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

AJ Bond, A Morrison-Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Citations (Scopus)

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Cite this