Harini Nagendra, Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India

Presentation Title: The cooperative governance of urban commons




Practical experience with community governance in the context of Bangalore’s lakes has strongly highlighted the role for dialogue between communities and city government in providing the conditions conducive for effective co-management. Such initiatives are few and far between in Bangalore and indeed in most fast growing cities across the world. Our only hope for scaling up such action is through interdisciplinary education that crosses boundaries, engaging with students, local communities, policy makers and private actors, joined in the common goal of seeking equitable pathways towards greater urban sustainability. Engaging with problems of sustainability in an equitable, fair and just manner will require the fresh perspectives engendered by such discussion.

 Key Lessons Learned

  • Urban ecological commons will be critical for sustainability in the cities of the future.
  • Commons (vs. public, or private ecosystems) provide the greatest opportunities for resilience of the urban poor, migrants, traditional livelihoods and women.
  • Social and ecological outcomes are not always congruent. 
  • There is a need to enlarge our discussion of models of urban governance to include a third alternative to the commonly espoused twin pillars of private and government administration, i.e., that of the community.
  • Multi-level collaborations between local community groups, civil society actors and government administration are essential for the effective, equitable and sustainable governance of natural resources.