Between council and community: public participation and sustainability in local government

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Sustainability is an important process and objective of society, although not supported by all. In any case, legislation and practice increasingly emphasises public participation in the context of environmental and sustainability issues. Legislation in NSW links the progress of environmental sustainability, partly, to the actions of local governments through their budgeting plans. Whatever its importance and legislative imperative, the sustainability project has been less than successful in two crucial ways. Firstly, the effects of sustainability practice in local government have not been completely successful and, secondly, while practitioners have refined the techniques of public participation, public participation has had little impact on decision making. The gap between theory and practice in both cases seems wide and is explored here. The study broadly fits within an ethnographic approach and primarily used participant observation as the method of data gathering. This paper presents some preliminary findings of a PhD-in-progress that examines the case of Liverpool City Council andn its attempt to institute a new model of public participation to directly link the Council's overall strategic budgeting document, the Corporate Plan, to renewed efforts at direct public participation. The new model is presented and some of the problems of directly linking sustainability to the Corporate Plan are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustaining Our Social and Natural Capital
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of teh 12th ANZSYS Conference.
EditorsRoger Attwater, John Merson
Place of PublicationMansfield, MA, USA
PublisherISCE Publishing
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780979168888
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Event12th Australia and New Zealand Systems Society (ANZSYS) Conference: Sustaining Our Social and Natural Capital. - The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, Australia
Duration: 03 Dec 200606 Dec 2006


Conference12th Australia and New Zealand Systems Society (ANZSYS) Conference


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