Planning for Sustainability in Small Municipalities: The Influence of Interest Groups, Growth Patterns, and Institutional Characteristics

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Journal of Planning Education and Research


How and why small municipalities promote sustainability through planning efforts is poorly understood. We analyzed ordinances in 451 Maine municipalities and tested theories of policy adoption using regression analysis. We found that smaller communities do adopt programs that contribute to sustainability relevant to their scale and context. In line with the political market theory, we found that municipalities with strong environmental interests, higher growth, and more formal governments were more likely to adopt these policies. Consideration of context and capacity in planning for sustainability will help planners better identify and benefit from collaboration, training, and outreach opportunities.


© The Author(s) 2016

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DOI: 10.1177/0739456X16655601

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by National Science Foundation award EPS-0904155 to Maine EPSCOR Sustainability Solutions Initiative at the University of Maine. This is Maine Agriculture and Forest Experiment Station Publication #3480. The project was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Project Numbers ME0-H-6-00509-13 and ME0-L-7-00524-13