Social innovation and polycentric governance: The case of Juan Castro Blanco National Water Park

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We focus on the role of social innovation in the governance of water-related challenges. We argue that in social-ecological challenges freshwater governance is improved by better understanding the dynamics of social innovation, specifically by analyzing the emergence of polycentric governance through processes of innovation in social relations. In particular, we pay attention to the multilevel, intersectoral dynamics of the regional networks created by APANAJUCA, a local association that supports the conservation of the Juan Castro Blanco National Water Park in Costa Rica. We analyzed the case drawing on insights from social-ecological systems, polycentric governance and water governance, and social innovation to assist in understanding the social arrangements that lie behind sustainable, innovative processes intended to enhance freshwater security. The combination of the multi-theoretical framework with the empirical evidence from Costa Rica revealed that social innovation was developed through social-ecological movements promoting new social relations and governance structures. In coping with freshwater challenges, the three dimensions of social innovation – namely satisfaction of needs, socio-political arrangements and empowerment – contributed to the emergence of polycentric structures, which shaped and renewed the freshwater governance system.
Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's20
StatusPublished - 2015
EvenementInternational Conference of Public Policy - Catholic University of Milan, Milan, Italy
Duur: 1-jul.-20154-jul.-2015
Congresnummer: 2


ConferenceInternational Conference of Public Policy
Internet adres

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