Institutional and social capacity enhancement for local sustainable development: lessons from European urban settings

Bob Evans, Marko Joas, Susan Sundback, Kate Theobald

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


One of the key propositions of Chaper 28 of the 1992 Rio Declaration is that the process of 'good governance' is a precondition for achieving sustainable development at the local level. The logic behind this proposition is twofold. First, it is based upon the belief that the changes required to achieve sustainable development are of such magnitude that they cannot be secured by governments acting alone. It will be necessary to mobilize the energies and initiative of citizens, interest organisations and stakeholders-'local communities'- if changes in attitudes, values and behaviour are to be secured. Second, the governance process is regarded as a key mechanism to involve and encorporate citizens and local organisations into the decision making process, thereby increasing political engagement and levels of acceptance of decisions and policies for sustainable development. Drawing upon the findings of the DISCUS (Developing Instituional and Social Capacity for Sustainable Development) research project (Evans et al. 2005) this chapter considers whether the existance of governance processes at the local level (in terms of government capacity and civil society capacity) are a prerequisite for policy capacity in relation to sustainable development. It also considers the nature and influence of institutional and social capacity in the development and implementation of sustainable development policies, through an in-depth study of 40 European towns and cities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIn Pursuit of Sustainable Development: New Governance Practices at the Sub-national Level in Europe
EditorsSusan Baker, Katarina Eckerberg
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages234
ISBN (Print)978-0415599627
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

NameRoutledge/ECPR studies in European political science


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