Local Economic Development and the Environment

Local Economic Development and the Environment

Local Economic Development and the Environment

Local Economic Development and the Environment

Synopsis

Focusing upon the potential to integrate economic and environmental policies at the local and regional scale, this book investigates local initiatives to illustrate both the constraints and opportunities for local policy makers.

Excerpt

My initial interest in the environmental implications of local and regional economic development came about through a commissioned piece of research for the Centre for Local Economic Strategies in Manchester back in 1992. Since that time, my interest has further developed through conducting a number of research projects in this area, in the form of academic projects funded through the UK research councils, as well as more consultancy-type work for practitioners. This book represents an attempt to pull much of this work together into some sort of coherent whole. Coming from a background in economic geography, I have noticed a general lack of interest in the environmental consequences of economic development by most other economic geographers. Similarly, though, when reading much of the environmental literature, and the proposals that are made for sustainable development and more environmentally-aware policies, I have also noticed a lack of awareness of the broader economic context for such initiatives. In both cases I think this is a pity, as both sets of literature and authors have much to offer each other. Obviously there are exceptions to the lack of overlap and some researchers have drawn upon both literatures, but I think there remains considerable scope for much more work that attempts to combine the two interpretations. The importance of doing so relates, in part, to the much greater attention paid to environmental issues in economic policy at all spatial scales in recent years. Obviously, this also relates to the serious threat that such ecological problems pose to economic and social activities as they currently exist. Although not everyone is convinced of the magnitude of such changes, it is widely agreed that ecological problems such as enhanced global warming, changing weather patterns and sea level rise are occurring and that the current organisation of economic activities is in large part responsible. The concept of sustainable development, widely publicised following the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, suggests that economic, environmental and social aims can now be made compatible. Exactly how this is to be done has remained very unclear, despite the widespread adoption of at least the rhetoric of sustainability in policy documents at international, national and

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