Joined-up governance for low-carbon cities

Cities have the potential to substantially contribute to climate change mitigation. Seeking to realise this potential, city governments are increasingly collaborating directly with firms and citizens in urban governance. This approach to governance has become known as joined-up governance. It is progressively recognised as a promising means of addressing complex urban challenges, including the necessary transition to low-carbon cities.

Joined-up governance has, however, been more theorised than empirically studied. Little is known about whether, to what extent, or in what ways joined-up governance works. This holds particularly in the area of low-carbon city development and transformation. This research project will address this major gap in our current understanding by evaluating and refining theorising on joined-up urban governance.

The project is theoretically innovative because it complements joined-up governance theorising with state-of-the-art insights from environmental governance and urban transformation studies. This adapts the lens provided by joined-up governance scholars to studying real-world city transformations. It is empirically innovative because of its systematic, critical analysis of joined-up urban governance practice in eight global cities in developed and rapidly developing economies. This will improve understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of this approach to governance for low-carbon city development and transformation around the globe. 

The research program is based at Wageningen University's Environmental Policy Group. It is funded through a five-year VIDI Fellowship from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (grant number 016165322).