Social Sustainability: Participant-led Dialogue as a Basis for the Development of a Conceptual Framework for Energy Infrastructure Decisions

By John Whitton, Ioan Mihangel Parry and Joseph M. Howe.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 11, 2014 $US5.00

The concept of social sustainability is discussed in a wide range of literatures with varying emphases; relating to multiple disciplines such as urban planning, international development and accountancy. Authors agree that a notion of social sustainability is difficult to define and comprises numerous component parts or criteria, such as community cohesion, human wellbeing, effective dialogue and the access that individuals and communities have to those that make important decisions on their behalf. The definition and measurement of these criteria and the role of social sustainability in decision making is a contentious issue (the holistic versus reductionist debate). We outline our journey towards a conceptual framework for social sustainability and how our earlier research on the role of dialogue during engagement on energy infrastructure development has led us to propose a conceptual framework for the inclusion of social sustainability criteria in decision making within a range of settings.

Keywords: Social Sustainability,, Energy infrastructure,, Dialogue,, Decision making,, Criteria

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 9, Issue 3, April 2014, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 11, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 298.975KB)).

Dr. John Whitton

Centre Manager, Centre for Energy and Power Management, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire, UK

Dr John Whitton joined the UCLan Centre for Energy and Power Management as Centre Manager in December 2010 to manage a £1m BAE Systems UCLan initiative in intelligent energy management systems. For twelve years prior to this, John led the socio-environmental capability at the National Nuclear Laboratory and also completed a part time, work based Nuclear Decommissioning Authority/NNL sponsored PhD in the societal aspects of nuclear decommissioning stakeholder dialogue. He is a trained facilitator, has organized and facilitated numerous technical and public workshops for nuclear decommissioning and has represented the UK at the OECD in Paris on energy issues. He leads the Energy and Society theme within the Centre and is Director of Studies for two from seven Research Council case awards students currently based at the Centre on this theme.

Ioan Mihangel Parry

PhD Student, Centre of Energy and Power Management, University of Central Lancashire, UK

Prof. Joseph M. Howe

Director Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK

Joe Howe undertook a degree and Ph.D. in environmental geography. He has previously worked at the universities of East Anglia, Manchester and Belfast before being appointed to his current position as Professor and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Lancashire. He has done extensive research concerning the inter-agency relations of environmental policy. More recently he has undertaken work commissioned by a number of agencies concerning climate change adaptation, energy futures and environmental methodologies.