:

[19] Koontz, T., Collaboration for sustainability? A framework for analysing government impacts in collaborative-environmental management. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy, 2(1), pp. 15–24, 2006.

[20] Innes, J.E. & Booher, D.E., Collaborative policymaking: governance through dialogue, Chapter 1 in Deliberative Policy Analysis: Understanding Governance in the Network Society, edited by Hajer, Maarten and Hendrik Wagenaar., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 33–59, 2003. doi:

[21] Margerum, R., Collaborative planning: Building consensus and building a distinct model for practice. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 21(3), pp. 237–253, 2002. doi:

[22] Forester, J., Planning in the Face of Future, University of California Press: Berkeley, 1989.

[23] Healey, P., Building Institutional capacity through collaborative approaches to urban planning. Environment and Planning A, 30, pp. 1531–1556, 1998. doi:

[24] Friedman, J., Retracking America: A theory of transactive planning, Anchor Press: New York, 1973.

[25] Coleman, J.S., Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, pp. 95–120, 1988. doi:

[26] Putnam, R.D., Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. Journal of Democracy, 6(1), pp. 65–78, 1995. doi:

[27] Smith, C., Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture, Oxford University Press: New York: NY, 2003.

[28] Coplin, J., Text and Context in the Communication of a Social Movement’s Charisma, Ideology, and Consciousness: TM for India and the West, Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of California: San Diego, 1990.

[29] Chaskin, R., Defi ning Community Capacity: A Defi nitional Framework and Case Studies from a Comprehensive Community Initiative Urban Affairs Review, 36(3), pp. 291–323, 2001.

[30] Foster-Fishman, et al., Building collaborative capacity in community coalitions: a review and integrative framework. Journal of Community Psychology, 29(2), pp. 241–261, 2001. doi:

[31] Breidlid, A., Culture, indigenous knowledge systems and sustainable development: A critical view of education in an African context. International Journal of educational development 29, pp. 140–148, 2009. doi:

[32] WSSD World Summit on Sustainable Development Plan of Implementation, 2002.

[33] UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development, 2008.

[34] Habermas, J., The Theory of Communicative Action: Vol. 1: Reason and the Rationalisation of Society, Polity Press: London, 1984.