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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Learning as leverage for change in local government : a case study of Santo André’s GEPAM project from 1998-2003 Macnaughton, Alison Elisabeth


This thesis explores the ways in which a municipal government in Brazil developed itself as a learning system through the support of a capacity-building project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency. The project, which began in 1998, focuses on building capacity for adaptive, community based watershed management in the municipality of Santo Andre. It involves a team of Canadian partners led by the University of British Columbia Centre for Human Settlements. Santo Andre is a city of 600,000 people in the Sao Paulo metropolitan area. The focus of the thesis is on Santo Andre's planners' perspectives about the individual learning, and related organizational changes, that were induced by the project. In-depth interviews were conducted with twenty-one staff holding a variety of planning responsibilities. The findings are that, while not planned for in the design of the project, learning occurred at three levels: learning by the planners as individuals engaging in daily practices, learning through changes in the planners' relationships with one another and with residents of Santo Andre's Watershed Protection Area, and learning through and about the organisational processes of the municipal government itself. It is concluded that international capacity-building projects can contribute to the enhancement of local planning to the extent they are structured to address the potential for learning at all three of these levels.

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