The fourth pillar of sustainability: culture’s essential role in public planning

Local government Cultural policy Arts citizen participation Social sustainability Australia

This book was commissioned to examine of the potential value of a specifically cultural perspective to the planning, service delivery and evaluation activities of local government. Published in 2001, this book continues to be used today to underpin rigourous cultural planning strategies.

A society’s values are the basis upon which all else is built. These values and the ways they are expressed are a society’s culture. The way a society governs itself cannot be fully democratic without there being clear avenues for the expression of community values, and unless these expressions directly affect the directions society takes. These processes are culture at work. Cultural vitality is as essential to a healthy and sustainable society as social equity, environmental responsibility and economic viability. In order for public planning to be more effective, its methodology should include an integrated framework of cultural evaluation along similar lines to those being developed for social, environmental and economic impact assessment.

The title of this monograph is inspired by Yencken and Wilkinson who, in their book, Resetting the Compass (2000), support those asserting that there should be four pillars of sustainability.

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