Andrea Andrea Matrosovs

Andrea Matrosovs is a Town Councillor and mayoral candidate in the Town of The Blue Mountains, Ontario. This is her final research project of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program with a focus area in Community Studies. Serving on Town Council and two Ontario Conservation Authority Boards compelled Andrea to research the barriers and enablers that communities encounter to value and manage their natural assets like their built infrastructure. Her own town is now taking its first steps in Municipal Natural Asset Management, and she hopes this learning journey will help other municipalities across Canada adopt this sustainable approach.


Title: The Stages and Turning Points in Canadian Municipalities Adopting Municipal Natural Asset Management Practices- A Constructivist Grounded Theory

Abstract: There is evidence in the discipline of environmental science and planning that municipal natural asset management (MNAM) makes sense both environmentally and economically. Yet only approximately 50 communities of more than 3,500 in Canada have reported adopting the practice of MNAM. Furthermore, the current dialogue in municipalities is to build community resilience when considering climate change, which underscores the need to draw on the value of natural assets and manage them. What happens when a paradigm shift occurs that leads a community to adopt the practice of MNAM in municipal asset management? In this constructivist grounded theory research, we coded 98 extant documents and 30 literature articles to construct the social learning stages and turning points of the paradigm shift to adopt MNAM in Canadian municipalities. The research showed that there is a social learning process (Friedmann) of stages and turning points (Glaser) that traces a community’s decision to pursue or reject MNAM. Council members, staff, and community members encounter obstacles, barriers, enablers, and succors through the social learning stages of identifying, strategizing, acting, and reflecting. Policy analysis is part of the strategizing stage of social learning in this context. Its implementing stage aligns with the acting stage of social learning, and the feedback stage is part of the reflecting stage of social learning. If we can understand the causal conditions, paradigm shift, strategy and consequences in communities that have adopted MNAM, then we can address the barriers preventing other municipalities from making the shift.

 


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