This research examines climate change responses by experts from government, national agencies, civil society organizations, and private firms in Metro Manila. We found that highly bonding social capital, often forged through more familiar relationships, reduces organizational interactions and the potential for efficient knowledge mobilization. Specifically, results show deficiencies in information delivery (inconsistent lexicon) and support systems (knowledge sharing, partnerships, and resources), situations known to hinder climate change action. Despite ambivalence toward changing the current system, experts expressed (a) undertones of displeasure in how the system operates, and (b) a clear desire for more institutionalized action and mandates at various institutional scales. A predominance of bonding social capital can preclude participation from outside actors resulting in the exclusion of innovations needed to advance climate response. Therefore, we propose incremental shifts to existing social capital as a means to achieve transformations, arguing that a synergy of horizontal and vertical networks could increase efficiencies in information processes, strengthen collaborations, and enhance governance to confront climate change in this context.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
In this research, these individuals are experts working on climate change through their professional organizational roles and capacities.
The terms CSOs and NGOs are used interchangeably in this research.
Issues involving roadways, waterways, or population straddling LGU boundaries may necessitate collaboration by multiple LGUs. Resolutions largely depend on LGU directives as collaboration is mostly not mandated (Porio 2012).
Current and accurate directories for CSOs and NGOs do not exist (Clarke 2012). Participants were located by scrutiny of previous records, lists, and direct query of experts working in related fields.
Four LGUs requested group rather than individual interviews.
These lists were referenced by LGU participants. A physical list was never provided to, or obtainable by, the researcher.
Community knowledge concerns suggestions or input from community members, regardless of affiliations.
Results may not reflect all information sharing processes since the document sample was random.
The political landscape within which study organizations operate was cautiously observed since it was too soon and, potentially, risky for participants to fully critique at the time this research occurred.
Project NOAH has since been re-homed by the University of the Philippines, Diliman, where its moniker is now UP-NOAH.
This project was not noted by name but the generic term, floodgates, was offered as a successful project (Fig. 2). While this could reflect issues with terminology discussed earlier, such speculation is not possible.
Adger WN (2009) Social capital, collective action, and adaptation to climate change. Econ Geogr 79(4):387–404
Adger WN, Arnell NW, Tompkins EL (2005) Successful adaptation to climate change across scales. Glob Environ Chang 15(2):77–86
Adhikari B, Taylor K (2012) Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change: a review of local actions and national policy response. Climate and Development 4(February 2015):54–65
Aldrich DP, Meyer MA (2015) Social capital and community resilience. Am Behav Sci 59(2):254–269
Archer D, Dodman D (2015) Making capacity building critical: power and justice in building urban climate resilience in Indonesia and Thailand. Urban Climate 14(1):68–78
Asian Development Bank. (2013). Civil society briefs: Philippines, Publication Stock No. ARM124416
Assens, C., & Lemeur, A. C. (2016). Network governance: the theory. Networks governance, partnership management and coalitions federation. Governance and Public Management. London: Palgrave Macmillan
Aswani S, Vaccaro I, Abernethy K, Albert S, de Pablo JFL (2015) Can perceptions of environmental and climate change in island communities assist in adaptation planning locally? Environ Manag 4
Bahadur A, Ibrahim M, Tanner T (2013) Characterising resilience: unpacking the concept for tackling climate change and development. Clim Develop 5(1):55–65
Ballantyne AG (2016) Climate change communication: what can we learn from communication theory? Wiley Interdiscip Rev Clim Chang 7(3):329–344
Bankoff G (2003) Constructing vulnerability: the historical, natural and social generation of flooding in metropolitan Manila. Disasters 27(3):224–238
Bankoff G (2016) Hazardousness of place: a new comparative approach to the Filipino past. Philipp Stud 64(3–4):335–357
Betsill MM, Bulkeley H (2006) Cities and the multilevel governance of global climate change. Glob Gov 12(2):141–159
Biesbroek GR, Swart RJ, van der Knaap WGM (2009) The mitigation–adaptation dichotomy and the role of spatial planning. Habitat Int 33(3):230–237
Blythe J, Silver J, Evans L, Armitage D, Bennett NJ, Moore ML et al (2018) The dark side of transformation: latent risks in contemporary sustainability discourse. Antipode 50(5):1–18
Bridger J, Luloff A (2001) Building the sustainable community: is social capital the answer? Sociol Inq 71(4):458–472
Brower RS, Magno FA, Dilling J (2014) Evolving and implementing a new disaster management paradigm: the case of the Philippines. In: Kapucu N, Liou KT (eds) Disaster and development: examining global issues and cases. Springer, New York, pp 289–313
Bulkeley H, Betsill M (2005) Rethinking sustainable cities: multilevel governance and the ‘urban’ politics of climate change. Environmental Politics 14(1):42–63
Burch S (2010) In pursuit of resilient, low carbon communities: an examination of barriers to action in three Canadian cities. Energy Policy 38(12):7575–7585
Burch S, Mitchell C, Berbes-Blazquez M, Wandel J (2017) Tipping toward transformation: progress, patterns and potential for climate change adaptation in the Global South. Journal of Extreme Events 4(1):1750003
Cai Y (2017) Bonding, bridging, and linking: photovoice for resilience through social capital. Nat Hazards 88(2):1169–1195
Carmin J, Anguelovski I, Roberts D (2012) Urban climate adaptation in the Global South: planning in an emerging policy domain. JPER 32(1):18–32
Castells M (2011) A network theory of power. Int J Commun 5:773–787
Clarke, G. (2012). Civil society in the Philippines: theoretical, methodological and policy debates. London: Routledge
Corburn J (2003) Bringing local knowledge into environmental decision making. J Plan Educ Res 22:420–433
Corfee-Morlot J, Cochran I, Hallegatte S, Teasdale PJ (2011) Multilevel risk governance and urban adaptation policy. Clim Chang 104(1):169–197
Cox LAT (2012) Community resilience and decision: theory challenges for catastrophic events. Risk Anal 32(11):1919–1934
Feiock RC (2013) The institutional collective action framework. Policy Stud J 41(3):397–425
Field. C. B., Barros, V. R., Dokken, D. J., Mach, K. J., Mastrandrea, M. D., Bilir, T. E., . . . White, L. L. (Eds.). (2014). Summary for policymakers. Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (pp. 1–32). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Foucault, M. (1991). Governmentality. The Foucault effect: studies in governmentality, (87–104). G. Burchell, C. Gordon, & P. Miller. (Eds.). U.K.: Harvester/Wheatsheaf
Friedkin NE (1982) Information flow through strong and weak ties in intraorganizational social networks*. Soc Networks 3:273–285
Fukuyama F (2001) Social capital, civil society and development. Third World Q 22(1):7–20
Fukuyama F (2002) Social capital and development: the coming agenda. SAIS Rev 22(1):23–37
Granovetter MS (1973) The strength of weak ties. Am J Sociol 78(6):1360–1380
Guevara, M. M. (2004). The fiscal decentralization process in the Philippines: lessons from experience. Paper presented at the International Symposium on Fiscal Decentralization in Asia Revisited, 20–21 February 2004, Tokyo
Gustafsson KM, Lidskog R (2018) Boundary organizations and environmental governance: performance, institutional design, and conceptual development. Climate Risk Management 19:1–11
Halpern D, Mason D (2015) Radical incrementalism. Evaluation 21(2):143–149
Hawken, P. (Ed.). (2017). Drawdown: the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. Penguin Books
Hawkins R, Maurer K (2010) Bonding, bridging and linking: how social capital operated in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Br J Soc Work 40(6):1777–1793
Hiwasaki L, Luna E, Syamsidik S, Marçal JA (2015) Local and indigenous knowledge on climate-related hazards of coastal and small island communities in Southeast Asia. Clim Chang 128(1–2):35–56
Innes JE, Booher DE, Di Vittorio S (2010) Strategies for megaregion governance. J Am Plan Assoc 77(1):55–67
Lacy S, Watson BR, Riffe D, Lovejoy J (2015) Issues and best practices in content analysis. J Mass Commun Q 92(4):791–811
Laukkonen J, Blanco PK, Lenhart J, Keiner M, Cavric B, Kinuthia-Njenga C (2009) Combining climate change adaptation and mitigation measures at the local level. Habitat Int 33(3):287–292
Leck H, Simon D (2013) Fostering multiscalar collaboration and co-operation for effective governance of climate change adaptation. Urban Stud 50(6):1221–1238
Masud MM, Al-Amin AQ, Junsheng H, Ahmed F, Yahaya SR, Akhtar R, Banna H (2016) Climate change issue and theory of planned behaviour: relationship by empirical evidence. J Clean Prod 113:613–623
McGreavy B, Hutchins K, Smith H, Lindenfeld L, Silka L (2013) Addressing the complexities of boundary work in sustainability science through communication. Sustainability 5(10):4195–4221
Meerow, S. (2017). Double exposure, infrastructure planning, and urban climate resilience in coastal megacities: a case study of Manila. Environment and Planning A, 0308518X1772363
Mendoza R, Beja E Jr, Venida V, Yap D (2012) Inequality in democracy: insights from an empirical analysis of political dynasties in the 15th Philippine Congress. Philippine Political Science Journal 33(2):132–145
Mitchell, C. L., & Laycock, K. E. (2017). Planning for adaptation to climate change: exploring the climate science-to-practice disconnect. Climate and Development
Morley I (2018) City profile: Manila. Cities 72:17–33
Moser SC (2010) Communicating climate change: history, challenges, process and future directions. WIRES: Clim Change 1:31–53
Moser SC (2016) Reflections on climate change communication research and practice in the second decade of the 21st century: what more is there to say? WIRES: Clim Change 7(3):345–369
Myeong S, Seo H (2016) Which type of social capital matters for building trust in government? Looking for a new type of social capital in the governance era. Sustainability 8(4):322
Narayanan J, Tai K, Kinias Z (2013) Power motivates interpersonal connection following social exclusion. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 122(2):257–265
Nerlich B, Koteyko N, Brown B (2010) Theory and language of climate change communication. WIREs Clim Change 1(1):97–110
Ostrom, E., Schroeder, L., & Wynne, S. (1993). Institutional incentives and sustainable development: infrastructure policies in perspective. Boulder, CO: Westview Press
Ourbak T, Magnan AK (2017) The Paris Agreement and climate change negotiations: small islands, big players. Reg Environ Chang:1–7
Patterson J, Schulz K, Vervoort J, van der Hel S, Widerberg O, Adler C et al (2017) Exploring the governance and politics of transformations towards sustainability. Environ Innov Soc Trans 24:1–16
Paul CJ, Weinthal ES, Bellemare MF, Jeuland MA (2016) Social capital, trust, and adaptation to climate change: evidence from rural Ethiopia. Glob Environ Chang 36:124–138
Pelling M (1998) Participation, social capital and vulnerability to urban flooding in Guyana. J Int Dev 10:1469–1486
Pelling, M. (2011). Adaptation to climate change: from resilience to transformation. New York: Routledge
Pelling M, Dill K (2010) Disaster politics: tipping points for change in the adaptation of sociopolitical regimes. Prog Hum Geogr 34(1):21–37
Pelling M, O’Brien K, Matyas D (2015) Adaptation and transformation. Clim Chang 133(1):113–127
Pérez-Luño A, Medina CC, Lavado AC, Rodríguez GC (2011) How social capital and knowledge affect innovation. J Bus Res 64(12):1369–1376
Petzold J, Ratter BMW (2015) Climate change adaptation under a social capital approach—an analytical framework for small islands. Ocean Coast Manag 112:36–43
Porio E (2011) Vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience to floods and climate change-related risks among marginal, riverine communities in Metro Manila. Asian Journal of Social Science 39(4):425–445
Porio E (2012) Decentralisation, power and networked governance practices in Metro Manila. Space Policy 16(1):7–27
Porio E, Crisol C (2004) Property rights, security of tenure and the urban poor in Metro Manila. Habitat Int 28(2):203–219
Purcell M (2009). Resisting Neoliberalization: Communicative Planning or Counter-Hegemonic Movements? Planning Theory 8(2):140–165. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473095209102232
Putnam R (1995) Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital: an interview with Robert Putnam. J Democr 6(1):65–78
Putnam RD, Leonardi R, Nanetti R (1993) Making democracy work. Civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Rojas H, Shah DV, Friedland LA (2011) A communicative approach to social capital. J Commun 61(4):689–712
Romero-Lankao P, Bulkeley H, Pelling M, Burch S, Gordon DJ, Gupta J et al (2018) Urban transformative potential in a changing climate. Nat Clim Chang 8(9):754–756
Sa CM, Li SX, Faubert B (2011) Faculties of education and institutional strategies for knowledge mobilization: an exploratory study. High Educ 61(5):501–512
Sager T (2009) Responsibilities of theorists: the case of communicative planning theory. Prog Plan 72:1–51
Sharpe J (2016) Understanding and unlocking transformative learning as a method for enabling behaviour change for adaptation and resilience to disaster threats. Int J Disaster Risk Reduct 17:213–219
Shatkin G (2002) Working with the community: dilemmas in radical planning in Metro Manila, the Philippines. Planning Theory & Practice 3(3):301–317
Shatkin G (2005-2006) Colonial capital, modernist capital, global capital: the changing political symbolism of urban space in Metro Manila, the Philippines. Pac Aff 78(4):577–600
Shatkin G (2008) The city and the bottom line: urban megaprojects and the privatization of planning in Southeast Asia. Environ Plan A 40(2):383–401
Shaw A, Sheppard S, Burch S, Flanders D, Wiek A, Carmichael J et al (2009) Making local futures tangible—synthesizing, downscaling, and visualizing climate change scenarios for participatory capacity building. Glob Environ Chang 19(4):447–463
Sheng YK (2010) Good urban governance in Southeast Asia. Environ Urban ASIA 1(2):131–147
Shi L, Chu E, Anguelovski I, Aylett A, Debats J, Goh K et al (2016) Roadmap towards justice in urban climate adaptation research. Nat Clim Chang 6(2):131–137
Singru, R. N., & Lindfield, M. (2014). Republic of the Philippines national urban assessment. Asian Development Bank, Publication Stock No. RPT146356. Retrieved from https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/42817/philippines-national-urban-assessment.pdf. Accessed 16 Jan 2018.
Sorenson O, Rogan M (2014) (When) do organizations have social capital? Annu Rev Sociol 40(1):261–280
Szreter S, Woolcock M (2004) Health by association? Social capital, social theory, and the political economy of public health. Int J Epidemiol 33:650–667
Tribbia J, Moser SC (2008) More than information: what coastal managers need to plan for climate change. Environ Sci Pol 11:315–328
Tyler S, Moench M (2012) A framework for urban climate resilience. Climate and Development 4(4):311–326
Weick KE, Quinn RE (1999) Organizational change and development. Annu Rev Psychol 50:361–386
Woolcock M (1998) Social capital and economic development: toward a theoretical synthesis and policy framework. Theory Soc 27(2):151–208
Woolcock M, Narayan D (2000) Social capital: implications for development theory, research, and policy. World Bank Res Obs 15(2):225–249
This research was generously funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship and an International Development Research Centre Doctoral Research Award. Gratitude is extended to many individuals at De La Salle University, Manila, especially Dr. Francisco Magno for network insights and in-roads while undertaking this research. We thank Dr. Sarah Burch, Dr. Jennifer Dean, Dr. Pierre Filion, and Xing Su for their recommendations throughout the research and writing processes. In addition, we gratefully acknowledge and thank the three anonymous reviewers who provided invaluable and detailed suggestions and comments to guide and enhance this final paper.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Laycock, K.E., Mitchell, C.L. Social capital and incremental transformative change: responding to climate change experts in Metro Manila. Climatic Change 152, 47–66 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2360-6