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Conference Paper: Collaborative Governance for Rural Sustainability: A Study of the Foundation of System Robustness

TitleCollaborative Governance for Rural Sustainability: A Study of the Foundation of System Robustness
Authors
Issue Date2018
Citation
'Rethinking Cross-sector Social Innovation' organised by the Social Innovation and Change Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, The University of Harvard How to Cite?
AbstractVibrant rural communities are an integral part of a sustainable society. It not only provides the necessary ecological services upon which a sustainable ecological system and biodiversity are maintained, but also embodies the historical heritage and cultural diversity of society. Despite their importance, the sustainability of rural communities has often been compromised in the process of economic development; the problem of rural dilapidation is particularly acute in Asian cities where rapid urbanization has seriously undermined rural communities. The vibrancy of a rural community is grounded upon an effective management of not only the ecological and social systems that support the community, but also the intricate interaction between the two systems which are related with each other in a nonlinear manner, generating complex dynamics. Given the complexity involved, rural sustainability cannot be attained by government or the public sector acting alone, but collaborative efforts leveraging resources from different sectors. Collaborative governance is the process of establishing, facilitating, operating and monitoring cross-sectoral arrangements and efforts to address public problems that cannot be easily addressed by a single organization or the public sector alone. Prior research has suggested that collaborative governance, as an arch-typical institutional arrangement, has often outperformed alternative arrangements such as government regulation or marketized systems; significant progress has been made in identifying institutional variables and processes instrumental to understanding and applying collaborative governance. This study contributes to the literature by developing a theoretical logic that explains how institutional design affects the robustness of collaborative governance—the system’s ability to continue to function and adapt to the changing environment over a period of time. We argue that collaboration is an on-going concern that requires actors involved to engage continuously with one another in a productive manner, be willing to invest continuously in joint problem-solving efforts, and be able to learn and adjust in order to cope with disturbances and contingencies. Whether the institutional design of collaborative governance can provide sufficient incentives and supports to sustain the ongoing concern affects the robustness of collaborative governance. To illustrate how institutions enhance system robustness, we will conduct an in-depth case analysis of the effort to revitalize the traditional Lai Chi Wo village in Hong Kong, which has been recognized by the UNDP to be a successful example of collaborative governance for rural sustainability. The Lai Chi Wo endeavour was first initiated by a number of policy entrepreneurs, who later partnered with local universities to generate policy momentum. The endeavour was funded by the corporate sector, supported by environmental nonprofits and local villagers, and endorsed by the Hong Kong government. The success story of Lai Chi Wo is weaved with collective efforts by actors across the sectors to cope with challenge after challenge. In the case analysis, we will describe the way the cross-sectoral collaboration in Lai Chi Wo unfolded, juxtapose and compare the empirical patterns with what theory suggests, present conjectures to expand and develop the theory, and explicate the implications of the Lai Chi Wo experience for the study of collaborative governance.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/258302

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorChu, VHY-
dc.date.accessioned2018-08-22T01:36:17Z-
dc.date.available2018-08-22T01:36:17Z-
dc.date.issued2018-
dc.identifier.citation'Rethinking Cross-sector Social Innovation' organised by the Social Innovation and Change Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, The University of Harvard-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/258302-
dc.description.abstractVibrant rural communities are an integral part of a sustainable society. It not only provides the necessary ecological services upon which a sustainable ecological system and biodiversity are maintained, but also embodies the historical heritage and cultural diversity of society. Despite their importance, the sustainability of rural communities has often been compromised in the process of economic development; the problem of rural dilapidation is particularly acute in Asian cities where rapid urbanization has seriously undermined rural communities. The vibrancy of a rural community is grounded upon an effective management of not only the ecological and social systems that support the community, but also the intricate interaction between the two systems which are related with each other in a nonlinear manner, generating complex dynamics. Given the complexity involved, rural sustainability cannot be attained by government or the public sector acting alone, but collaborative efforts leveraging resources from different sectors. Collaborative governance is the process of establishing, facilitating, operating and monitoring cross-sectoral arrangements and efforts to address public problems that cannot be easily addressed by a single organization or the public sector alone. Prior research has suggested that collaborative governance, as an arch-typical institutional arrangement, has often outperformed alternative arrangements such as government regulation or marketized systems; significant progress has been made in identifying institutional variables and processes instrumental to understanding and applying collaborative governance. This study contributes to the literature by developing a theoretical logic that explains how institutional design affects the robustness of collaborative governance—the system’s ability to continue to function and adapt to the changing environment over a period of time. We argue that collaboration is an on-going concern that requires actors involved to engage continuously with one another in a productive manner, be willing to invest continuously in joint problem-solving efforts, and be able to learn and adjust in order to cope with disturbances and contingencies. Whether the institutional design of collaborative governance can provide sufficient incentives and supports to sustain the ongoing concern affects the robustness of collaborative governance. To illustrate how institutions enhance system robustness, we will conduct an in-depth case analysis of the effort to revitalize the traditional Lai Chi Wo village in Hong Kong, which has been recognized by the UNDP to be a successful example of collaborative governance for rural sustainability. The Lai Chi Wo endeavour was first initiated by a number of policy entrepreneurs, who later partnered with local universities to generate policy momentum. The endeavour was funded by the corporate sector, supported by environmental nonprofits and local villagers, and endorsed by the Hong Kong government. The success story of Lai Chi Wo is weaved with collective efforts by actors across the sectors to cope with challenge after challenge. In the case analysis, we will describe the way the cross-sectoral collaboration in Lai Chi Wo unfolded, juxtapose and compare the empirical patterns with what theory suggests, present conjectures to expand and develop the theory, and explicate the implications of the Lai Chi Wo experience for the study of collaborative governance.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.relation.ispartof'Rethinking Cross-sector Social Innovation' organised by the Social Innovation and Change Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, The University of Harvard-
dc.titleCollaborative Governance for Rural Sustainability: A Study of the Foundation of System Robustness-
dc.typeConference_Paper-
dc.identifier.emailChu, VHY: vivianhy@hku.hk-
dc.identifier.hkuros287755-

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