Application of life cycle thinking in multidisciplinary multistakeholder contexts for cross-sectoral planning and implementation of sustainable development projects

Authors

  • Lanka Thabrew,

    1. ME Rinker, Sr School of Building Construction, University of Florida, 326 Rinker Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
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  • Robert Ries

    Corresponding author
    1. ME Rinker, Sr School of Building Construction, University of Florida, 311 Rinker Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
    • ME Rinker, Sr School of Building Construction, University of Florida, 311 Rinker Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
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Abstract

Development planning and implementation is a multifaceted and multiscale task mainly because of the involvement of multiple stakeholders across sectors and disciplines. Even though top-down sectoral planning is commonly practiced, bottom-up cross-sectoral planning involving all relevant stakeholders in a transdisciplinary learning environment has been recognized as a better option, especially if the goal is to drive development projects toward sustainable implementation (Rowe and Fudge 2003; Müller et al. 2005; Global Development Research Center 2008). Even though many planning approaches have this goal, there are limited decision frameworks that are suitable for achieving consensus among stakeholders from multiple disciplines with sectoral objectives and priorities. In most instances, the upstream and downstream effects of development decisions are not thoroughly investigated or communicated with the relevant stakeholders, strongly affecting cross-sectoral integration in the real world (Wiek, Brundiers, et al. 2006). This article presents methodological aspects of developing a stakeholder based life cycle assessment framework (SBLCA) for upstream–downstream decision analysis in a multistakeholder development planning context. The applicability of the framework is demonstrated using simple examples extracted from a pilot case study conducted in Sri Lanka for sustainable posttsunami reconstruction at a village scale. The applicability of SBLCA in specific planning stages, how it promotes transdisciplinary learning and cross-sectoral stakeholder integration in phases of project cycles, and how local stakeholders can practice life cycle thinking in their village development planning and implementation are discussed.

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