TeRRItoria and the use of Bottom-Up Governance Innovation Practices

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TeRRItoria and the use of Bottom-Up Governance Innovation Practices

In order to complete the mapping of governance innovation practices in Europe and beyond, the TeRRItoria consortium completed an Inventory of 30 bottom-up governance innovation practices (BUGIPs). This Inventory is part of a broader work aiming at identifying useful examples, in terms of approaches, policies and tools, for the development of the 5 “Transformative Experiments” the project will implement.

The Inventory focuses on those governance innovations, promoted by different kind of coalitions, that activate a process of “re-territorialisation” or processes which work to reverse de-territorialisation trends thus leading to foster local development and social cohesion. In particular, the Inventory collects the experiences in which research and innovation actors, in different ways, exercise responsibility toward their territory as they play a pivotal role in governance innovation. The focus is on governance innovation that emerge in the territories as “social processes” 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 describing the Inventory, the concept, methodology, and criteria of identifying BUGIPs must first be taken into consideration. Specifically, the bottom-up governance innovation practice concept adopted for the development of the Inventory is presented through the combination of several building blocks. These building blocks are Governance Innovations, Territorial Governance Innovation, the role of R&I in Territorial Governance Innovation, and the bottom-up character of the governance innovation.

The BUGIPs listed on the Inventory were analyzed in detail, through a specific analysis grid which include general information, interpretation or vision, the approach to actor’s mobilization, 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: 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 pursue 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 through strategically cooperating with other territorial actors; and finally, 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 wherein the 30 BUGIPs can relate to more than one category. To avoid this, the choice was made to indicate a category that seemed more prominent for the BUGIP.

You can have a look at the 30 BUGIPs by clicking here.

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