Building sustainable communities through participation : analysing the transition from participatory planning to implementation in the case of the Grabouw Sustainable Development Initiative

Boulogne, Fleur Anne (2010-03)

Thesis ((MPhil (Sustainable Development, Planning and Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABTRACT: Through the development of sustainable communities, a transformation process can be incited towards a more sustainable way of life. An important prerequisite of this transformation process is behavioural change. This thesis is based on the supposition that participation can contribute to behavioural change. Behaviour which supports the functioning of sustainable systems, is essential in the long term success of sustainable communities. To sustain this behaviour and create a sense of ownership, participatory processes need to encompass the initial phases of development (planning) as well as the implementation and management phase (governance). To secure the participatory involvement in the implementation phase anchor points need to be created in the planning phase, which enable participation of community members in the implementation phase. By means of a case study this thesis has analysed the role of participation in the pilot project in Grabouw, a medium-sized town in the Western Cape, South Africa. The key objective was to establish whether and in what manner, the participatory planning process anticipated the involvement of community members in the implementation phase. Research shows that in some occasions, participation is defined as an instrument to effectively manage contingencies and facilitate the implementation of government decisions. However, the case studies of Grabouw and Porto Alegre, illustrate that community participation can also be organised in such a way that it enables community members to be involved in a meaningful way in decision-making processes, enabling them to shape their own environment. Defined this way active participation is not merely an instrument but an integral part of a complex system encompassing opportunities for social learning. Active participation can incite a process of „conscientization‟ and empowerment, stimulating people to become aware of sustainable challenges and adapt their behaviour accordingly. This viewpoint on participation is in line with the multi-dimensional nature of sustainable development and based on the need to facilitate a continuous evolving learning system. Furthermore it supports the notion that sustainable development is not a fixed objective but a moving target. Within this perspective sustainable communities need to be flexible entities able to evolve in accordance with increased understanding of the complex interrelated issues of sustainable development.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: ‟n Transformasieproses, gerig op ‟n meer volhoubare lewenswyse, kan deur die ontwikkeling van volhoubare gemeenskappe aangemoedig word. ‟n Belangrike voorvereiste vir so ‟n transformasieproses is gedragsverandering. Gedragsverandering is nie ‟n individuele oefening nie, maar is stewig veranker in sosiale prosesse en word daardeur beïnvloed. Om gedragsverandering op groter skaal te stimuleer, is dit nodig dat individue as katalisators van gedragsverandering optree. Deelname speel ‟n vername rol om volhoubare gemeenskappe as platforms vir volhoubare gedragsverandering op te stel. Die bestaande verskeidenheid tussen die verskillende vlakke van deelname bemoeilik die opstel van een duidelik omlynde definisie van deelname. Die regering en ander gemeenskapsrolspelers het die waarde van deelname besef en dit het algemene gebruik geword om lede van die gemeenskap by die beplanning en/of beheer van volhoubare stedelike ontwikkeling te betrek. Kompleksiteit-teorie bied ‟n waardevolle perspektief in die strewe na dieper verstandhouding rondom die geleenthede en beperkinge van deelname. Hierdie verhandeling het deur middel van ‟n gevallestudie die rol van deelname in die loodsprojek op Grabouw, ‟n medium-grootte dorp in Wes-Kaapland, geanaliseer. Die navorsing wat vir dié verhandeling gedoen is, het deel uitgemaak van ‟n evaluasiestudie wat deur die Ontwikkelingsbank van Suider Afrika bekend gestel is en deur die Omgewingsevaluasie-eenheid aan die Universiteit van Kaapstad (UK) uitgevoer is. Die navorsing het getoon dat in sommige gevalle deelname gedefinieer word as ‟n instrument om omstandighede doeltreffend te beheer en die toepassing van regeringsbesluite af te glad. Die gevallestudies van Grabouw en Porto Allegre wys egter daarop dat deelname ook op so ‟n manier georganiseer kan word dat dit lede van die gemeenskap in staat stel om op betekenisvolle wyse by besluitnemingsprosesse betrokke te raak en sodoende hulle eie omgewing rangskik. Aktiewe deelname wat so gedefinieer word, is nie ‟n instrument nie, maar ‟n integrale deel van ‟n komplekse stelsel wat geleenthede vir sosiale leer omsluit. Aktiewe deelname kan ‟n proses van „gewetensprikkeling‟ en bemagtiging aanmoedig, wat mense stimuleer om bewus te word van volhoubare uitdagings en hulle gedrag dienooreenkomstig aan te pas. Hierdie siening oor deelname is in lyn met die multi-dimensionele aard van volhoubare ontwikkeling en gebaseer op die behoefte om ‟n voortdurende ontwikkelende leerstelsel te fasiliteer. Voorts ondersteun dit die denkwyse dat volhoubare ontwikkeling nie ‟n vasgeankerde doelwit is nie, maar wel ‟n bewegende teiken. Binne hierdie perspektief behoort volhoubare gemeenskappe buigsame entiteite te wees wat daar toe in staat is om met toenemende insig van die komplekse verbandhoudende aangeleenthede rondom volhoubare ontwikkeling, te groei.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4273
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