Citizen networks in the Garden City: Protecting urban ecosystems in rapid urbanization
Citizen groups can be important actors in urban environmental stewardship, and network structure often influences function and performance. However, most previous studies focus on cities in "developed" countries, thereby overlooking conditions relevant for the parts of the planet where most people live and most urban growth is expected.
This paper describes a citizen network engaged in environmental issues in Bangalore, India, where rapid urbanization puts pressure on conventional management structures as well as the ecosystems providing benefits for the city's inhabitants. The study uses a mixed methods approach of qualitative interviews and social network analysis. Results show that the citizen network functions as a platform that enables interaction between diverse interest groups, and as a watchdog that monitors parks, lakes and trees to prevent further loss of fragmented urban ecosystems.
The network's activities are influenced by internal tensions between inclusiveness and efficiency, and between internal and external legitimacy. Although core actors have central network positions, strong leadership or political alliances are not considered important; members instead prefer to emphasize transparency and democratic participation. This limits the capacity to act collectively on controversial issues, but creates an inclusive forum that bridges between groups in the heterogeneous and dynamic population.
This is important for monitoring Bangalore's fragmented ecosystems and for raising public awareness and support. Findings indicate an urgent need to develop a comprehensive framework for urban environmental stewardship, to better describe potential roles of citizens in governance across diverse social, political and ecological conditions, and during different periods of urban change.
Research news | 2021-11-25
Nine ways to produce more sustainable and affordable blue food
Greater attention should be paid to improving the productivity and environmental performance of affordable and accessible aquatic species
Research news | 2021-11-24
Carl Folke awarded the Prince Albert I Grand Medal 2021
Praised for his pioneering work in resilience thinking and sustainability of the ocean
Research news | 2021-11-23
Resilient futures in the Bahamas
New study on Andros Island in the Bahamas shows the power of using scenarios for sustainable development planning
Research news | 2021-11-23
Why forest owners should consider mixed forests or continuous cover forestry
Increased resilience to storms comes at the expense of private economic return, but forest owners of highly vulnerable land may profit from mixed forests and continuous cover forestry
Research news | 2021-11-18
Helping design smarter urban green spaces
New climate platform offers residents in Stockholm suburb real-time access to how greeneries influence local weather conditions
Research news | 2021-11-17
Centre researchers among world's most cited again
Carl Folke, Johan Rockström, Reinette “Oonsie” Biggs, Thomas Elmqvist and Per Olsson on exclusive list of world’s most influential researchers