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Integrating environmental sustainability into strategic spatial planning: the importance of management

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Strategic spatial planning has been suggested as a means for environmental sustainability. However, there are significant challenges with operationalising and integrating policy-driven strategic spatial planning within the standardised and process-oriented management systems of local authorities. This aspect has motivated discussions on how implementation of strategic spatial planning with a focus on environmental sustainability is conditioned by management systems. The empirical case is local planning and management practices in a local authority in Sweden. Interviews with planners, together with planning and policy documents, make up the empirical material. The analysis proposes that the integration of environmental perspectives into strategic spatial planning processes depends on (i) the overall concerns for environmental issues in local policy, and (ii) how administrative management systems can facilitate transformative practice in planning. In conclusion, this article illustrates how environmental sustainability in strategic spatial planning is formed and conditioned through interplay between local policy and administrative management procedures.
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Keywords: Sweden; administrative management; environmental sustainability; local authorities; strategic spatial planning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Management and Engineering, Division of Environmental Management and Technology, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden; 2: Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture. Centre for Municipality Studies, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden; 3: Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: July 3, 2019

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