Town Planning Review

The Bristol Green Capital Partnership: an exemplar of reflexive governance for sustainable urban development?

Town Planning Review (2020), 91, (4), 397–413.

Abstract

The theory of ‘reflexive governance’ prioritises process over outcomes and advocates participatory procedures, valorising multiple sources of knowledge, mutual learning and continuous evolution of organisational forms. Through the lens of reflexive governance, we explore the evolution of Bristol Green Capital Partnership, which, since 2008, has played a pivotal role in animating the environmental debate within Bristol, especially in the European Green Capital programme (2015). We conclude that the BGCP represents a ‘bounded’ example of reflexive governance, one that exhibits advanced forms of deliberation and coproduction but, ultimately, addresses too narrow a constituency of environmental, business and green activist interests.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

References

ARGYRIS, C. and SCHON, D. (1978), Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Approach, Reading, MA, Addision Wesley. Google Scholar

ARMITAGE, D., MARSCHKE, M. and PLUMMER, R. (2008), ‘Adaptive co-management and the paradox of learning’, Global Environmental Change, 18, 86-98. Google Scholar

BARBER, A. and HALL, S. (2008), ‘Birmingham: whose urban renaissance? Regeneration as a response to economic restructuring’, Policy Studies, 29, 281-92. Google Scholar

BASSETT, K. (1996), ‘Partnerships, elites and urban politics: new forms of governance in an English city?’, Urban Studies, 33, 539-55. Google Scholar

BASSETT, K., GRIFFITHS, R. and SMITH, I. (2002), ‘Testing governance: partnerships, planning and conflict in waterfront regeneration’, Urban Studies, 39, 1757-75. Google Scholar

BECK, U., BONSS, W. and LAU, C. (2003), ‘The theory of reflexive modernization: problematic, hypotheses and research programme’, Theory, Culture & Society, 20, 1-33. Google Scholar

BGCP (2009), Building a Positive Future for Bristol after Peak Oil, Bristol, Bristol Green Capital Partnership. Google Scholar

BGCP (2011), Who Feeds Bristol? Towards a Resilient Food Plan, Bristol, Bristol Green Capital Partnership. Google Scholar

BGCP (2012), A Call for Collaboration. Report from the Future City Conversations January 2012, Bristol, Bristol Green Capital Partnership. Google Scholar

BODDY, M., BASSETT, K., FRENCH, S., GRIFFITHS, R., LAMBERT, C., LEYSHON, A., SMITH, I., STEWART, M. and THRIFT, N. (2004), ‘Competitiveness and cohesion in a prosperous city region: the case of Bristol’, in M. Boddy and M. Parkinson (eds), City Matters: Competitiveness, Cohesion and Urban Governance, Bristol, Policy Press, 51-70. Google Scholar

BRISTOL 2015 (2016), In It for Good: Bristol European Green Capital 2015 Citywide Review, Bristol, Bristol 2015. Google Scholar

BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL (2011), Bristol Development Framework: Bristol Core Strategy, Bristol, Bristol City Council. Google Scholar

BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL (2016), Review of European Green Capital 2015: Report to Overview and Scrutiny Committee, 2nd March, Bristol, Bristol City Council. Google Scholar

BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL (2019), One City Plan, Bristol, Bristol City Council. Google Scholar

BRISTOL PARTNERSHIP (2003), Bristol’s Community Strategy, Bristol, The Bristol Partnership. Google Scholar

BROUSSEAU, E. and GLACHANT, J. M. (2011), ‘Regulators as reflexive governance platforms’, Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, 12, 194-209. Google Scholar

BROWNLEE, E. (2011), Bristol’s Green Roots: The Growth of The Environment Movement in the City, Bristol, Schumacher Institute. Google Scholar

BUNDRED, S. (2016), Review of Bristol 2015 European Green Capital Year: Report to Bristol City Council, Bristol, Bristol City Council. Google Scholar

BUSINESS WEST (2011), 2050: High in Hope: A Business Vision for the West of England City Region, Business West, Bristol. Google Scholar

CLG (2015), The English Indices of Deprivation 2015, Statistical Release, London, Department for Communities and Local Government. Google Scholar

DAVITER, F. (2017), ‘Coping, taming or solving: alternative approaches to the governance of wicked problems’, Policy Studies, 38, 571-88. Google Scholar

DE SCHUTTER, O. and LENOBLE, J. (eds) (2010), Reflexive Governance: Redefining the Public Interest in a Pluralistic World, London, Bloomsbury Publishing. Google Scholar

DIGAETANO, A. and KLEMANSKI, J. (1993), ‘Urban regimes in comparative perspective: the politics of urban development in Britain’, Urban Affairs Quarterly, 29, 54-83. Google Scholar

EPSTEIN, R. (2015), ‘La gouvernance territoriale: Une affaire d’État. La dimension verticale de la construction de l’action collective dans les territoires’, L’annee sociologique, 65, 457-82. Google Scholar

ERSOY, A. (2017), Impact of Co-production, Bristol, Policy Press. Google Scholar

ERSOY, A. and LARNER, W. (2019), ‘Rethinking urban entrepreneurialism: Bristol Green Capital - in it for good?’, European Planning Studies, 1-19. Google Scholar

FEINDT, P. H. and WEILAND, S. (2018), ‘Reflexive governance: exploring the concept and assessing its critical potential for sustainable development. Introduction to the special issue’, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 20, 661-74. Google Scholar

FOLKE, C., HAHN, T., OLSSON, P. and NORBERG, J. (2005), ‘Adaptive governance of social-ecological systems’, Annual Review of Environmental Resources, 30, 441-73. Google Scholar

GIBBONS, M., LIMOGES, C., NOWOTNY, H., SCHWARTZMAN, S., SCOTT, P. and TROW, M. (1994), The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies, London, Sage. Google Scholar

GUNDERSON, L. and LIGHT, S. S. (2006), ‘Adaptive management and adaptive governance in the Everglades ecosystem’, Policy Sciences, 39, 323-34. Google Scholar

HEALEY, P. (2005), Collaborative Planning. Shaping Places in Fragmented Societies, 2nd edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan. Google Scholar

HODSON, M. and MARVIN, S. (eds) (2014), After Sustainable Cities?, London, Routledge. Google Scholar

INNES, J. E. and BOOHER, D. E. (2010), Planning with Complexity: An Introduction to Collaborative Rationality for Public Policy, Abingdon, Routledge. Google Scholar

JASANOFF, S. (ed) (2004), States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and the Social Order, London, Routledge. Google Scholar

KEMP, R. and LOORBACH, D. (2006), ‘Transition management: a reflexive governance approach’, in Voss et al. (eds), 103-30. Google Scholar

LEMOS, M. C. and AGRAWAL, A. (2006), ‘Environmental governance’, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 31, 297-325. Google Scholar

LOORBACH, D. (2010), ‘Transition management for sustainable development: a prescriptive, complexity-based governance framework’, Governance, 23, 161-83. Google Scholar

MALPASS, P. (1994), ‘Policy making and local governance: how Bristol failed to secure city challenge funding (twice)’, Policy and Politics, 22, 301-12. Google Scholar

MEADOWCROFT, J. and STEURER, R. (2013), ‘Assessment practices in the policy and politics cycles: a contribution to reflexive governance for sustainable development?’, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 6, 734-51. Google Scholar

MEADOWCROFT, J. and STEURER, R. (2018), ‘Assessment practices in the policy and politics cycles: a contribution to reflexive governance for sustainable development?’, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 20, 752-74. Google Scholar

NORTH, P. and NURSE, A. (2014), ‘Beyond entrepreneurial cities’, Métropoles, 15, htttp://metropoles.revues.org/5005 (accessed 23 November 2015). Google Scholar

NOWOTNY, H., SCOTT, P., GIBBONS, M. and SCOTT, P. B. (2001), Re-thinking Science: Knowledge and the Public in an Age of Uncertainty, Cambridge, Polity. Google Scholar

OATLEY, N. and MAY, A. (1999), ‘Out of touch, out of place, out of time: a valediction for Bristol Development Corporation’, in R. Imrie and H. Thomas (eds), British Urban Policy: An Evaluation of the Urban Development Corporations, London, Sage, 186-205. Google Scholar

ONS (2016), NOMIS Official Labour Market Statistics. Labour Market Profile, City of Bristol, London, Office for National Statistics. Google Scholar

ONS (2017), Regional and Sub-regional Productivity in the UK: Jan 2017, London, Office for National Statistics. Google Scholar

OSTROM, E. (2010), ‘Beyond markets and states: polycentric governance of complex economic systems’, American Economic Review, 100, 641-72. Google Scholar

PAHL-WOSTL, C. (2009), ‘A conceptual framework for analysing adaptive capacity and multilevel learning processes in resource governance regimes’, Global Environmental Change, 19, 354-65. Google Scholar

PURDUE, D., DIANI, M. and LINDSAY, I. (2004), ‘Civic networks in Bristol and Glasgow’, Community Development Journal, 39, 277-88. Google Scholar

RACO, M. and FLINT, M. (eds) (2012), The Future of Sustainable Cities, Bristol, Policy Press. Google Scholar

STEWART, M. (1996), ‘Too little, too late: the politics of local complacency’, Journal of Urban Affairs, 18, 119-37. Google Scholar

STEWART, M. (1998), The Janus City: Two-Faced Leadership for the 21st Century (Urban Leadership Working Paper 12), Bristol, University of the West of England. Google Scholar

STONE-JOVICICH, S. (2015), ‘Probing the interfaces between the social sciences and social-ecological resilience: insights from integrative and hybrid perspectives in the social sciences’, Ecology and Society, 20, 25. Google Scholar

TALLON, A. (2007), ‘City profile: Bristol’, Cities, 24, 74-88. Google Scholar

TERMEER, C., DEWULF, A., BREEMAN, G. and STILLER, S. (2015), ‘Governance capabilities for dealing wisely with wicked problems’, Administration & Society, 47, 680-710. Google Scholar

VOSS, J. P., BAUKNECHT, D. and KEMP, R. (eds) (2006), Reflexive Governance for Sustainable Development, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing. Google Scholar

WARD, K. (2003), ‘The limits to contemporary urban redevelopment: “doing” entrepreneurial urbanism in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester’, City, 7, 199-211. Google Scholar

WESTLEY, F., OLSSON, P., FOLKE, C., HOMER-DIXON, T., VREDENBURG, H., LOORBACH, D., THOMPSON, J., NILSSON, M., LAMBIN, E., SENDZIMIR, J. and BANERJEE, B. (2011), ‘Tipping toward sustainability: emerging pathways of transformation’, Ambio, 40, 762-80. Google Scholar

WHILE, A., JONAS, A. and GIBBS, D. (2004), ‘The environment and the entrepreneurial city: searching for the urban sustainability fix in Manchester and Leeds’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 28, 549-69. Google Scholar

WYBORN, C. (2015), ‘Co-productive governance: a relational framework for adaptive governance’, Global Environmental Change, 30, 56-67. Google Scholar

ARGYRIS, C. and SCHON, D. (1978), Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Approach, Reading, MA, Addision Wesley. Google Scholar

ARMITAGE, D., MARSCHKE, M. and PLUMMER, R. (2008), ‘Adaptive co-management and the paradox of learning’, Global Environmental Change, 18, 86–98. Google Scholar

BARBER, A. and HALL, S. (2008), ‘Birmingham: whose urban renaissance? Regeneration as a response to economic restructuring’, Policy Studies, 29, 281–92. Google Scholar

BASSETT, K. (1996), ‘Partnerships, elites and urban politics: new forms of governance in an English city?’, Urban Studies, 33, 539–55. Google Scholar

BASSETT, K., GRIFFITHS, R. and SMITH, I. (2002), ‘Testing governance: partnerships, planning and conflict in waterfront regeneration’, Urban Studies, 39, 1757–75. Google Scholar

BECK, U., BONSS, W. and LAU, C. (2003), ‘The theory of reflexive modernization: problematic, hypotheses and research programme’, Theory, Culture & Society, 20, 1–33. Google Scholar

BGCP (2009), Building a Positive Future for Bristol after Peak Oil, Bristol, Bristol Green Capital Partnership. Google Scholar

BGCP (2011), Who Feeds Bristol? Towards a Resilient Food Plan, Bristol, Bristol Green Capital Partnership. Google Scholar

BGCP (2012), A Call for Collaboration. Report from the Future City Conversations January 2012, Bristol, Bristol Green Capital Partnership. Google Scholar

BODDY, M., BASSETT, K., FRENCH, S., GRIFFITHS, R., LAMBERT, C., LEYSHON, A., SMITH, I., STEWART, M. and THRIFT, N. (2004), ‘Competitiveness and cohesion in a prosperous city region: the case of Bristol’, in M. Boddy and M. Parkinson (eds), City Matters: Competitiveness, Cohesion and Urban Governance, Bristol, Policy Press, 51–70. Google Scholar

BRISTOL 2015 (2016), In It for Good: Bristol European Green Capital 2015 Citywide Review, Bristol, Bristol 2015. Google Scholar

BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL (2011), Bristol Development Framework: Bristol Core Strategy, Bristol, Bristol City Council. Google Scholar

BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL (2016), Review of European Green Capital 2015: Report to Overview and Scrutiny Committee, 2nd March, Bristol, Bristol City Council. Google Scholar

BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL (2019), One City Plan, Bristol, Bristol City Council. Google Scholar

BRISTOL PARTNERSHIP (2003), Bristol’s Community Strategy, Bristol, The Bristol Partnership. Google Scholar

BROUSSEAU, E. and GLACHANT, J. M. (2011), ‘Regulators as reflexive governance platforms’, Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, 12, 194–209. Google Scholar

BROWNLEE, E. (2011), Bristol’s Green Roots: The Growth of The Environment Movement in the City, Bristol, Schumacher Institute. Google Scholar

BUNDRED, S. (2016), Review of Bristol 2015 European Green Capital Year: Report to Bristol City Council, Bristol, Bristol City Council. Google Scholar

BUSINESS WEST (2011), 2050: High in Hope: A Business Vision for the West of England City Region, Business West, Bristol. Google Scholar

CLG (2015), The English Indices of Deprivation 2015, Statistical Release, London, Department for Communities and Local Government. Google Scholar

DAVITER, F. (2017), ‘Coping, taming or solving: alternative approaches to the governance of wicked problems’, Policy Studies, 38, 571–88. Google Scholar

DE SCHUTTER, O. and LENOBLE, J. (eds) (2010), Reflexive Governance: Redefining the Public Interest in a Pluralistic World, London, Bloomsbury Publishing. Google Scholar

DIGAETANO, A. and KLEMANSKI, J. (1993), ‘Urban regimes in comparative perspective: the politics of urban development in Britain’, Urban Affairs Quarterly, 29, 54–83. Google Scholar

EPSTEIN, R. (2015), ‘La gouvernance territoriale: Une affaire d’État. La dimension verticale de la construction de l’action collective dans les territoires’, L’annee sociologique, 65, 457–82. Google Scholar

ERSOY, A. (2017), Impact of Co-production, Bristol, Policy Press. Google Scholar

ERSOY, A. and LARNER, W. (2019), ‘Rethinking urban entrepreneurialism: Bristol Green Capital – in it for good?’, European Planning Studies, 1–19. Google Scholar

FEINDT, P. H. and WEILAND, S. (2018), ‘Reflexive governance: exploring the concept and assessing its critical potential for sustainable development. Introduction to the special issue’, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 20, 661–74. Google Scholar

FOLKE, C., HAHN, T., OLSSON, P. and NORBERG, J. (2005), ‘Adaptive governance of social-ecological systems’, Annual Review of Environmental Resources, 30, 441–73. Google Scholar

GIBBONS, M., LIMOGES, C., NOWOTNY, H., SCHWARTZMAN, S., SCOTT, P. and TROW, M. (1994), The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies, London, Sage. Google Scholar

GUNDERSON, L. and LIGHT, S. S. (2006), ‘Adaptive management and adaptive governance in the Everglades ecosystem’, Policy Sciences, 39, 323–34. Google Scholar

HEALEY, P. (2005), Collaborative Planning. Shaping Places in Fragmented Societies, 2nd edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan. Google Scholar

HODSON, M. and MARVIN, S. (eds) (2014), After Sustainable Cities?, London, Routledge. Google Scholar

INNES, J. E. and BOOHER, D. E. (2010), Planning with Complexity: An Introduction to Collaborative Rationality for Public Policy, Abingdon, Routledge. Google Scholar

JASANOFF, S. (ed) (2004), States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and the Social Order, London, Routledge. Google Scholar

KEMP, R. and LOORBACH, D. (2006), ‘Transition management: a reflexive governance approach’, in Voss et al. (eds), 103–30. Google Scholar

LEMOS, M. C. and AGRAWAL, A. (2006), ‘Environmental governance’, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 31, 297–325. Google Scholar

LOORBACH, D. (2010), ‘Transition management for sustainable development: a prescriptive, complexity-based governance framework’, Governance, 23, 161–83. Google Scholar

MALPASS, P. (1994), ‘Policy making and local governance: how Bristol failed to secure city challenge funding (twice)’, Policy and Politics, 22, 301–12. Google Scholar

MEADOWCROFT, J. and STEURER, R. (2013), ‘Assessment practices in the policy and politics cycles: a contribution to reflexive governance for sustainable development?’, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 6, 734–51. Google Scholar

MEADOWCROFT, J. and STEURER, R. (2018), ‘Assessment practices in the policy and politics cycles: a contribution to reflexive governance for sustainable development?’, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 20, 752–74. Google Scholar

NORTH, P. and NURSE, A. (2014), ‘Beyond entrepreneurial cities’, Métropoles, 15, htttp://metropoles.revues.org/5005 (accessed 23 November 2015). Google Scholar

NOWOTNY, H., SCOTT, P., GIBBONS, M. and SCOTT, P. B. (2001), Re-thinking Science: Knowledge and the Public in an Age of Uncertainty, Cambridge, Polity. Google Scholar

OATLEY, N. and MAY, A. (1999), ‘Out of touch, out of place, out of time: a valediction for Bristol Development Corporation’, in R. Imrie and H. Thomas (eds), British Urban Policy: An Evaluation of the Urban Development Corporations, London, Sage, 186–205. Google Scholar

ONS (2016), NOMIS Official Labour Market Statistics. Labour Market Profile, City of Bristol, London, Office for National Statistics. Google Scholar

ONS (2017), Regional and Sub-regional Productivity in the UK: Jan 2017, London, Office for National Statistics. Google Scholar

OSTROM, E. (2010), ‘Beyond markets and states: polycentric governance of complex economic systems’, American Economic Review, 100, 641–72. Google Scholar

PAHL-WOSTL, C. (2009), ‘A conceptual framework for analysing adaptive capacity and multilevel learning processes in resource governance regimes’, Global Environmental Change, 19, 354–65. Google Scholar

PURDUE, D., DIANI, M. and LINDSAY, I. (2004), ‘Civic networks in Bristol and Glasgow’, Community Development Journal, 39, 277–88. Google Scholar

RACO, M. and FLINT, M. (eds) (2012), The Future of Sustainable Cities, Bristol, Policy Press. Google Scholar

STEWART, M. (1996), ‘Too little, too late: the politics of local complacency’, Journal of Urban Affairs, 18, 119–37. Google Scholar

STEWART, M. (1998), The Janus City: Two-Faced Leadership for the 21st Century (Urban Leadership Working Paper 12), Bristol, University of the West of England. Google Scholar

STONE-JOVICICH, S. (2015), ‘Probing the interfaces between the social sciences and social-ecological resilience: insights from integrative and hybrid perspectives in the social sciences’, Ecology and Society, 20, 25. Google Scholar

TALLON, A. (2007), ‘City profile: Bristol’, Cities, 24, 74–88. Google Scholar

TERMEER, C., DEWULF, A., BREEMAN, G. and STILLER, S. (2015), ‘Governance capabilities for dealing wisely with wicked problems’, Administration & Society, 47, 680–710. Google Scholar

VOSS, J. P., BAUKNECHT, D. and KEMP, R. (eds) (2006), Reflexive Governance for Sustainable Development, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing. Google Scholar

WARD, K. (2003), ‘The limits to contemporary urban redevelopment: “doing” entrepreneurial urbanism in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester’, City, 7, 199–211. Google Scholar

WESTLEY, F., OLSSON, P., FOLKE, C., HOMER-DIXON, T., VREDENBURG, H., LOORBACH, D., THOMPSON, J., NILSSON, M., LAMBIN, E., SENDZIMIR, J. and BANERJEE, B. (2011), ‘Tipping toward sustainability: emerging pathways of transformation’, Ambio, 40, 762–80. Google Scholar

WHILE, A., JONAS, A. and GIBBS, D. (2004), ‘The environment and the entrepreneurial city: searching for the urban sustainability fix in Manchester and Leeds’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 28, 549–69. Google Scholar

WYBORN, C. (2015), ‘Co-productive governance: a relational framework for adaptive governance’, Global Environmental Change, 30, 56–67. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Ersoy, Aksel

Hall, Stephen