Practitioners' perceptions on community involvement in land use planning in Belize
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In Belize, the pressure for tourism development in the villages, smaller settlements, and the two municipalities of Belize City and Dangriga is overwhelming. Engagement with the communities on land and other development issues at this time is only required when an Environmental Impact Assessment is triggered by significant negative impacts on the environment. Communities are not engaged with, or informed on, the multitude of issues, projects and research that affect their livelihoods, culture and infrastructure. The purpose of this project is to identify the issues and opportunities regarding community engagement in land use planning in Belize and frame each within a contextual narrative. The central question asks what role does land-use planning regulation and informal techniques play in encouraging and facilitating community involvement in land use planning processes? There is little research regarding community engagement in Belize. It is important for the country to further the understanding about why communities are disengaged from land use issues and other participatory functions and look to finding solutions. This project provides recommendations to planners, NGOs and other organizations for more thorough community engagement practices in Belize and identifies three over-arching engagement themes from interviews with practitioners.