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Enhancing social–ecological fit from the bottom up: Urban lake networks and grassroots innovators
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6300-0572
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Urban environmental governance is often hampered by social institutions being poorly aligned with fragmented ecosystems. Bottom-up approaches have been argued to address this problem of social-ecological fit, but there is a lack of empirical understanding of how local initiatives might emerge and spread in a way that enhances fit. We study a system of hydrologically interconnected lakes in Bengaluru, which public authorities have largely failed to protect resulting in many degraded lakes and undermined societal and ecological benefits that the system of lakes provides. Local residents have, largely in response to these failures, formed lake groups and convinced municipal actors to recognize them as partners that share management responsibilities for certain lakes. These initiatives have inspired others to follow suit and work with lakes elsewhere in the city, hence triggering the question whether local lake groups in this way contribute to a better social–ecological fit at a broader landscape scale. This study mixes quantitative social–ecological network analysis with interviews to analyze fit and describe the processes by which lake management can be shaped to match ecosystem structure. Results show that certain key lake groups – enabled by supportive municipal officers – have successfully innovated how lakes are managed, acknowledging their place in and dependence on the broader network of interconnected lakes. In the wake of this, a new generation of collaborative lake groups is emerging, where lakes are often managed more holistically by recognizing them to be part of the larger network of lakes. The analysis identifies key lake groups that are instrumental to shaping the spread of the bottom-up driven initiatives in ways that aligns with the interconnected nature of the lake system. This is a process that relies on acknowledgement and support from public authorities, but is primarily driven by local actors. By describing this process of innovation and diffusion, the study contributes important lessons on how to enhance fit between governance arrangements and the ecosystem on which cities depend.

Keyword [en]
Bengaluru, India; local actors; global South; problem of fit; social–ecological systems; urban sustainability
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-144643OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-144643DiVA: diva2:1115905
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, AKT-2010-046Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research
Available from: 2017-06-27 Created: 2017-06-27 Last updated: 2017-06-27

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf