chapter  12.1
5 Pages

Planning for Ecological Sustainability

WithJanis Birkeland

Conventional planning has been little more than a development control process, assessing projects to promote the best available economic use of land and to mitigate the excessive impacts of growth. The failure to distinguish 'planning as development control' and project assessment from the idea of 'planning for sustainability' is one reason for this limited reactive role. Planning is an essential component of developing a sustainable society. Most comprehensive plans have preambles about aiming for sustainability, but to do so they must address the kinds of basic issues that are prerequisite to achieving ecological sustainable development, such as population limits, wilderness preservation and biodiversity. In an ethics-based decision-making system, the methods, processes and structures used to guide the decision-making process would be designed from the ground up, on fundamental principles or ecological/ethical precepts. Planning is equated with decision-making methods and review processes designed to assist decision makers in assessing development proposals as a basis for approving, rejecting these initiatives.