UBC Theses and Dissertations
Integrating cumulative effects assessment with regional planning Colnett, Dianna Lee
This thesis explores the question of how regional planning for the assessment and management of cumulative environmental effects would differ from existing regional planning systems in terms of goals, planning processes, and regional governance. The thesis begins with a review of the field of cumulative effects assessment, followed by an exploration of the linkages between the assessment of cumulative effects and regional planning. Then, principles to integrate the assessment of cumulative effects with regional planning are identified and explained. The principles are, in terms of planning goals, to maintain ecological integrity, reduce consumption of resources and energy, and minimize waste. In terms of planning processes, the principles are to employ a strategic planning perspective, undertake comprehensive planning, ensure the planning process is adaptable, and involve the public throughout the planning process. In terms of governance and institutional concerns, the principles are to give regional districts the authority and fiscal capacity to implement and enforce decisions and make regional districts accountable to their citizens. The case of regional planning in Greater Vancouver is used to illustrate how these principles can be applied. An evaluation of the degree to which regional planning in Greater Vancouver currently meets the principles is undertaken to identify where efforts for change in regional planning can be directed. Overall, in terms of a four-point scale from poor to excellent, Greater Vancouver's regional planning is rated as fair in terms of setting relevant policy goals and fair to good in meeting the principles of governance. In terms of planning practice, the region is good but moving to fair with respect to being strategic and comprehensive and only fair in terms of being adaptive and participatory. It is concluded that because regional planning is a suitable forum for linking local action with global issues, regional planning can provide an appropriate institutional context for the assessment and management of cumulative effects. However, current approaches to regional planning in Greater Vancouver would have to change substantially to address this goal. While many constraints stand in the way of change, many opportunities also exist. To realize the potential of regional planning for assessing and managing cumulative effects, institutional arrangements, attitudes, and professional practice will have to change.
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