Green space management - Institutions, user demands and governance approaches in Norway

Green space management - Institutions, user demands and governance approaches in Norway

A range of opinions about what characterises quality green space and which practices provide successful keeping of quality green space exist.

prosjekt

About/Aims
Background

A range of opinions about what characterises quality green space and which practices provide successful keeping of quality green space exist. The aim of the project is to describe the state of contemporary green space management in Norway and identify key practices that keep quality green space.

Objectives

The overall aim is to describe the state of contemporary green space management in Norway and identify key practices that keep quality green space. Secondary aims are i) to identify key resources for up-keep of quality green space (as defined by managers and users), and ii) to contribute to the further development of a theoretical framework for management of green space.

More about the project

The provision of quality green space is a practical domain that interlinks planning, design, management and maintenance with governance and is dependent upon municipal institutions practicing green management. These institutions have been subjected to internal organisational changes and reforms in respond to new public management and new public governance (Leiren et al., 2016). Municipal managers have to prioritise and facilitate quality urban green spaces under resource constrains, varied political support, increasing demands of varied user groups (Lindholst et al., 2016, Walker, 2004) and national and international policies. Realization of those policies varies greatly with local context. Resources used by municipal authorities are varied, no uniform organisation and a multiplicity of priorities and practices exists (Randrup & Persson, 2009).

Literature indicates that urban green space managers operate primarily on the operational and tactical level, focusing on maintenance issues. Management of green spaces is often fragmented and managers are located in different departments and units (Leiren et al., 2016, Randrup and Persson, 2009). Thus, available resources differ between municipalities and the actual use of resources depends greatly upon the manager. Resources include knowledge, based on education, ability to communicate and understanding of local public needs and values. Resources also include modes of financing, collaborations, participation, models and quality assessment tools.

New challenges arise in management of existing green spaces, when combined with resource constrains and new modes of public involvement. A variety of approaches to integrate such processes into management of green space has emerged, but the conjuncture of supply of quality green space provided by municipalities and their managers and the demand set by users is unclear

The research project takes an institutional perspective on Norwegian green space management. Firstly, structural factors that frame management but also the agencies and their impact through behaviour and meanings are in focus. Secondly, a focus is on discourses on environmental problems that surround urban green management, representing issues of modern society and how these influence the municipal strategies and aims. This is achieved in analysing the management of green space in the municipalities with a Policy Arrangement Approach. This approach allows to identify allocative structures that influence the long-term management of green spaces, so called Place-keeping (Dempsey et al. 2014). An assumption is made that participation in any stage of green space management (making or keeping) has positive influences on green space perception. Change of practices can be grasped as a result of interrelatedness of agency and structural factors. This approach does however not relate these dynamics to the policy level and macro socio-political developments.