Agency and governance in green infrastructure policy adoption and change

Andrea K. Gerlak, Alison Elder, Mitch Pavao-Zuckerman, Adriana Zuniga-Teran, Andrew R. Sanderford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Green Infrastructure (GI) is being adopted in cities all around the world as a key piece of climate change adaptation and water management for local governments. Recognizing that there is increasingly a diversity of actors engaged in designing, implementing, and fostering GI policies, we aim to better understand how urban GI policies take shape over time. We draw from two bodies of scholarship–– agency in Earth System Governance and entrepreneurs in public policy scholarship -- to study the agents who come to exercise authority to shape GI governance. We trace the trajectory of urban GI practices and policy over the past two decades, keenly observing how GI policies are adopted and change over time. We focus on Tucson, Arizona and combine document analysis, key informant interviews, and participation in stakeholder meetings with an innovative timeline method we collaboratively developed with stakeholders to identify the key events and actors in GI policy adoption. Our findings suggest diverse yet, interconnected roles for entrepreneurs highlighting how agency is exercised, how learning occurs and takes shape across entrepreneurs and scales, and how inequities are realized and addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-615
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Green infrastructure
  • agency
  • cities
  • entrepreneurs
  • governance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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