Alam, Rizwana, & Jon C. Lovett (2019). Prospects of public participation in the planning and management of urban green spaces in Lahore: A discourse analysis. Sustainability, 11(12), art. 2751, 28 pp. (Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123387)

Abstract: Green spaces in cities are under pressure from increasing population, urbanization, and development, making governance of these common pool resources a complex and multi-dimensional process. Governance of urban green spaces can be improved by participatory approaches. However, many developing countries do not have the institutional structures and policies that promote the participation of a range of non-state actors, and green spaces are often removed from public access by regulatory slippage or elite capture for parks and gardens. This paper uses discourse analysis to explore the perspectives of the key stakeholders for public participation in the planning and management of green spaces in Lahore. The study employs Q-methodology to reveal four discourses: ‘Efficient Management’, ‘Anti/Pro-Administrative’, ‘Leadership and Capacity building’, and ‘Decentralization or Elite capture’. The most significant and dominant discourse of ‘Efficient Management’ shows stakeholders’ preferences towards developing new institutional arrangements at the local level through engaging citizens. The two discourses ‘Leadership and Capacity building’ and ‘decentralization or elite capture’ are also in favor of changing the power dynamics in the system at certain levels by using different strategies. However, the status quo-oriented administrative discourse serves as a barrier, resisting change at any level. The results of this study suggest a need for policy reforms to develop a conducive environment in which all the stakeholders can be engaged through different collaborative and co-management schemes, in order to achieve economically efficient, ecologically sustainable and socially equitable, urban green spaces in Lahore.

Rizwana Alam <ee14ra@leeds.ac.uk> and Jon C Lovett <j.lovett@leeds.ac.uk> are in the School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. Lovett is also affiliated with the Society for Urban Ecology, Salzburg, Austria.

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