TeRRItoria and the Use of Bottom-Up Governance Innovation Practices

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TeRRItoria and the Use of Bottom-Up Governance Innovation Practices

What do technological education in Mexico, renewable energy on a remote Scottish island, and waste management in Bangladesh have in common? As it happens, all of these examples are things that TeRRItoria can draw inspiration in the coming months when crafting the five “transformative experiments” the project will implement. 

In order to complete its mapping of governance innovation practices in Europe and beyond, the TeRRItoria consortium, following the lead of the member K&I, compiled an inventory of 30 Bottom-Up Governance Innovation Practices (BUGIPs). This inventory is part of a broader work aiming to identify useful examples, in terms of approaches, policies, and tools, for the development of the five “transformative experiments”. 

The inventory focuses on governance innovations promoted by coalitions of actors that activate a process of “re-territorialisation” or processes which work to reverse de-territorialisation trends, thus leading to the fostering of local development and social cohesion. In particular, the inventory collects the experiences in which research and innovation actors exercise responsibility toward their territory in different ways while playing a pivotal role in governance innovation. The focus is on governance innovation which emerges in the territories as a “social process”, rather than as the application of a plan or a project based on top-down investments or funds, e.g. at European or at national level.

Before the inventory itself is presented, the concept, methodology, and criteria of identifying BUGIPs must first be taken into consideration. Specifically, the concept of Bottom-Up Governance Innovation Practices, adopted for the development of the inventory, is presented through the combination of several building blocks. These are Governance Innovations, Territorial Governance Innovation, the role of R&I in Territorial Governance Innovation, and the bottom-up character of Governance Innovation.

The BUGIPs listed in the inventory were analysed in detail, through a specific analysis grid which includes general information, interpretation or vision, the approach to actors’ mobilisation, activities done by the actors involved, opportunities and obstacles met by the actors involved, and the main impacts (in terms of results, new rules, new resources, consensus, sustainability, further developments, scientific production, new behaviours, etc.).

This process led to the inventory’s identification of the BUGIPs’ features, which are that they:

  • consist of the establishment of new relationships between different social actors none of whom being able, by themselves, to control the social complexity;
  • are focused on the management of a shared territorial challenge and not on the pursuit of pre-established interests, thus overcoming the contrapositions among representatives of the various actors involved;
  • are a way in which R&I actors exercise their responsibility by cooperating strategically with other territorial actors;
  • and are understood as open social processes rather than an implementation of fund-based plans or projects.

The BUGIPs were then classified into the following categories: re-rooting economic and social activities, recovering and fostering local knowledge, new regulatory frameworks, risk management, and agenda setting. These are closely interconnected categories and the 30 BUGIPs can relate to more than one category. To avoid this, the choice was made to indicate a category which seemed more prominent for each BUGIP.

You can find the inventory of 30 Bottom-Up Governance Innovation Practices (BUGIPs) by clicking here.

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