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Adapting the social-ecological system framework for urban stormwater management: the case of green infrastructure adoption

Carli D. Flynn, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University
Cliff I. Davidson, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University; Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems


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Stormwater management has long been a critical societal and environmental challenge for communities. An increasing number of municipalities are turning to novel approaches such as green infrastructure to develop more sustainable stormwater management systems. However, there is a need to better understand the technological decision-making processes that lead to specific outcomes within urban stormwater governance systems. We used the social-ecological system (SES) framework to build a classification system for identifying significant variables that influence urban stormwater governance decisions related to green infrastructure adoption. To adapt the framework, we relied on findings from observations at national stormwater meetings in combination with a systematic literature review on influential factors related to green infrastructure adoption. We discuss our revisions to the framework that helped us understand the decision by municipal governments to adopt green infrastructure. Remaining research needs and challenges are discussed regarding the development of an urban stormwater SES framework as a classification tool for knowledge accumulation and synthesis.

Key words

green infrastructure; social-ecological systems framework; stormwater management; technology adoption

Copyright © 2016 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.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087