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Civic ecology practices: insights from practice theory

Marianne E Krasny, Civic Ecology Lab, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University
Philip Silva, Civic Ecology Lab, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University
Cornelia Barr, Gateway Environmental Initiative
Zahra Golshani, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Eunju Lee, Civic Ecology Lab, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University
Robert Ligas, Five Rivers MetroParks
Eve Mosher, Seeding the City
Andrea Reynosa, Tusten Heritage Community Garden

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07345-200212

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Abstract

Our aim was to explore the use of practice theory as an approach to studying urban environmental stewardship. Urban environmental stewardship, or civic ecology practice, contributes to ecosystem services and community well-being and has been studied using social-ecological systems resilience, property rights, communities of practice, and governance frameworks. Practice theory, which previously has been applied in studies of consumer behaviors, adds a new perspective to urban stewardship research, focusing on how elements of a practice, such as competencies, meanings, and physical resource, together define the practice. We applied practice theory to eight different civic ecology practices, including oyster gardening in New York City, a civil society group engaged in litter cleanup in Iran, and village grove restoration in South Korea. Our analysis suggests that in applying practice theory to the civic ecology context, consideration should be given to social and communication competencies, how meanings can motivate volunteers and sustain practice, and the nature of the resource that is being stewarded. Future studies may want to focus on how practice elements interact within and vary across practices and may be used to more systematically analyze and share ideas among diverse civic ecology practices.

Key words

civic ecology; practice theory; stewardship; urban

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087