The role of policy entrepreneurs in the transfer of policy between neighbourhood-level citizen initiatives: The case of Kiezblocks and Changing cities e.V., Berlin

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Sustainable Urban Mobility Transitions
Degree programme
Master’s programme in Urban Mobility
56 + 99
With the transition towards more sustainable urban transport systems currently faltering in many European cities, a surge in local citizen initiatives attempting to accelerate this transition has been seen in Berlin. Exchange between these initiatives is crucial for their progress, though often their uncoordinated abundance and lack of an affiliation with a network of initiatives hinders this exchange from taking place. Aiming to aid in overcoming this barrier and widen the scope of past policy transfer studies from a top-down perspective to include a bottom-up perspective, this study applies the policy transfer framework as developed by Dolowitz and Marsh (2000) to uncover the role of policy entrepreneurs in the transfer of knowledge and ideas between neighbourhood-level citizen initiatives. Six in-depth semi-structured interviews with members of the initiatives and a document review inform the research, which is conducted in the context of Changing Cities e.V. and Kiezblock initiatives in Berlin. Results have shown that a policy entrepreneur has been able to accelerate the initiatives’ progress and facilitated the transfer of knowledge with the creation of an advocacy coalition as well as with the provision of crucial resources, such as an open-source database. While the facilitation of policy transfer is evident, the policy entrepreneur’s role also poses a risk: Being the central actor in the advocacy coalition and thereby the main source of input, the policy entrepreneur failed to incorporate actors active at different levels and scales into the network. This would have allowed for new knowledge and perspectives to enter the network and be used and circulated among the citizen initiatives, providing further benefit to these.
Stead, Dominic
Thesis advisor
Wong, Melvin
Ratilainen, Perttu
policy transfer, policy entrepreneurs, citizen initiatives, neighbourhood level, bottom-up
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