A Comparative Law Approach to the Notion of Sustainable Development: An Example from Urban Planning Law

  • Ermanno CalzolaioEmail author
Part of the Kobe University Monograph Series in Social Science Research book series (KUMSSSR)


‘Sustainable development’ is a multifarious and multidisciplinary notion. The research project for this book is concerned with pointing out the balancing of a variety of objectives—including that of economic progress, environmental protection, individual rights, and collective interests—that is often shielded by this notion. In that sense, it surely has normative implications for lawmaking and legal application. However, from a legal point of view, the definitions of sustainable development in legal texts are often too vague and in legal literature it is commonly recognised that there is no accepted legal definition. What is more, a 2015 UN General Assembly Resolution acknowledges that ‘there are different approaches, visions, models and tools available to each country, in accordance with its national circumstances and priorities, to achieve sustainable development’. Against this backdrop, the primary aim of the present chapter is to focus on the problems concerning the legal definition of sustainable development. Secondly, this chapter intends to present some methodological reflections on the comparative approach in the process of defining the field of application of the notion of sustainable development. In this respect, it has been argued that an international commitment to sustainable development requires the use of comparative law in order to find, develop and apply solutions to the problems that the imprecise notion of sustainable development engenders. Lastly, this chapter contends that the aims and methods of comparative law transcend the mere assessment of the differences between the rules in force across the various legal systems.


Sustainable development Normative effect Comparative law Urban planning Environmental protection 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MacerataMacerataItaly

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