Tangled Up In Blue: The Croatian Islands And Participatory Development Planning
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N. Starc & P. Stubbs
The socio-economic history of the Croatian islands is viewed in the paper as a nonlinear narrative of various uninvited but irresistible disembarkations. In spite of the socialist self-management system that the Croatian island communities had been a part of for almost half a century, stakeholder participation was proposed only recently. It was institutionalized in 1997 when the National Island Development Programme was passed by the Croatian Parliament and the Island Development Centre established in the ministry of development. The Island Law and some necessary bye-laws were passed in the period 1999–2002, creating conditions for the preparation of Sustainable Island Development Programmes for each and every inhabited island and securing a special line item for islands in the national budget. This constituted a rather peculiar ‘top-down meets bottomup’ form of island development management. The text examines the actual implementation of the island development management scheme. Participation in island development management is addressed as a specific topic within the study of local development planning in a post-communist transition context. It is shown how the Croatian practice of central financing has acted as a disincentive for island administrations to increase their own development management capacity. Despite certain gains the complex relationships between political competencies, institutional capacities, and socio-cultural forces continue to work against participatory planning. Keywords: islands, Croatia, participation, planning.
Keywords: islands, Croatia, participation, planning