Jerylee WILKES-ALLEMANNa and Ludvig ALICEb, c
Institution: aETH Zurich – Switzerland; bUniversity of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) – Austria; cEuropean Forest Institute EFICEEC, Vienna – Austria
Keywords: Innovation, Urban Forestry, Outdoor Recreation, Austria, Switzerland, Mountain-Bike Trails, Decision-Making Process
Outdoor recreation has in the last decade changed from being passive (e.g. walking) to more active forms (e.g. mountain-biking). Forest roads are not only used for harvesting timber, but also serve as trails for hiking, jogging, etc. Third parties, such as the community and organised recreational users (e.g. bikers), use the initial setting to add recreational infrastructure next to the roads (e.g. barbecue and picnic areas) and inside the actual forest (e.g. mountain-bike trails, fitness trails). Thus, the infrastructure for recreational purposes is also provided through innovative projects in urban forest areas (Wilkes-Allemann and Ludvig, 2019). This evolution poses challenges (e.g. liability and costs issues, conflicts) to forest managers and forest owners. Innovation has, traditionally, been defined as a process by which new products and techniques are introduced into the economic system (Schumpeter, 1934). In the forestry sector, these products and techniques are often combined with the provision of new services and goods such as mountain-bike trails (Weiss et al. 2011, Ludvig et al. 2016a, Ludvig et al. 2016b). So far, few studies have analysed innovation from a governance perspective (Wilkes-Allemann and Ludvig, 2019). Subsequently, our research addresses the governance processes resulting in the development of recreational infrastructure to answer the question: How and to what extent are innovations in the urban forestry sector crucial in fostering outdoor recreation infrastructure provisioning?. To do so we analyse innovation from a governance perspective (Ostrom 2011). We center on two mountain-bike trail cases located in urban forest areas of Austria and Switzerland so as to examine the role social innovation plays and to analyse the decision-making process behind. The research is based on several empirical sources including semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest that conflicts are crucial in fostering innovation.