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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 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

Shanice Jones
Zechariah Lange

Current Research Projects

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.

Building Community Disaster Resilience to Weather Hazards

PI: Tisha Holmes

This participatory action research project examines the impacts, coping strategies and recovery responses to extreme weather events in the Turtle Region of Trinidad & Tobago. The project examines 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.

Co-Management of Fire Risk Transmission

PI: William Butler

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. This work is funded by the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station.

Regional Planning for Climate Change Adaptation

PIs: Tisha Holmes and William Butler

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.

Completed project reports and other publications are listed on individual faculty webpages and in faculty CVs available on their webpages.