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Environmental Planning in the Caribbean

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jonathan Pugh


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Environmental planning has become a major thrust of Caribbean governmental and non-governmental organizations across the region. Many courses are offered on how it can be achieved in the Caribbean, billions of US dollars are spent through donor agencies on its implementation. One general trend in environmental planning can be noted as increasingly influential over the last decade. There are still a large number of prescriptive texts and programmes for how environmental planning should be implemented across the region, regardless of different contexts and circumstances. However, many donor agencies, Caribbean lecturers, governments, planners, nongovernmental organizations and consultants are becoming increasingly concerned with how environmental planning is produced through specific contexts within the region. Concerns are increasingly with how local circumstances shape, appropriate and adopt the wide range of environmental planning discourses associated with the Caribbean. As illustrated by the general change in emphasis of leading Caribbean environmental organizations, ‘the case study approach’ is therefore becoming more important as a means to learning about environmental planning in the region and developing best practice. Teaching students in the Caribbean in 2003, the editors discussed this need for more accessible work on how environmental planning is produced through particular cultural, social, geographical, political, economic and historical practices. The various contributors to this volume share this general concern. With this in mind, the monograph we have produced contains discussions of how the major environmental planning discourses associated with the Caribbean play out in specific contexts. These discourses include: physical development planning, participatory planning, conservation planning, disaster management, sustainable tourism development, community empowerment and heritage tourism. One outcome of this contextual approach is that some of the authors end up challenging stereotypes of how environmental planning plays out across the region: stereotypes associated with tourism, development agencies, participatory planning, heritage tourism and disaster management, for examples. One contributor shows how tourism does not need to be reduced to its ‘dirty failures and dark secrets’, the case in academic literature. Tourist corporations are often essentialized as having unsustainable capitalist motives. But when the contextual nuances are explored, we find that tourists’ enjoyment of the Caribbean environment throws up a wide range of conflicting power relations, not all of which have negative effects upon the environment. Another author takes a rather different (and in some ways ironic) approach to the increasing emphasis upon ‘the contextual’ in discourses of environmental planning in the Caribbean. He looks at how the emphasis upon ‘local solutions to local problems’ is often re-appropriated and re-articulated across xii Environmental Planning in the Caribbean the Anglophone Caribbean, in order to increase the power of a certain limited number of elites in the governments of these countries. Turning to the three case studies of participatory planning that are presented in this volume, all contributors similarly focus upon how participatory planning cannot be seen simply as a ‘tyranny’ or a ‘positive’ technique, as is often the case in a wide range of literature at the moment. Thus, the central theme of this edited collection is that we should not over simplify the effects of specific planning discourses, Rather, there is a need to examine how environmental planning discourses are produced through cultural, social, geographical, political, economic and historical factors in given contexts; that is, in an era where grand narratives have become less important, a more grounded approach is required. As shown throughout this monograph, this way of thinking often serves to challenge stereotypes, pointing to the need for a more context-specific approach to how environmental planning can be improved in the future. In providing this collection of individual case studies, we hope to have made some contribution to this approach. Specific thanks go to Pat FitzGerald for her editorial help in producing the final version. As the publishers of this volume, Ashgate, and specifically our editor Val Rose, are to be thanked for their support for this volume. Jon Pugh also wishes to thank the Economic and Social Research Council for fully funding his three year Fellowship, which involved a range of projects looking at the nature of environmental planning in the Caribbean (2002–2004) (Ref: R000271204). This monograph is one specific output of that Fellowship, to which the Economic and Social Research Council gave full financial support – from conception to publication.

Publication metadata

Editor(s): Pugh J, Momsen JH

Publication type: Edited Book

Publication status: Published

Series Title:

Year: 2006

Number of Pages: 207

Publisher: Ashgate

Place Published: UK

Notes: The first academic text on environmental planning in the Caribbean

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 0754643913