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Bridging a divide? Local initiatives in a multi-level policy context

Buizer, I.M. (2009) Bridging a divide? Local initiatives in a multi-level policy context. In: Forest Policies for a Sustainable Humanosphere Symposium, 17 - 18 February, Kyoto, Japan pp. 41-48.

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This paper presents two case studies about private actors aspiring to realize their innovative ideas on land management and design in two small areas in the Netherlands. One case involves an area that is to be partly forested in line with operative policies to establish a large urban green structure; the second case is an area that is part of a national ecological structure and already primarily consists of forest. However, in both areas various groups and organizations were seeking to implement alternative land uses and taking action to promote their ideas. It was clear from the start that the ways in which the initiators of these ideas gave meaning to the areas differed from the ideas enshrined in existing policies. The case studies show that there was ample innovative potential at the local level and that ideas do get implemented with considerable effort, due to factors such as personal zeal, perseverance, trust and empathy that developed in people “in the field.” However, an analysis of the cases also shows that there has been only limited discussion about the possible wider policy implications of these local innovations. Thus, the study revealed an asymmetry between local innovative potential and an apparent lack of responsiveness on the part of established policy. The study used the policy arrangements approach, consisting of 1) an analysis of the relationships between discourses, actor coalitions, rules and resources at the level of day-to-day interactions between the initiatives and established policy, and 2) an analysis of the relationship between these day-to-day interactions and an assumed more general, structural process of sub-politicization. The study concludes that there was a simultaneous occurrence of sub-politicization and depoliticization which both have significant impacts on the direction of green space policies and determining who can participate in them.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Publisher: Center for Integrated Area Studies, Kyoto University
Copyright: © Center for Integrated Area Studies, Kyoto University
Notes: Appears in: de Jong, W. (ed), 2009, Forest policies for a sustainable humanosphere, CIAS Discussion Paper 8, Center for Integrated Area Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, pp 41 - 48
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