Achieving integration in marine governance through marine spatial planning: Findings from practice in the United States
Marine spatial planning (MSP) has been proposed by both scholars and managers as an approach through which practitioners can achieve integration in the governance of marine space. Although integration is a key tenet of MSP, relatively little empirical research has been done, especially in the U.S., to examine how practitioners achieve integration through the application of this approach. We set out to examine the tools, techniques, and strategies used to apply MSP in the U.S., focusing on case studies in Washington, Rhode Island, and San Francisco. In this paper we report results from these cases, considering the governance dimensions of integration and the processes through which it has been facilitated, focusing on four integration elements: interagency and intergovernmental, stakeholder, sectoral, and knowledge integration. We found evidence of all forms of integration across these three cases. Findings draw attention to achieving horizontal interagency and intergovernmental integration through formal and informal techniques, with informal techniques being especially useful; the use of a mix of formal and informal techniques to facilitate stakeholder, sectoral, and knowledge integration; and practitioners' focus on a narrow subset of sectors associated with planning drivers. We note that these tools, techniques and strategies are largely indirect means of integration, working within existing policy and regulatory structures and institutional arrangements. We conclude with a discussion of recommendations for future MSP research and practice.