The Role of Cultural Resources in Community Sustainability: Linking Concepts to Practice and Planning

By Nancy Duxbury and M. Sharon Jeannotte.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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While there is growing international policy attention to the place of culture in sustainability, and ‘four pillar’ local sustainability planning frameworks such as Canada’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plans encourage communities to integrate culture into local sustainability planning, both conceptual and pragmatic issues challenge these efforts. At present, thinking about culture in a community sustainability context is emergent and diversely conceived, and the elaboration of a ‘culture and sustainability’ paradigm is not yet fully coherent. It is informed by UNESCO’s statements on the contributions of cultural diversity to sustainable development, the recovery of historical and culture-specific approaches and worldviews, and local-level community development trends. Further conceptual development and clarification is required, and efforts must also be made to link the conceptualization efforts into policy/planning practice and on-the-ground actions. Towards elaborating a ‘culture and sustainability’ planning/policy paradigm, this paper outlines the international emergence and evolution of initiatives to integrate culture into local sustainability planning, examines important conceptual influences on understanding the role of cultural resources in sustainability, and highlights conceptual and pragmatic issues that challenge planning and policy efforts.

Keywords: Culture and Sustainability, Community Sustainability Planning, Urban Planning

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.133-144. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 453.164KB).

Dr. Nancy Duxbury

Senior Researcher, Cities, Cultures and Architecture Research Group, Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

Nancy Duxbury, PhD, is a Senior Researcher and Co-coordinator of the ‘Cities, Cultures and Architecture’ research group of the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal, and a participant in the European COST Action on ‘Investigating Cultural Sustainability’. She is also an Adjunct Professor of the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, Canada. Her research interests include culture and sustainability, cultural planning and local governance, and the integration of cultural considerations within broader planning initiatives. She is internationally published, and has been a guest editor for the journals Culture and Local Governance (special double issue on ‘Culture and Sustainable Communities’, co-edited with M.S. Jeannotte), Society and Leisure, and the Canadian Journal of Communication. She was lead author of Under Construction: The State of Cultural Infrastructure in Canada and Developing and Revitalizing Rural Communities through Arts and Creativity.

M. Sharon Jeannotte

Senior Fellow, Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Since 1996, my primary research focus has been on social cohesion as a horizontal public policy issue affecting Canadian society. In recent years, I have been exploring the intersections between culture and sustainability in planning and policy, with particular attention to the inclusion of culture in Canada’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plans. I have published research on a variety of subjects, including the impact of value change on Canadian society, international definitions of social cohesion, the points of intersection between cultural policy and social cohesion, the role of cultural participation and cultural capital in building sustainable communities, culture and volunteering, and immigration and cultural citizenship. In 2005, I co-edited, with Caroline Andrew, Monica Gattinger, and Will Straw, a volume entitled Accounting for Culture: Thinking Through Cultural Citizenship, published by the University of Ottawa Press. I was also part of a research team studying the social effects of culture, which produced several papers that were featured by the Canadian Journal of Communication in April 2006.