Sustainable governance explored in Sydney's Inner West - an action research project

Jenny George, Wendy Goldstein

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


    The Iron Cove to Cooks River GreenWay, Sydney, is a community vision for a public asset incorporating issues of sustainability, biodiversity, community engagement and transport. It is overlaid by a complex governance arrangement due to multiple landowners and stakeholders. There are four Inner West local government partners, the NSW Government and over ten other active community and stakeholders groups. This paper reports on an action research project aimed at developing sustainable governance processes and improving sustainable management outcomes. The academic research approach included a literature review, international case study comparisons, stakeholder participation analysis (including interviews and meeting observation), and capacity building practices. The journey towards sustainable governance by the Greenway stakeholders explored the need for social and ecological restructuring action, and recognised it as a political activity within which a collective and interactive process of negotiation takes place. Thus, the action research approach sought inclusive collaborative planning, processes for mediating between conflicting social interests, opportunities for creating common visions of the future and sustained ownership relationships among all participating groups. The ability of current governance to achieve environmental and social visions and outcomes is explored, and the potential for alternative sustainable governance options discussed. The study reports on the role of multiple discourses and collaborative and non-exploitative relations where experts (including researchers) and those in power positions (including senior bureaucrats and politicians) become participants and other sources of knowledge and expertise are equally recognised. It has some interesting findings regarding the input of the expert community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationUPE10
    Subtitle of host publicationNext city : planning for a new energy & climate future
    EditorsNicole Gurran, Peter Phibbs, Susan Thompson
    Place of PublicationSydney
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Print)9781742102818
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventInternational Urban Planning and Environment Association Symposium (10th : 2012) - Sydney
    Duration: 24 Jul 201227 Jul 2012


    ConferenceInternational Urban Planning and Environment Association Symposium (10th : 2012)


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