Mosaic Governance: Combining Strategic Greenspace Planning with Urban Green Active Citizenship to Enhance Urban Green Infrastructure
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Because of the expected exacerbation of environmental problems, especially in urbanised areas, urban greenspaces and their associated effects, such as climate change mitigation, are expected to play a more prominent role in environmental policy. In the last decades, active citizens have claimed an increasingly important role in the development, improvement and management of (urban) greenspaces. However, there are indications that these active citizens are mostly concerned with the local benefits of greenspaces rather than those at larger scales, such as climate change mitigation. They may also face long-term management issues, as well as cases of social exclusion of various socio-economic groups. Local authorities are, however, often more concerned with these issues than active citizens. The Mosaic Governance (MG) framework was introduced to analyse how the role of active citizens may be improved. It rests on the principles of Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI), in which urban greenspaces are supposed to form a multifunctional, interconnected and socially inclusive network capable of more effectively contributing to combating environmental problems than isolated urban greenspaces. In this thesis, the MG framework is used to analyse how this planning approach can be combined with active citizenship to ‘strategically’ increase active citizenship’s contribution to UGI. Through a multi-method approach consisting of document analysis and interviews with municipal officials and active citizens, twelve projects across four districts in Utrecht were examined, focusing on the citizen-municipality interactions. Other than elements related to UGI and active citizenship, the upscaling of projects (increase in size or institutional influence) was examined. The results revealed that most citizens were unfamiliar with UGI, that upscaling was relatively rare and mostly occurred in the more spacious districts and that various factors played a role during interactions between active citizens and the municipality. In some projects, goals and visions of the active citizens and the municipality were aligned, while at odds in others. Some active citizens desired a more proactive municipality, while others appreciated their ‘retreat’. Long-term (self-)management was found to be difficult in some projects. What this reveals most of all, is that a diversity of governance approaches is needed to successfully optimise active citizenship’s contribution to UGI because of a diversity of wishes, needs and capabilities of active citizens. A balance between integrating goals and visions, and supporting the active citizens should be sought for each project.