Regional Sustainable Development Planning - Does Time Horizon Make a Difference?
McGill University, Faculty of Management
1001 Sherbrooke Street West, Montréal, Québec H3A 1G5 Canada
|One of the core concepts of sustainable development is that it encompasses inter-generational timeframes. Yet, we often plan for sustainable development in a short time horizon. By choosing one time horizon, i.e., five years, decisions can be made that have benefits for one activity sector (e.g., filling in wetlands for urban development), but have long-term consequences for another activity sector (e.g., flooding from water displacement) (Sustainable Cities Programme, 1999). This is why doing multi-horizon planning can help avoid trade-offs and improve triple bottom-line efforts. |
One of the usages of time in management literature is the study of time horizon (Das 1987; Nor 1999). A complementary research stream might be called planning time horizons. It includes work regarding short versus long-term focus (Ancona, Goodman et al 2001); inter-temporal choice (Laverty 1996); time and goal setting (Fried and Slowik 2004); temporal zones (Ancona et al 2001); system velocities (Kohn 1998); and multiple time frames (Ancona, Goodman, et al., 2001).
Interestingly, most municipalities do regional sustainable development planning based on only one time horizon. This ranges from five years (Montréal), to 25 years (Halifax), to 100 years (Vancouver). Based on the literature and various regional sustainable development strategies and plans throughout Canada, the following propositions can be made:
1: Long-term versus medium-term versus short-term sustainable development strategy will have a different integration of ecological, social and economic considerations in the plan content.
[Presentation: This presentation will contribute to the conference’s specific question of regional sustainable development planning.]