Transition-oriented governance processes for enabling sustainable urban water management

Joannette Jacqueline Bos
Cities continue to face increasing pressure on their water systems due to numerous global changes, escalating costs and various other risks and challenges. Recognising that the traditional approaches are no longer sustainable, scholars have asserted that fundamental change in managing urban water is required. Sustainable urban water management is an ideological approach that strives to revolutionise the traditional processes of managing urban water. While the ideology is increasingly advocated,
more » ... easingly advocated, there are numerous barriers, primarily socio-institutional in nature, which prevent its implementation. There is growing scholarship highlighting that social learning, which builds relational capacity and configures decision-making, is very important in overcoming current barriers. Innovation in governance is viewed as a potentially important instrument for stimulating social learning. However, scholars have not yet fully grasped the effectiveness and dynamics of such innovation. Employing a single-embedded case study, this thesis investigates a governance experiment aimed at advancing sustainable urban water management in the Cooks River catchment in Sydney, Australia. The experiment was a deliberate alternative to technocratic experimentation, and eight municipalities and a university were united for its execution. The research examines the experiment's emergence, effectiveness, design and implementation. A mixed-methods research approach explores these different perspectives and illuminates the relationship between design and learning outcomes. Overall, the results revealed that governance experimentation has the ability to transform conventional socio-technical configurations. Outcomes of the experiment included changes in individual and collective understanding as well as changes in the biophysical system. The study demonstrated that the experiment facilitated the development of concurrent and embedded social learning situations, which together created an emergent network. The findings indicate that learning was highl [...]
doi:10.4225/03/58b4f87cb1016 fatcat:f7rggl6f6vaetihnr43erc5kya