Title: Sustainable development planning in the USA: understanding resistance and building support

Authors: Erik Amundson

Addresses: The University of Southern Mississippi, Department of Political Science, International Development and International Affairs, 730 East Beach Boulevard, Long Beach, MS 39560, USA

Abstract: To promote sustainable development in the USA, the Obama Administration's federal interagency partnership awarded 74 regional sustainability planning grants in 2010 and 2011. As part of this initiative, grant recipients provided high levels of public outreach and established new stakeholder partnerships to create long-term sustainability strategies during a three-year planning process. However, a strong opposition emerged in response to this effort, arguing that it threatens individual rights and liberties. To better understand this resistance to planning for sustainable development, the researcher conducted 17 in-depth qualitative interviews with a purposeful sample of key individuals involved in facilitating all phases of the citizen engagement process. While the findings show widespread opposition at the outset of the program, strategies to increase civic education, emphasise local control, change divisive terminology and build a sound business case seemed to have the most influence on garnering public support.

Keywords: sustainable development; regional planning; civic engagement; partnerships; public policy; USA.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSS.2017.088293

International Journal of Society Systems Science, 2017 Vol.9 No.4, pp.277 - 291

Accepted: 23 Apr 2017
Published online: 01 Dec 2017 *

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