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Governance of Urban Green Spaces in Lahore: Discourses and Institutional Change

Alam, Rizwana (2020) Governance of Urban Green Spaces in Lahore: Discourses and Institutional Change. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This study investigates the prospect of a transition from monocentric to polycentric governance of urban green spaces in Lahore. Monocentric governance is a linear and hierarchical structure where power and authority are retained by the central government. Contrary to this approach, polycentric governance denotes a structure comprised of many autonomous centres of decision-making. Governance of common-pool resources as a socio-ecological system is a complex and multi-dimensional process which requires a holistic approach such as polycentric governance. In a polycentric order, actors at different levels interact with each other and thereby effectively address the complexity of the system. However, many developing countries lack institutional structures and policies that can facilitate the participation of non-state actors in the governance of green spaces. The exclusion of non-state actors from the governance make these green spaces inaccessible to the general public through regulatory slippage or elite capture and raise issues regarding environmental and social sustainability. This study uses a historical institutional analysis, combined with Q-methodology to unpack the discourses of governance and prospects of institutional change in Lahore. The historical institutional analysis reveals that the governance of urban green spaces in Lahore has been locked in rigid institutions and asymmetrical power relations due to the political-economic interests of the actors. Further, Q-methodology with a range of stakeholders reveals four discourses relating to institutional change: ‘Public Participation as Efficient Management’, ‘Anti/Pro-Administrative’, ‘Leadership and Capacity building’, and ‘Decentralization or Elite capture’. The emergence of various discourses indicates the contested nature of the current landscape, where different actors have different interests and preferences. The principal barrier to institutional change is asymmetrical power relations between state and non-state stakeholders. However, the discourses indicate that the governance of urban green spaces is in the process of a transformation. Most of the non-state stakeholders are involved in collaborations, sharing resources and information and hence contributing to social learning processes. The emergence of a public participation discourse indicates a shift in power dynamics with the potential to bring institutional change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Urban green spaces,Public Participation, Governance, Discourse analysis, Q-methodology, Institutional design, common pool resources, socio-ecological system
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Depositing User: Mrs Rizwana Alam
Date Deposited: 13 May 2020 14:32
Last Modified: 13 May 2020 14:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/26825

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