Social Issues and Psychology:
Psychology & The Environment
Fall, 1997

Overdevelopment of North Beach:
Community Management

Amy Henn, Cory King, Jeff Lewis & Marianna Panova
Please Note: These materials may be used for research, study, and education, but please credit the authors and source. 

    As it has been stated in the previous research, the economy of Maui is primarily dependent on tourism. However, it is also true that overdevelopment of the coastal territories endangers the environment of the island. In the case of North Beach, the coastal land can be considered a "common-pool" resource (Gardner and Stern, 1996). That is, all individuals have a free access to the land. These territories are used for development by self-interested agents, such as Amfac Inc. Once one of the companies develops a new hotel unit, others have to follow in order to stay competitive.

    According to the Garrett Hardin's model of the Tragedy of the Commons human's self-interest prevails over every other motive. Thus, the successful community management of a "common-pool" resource such as coastal territories of North Beach is almost impossible. Hardin argues that whenever there is an important "common-pool" resource available, self-interested individuals will always take advantage of it while others will have to follow the example in order to preserve their own living (Gardner and Stern, 1996).

    However, Gardner and Stern argue that in certain cases successful community management is possible. With respect to the North Beach overdevelopment problem, the determinants of such success would be the following. First, the coastal land should be defined and controlled by the local authority, which must be capable of enforcing the management rules. Second, citizens of Maui should be dependent on the sustained development of a tourism industry for their economic well being. Third, a community must be identified. Finally, the fourth determinant of successful community management is "appropriate rules and procedures," meaning that rules must be mutually agreed upon, they should be "congruent with the resources," and that the rules should have built-in incentives (Gardner and Stern, 1996).

31H.jpg (4949 bytes)    From the first phase of the research on Maui it can be inferred that all of the necessary requirements are being met. The local authority is the mayor's office on Maui, the territory is geographically identified as North Beach, citizens of Maui depend on the tourism industry, a community can be identified as residents of the North Beach area, and finally, as it follows from the two case studies (Amfac Inc. and Grand Wailea Hotel), the rules used for community management have been set according to the theory offered by Gardner and Stern. [photo from hypertext guide to Hawaii by J. Bisignani]

    There are at least two examples of successful community management in the North Beach area. The first concerns the deal between Amfac Inc. and Linda Lingle, the mayor of Maui, regarding the Maui county's buyback of the beach land from Amfac. The second case study deals with Grand Wailea Hotel and the conference which implemented the Four Principles of Natural Step. In both of the cases the agreement has been reached between economic benefits (development of a new hotel and exploitation of an existing hotel) and preservation of the natural environment. The key for successful solution of the conflict of interests has been the built-in incentives as well as presence of all the necessary determinants of a successful community management. The most important has been the financial incentive, Amfac Inc. received a payment from the county of Maui for cutting down the number of new hotel units, while Grand Wailea Hotel has been offered a way of substantial decrease of cost of maintaining the hotel. Financial incentives play a significant role in community management dealing with interaction between residents and firms, because as self-interested agents companies are willing to change their behavior only if the benefits from a new course of actions offset the costs.

    However, opposite to the examples provided above, Gardner and Stern argue that development actions can have negative environmental consequences and thus disrupt local community management institutions. Although this may seem as a downfall to community management strategies, we believe that the implications of the ideas expressed above could be successful.

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Psy 412 Miami University. Last revised: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 17:06:36. This document has been accessed 1 times since July 15, 1997. Comments & Questions to R. Sherman . Also See: Social Psychology at Miami University