Environmental Conflict, Collaborative Solutions, and the Politics of Geographic Scale

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Department 1

Environmental Studies


Since the 1990s, community-based collaborative approaches to environmental planning and conflict resolution have gained significant influence in the United States. As federal and state agencies engage more directly with local communities to manage environmental resources, collaboration has come to be seen as a means of increasing public participation, improving management decisions, and overcoming the divisive politics of environmental conflicts (Brick et al. 2001). The potential for collaborative efforts to successfully resolve conflict, however, hinge upon many variables. In this essay, I examine one of these, namely, the politics of geographic scale. Drawing upon a case study of a long-running conflict over historical land grant rights in southern Colorado, I demonstrate how the politics of geographic scale can serve to both hinder and facilitate efforts to resolve environmental disputes through collaborative means.


Publisher webpage for the book: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4020-2352-1_9

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