9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN12 Environment and Society

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Citizen Participation Building I, Auditório J.J. Laginha

Litter in your park: a community based model of sustaining the quality of green areas in cities

The quality of green areas in cities is widely acknowledged problem. Parks, green spaces etc. provide environmental services and contribute to inhabitants´ quality of life. Sustaining high quality of the green areas is difficult, despite high costs involved. The role of inhabitants (local communities) taking care of the local public goods in their neighbourhoods is often emphasized, and in many countries policies are implemented in order to strengthen inhabitants abilities in this respect. The question: how far the access to high quality green areas can rely on a local community´s effort, is important for local environmental governance?
The paper departures from the literature on the littering problem, and on collective action. It further explores a local community capabilities to sustain the quality of a green area in its neighbourhood. A special focus is on the dynamic aspect: what is the mechanism of the green areas deterioration, and how it is possible to move from a low quality green area to a high quality one.
For this purpose a model is proposed of an isolated community with one public good (a green area). Assuming the characteristic of the good, distribution of preferences with the community, level of cooperation, and level of monitoring of the norm about non-littering, the mechanism of the good deterioration and the possibility of the improvement of the good quality are presented.
In the conclusions the possible applications of the model are discussed, for the low and the high trust societies, as well as policy implications of the findings.