Initiatives in participatory governance can rise from the grassroots or be implemented by government, examples of the latter being particularly notable in Latin America. This paper considers the scope and limitations of spaces of negotiation opened up from above, examining one particular initiative undertaken in Costa Rica between 1998 and 2002, the Triangle of Solidarity, which involved the state (central and local) and civil society, and the relationships between them. Taking an institutionalist approach, a detailed study of two urban neighbourhoods is used to assess the extent to which this initiative offered a new opportunity for political inclusion and enabled a redistribution of resources. In practice, there appears to have been little substantive change in the roles and position of central and local government, and civil society. This raises questions about the processes that are likely to lead to participatory governance, and emphasizes the importance of the weaker groups in negotiating and fighting for a transfer of power, and thus in shaping the spaces for negotiation central to urban management.
|Translated title of the contribution||Costa Rica's Triangle of Solidarity: Can government-led spaces for negotiation enhance the involvement of civil society in governance?|
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Environment and Urbanization|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2004|