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Beyond Politics: Strategies to Achieve Community Goals

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Azous, Amanda
Conference: Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Conf. Date: June 10-14
Date: 1998
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1249
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): IASC
decision making--theory
resource management--theory
Abstract: From the Author's Paper: "Effective management of community resources relies on considering economic vitality, ecological health and community quality of life. Too often, decisions are made which ultimately undermine a community's identity, resulting in losses and not gains towards community integrity. Managing common resources needs a decision making process that addresses the economic, ecological and social impacts we know occur when we do something. "First communities should decide by what measure decisions will be evaluated. In the political realm, the standard of measure will vary among individuals between self interest and common interests. The larger the gap between self interest and common interests the greater the political tension and controversy. At times this tension can be a source of creative inspiration but it also has the capacity to sideline discussions and muddy the issues to the detriment of achieving positive outcomes for the community. "A solution is to integrate a method for forming and describing a community vision that compiles all values held in common into the political process. A Community Vision Statement is a description of what citizens want their community to be and how it should be left for future generations. The vision statement should be comprehensive, linking future landscape descriptions with the resource base needed to maintain economic prosperity and desired quality of life. "Now, how do we evaluate decisions as a community, especially when the issues are controversial? Many considerations may cross our minds including best judgment based on experience and wisdom, peer feedback, expert opinion, and cost effectiveness. The problem is individuals evaluate decisions using different criteria that often vary between situations. Our biases can contribute to the undermining of community values and vision. Examples are when politicians focus on reducing costs without analyzing if the outcome will lead toward public goals or when decisions ignore long-term environmental consequences for short term economic gains."

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