Community-Driven Regulation
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From Urban and Industrial Environments

Community-Driven Regulation

Balancing Development and the Environment in Vietnam

By Dara O'Rourke

Overview

Author(s)

Praise

Summary

In Community-Driven Regulation Dara O'Rourke proposes a new policy model for pollution control, based on detailed case studies from rapidly industrializing Vietnam. He shows that environmental problems can be solved when affected community groups mobilize to pressure both state and industry and argues that this strategy, which he terms "community-driven regulation," used successfully in Vietnam, can achieve similar success in other countries. Vietnam's recent entry into the world economy has brought many benefits to its population—more jobs, higher income levels, more plentiful goods and services. But this very rapid growth of industry has also brought predictable environmental problems. Areas near industrial plants experience declining crop yields and polluted groundwater; residents downwind from factories suffer respiratory ailments. Vietnam thus serves as a model for nations dealing with environmental problems during the transition to an industrialized economy and global integration. O'Rourke offers six detailed case studies, based on his own fieldwork in Vietnam, that show how strategies adopted by local communities achieved positive results despite a strong state bias toward development and the absence of existing advocacy groups, a free press, or politically vulnerable elected officials. The firms studied are both state-run and multinational; they include a Taiwanese textile factory, a state-owned fertilizer plant, and a Korean factory producing shoes for Nike. The communities affected range from traditional villages to urban neighborhoods. O'Rourke's policy model of community-state synergy challenges traditional notions of state-centric environmental regulation and questions the growing literature that identifies market mechanisms as the best way to solve environmental problems in developing countries.

Hardcover

Out of Print ISBN: 9780262151085 288 pp. | 9 in x 6 in

Paperback

$6.75 X ISBN: 9780262650649 288 pp. | 9 in x 6 in

Endorsements

  • Dara O'Rourke brings a critically important new dimension to the discourse on sustainability: human agency expressed through community-driven environmental regulation. He offers a rich, detailed account of the Vietnamese people's struggle to sustain their communities against global industry. This book gives hope that continuing political renovation and the rise of civil society in Vietnam can more effectively meet the challenges of environmental management through community-state synergies.

    C. Michael Douglass

    Director, Globalization Research Center and Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii

  • O'Rourke shows that even in the context of a poor market-socialist country whose state places the highest priority on attracting foreign investment in manufacturing, community-driven regulation can be surprisingly effective in reducing pollution and other forms of environmental degradation. Another important conclusion of his study that is relevant to both North and South is the critical role that citizen access to information on pollution emission standards and on how local firms compare to others across the country plays in such regulation.

    Frederick H. Buttel

    William H. Sewell Professor of Rural Sociology and Professor of Environmental Studies University of Wisconsin–Madison