- Exploring the role of bureaucracy in the production of coastal risks, City of Cape Town, South Africa
- Ocean & Coastal Management
- Pages (from-to)
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- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Cape Town is currently experiencing a range of coastal pressures consistent with a warming climate. Notably this includes evidence of a receding coastline in certain areas and shifting wind regimes. Coupled with an increasing demand for coastal development, the City of Cape Town as the administrative authority is presented with an unfolding scenario of uncharted waters. From a coastal management perspective this requires a reappraisal of its governance strategies. However, this paper demonstrates that various governance structures within the City, whilst designed to address these challenges, are instead competing with, and undermining each other. In the context of a coastal city these dissonant governance structures translate into conventional (Weberian) forms of bureaucracy that counter efforts at promoting Integrated Coastal Management, the key tenets being institutional learning, collaboration, deliberation, flexibility and adaptive management. The disjuncture between governance structures in turn is restricting the City's ability in achieving its own coastal adaption strategies, particularly the restoration and maintenance of dune systems as effective ‘buffers’ against climate change induced pressures such as sea-level rise and storm surges. The procedural rigidity delivered by the bureaucracy is instead leading to a ‘pathology’: risks are being created and their production perpetuated by the bureaucracy charged with mitigating these risks. We suggest that the role of informal networks are explored as a means to circumvent the ‘necessary evil’ of bureaucracy, towards enabling stronger degrees of Integrated Coastal Management and ultimately successful climate change adaptation responses.
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