Adaptive management of urban ecologies: implications for governance

Schmidt, Paul, and Morrison, Tiffany (2011) Adaptive management of urban ecologies: implications for governance. In: Presentations from the UGI 2011 Regional Geographic Conference. From: UGI 2011 Regional Geographic Conference, 14-18 November 2011, Santiago, Chile. (Unpublished)

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The environmental management of urban areas is increasingly challenged by the uncertainties and complexities of natural and urban systems. Environmental and political transformations operating at different spatial and temporal scales add to this complexity and uncertainty. Transformations occur when a system shifts across a tipping point and into a new state of functioning. They can result for example from extreme environmental events (e.g. floods), processes of land-use change (e.g. urban development) and/or the implementation of new governance arrangements (e.g. EIA). How governance and management adapts to these disturbances has important implications for the effectiveness of environmental management and conservation. Adaptive capacity in governance institutions, policy and plans has been widely recognised as essential to overcoming these challenges. A range of conceptual models have been developed, the most prominent being 'adaptive management'. Yet it is well established in the literature that adaptive management is only suitable in situations of high controllability and high uncertainty. Despite the significant resources that have been invested to improve the management and policies, planning and governance of urban ecological systems in recent times, institutions and policymakers struggle to flex in response to environmental and social transformations, new scientific knowledge and novel opportunities for governance. We therefore ask: "Is adaptive governance feasible and/or realistic? How is it orchestrated?" This paper reports on an investigation into the relationship between adaptive governance and environmental outcomes for urban environments. This is addressed through a comparative analysis of environmental governance in Brisbane, Australia and Portland, USA over the last two decades. The results provide an important test of the concept of 'adaptive management' and its utility for governing uncertainty and complexity and achieving ecological resilience in urban areas. The findings are of interest to practitioners concerned with the practical implementation of adaptive governance, and scholars of political and urban geography concerned with a more refined understanding of the concepts for future research.

Item ID: 40092
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
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Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2015 01:30
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1606 Political Science > 160603 Comparative Government and Politics @ 35%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 35%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl Planning) @ 30%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9402 Government and Politics > 940204 Public Services Policy Advice and Analysis @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960911 Urban and Industrial Land Management @ 50%
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