Integrating Different Forms of Knowledge in Local Policy-Making: The Case of Local Air Quality Management in Southampton

By Laurence Carmichael.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This article examines how the English city of Southampton has implemented the EU Air Quality Framework Directive 1996 that requires EU local authorities to periodically review and assess local air quality and develop action plans to reduce certain pollutants to acceptable levels. In particular, the research aimed at examining how the local governance regime and institutional setting in the case study filtered different types of knowledge throughout the policy process and helped or limited policy learning and sustainability. The case study is part of the EU funded project Governance for Sustainability (G-FORS) which studies the role of different types of knowledge in local environment policies and compares how different governance systems and institutional settings across Europe filter knowledge in local decision-making and impede the achievement of reflectivity and learning, contrasting in particular hierarchy with markets and networks. As we will see, our case study reflected a very hierarchical setting of public policy which has regulated policy processes and outcomes. Air quality management was chosen as an area requiring sophisticated air quality data and modelling to develop local action. In this article, we are particularly interested in the link between the strategy aimed at linking local air quality management (LAQM) to the local transport plan in Southampton. Within that context, we will first summarise the theoretical approach, outlining the concepts of governance and knowledge identified. Secondly, we will expose the key characteristics of the case study, outlining the main forms of knowledge and governance arrangement identified in LAQM. Finally, we will outline the key findings in terms of knowledge, governance and the relationship between the two, in particular its impact on policy sustainability.

Keywords: Knowledge, Urban Governance, Air Quality Policy, Sustainability

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.333-344. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.256MB).

Dr. Laurence Carmichael

Research Fellow, Cities Research Centre, University of the West of England, Bristol, Avon, UK

Laurence Carmichael, LLB, LLM, PhD was educated both in France and Britain, gaining her PhD in Political Science from Newcastle-upon-Tyne University. She has an interest in multi-level governance, and the role of different actors in sustainability policies. Laurence has worked on a number of EU research projects linked to governance and policies at the local level. She has also done consultancy work for a number of agencies, including the Environment Agency and Planning Aid Wales. She is involved in the local community and has served as Parish and District Councillor in the past. She is also involved in various community led initiatives.


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