A “Learning paradox” in Maritime Spatial Planning.

MARITIME STUDIES 

Abstract: 

Both policymakers and scholars acknowledge and emphasise the need for learning in maritime spatial planning (MSP). However, few explain why learning is important. As such, it remains a vague and understudied process and is taken for granted and assumed to be and do “only good” which might hinder an in-depth assessment into the effectiveness of learning in policymaking. In this paper, we investigate whether, and if so in what way, explicit attention is given to learning in MSP. In this way, we try to unpack a (plausible) “learning paradox” and gain more insight into the different conceptualisations of learning in MSP. We use seven dimensions to examine learning in MSP by conducting a review of scientific MSP literature and a case study, which analyses learning in the Dutch MSP process. The literature review and case study point to a “learning paradox” in MSP, showing both similarities and differences. The common lack of attention for risk and ambiguities is particularly problematic, while the existing clarity about who (should) learn and how can be seen as opportunities to gain insights in learning in MSP. Overall, we argue that acknowledging the paradox is paramount to improve the effectiveness of learning processes in MSP.

Sea Basin(s): 
Country: 
Year: 
March 2020
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Stakeholders
Type of practice: 
Study
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
No
Coherence with other processes: 
Integrated Coastal Zone Management

QUESTIONS THIS PRACTICE MAY HELP ANSWER:

  • Why is learning important in MSP?
  • Do the academics and policymakers give explicit attention to learning in MSP and, if so, in what way?

IMPLEMENTATION CONTEXT:

The study is conducted as part of the PhD thesis by Xander Keijser on the use of Serious Games in Marine Spatial Planning, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

ASPECTS / OBJECTIVES:

The objectives of the study are:

  • To investigate whether (and if so in what way) attention is given to learning in MSP;
  • To unravel a “learning paradox” and provide more insight into the different conceptualisations of learning in MSP;
  • To examine learning in MSP.

METHOD:

The authors use seven dimensions to examine learning in MSP by conducting a review of scientific MSP literature and a case study, which analyses learning in the Dutch MSP process.

MAIN OUTPUTS / RESULTS:

This minor attention to learning reveals the existence of a learning paradox in MSP. Acknowledging the paradox is paramount to improving the effectiveness of learning processes in MSP.

TRANSFERABILITY:

The methodology applied can be used in MSP processes in any region.

Responsible Entity: 

Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands 

Centre for Blue Governance, Aalborg University, Denmark 

Funding Source: 

Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands 

Centre for Blue Governance, Aalborg University, Denmark 

Xander Keijser's thesis has also been supported by the Rijkswaterstaat (Netherlands) 

Contact person: 

Xander Keijser: xander.keijser@wur.n 

Hilde Toonen: hilde.toonen@wur.nl 

Jan van Tatenhove: tatenhove@plan.aau.dk