Tuesday 6
Urban resilience & collective action
Rafael Balanzo-Joue
› 15:40 - 16:40 (1h)
Transformation of urban lake governance in Bangalore, India-a comparison of civic initiatives
Flor Luna  1@  , Maria Tengö  2@  , Per Olsson  3@  , Harini Nagendra  4@  
1 : Stockholm Resilience Centre  -  Website
2 : Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University  (SRC)  -  Website
Stockholm University Kräftriket 2B SE-114 19 Stockholm -  Suède
3 : Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University
4 : Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment

Urban lakes connected through channels across the city of Bangalore, India, generate multiple ecosystem services to rich and poor inhabitants including flood control, groundwater recharge, and water use for local livelihoods as well as recreation for a growing middle class. Many of these lakes are severely degraded. Restoration initiatives have generally had a narrow focus, targeting recreational use while excluding the urban poor, and often failing to acknowledge lake connectivity, as well as the ecological functions of the lakes. However, there are an increasing number of citizen-driven examples of lake restorations that are based in an understanding of the social as well as the ecological values of the lakes. In this study, we investigated processes of locally driven lake rejuvenations and discuss the potential for sustained transformations from degraded state-managed urban lakes to restored, co-managed lakes, and the implications for the resilience and transformation of the larger urban lake system in Bangalore. We analyze and contrast five lakes with co-management agreements, of which two were in a more advanced state, and present our findings based on interviews with persons involved in the lake rejuvenation and management. Aim was to a) identify key phases in navigating change, and b) actors who were key in the different phases and their characteristics, using a network approach.

Initial findings suggest the existence of local transformations that are also pushing changes in higher levels of the lake management system. We found some patterns in the process of navigating change locally. During the initial stages of the formation of the networks for lake rejuvenation, the roll of the leader was of great importance to bring together a critical mass of actors and engage them into the project. In the analyzed cases, the leader had an emotional attachment to the lake. In subsequent phases, knowledge brokers with insights into lake biology and the functioning of the government system across scales played a key role. Finally, a diverse set of actors organized in small networks or informal groups seem to be key in the monitoring and managing phase, as it also requires a level of specialization depending on the evolution of the network and its activities.

Our findings indicate differences in ecological as well as social outcomes of lake rejuvenation, which needs to be evaluated further. Further, in the course of the study, we identified several new initiatives spawned by the successful cases, as well as emerging platforms for facilitating further spread of civic involvement in urban lake governance. However, the prevalent lake management system at city level and higher scales appears to be very inert for change. The impacts of the scaling up and out of civic lake restorations will be an interesting study to pursue further.

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