Adaptive Co-management in the Context of Informal Settlements
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- Fitchett, A. Urban Forum (2014) 25: 355. doi:10.1007/s12132-013-9215-z
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Adaptive co-management is an approach to the management of ecosystems that is founded on the collaboration of a diverse set of actors as a means of addressing complexity and uncertainty. A key feature is the appreciation of local knowledge systems and social structures which are given equivalent value to conventional scientific and managerial knowledge. This is contrasted with participatory approaches used when confronting the challenges of informal settlements. A demonstration project for the improvement of a street in the informal part of Diepsloot, a settlement on the northern periphery of the City of Johannesburg, was used as a case study to explore aspects of adaptive co-management. A more inclusive approach in urban contexts can nurture initiative and thereby self-respect of marginalised and vulnerable citizens. At the same time, professionals can learn environmental ‘good practice’ from those most knowledgeable about re-use and recycling, and develop an understanding of real urban dynamics.