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Collaborative and Participatory Governance

Since the 1970s, a quiet revolution has been occurring in planning—one that seeks to enhance democratic participation, reduce conflict and strengthen organizational effectiveness through collaboration. The emergent transformation has implications for how we seek to address “wicked” problems that are characterized by great complexity, dynamism and uncertainty. This area is particularly oriented to environmental issues, but also can be applied to address issues of growing inequality, climate change, energy transitions, community revitalization, economic development and the intersectionality of these issues. DURP faculty have focused on researching ground-breaking efforts to scale up collaboration for landscape-scale ecological restoration, engage in cross collaborative learning networks, work on place based social-ecological resilience in resource dependent communities, and address the co-management of hazard threats such as extreme storms, wildfire and sea level rise. These projects aim to illuminate how to overcome barriers to collaboration, examine how learning and innovation dissemination occurs, clarify the value added as well as costs of engaging in participatory approaches and what challenges and opportunities exist to collaborate as projects transition from planning to implementation.

Faculty with Research Interests in Collaborative and Participatory Governance

William Butler
Tisha Holmes

Doctoral Student Researchers with Interests in Collaborative and Participatory Governance

Recent Graduates

Ashley Monroe

    Monroe, A., & Butler, W. H. (2016). Responding to a Policy Mandate to Collaborate: Structuring Collaboration in the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 59 (6), 1054-1072.

    Butler, W., Monroe, A., & McCaffrey, S. (2015). Collaborative Implementation for Ecological Restoration on US Public Lands: Implications for Legal Context, Accountability and Adaptive Management. Environmental Management, 55 (3), 564-577.

    Butler, W., Monroe, A., & McCaffrey, S. (2019). Collaborative Implementation: Implications for Adaptive Management and Restoration. In William H. Butler, & Courtney A. Schultz (Eds.), A New Era for Collaborative Forest Management: Policy and Practice insights from the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (pp. 161-177). London: Routledge Earthscan.

Haven Cook

Doctoral students

Shanice Jones

Shanice Jones

    Lange, Z. (in press) “Discovering Through Experience…Embodiment Caught Between Planning and Theater.” Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies.

Current Research Projects

Collaborative Conservation

Large-Scale Collaboration and the Co-production of Conservation Knowledge

Student: Shanice Jones (PhD, dissertation project)

This project examines the Landscape Conservation Collaborative program of the Fish and Wildlife Service. The program aims to connect mangers and scientists to co-produce knowledge, information, and tools to be able to influence and support conservation management across large landscapes. The research compares the efforts of three landscape collaborative groups participating in the program to determine how they are organized, how they engaged in knowledge co-production, the extent to which they foster learning, and the ways in which co-produced products are integrated into implementation.

Landscape Scale Collaborative Ecological Restoration

PI: William Butler

This multi-year project examines the transition from collaborative planning to implementation and monitoring across landscape teams participating in the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP). CFLRP was created in 2009 to promote collaborative ecological restoration projects on a landscape scale. The research has followed the first ten cases over several years exploring questions of accountability, legitimacy, collaborative structures and decision-making processes, adaptive management and histories of collaboration and conflict to examine how groups are navigating the transition from planning to implementation. This work is funded by the US Forest Service Northern Research Station, The Nature Conservancy.


Collaborating for Mitigating Hazards and Climate Change

Differential Vulnerability to Tornado Impacts in Southeast USA

PI: Tisha Holmes, John Mathias (FSU Social Work), Tyler McCreary (FSU Geography), Jim Elsner (FSU Geography)

Students: Claudia Camillus, Allison Keeling (UROP)

Funding: FSU Office of Proposal Development and Research Collaborative Seed Grant

This project examines household impacts of and recovery efforts from an unusually devastating tornado (EDT) event in rural Alabama. The research examines underlying factors that influenced the high loss life in a sparsely populated area. The project also examines the collaborative roles non-state actors played in overcoming institutional failures during the emergency response and recovery planning processes.

Building Community Capacity for Disaster Resilience to Weather Hazards

PI: Tisha Holmes

Students: Bridget Callea (MSP), Abigail Sanders (MSP/MPA)

This participatory action research project examined the impacts, coping strategies and recovery responses to extreme weather events in the Turtle Region of Trinidad & Tobago. The project examined the socio-ecological exposures, community perspectives on the risks faced, institutional responses to reduce risk and opportunities to develop regional disaster response networks to build community resilience.

Regional Planning for Climate Change Adaptation

Regional Planning for Climate Change Adaptation

Students involved: numerous UROP students, Michael Schilling (MSP), Anthony Milordis (PhD), Ben Nauselius (MSP), Don Arellano (MSP), Ben Gordon (MSP)

Funding: Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Many climate change adaptation strategies for sea level rise and coastal hazards involve changes to land use planning policies and investments in capital improvements projects. Yet, municipalities face numerous barriers for planning and implementing climate change adaptation projects. This project examines multiple different regional collaborative governance approaches to climate change adaptation in coastal areas in Florida to determine what strategies at the regional scale can help overcome barriers to adaptation planning at the local scale and how best to organize collaborative governance at the regional scale to address these issues.

Co-Management of Fire Risk Transmission

PI: William Butler

Students: Shanice Jones, Nick Stampar (MSP)

Funding: US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station

Communities, agencies and organizations that seek to reduce wildland fire risk face increasing challenges as fire risk cannot be contained by jurisdictional or ownership boundaries and the intensity and magnitude of wildfire has been increasing for the past several decades. This research project which is a multi-university and multi-agency project seeks to assess the risks of wildland fire and its cross-boundary transmission, how those risks can be more effectively addressed, and what effective co-management strategies could be put into place in communities where the risk of wildland fire is high.


Interpersonal Interactions and Dynamics for Collective Action

Listening and Learning to Foster Organizational Change

PI: Haven Cook (PhD; dissertation project)

Advisor: William Butler

This project, the doctoral dissertation of Haven Cook, examined the process of rule-making for updating the US Forest Service Planning Rule. The process modeled a collaborative and participatory approach to administrative rule-making that not only represented a new way of doing business for the agency but also influenced the language of the rule to require greater participation in all future agency land and resource management planning efforts. Cook examined how the perspectives, postures and actions of the rule-making team enhanced the quality and outcomes of the process through engaging in deep listening and collaborative learning.

Bringing Planning Back to the Cultural through the Body

This project is an effort to understand how planning, and more importantly planners, can reinstitute themselves more into the cultural realities of the communities they serve. As a part of this endeavor a primary problem that has been examined is the nature of inclusivity as it relates to the human body, modalities of interpersonal connection, and the necessity of developing intimacy across boundaries and borders. Such a reversal of the normative conceptions of inclusivity serves to help hold planners responsible for their institutionally delegated power as part of an overall cultural process of shared co-production of lived experiences and lived worlds. The project itself is a multi-case study of two community-based theaters in the rural American South, which serve as hubs of cultural engagement. Here the project is subdivided into three pieces; 1) a deep take on how constructivist embodiment is vital in participatory planning processes; 2) an examination of how community-based theaters serves as sites of behavioral incarnation to shift the modes of interpersonal being between peoples and communities; and 3) an investigation of how two community champions within their respective counties redefine normative conceptions of leadership through deep intimacy.

Lange, Z. (2020). Discovering Through Experience…Embodiment Caught Between Planning and Theater. Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies.