Polycentricity of urban watershed governance

Towards a methodological approach

Urban studies journal cover.

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, makes an initial contribution towards building a polycentricity index to account for the governing of social–ecological systems.

Boamah develops three indices and an overall index, using an approach based on network science, to measure the extent to which actors develop ordered relationships to address scale mismatches in urban water governance. These indices are discussed with respect to the overarching system of rules governing actors’ decisions within the Middle Rio Grande (MRG) urban watershed. The analysis and discussions herein suggest that the governance of the MRG is a predominantly monocentric governing system with elements of polycentricity. They also suggest that polycentricity in governing the MRG urban water commons could primarily be about the politics of power and resource distribution as actors reconfigure their positionalities and align themselves and their interests strategically. The paper concludes with a succinct discussion about how quantitative measures of an overarching system of rules could be incorporated into future indices.


Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, Assistant Professor
Department of Urban and Regional Planning


Urban Studies

Date Published