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The scope of learning alliances as a mechanism for more innovative urban water management

The scope of learning alliances as a mechanism for more innovative urban water management

Darteh, Bertha Akosua T. (2017) The scope of learning alliances as a mechanism for more innovative urban water management. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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The topic of this study is “The scope of Learning Alliances as a mechanism for more innovative urban water management”. Urban water management presents complex and multi-dimensional problems for which solutions must consider the institutional, socioeconomic and governance contexts. SWITCH (2006-2011), an EU-sponsored research project, used a multi-stakeholder approach known as ‘learning alliance (LA)’ to promote innovations in Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) in 12 global cities. Qualitative case studies were undertaken in Accra and Birmingham to develop an understanding of the processes and emerging change that resulted from applying the LA approach in urban water management. The overarching research question was “How and to what extent can learning alliances stimulate, influence and promote individual and institutional change for innovation; as applied in IUWM?” Analysis of experience and outcomes was undertaken in relation to interactions and collaborations, social learning, innovations and governance.

Key findings indicate that LAs were able to stimulate learning, leading to innovations in IUWM policy and practice. The LA created an open space for discourse and joint decision making between stakeholders in both formal and informal structures and involved marginalised groups as well as researchers. This reduced conflicts and promoted a more collaborative approach through which stakeholders built consensus. Power relations need to be managed and the role of facilitator was critical in managing and building trust which is a key element of the LA process. LAs provided a space for networking and co-creation of knowledge that was useful to stakeholders, resulting in changed perspectives of stakeholders on IUWM based on the wider acceptability and legitimacy of research results. Immediate changes were more pronounced at the individual level, but led to collective transformation within the learning alliance based on shared goals. Significant contributions to project planning and changes in organisational structures represented changes at sector level scale. While the formal process of the learning alliance did not continue beyond the project, the relationships and processes developed as a result of the interactions and collaborations continue.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Urban water management; learning and innovation; learning alliances; integrated water management (IWM);
Subjects: T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Development Studies Research Group
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2019 15:08

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