PECS #42: The Role of Collaboration in Rural Revitalisation with Theresa Lorenzo Bajaj

Rural revitalisation aims to address historical inequalities between urban and rural areas through the transformation and innovation of rural systems, including agriculture, economic structure, and governance. Strengthening connections across the urban-rural spectrum is a significant boost for rural revitalisation, which can then benefit stakeholders across the spectrum. I will focus first on lessons learned from the Centre for Civil Society and Governance’s experience in facilitating collaborative rural revitalisation in Hong Kong. From 2013-2023, the Centre spearheaded a programme on rural revitalisation and sustainability centered around Lai Chi Wo village in northeast Hong Kong. The programme was built on a collaborative model, partnering with NGOs, government agencies, private business, other academic departments, and working closely with local villagers. Its main aim was to develop a sustainable model for rural revitalisation for Hong Kong and beyond. I will also share our current work on analyzing the role of collaborations in rural revitalisation in four Asia-Pacific jurisdictions (Hong Kong, Mainland China, Thailand, and Taiwan) through case study collection.

Theresa Lorenzo Bajaj is a Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Civil Society and Governance in the University of Hong Kong, where she was also a Postdoctoral Fellow. She holds a Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences (specialization in Hydrological Sciences) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and received a Ph.D in Biology, with a concentration in Biology and Society, from Arizona State University.

Theresa’s broad research interests lie in collaborative governance and resource management to ensure sustainable development, particularly in developing countries. At present, her research focuses on governance of different commons across the rural-urban spectrum in both Hong Kong and neighbouring jurisdictions, and how collaboration across the same spectrum strengthens rural and peri-urban sustainability and revitalisation.