In recent years there has been increasing interest in the use of so-called 'economic instruments' in environmental policy. Economic instruments influence the behaviour of economic agents by providing financial incentives for environmentally improved behaviour, or disincentives for damaging behaviour. This paper explores the use of economic instruments in the field of sustainable community planning and development. It does so in the wider context of how environmental economic policy is made. The focus of this paper is to examine the role of policy instruments in community planning, and to review the different types of instruments that are available to policy-makers. Numerous examples of the various instruments at the community level are described. It is widely believed that policy making should occur at the lowest or most local level possible while maintaining effectiveness. A system of government that does not give adequate legal power to local governments, and does not allow local governments considerable flexibility in the use of funds, cannot be expected to achieve all community objectives. Central governments must give local governments permission to take measures towards sustainable community planning, even though that requires giving them power to address broader issues. At the same time, when issues that should be addressed at national and international levels are not addressed, local governments may be able to take action individually. Given the general reluctance (and perhaps inability) of governments at all levels today to consider non-economic and, particularly, non-market policy instruments, it is pragmatic as well as timely to improve our understanding of economic instruments for sustainable community development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law