UBC Graduate Research

Learning Plans for Learning Communities: Adaptive Management applied in the Urban Planning Context Lutz, Samya


Over the past few decades natural resource policymakers and managers have embraced adaptive management as a means to ensure that policies continue to meet the goals and objectives for which they were originally designed. As practical realities change in a static policy environment, policy decisions originally intended for one purpose can end up being clumsy, outdated, and impractical. But in the dynamic policy environment of adaptive management – increasingly found in the natural resources field – active learning is a guiding principle, decisions are viewed as experiments in order to yield progressive improvement over time, and mechanisms are in place to trigger policy changes in response to changes on the ground. Like natural resources, urban social problems change over time, and policies do not always keep pace; they may even become so out of synch with original objectives that they are at odds with facilitating practical, affordable solutions to urban social problems. Can knowledge gained through experience with adaptive management in the natural resource environment be applied to the urban social environment? This report explores the application of adaptive management principals used within the natural resource policy framework to the urban social policy framework. It is also an exploration into other methods of linking management and policymaking to action in a dynamic way. Finally, in order to illustrate how the adaptive management approach works in an urban context, it examines the implementation of adaptive management principals in three different municipalities.

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