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Understanding the role of collaborative planning in resolving the conflict between the three fundamental goals of planning for the purpose of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development in contested areas : the South Durban Basin (SDB)

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The field of planning has been defined by conflicts between the three fundamental goals of planning: economic development; social equity; and environmental development. These conflicts have been caused by competition between two worldviews, namely the expansionist and ecological perspectives. The expansionist perspective favours the conventional economic imperative to maximize production. The ecological perspective favours the ecological imperative to protect the ecosphere and the social equity imperative to minimize human suffering. Though these perspectives are in competition, the expansionist perspective is dominant in the planning profession. Despite the perpetuation of the conflicts by the dominance of the expansionist perspective in the planning profession, practitioners continue to use conventional planning to advance economic development over social equity and environmental protection. These conflicts have implications for the sustainability of development. In the South Durban Basin, the competition between the expansionist and the ecological perspectives and the dominance of the former is manifested in the conflict between the scales of need; at the national and local scales. The research discovered that the conflict between the scales of need presented a dilemma for planners because they are obligated to plan for the conservation of the environment, and at the same time plan for the growth of the economy for the benefit of all people in society. Invariably, planners find themselves responding more to needs of those with power; at the national scale, whose interest is economic growth. In order for the planners to respond equally to their multiple obligations, they need to integrate the expansionist and ecological perspectives. The study sought to prove that the integration can only be achieved through collaborative planning, so that sustainable development emerges as the framework policy. Ultimately, as this study actually proved, the South Durban Basin is such a contested landscape to the extent that collaborative planning was found not to be possible. The lack of collaborative planning therefore means that sustainable development cannot be achieved, as the study of South Durban Basin conclusively proved.


Thesis (M.T.R.P.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2010.


Sustainable development--KwaZulu-Natal--Durban., City planning--KwaZulu-Natal--Durban., Theses--Town and regional planning.