Conceptualising sustainability in sports development.
Leisure Studies, 27, (3), . (doi:10.1080/02614360802048886).
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Sustainability is a concept that has become ubiquitous in sports development policy and
practice. Despite this ubiquity, there remains a lack of clarity in practical understandings
of the concept of sustainability. Moreover, research on sport and sustainability is limited
and lacks theoretical underpinning. This article addresses these problems by proposing
frameworks that can be used to examine and understand sustainability in sports
development. In particular, two frameworks are developed through synthesising
sustainability concepts presented in the literature on health programmes and adapting them
to sports development through consideration of recent policies and programmes. The first
framework addresses definitional issues by identifying four forms of sustainability that
may be addressed by sports development programmes, namely individual, community,
organisational and institutional sustainability. The second framework allows classification
of processes that affect sustainability according to dimensions that concern the level of
control held by agencies responsible for sports development sustainability and the level
of integration between processes to achieve desired sports development outcomes and
processes to achieve sustainability. Presentation of a case study of sustainability in the
New Opportunities for PE and Sport Activities programme in Scotland enables discussion
of the applicability of the frameworks to sports development as well as identification of
implications that are derived from application of the frameworks. On the basis of this
analysis, conclusions are drawn concerning the relationships between different forms
of sustainability and the effectiveness of sports development programmes and the types
of processes that affect different forms of sustainability. The implications for future
research on sports development sustainability are discussed.
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