Effective Protection of Open Space: Does Planning Matter?

Environmental Management, Vol, 44, pp. 93-104, 2009

12 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2011

See all articles by Toddi A. Steelman

Toddi A. Steelman

University of Saskatchewan

George Hess

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 20, 2009


High quality plans are considered a crucial part of good land use planning and often used as a proxy measure for success in plan implementation and goal attainment. We explored the relationship of open space plan quality to the implementation of open space plans and attainment of open space protection goals in Research Triangle, North Carolina, USA. To measure plan quality, we used a standard plan evaluation matrix that we modified to focus on open space plans. We evaluated all open space plans in the region that contained a natural resource protection element. To measure plan implemenation and open space protection, we developed an online survey and administered it to open space planners charged with implementing the plans. The survey elicited each planner’s perspective on aspects of open space protection in his or her organization. The empirical results (1) indicate that success in implementation and attaining goals are not related to plan quality, (2) highlight the importance of when and how stakeholders are involved in planning and implementation processes, and (3) raise questions about the relationship of planning to implementation. These results suggest that a technically excellent plan does not guarantee the long-term relationships among local landowners, political and appointed officials, and other organizations that are crucial to meeting land protection goals. A greater balance of attention to the entire decision process and building relationships might lead to more success in protecting open space.

Keywords: Land protection, Stakeholder involvement

Suggested Citation

Steelman, Toddi A. and Hess, George, Effective Protection of Open Space: Does Planning Matter? (September 20, 2009). Environmental Management, Vol, 44, pp. 93-104, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1931086 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1931086

Toddi A. Steelman (Contact Author)

University of Saskatchewan ( email )

School of Environment and Sustainability
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5A7

George Hess

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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