Integrated stakeholder analysis for effective urban flood management in a medium-sized city in China: a case study of Zhuji, Zhejiang province

2018-02-26T16:26:21Z (GMT) by En-Cheng (Dylan) Zhou
Over recent decades, the stakeholder arena for urban flood management has become well recognised as being complex and dynamic. Various stakeholders are involved before, during and after a flooding event, all of which have different interests and demands. Therefore, an initial stakeholder identification and analysis stage is required before detailed stakeholder engagement strategies can be developed and employed. Drawing on urban flood management in Zhuji, a typical medium-sized city that has suffered urban flooding in China, this research project used a mixed-method research methodology within a single case-study approach to explore the current stakeholder arena for urban flood management in a medium-sized Chinese city. By combining stakeholder salience analysis with social network analysis, this study tries to create a more nuanced insight into the stakeholder arena, so that stakeholder participation in urban flood management can be improved. This thesis produces several findings. First, it provides empirical evidence to show that traditional one-dimensional stakeholder analysis methods such as the level of interest and influence; cooperation and competition; cooperation and threat; and stakeholder interest and power cannot provide an in-depth understanding of a complex and dynamic stakeholder arena, as exists for urban flood management. By way of contrast, the proposed stakeholder analysis approach, which combines both stakeholder salience and network analyses, can create a multi-dimensional understanding of urban flood management stakeholders and allows the initial problem space to be recast into a more detailed or nuanced understanding of the problems presented. This improved understanding of the stakeholder arena and the related problem space provides a more solid information foundation upon which new stakeholder and community engagement practices can be developed. Second, this thesis argues that the Mitchell et al. (1997) salience model experiences limitations in practice. Only five of the seven salience groups were identified in the present research project, with both the Dangerous and Demanding stakeholder groups missing. This indicates that the identification of urban flood management stakeholders in a medium-sized Chinese city is highly dependent on their legitimate claims. Third, the social network analysis used in this project not only explores the relationships between stakeholders, but also provides an opportunity to present other one-dimensional stakeholder attitudes. This enhancement of the data beyond one-dimensional visual representations to dynamic and interactive processes not only better assists policy-makers in developing new and improved engagement practices, it also allows engagement practitioners to educate stakeholders and interactively improve understanding of the situation among those stakeholders. This understanding, in turn, is assumed to facilitate collaborative problem solving.