SUSTAINABLE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FROM PERSPECTIVE OF CITIZENS: SALASPILS MUNICIPALITY (LATVIA) CASE
Conditions are very different in the different parts of any country, and the quality of life as well as the impacts produced on the environment depend on a variety of local factors of environmental, economic and cultural nature, and every action must cope with such local conditions, traditions, and attitudes. Thereby one of the approaches on assessment of sustainable development could be based on subjective evaluation of citizens of certain municipality. During 2010-2012 in Salaspils municipality (Latvia) the SPIRAL methodology for measurement of subjective well-being indicators using co-responsibility approach was approbated, which was the basis for establishing the more efficient dialogue with citizens. This research showed results related to sustainable development as well – the methodology provides alternative subjective sustainable development indicators which provides the reach material for local authorities in decision-making process. Taking into account all mentioned before the purpose of paper is to analyse the results conducted during this research related to subjective sustainable development indicators contrary to objective sustainable indicators of municipality. In order to achieve the aim the tasks are formulated as follows: 1 to review theoretical background for responsible sustainable development at local level; 2 to analyse best practice of municipalities in ensuring the citizens’ engagement in promoting sustainable development in the municipality; 3 to present the methodology of conducted empirical research at Salaspils municipality on assessment the well-being at local level and relation to sustainable development. Research methods used: scientific literature studies, several stages of focus group discussions, statistical data analysis, SPIRAL methodology, scenario method. The main findings of the paper – subjective evaluation of economic, social and environment differs from objective measures. It could be explained by the fact that subjective indicators capture the satisfaction of inhabitants by certain moment. In addition, objective indicators don’t show the level of satisfaction what brings each measure unit (EUR, %, etc.). Also the subjective perceptions of inhabitants affects mentality, culture and other background factors. In addition, it is crucial for sustainable development of the territory to ensure that society is effectively involved in preparation of planning documents of the municipality. It is proposed to use co-responsibility approach in definition and implementation of activities towards sustainable development of municipality.