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Authors

Reilly

Abstract

Increasingly, public administrators and managers in the fields of human service and environmental planning have been exploring new avenues to resolve complex and seemingly intractable public problems. Confronting such controversial issues as land management plans, common-pool resources, endangered species, welfare reform, health care and immigration are requiring new and more innovative ways of doing business-ways in which problem-solving and leadership is a shared pursuit of governmental agencies and concerned citizens.

Since collaborative efforts in these arenas have recently reemerged as one avenue to resolve complex policy disputes, it is premature to give an accurate assessment of their long term viability. This research contributes to the emerging data base on collaboration by analyzing two successful case studies within the fields of environmental planning and human service delivery: The Clark County Habitat Conservation Plan for the Desert Tortoise and The Family Preservation and Family Support Program.

Both groups demonstrate how affected parties can craft solutions through collaboration, dialogue and engagement. The collaborative planning of these two groups succeeded where many other groups dealing with the same or similar issues have failed. Given the right mixture of urgency, lack of better options, and committed and dynamic participants, solutions are possible. Through both qualitative and quantitative techniques, this study focuses on factors contributing to their success, limitations of these efforts, and possibilities for improving this method of handling, and ultimately resolving complex community issues.

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