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Communication dans un congrès Année : 2010

Bioregionalism as a new development paradigm


The reasoning that proposed the magical triad of growth, progress and development through the 20th century have been gradually losing ground when confronted to phenomena associated to the expansion of the western model, such as the increase in risks and inequalities between countries and regions, or the tremendous transformation of a considerable percentage of global ecosystems, that characterizes the current worldwide ecological crisis. This, together with market hegemony, the intensification of economic globalization and the influence of transnational companies over national territories, have been eroding the notion of governance, based until today on the political concept of sovereignty. This general context shows the relative depletion of some economic and social organization models, and the impasse that international policy seems to have fallen into when dealing with the limits imposed by the capacity of ecosystems to sustain anthropic processes without endangering the integrity of their constitution (Fernández, 1999; Leis, 2004). One of the few answers given by the paradigm of modern age to earth's limits has been the controversial concept of "sustainable development." The bioregional model is inscribed among diverse alternative strategies within its heart, capable of integrating economic processes with environmental services and community needs. Born in North America in the mid 1970's, from the ecocentric side of the environmental movement, Bioregionalism constitutes the first social movement that proposed a strong bond of principles put forward centuries ago by different currents of thought and disciplines against the scientific-mechanistic paradigm. It is defined as a body of knowledge and practices that responds to the challenge of reconnecting societies in a sustainable way with their local and regional natural matrix, the bioregion, an area whose natural conditions influence the forms of human occupancy, and that may exceed the inter-provincial limits, or those of two or more countries, when human and ecosystemic communities go beyond political limits, offering, according to its mentors, the most adequate spatial scale for human governance and socioeconomic development (Aberley, 1994). The goal of this paper is to examine bioregionalism from the insights of authors like Berg, Dasmann, Sale, Dodge, Aberley, Mc Ginnis, Miller, Haenke and Gudynas, recognizing theoretical dimensions and operative concepts, as well as the key characteristics of bioregional planning from the adaptation of the landscape planning model offered by Frederick Steiner. The first part refers about the need for a new paradigm of development. The second part focuses on the analysis of central values and propositions that inspire the bioregionalism, as a new paradigm. A third part aims to identify the application of this body of thought in the categories that define bioregional practice, to demonstrate the potential of bioregions as a policy instrument for sustainable development, as well as to recognize the implicit challenges for its implementation. A fourth and last part explores the possibilities for the application of the bioregional paradigm
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halshs-00533625, version 1 (05-03-2013)


  • HAL Id : halshs-00533625 , version 1


Silvana Maria Cappuccio. Bioregionalism as a new development paradigm. International Conference of Territorial Intelligence, Nov 2009, Salerno, Italy. 9p. ⟨halshs-00533625⟩
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