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Re-evaluating sustainability assessment: aligning the vision and the practice

Bond, A. and Morrison-Saunders, A. (2011) Re-evaluating sustainability assessment: aligning the vision and the practice. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 31 (1). pp. 1-7.

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    Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eiar.2010.01.007
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    Abstract

    Sustainable Development is the core goal of the expanding field of Sustainability Assessment (SA). However, we find that three key areas of debate in relation to SA practice in England and Western Australia can be classified as policy controversies. Through literature review and analysis of documentary evidence we consider the problem of reductionism (breaking down complex processes to simple terms or component parts) as opposed to holism (considering systems as wholes); the issue of contested understandings of the meaning of sustainability (and of the purpose of SA); and the definition of 'inter-generational' in the context of sustainable development and how this is reflected in the timescales considered in SA. We argue that SA practice is based on particular framings of the policy controversies and that the critical role of SA in facilitating deliberation over these controversies needs to be recognised if there is to be a move towards a new deliberative sustainability discourse which can accommodate these different framings.

    Publication Type: Journal Article
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Copyright: 2010 Elsevier B.V.
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/1704
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