Plan-making for Sustainability: The New Zealand Experience, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Plan-making for Sustainability

The New Zealand Experience, 1st Edition

By Neil J. Ericksen, Philip R. Berke, Jennifer E. Dixon


374 pages

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Around the introduction of Agenda 21 at Rio in 1991, some countries like the Netherlands and New Zealand were already leading the way with quite innovative approaches to environmental planning. Focusing on the New Zealand government's innovations in sustainable and environmental planning, particularly the Resource Management Act of 1991, this book highlights planning and governance under devolved and co-operative mandates. It uses multiple methods to evaluate the quality of policy statements and district plans prepared by regional and local councils respectively, as well as the various inter- and intra-organizational and institutional factors affecting them. It also analyses the quality of the plans' implementation through the consensus or permits process, and the quality of the environmental outcomes.


'Plan-making for Sustainability provides a sobering review of New Zealand's experiment in mandating comprehensive planning. The authors bring a wealth of experience and data to provide a balanced, insightful, and highly readable assessment …The book is essential reading for those who seek to understand the challenges of implementing intergovernmental planning mandates.' Professor Peter J. May, University of Washington, USA 'Neil Ericksen and colleagues have produced an important and fascinating evidence-based analysis of the challenges faced in implementing the pioneering New Zealand Resource Management Act. Their research approach and findings are of considerable relevance, internationally, for all those concerned with planning for sustainability.' Professor John Glasson, Oxford Brookes University, UK

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: from Rio to RMA: great expectations. Part I: Approaches to Planning and Governance: Planning mandates: from theory to practice; Making plans: from theory to practice. Part II: Intergovernmental Planning in New Zealand: Central government: walking the talk; Regional government: a non-partner; Mãori interests: elusive partnership. Part III: Plan Quality and Capability Under the RMA: Regional councils: lightweight policy statements and limited capability; District councils: mixed results in planning and capability; Influencing factors: linking mandates, councils, capability and quality. Part IV: Local Case Studies: Far North District: resisting innovation; Queenstown Lakes District: development meets environment; Tauranga District: policy coherence on the coast; Tasman District: political populism; Conclusion: a decade on: unfulfilled expectations. Appendices: Key provisions of the RMA affecting local government functions; Methodology; Plan coding protocol; References cited; Index.

About the Authors

Neil J. Ericksen is a Professor at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Philip R. Berke is a Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina, USA. Dr Janet L. Crawford works for Planning Consultants Ltd (Auckland), New Zealand, and Jennifer E. Dixon is a Professor in the Department of Planning, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

About the Series

Urban Planning and Environment

Urban Planning and Environment
Maintaining and enhancing living conditions in cities through a combination of physical planning and environmental management is a newly emerging focus of governments around the world. For example, local governments seek to insulate sensitive land uses such as residential areas from environmentally intrusive activities such as major transport facilities and manufacturing. Regional governments protect water quality and natural habitat by enforcing pollution controls and regulating the location of growth. Some national governments fund acquisition of strategically important sites, facilitate the renewal of brown fields, and even develop integrated environmental quality plans. The aim of this series is to share information on experiments and best practices of governments at several levels. These empirically-based studies present and critically assess a variety of initiatives to improve environmental quality. Although institutional and cultural contexts vary, lessons from one commonly can provide useful ideas to other communities. Each of the contributions are independently peer reviewed, and are intended to be helpful to professional planners and environmental managers, elected officials, representatives of NGOs, and researchers seeking improved ways to resolve environmental problems in urban areas and to foster sustainable urban development.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Regional Planning