Toward an Understanding of Citywide Urban Environmental Governance: An Examination of Stewardship Networks in Baltimore and Seattle
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- Romolini, M., Morgan Grove, J., Ventriss, C.L. et al. Environmental Management (2016) 58: 254. doi:10.1007/s00267-016-0704-4
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Efforts to create more sustainable cities are evident in the proliferation of sustainability policies in cities worldwide. It has become widely proposed that the success of these urban sustainability initiatives will require city agencies to partner with, and even cede authority to, organizations from other sectors and levels of government. Yet the resulting collaborative networks are often poorly understood, and the study of large whole networks has been a challenge for researchers. We believe that a better understanding of citywide environmental governance networks can inform evaluations of their effectiveness, thus contributing to improved environmental management. Through two citywide surveys in Baltimore and Seattle, we collected data on the attributes of environmental stewardship organizations and their network relationships. We applied missing data treatment approaches and conducted social network and comparative analyses to examine (a) the organizational composition of the network, and (b) how information and knowledge are shared throughout the network. Findings revealed similarities in the number of actors and their distribution across sectors, but considerable variation in the types and locations of environmental stewardship activities, and in the number and distribution of network ties in the networks of each city. We discuss the results and potential implications of network research for urban sustainability governance.