An investigation of the progress of local authorities in Greece with the integration of sustainable development principles
Sustainability provides the context within which local planning policies are now being prepared. In particular Agenda 21, as the means of giving real substance to sustainable development, suggested that there was a need to focus the process at a local level. This thesis attempts to explore and analyse the institutional (Greek State) response to local sustainable development and to investigate the progress of local authorities in Greece with the integration of sustainable development principles. Two contrasted case studies, one urban local authority and one coastal semi-rural local authority, were used to demonstrate the variety in the status of local sustainable development in Greece, whereas an example from the English practice offered a different approach to local planning enabling a better analysis of the Greek situation. The research design adopted for the case studies was primarily qualitative in approach and mainly used semi-structured interviews, document analysis and observation. The results from the research suggest that in Greece the authorities were lacking certain fundamental elements concerning the integration of sustainable development, although in some of them progress was apparent. In Greece the concept of sustainability is still new in local planning practice and the administration has not fully integrated it in its rules and procedures. This thesis does not undertake to fill that gap but to address some of the possible reasons for these failures and thus stimulate a debate around a range of possible solutions, setting an agenda for ongoing dialogue.