Regulatory Dynamics, Institutional Cohesiveness, and Regional Sustainability
It is generally acknowledged that economic activity continues apace and at the expense of social and ecological integrity while the course of economic development remains far from any approximation of sustainability. Few would dispute the fact that since 1992 little has been accomplished in practical terms to meet Agenda 21 objectives. Many would agree that Agenda 21-inspired local visions and goals have not translated into actual local change in part because of the complex and the multi-faceted nature of the issues involved. Policy work on ecological modernization and sustainability needs to be explicit on the question of scale and the role of governments. The central challenge for policy makers, action takers, and researchers is to determine the appropriate territorial (physical, social, economic, and political) scale at and through which government power needs to be deployed to effect transition to sustainable modes of regulation. This question is particularly relevant given the current discourse on regionalization / globalization. Adopting a 'post-disciplinary' approach this thesis examines how institutional inter-relations shape the outcome of plans to meet policy objectives on sustainable development at the local (municipality) scale. In-depth analysis of interview and secondary data reveals that numerous factors 'regulate' what occurs at local and other scales in relation to sustainable development. This thesis concludes with exploring the policy and future research implications of the findings.