The political filter in the local implementation of initiatives relating to urban ecology


Any given national policy relating to nature in cities will be implemented in varying ways at the local level due to political will and local decision-makers' perceptions of environmental and ecological priorities. Individual mayors, council leaders and powerful municipal officers can exert a major influence on a city's role in environmental matters. However, changes in policy at the national level can abruptly cause programmes to slow down, loose impetus or fail. In the UK, municipal responses to Local Agenda 21 after 1992 depended on whether or not councils were fully committed. As new national priorities emerged, the broad cross-sectoral participation in Local Agenda 21 was lost. New strategies had less outreach to the community. The UK Eco-town programme looked to be ambitious when it was announced, but financial constraints and political changes have led it to become a small scale Eco-community programme of more energy-efficient housing but with few of the originally broad ecological and sustainability goals. Good ideas for urban greenspace have to be fitted into the local political context.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Ian Douglas
Landscape and Urban Planning

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