How actors are (dis)integrating policy agendas for multi-functional blue and green infrastructure projects on the ground

Jannes J. Willems*, Anna V. Kenyon, Liz Sharp, Astrid Molenveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Local governments are increasingly considering blue and green infrastructure (BGI) in order to climate-proof cities. Because BGI can have multiple benefits beyond climate adaptation, policy integration is required. Since drainage services have traditionally been within the remit of a single department, this is new territory for water management. This article provides a dynamic perspective on the messy process of policy integration ‘on the ground’ in two BGI projects in Dordrecht, NL and Bradford, UK. Drawing on interviews with key actors involved in the cases, our research question is: How are ambitions to integrate policies resulting in multi-functional BGI projects? While previous research typically defines organisational structures as barriers for policy integration, our findings demonstrate instances of actors who are successfully navigating these structures as a route towards policy integration. Nevertheless, we found that actors who push for BGI lack resources and authority, so they mainly rely on more voluntary forms of policy integration that involve concerted action over a number of years. Overall, our cases demonstrate that space for policy integration exists and powerful agencies are sympathetic to this, but more support is needed to achieve this mandate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-96
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by BEGIN project?Interreg VB North Sea Region Programme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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