The Transformative Potential of Active Citizenship: Understanding Changes in Local Governance Practices

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Abstract

This paper focuses on understanding the transformative potential of active citizenship in green space governance. Through an in-depth case study, we show how citizens promoted the redevelopment of a brownfield into a green space, but eventually also contributed towards a broader co-creative shift in local governance. In this process, we highlight how a shift in citizens’ activities from contestation towards collaboration led to the uptake of citizen-driven discourses and activities in spatial planning. The social connectivity between governance practices is of key importance in this transformation—successful governance practices that involve active citizens can inspire others. Even so, transformation is often a slow and path-dependent process which also depends on an enabling policy environment. Cooperating with authorities provides citizens with power, but also requires alignment with official rules. Creating and maintaining effective partnerships will remain a challenge for citizens and policymakers that strive for societal transformations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5781
JournalSustainability
Volume11
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2019

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citizenship
governance
citizen
Planning
spatial planning
redevelopment
connectivity
discourse

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title = "The Transformative Potential of Active Citizenship: Understanding Changes in Local Governance Practices",
abstract = "This paper focuses on understanding the transformative potential of active citizenship in green space governance. Through an in-depth case study, we show how citizens promoted the redevelopment of a brownfield into a green space, but eventually also contributed towards a broader co-creative shift in local governance. In this process, we highlight how a shift in citizens’ activities from contestation towards collaboration led to the uptake of citizen-driven discourses and activities in spatial planning. The social connectivity between governance practices is of key importance in this transformation—successful governance practices that involve active citizens can inspire others. Even so, transformation is often a slow and path-dependent process which also depends on an enabling policy environment. Cooperating with authorities provides citizens with power, but also requires alignment with official rules. Creating and maintaining effective partnerships will remain a challenge for citizens and policymakers that strive for societal transformations.",
author = "Mattijssen, {Thomas J.M.} and Buijs, {Arjen A.E.} and Elands, {Birgit H.M.} and Arts, {Bas J.M.} and {van Dam}, {Rosalie I.} and Donders, {Josine L.M.}",
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AU - Donders, Josine L.M.

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