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David M. Iwaniec:

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Governance is key to sustainable urban transitions. Governance is a system of social, power, and decision‐making processes that acts as a key driver of resource allocation and use, yet ecologists—even urban ecologists–seldom consider governance concepts in their work. Transitions to more sustainable futures are becoming increasingly important to the management of many ecosystems and landscapes, and particularly so for urban systems. We briefly identify and synthesize important governance dimensions of urban sustainability transitions, using illustrations from cities in which long‐term social–ecological governance research is underway. This article concludes with a call to ecologists who are interested in environmental stewardship, and to urban ecologists in particular, to consider the role of governance as a driver in the dynamics of the systems they study.


Originally published in

Munoz-Erickson, T., L. Campbell, D.L. Childers, M. Grove, D.M. Iwaniec, E. Svenden, S. Pickett, M. Romolini. (2016) Demystifying governance and its role for transitions in urban social-ecological systems. Ecosphere 7(11):1–11.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.