Policy integration in urban living labs: delivering multifunctional blue-green infrastructure in Antwerp, Dordrecht and Gothenburg: Delivering multi-functional blue-green infrastructure in Antwerp, Dordrecht, and Gothenburg

Jannes J. Willems*, Lizet Kuitert, Arwin Van Buuren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Policy integration required for delivering multi-functional blue-green infrastructure (BGI) is difficult to achieve, because environmental policymaking is characterised by sectoral responsibilities and institutional structures that hinder collaboration. Both theory and practice consider urban living labs (ULLs) as promising vehicles for policy integration, as ULLs can overcome institutional structures. This article presents a framework that assesses how the urban living lab can contribute to policy integration in BGI projects and applies this to three case studies in Antwerp (Belgium), Dordrecht (the Netherlands), and Gothenburg (Sweden). Our findings demonstrate that ULLs can enhance policy integration through defining integrative aims, creating shared accountability structures, and assigning a clear problem owner with authority. ULLs can equally hinder policy integration because their dependence on sectoral funding results in narrowed-down goals. Moreover, their experimental, non-committal position gives them limited power to pull down institutional structures. Thus, ULLs do not automatically enhance policy integration in BGI projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-271
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Governance
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was made possible through the BEGIN project—Interreg VB North Sea Region Programme.

Funding Information:
In Gothenburg, funding came from the City Planning Office and the River City Company for the realisation of a Jubilee Park. Two new project leaders were appointed especially for this lab, as they had ample experience with the place‐building method in other Swedish cities (RCC, 2016). They secured ‘experimentation freedom’ for their project right from the start in order to develop prototypes, which has put the living lab on a distance from the City Planning Office and River City Company. Additional funding from the European Interreg project BEGIN was used to increase the involvement of local stakeholders.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Environmental Policy and Governance published by ERP Environment and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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