Asia: Danny Lam on “Fostering Collaborative Governance for Rural Revitalization: The Experience of Lai Chi Wo in Hong Kong”

Wai-Fung (Danny) Lam finished his undergraduate study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and received a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Indiana University, Bloomington. Professor Lam is an expert in institutional policy analysis, the commons, social innovation, civil society, and public governance. His research has focused on the design of efficient institutional arrangements for the governance and management of public affairs, a core issue in public administration and sustainable development. Professor Lam has served on the editorial committees of Public Administration Review (PAR), International Review of Administrative Sciences (IRAS),Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis (JCPA), Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NVSQ), and Asian Politics and Policy (APP), and is co-editor of The Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Administration. Professor Lam was Head of Department in 2008-2010, and Associate Dean (Innovation) of Social Sciences in 2013-2017.

Collaborative governance has the potential to foster co-creative solutions to rural issues. Many rural areas around the world have deteriorated due to rapid and encroaching urbanization and globalization. By supporting and facilitating collaborative governance processes, rural areas can be revitalized and able to cope with external shocks and disturbances.  In this presentation, arguments built upon a social-ecological systems framework are developed to explain how institutions can be designed to foster collaboration and, hence, system robustness. A critical case study of a rural revitalization project undertaken at a traditional village in Hong Kong, Lai Chi Wo, is conducted to elaborate the theoretical logic and its practical relevance.  The Lai Chi Wo experience was awarded the Special Recognition for Sustainable Development in the 2020 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, in recognition of its contribution to the development of a viable model for rural revitalization in the peri-urban setting.  Through this case study, we identify and decipher mechanisms through which institutions can impact and condition collaborative processes and outcomes.