Monday, October 14, 2013

Scale sensitivity: the fifth governance capability?

In a recent article, we identified four governance capabilities (Termeer et al. 2013): (1) reflexivity, or the capability to deal with multiple frames in society and policy; (2) resilience, or the capability to flexibly adapt to frequently occurring and uncertain changes; (3) responsiveness, or the capability to respond wisely to changing agendas and public demands; and (4) revitalisation, or the capability to unblock deadlocks and stagnations in policy processes. These four capabilities are based on different theoretical notions, imply different ways of observing, result in different ways of acting, and require different enabling conditions in the governance institutions

In a chapter for the upcoming book "Scale-sensitive governance of the environment" - resulting from the Scaling and Governance research programme at Wageningen University - we introduce "scale sensitivity" or "rescaling" as a fifth governance capability. We define this as the capability to observe and address cross-scale and cross-level issues. The archetypical cross-scale issue for environmental problems is the mismatch between the scale of a problem and the scale at which it is governed. But understanding and addressing cross-level issues, e.g. vertical interplay between different levels of governance, is also key to scale sensitivity.

The full references is: Termeer, C., & Dewulf, A. (2014). Scale-sensitivity as a governance capability: observing, acting and enabling. In F. Padt, P. F. M. Opdam, C. J. A. M. Termeer, & N. Polman (Eds.), Scale-sensitive governance of the environment. Wiley.