Citizen Engagement and the Governance of Sustainable Communities
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This study develops an interdisciplinary exploratory approach for understanding concepts and tools for local participation that leads towards sustainability. The research goals include : identifying effective public participation criteria and sustainability criteria, identifying lessons that might be learned from Canadian communities that have used, and applied, public participation and sustainability initiatives, exploring how might these lessons be applied to a mid-sized community such as the City of Waterloo, and exploring how might citizen advisory committees be more effectively engaged to foster sustainability. The ultimate objective is to identify effective participation processes in order to foster sustainability using both secondary literature and a case study methodology. Findings were assessed in the analysis of lessons learned of communities located across Canada to be later refined and tested using the case study of the City of Waterloo, Ontario. The thesis contains an analysis of the conceptual literature and case study research to ascertain the factors that determine effective public participation processes towards sustainability and recommendations for citizen advisory groups that can be used by various local governance stakeholders in a Canadian context.