T09P02 - Partnerships for Livable Cities

Topic : Governance, Policy networks and Multi-level Governance

Chair : Cor van montfort - c.vanmontfort@rekenkamer.nl

Second Chair : Ank Michels - a.m.b.michels@uu.nl

General Objectives, Research Questions and Scientific Relevance

Call for papers

Session 1 partnerships for livable cities

Wednesday, June 28th 16:15 to 18:15 (Manasseh Meyer MM 2 - 3)


Ank Michels - a.m.b.michels@uu.nl - Universiteit Utrecht - Netherlands


Urban growth management in sub-Saharan Africa: conflicting interests in the application of planning laws and regulations in middle income residential developments in Nairobi

Mary Mwangi - muthoniy@hotmail.com - United Kingdom

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The middle income group in Nairobi, as in many other sub-Saharan African cities, is of a significant size.  Many housing developments aimed at this group do not comply with planning laws and regulations.  The costs of non-compliance include loss of lives when buildings collapse, costs to developers in terms of bribes to corrupt officials, and planning authorities’ inability to ensure compliance with regulations when developers do not follow formal procedures.  Despite this, the scholarly, legal and enforcement focus on informality, and housing and planning policies, is mostly on low income group settlements, neglecting the middle income group.  This research addresses this gap, investigating why there is non-compliance with building laws and regulations in developments for middle income residents.   

The project uses an embedded case study design within Nairobi.  Qualitative interviewing was aimed at understanding perceptions of the planning system by both planners and developers, and how and why their interests differ.  The research finds that, despite conflicting interests in the application of planning laws and regulations in middle income developments, non-compliance is tolerated or ignored because there is informal collaboration between state agents and developers, which validates the indispensability of these developments.  This informal collaboration is prompted by unmet housing need, and the inappropriateness of a system that is a result of colonial hangovers.  The results are manifested in a poor planning framework (including poor land use management), inadequate resources for planning, and shortcomings in governance, as well as unruly developers.  

The research contributes to the planning and housing literature about the production of rental housing for the middle income group in sub-Saharan Africa.  It asserts that non-compliance in such developments does not necessarily produce inappropriate housing developments.  Rather than fighting these developments, housing needs could be better served by positive and formal collaboration between planners, developers and other stakeholders, in order to secure acceptable and improved developments.


Partnerships in Shrinking Cities: Making Baltimore ‘Liveable’?

Madeleine Pill - madeleine.pill@sydney.edu.au - University of Sydney - Australia

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A counterpoint to the rapid urbanisation evident globally is the expanding body of scholarship on shrinking cities.  In these cities, strategies adopted include an emphasis on the importance of liveability to attract and retain residents.  The City of Baltimore, Maryland provides an example of a shrinking city in which liveability issues have come to the fore due to the imperative to increase its population base and thus alleviate the ‘fiscal squeeze’ inherent in the localist and privatist US governmental system.  City government has long been engaged in seeking partnership with private actors drawn from the commercial and non-profit sectors, as well as with higher scales of government and civil society organisations, to develop innovative policies and projects to stabilise the city’s population loss and decline. This paper draws from extensive, ongoing empirical research into collaborative governance in Baltimore conducted as part of the UK Economic and Social Research Council’s Urban Transformations portfolio.  It will focus on the policy realm of housing and neighbourhood revitalisation to examine the range of (explicit and implicit) liveability policies and initiatives that seek to attract and retain residents, ranging from mixed residential and commercial megaprojects, demolition of vacant properties, and associated green infrastructure provision.  It will consider how these different policies and initiatives are governed through formal and informal relationships between the city’s state, market and societal actors.  It will make an initial assessment of the success and failure of these partnership endeavours.  And it will draw conclusions about the transferability of (good and bad) practice lessons about partnership working in shrinking cities. 


Governing public novel urban green spaces within private developments in ultra-compact Hong Kong

Ka Shing Lee - kashing83@gmail.com - The University of Hong Kong - Hong Kong, (China)

Numerous socially-unwanted features in urban reality such as insufficient developable land, over-population, traffic congestion, poor air quality, insufficient communal public open space are weakening the urban liveability. Urban Green Spaces (UGS) are the greatest and most natural asset which bring multiple benefits to every urbanite to alleviate the irritations from aforesaid urban problems. Beset with complex geographical limitations, the provisioning of additional UGS to enhance urban liveability in the context of ultra-compact Hong Kong with already grave UGS shortage is a public policy predicament. Stemming from the 1980’s public open space policy, the Hong Kong Government actively applied the concept of “Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)” in the provisioning of UGS by adding more green dots and UGS diversities to the cityscape namely Podium Gardens and Sky/Rooftop Gardens. This paper draws on the current policy of integrating public-accessible open spaces within the private developments as a case to unravel the lessons learnt from the multi-layered PPP in Hong Kong's quasi-democratic polity. Primary and preliminary findings from questionnaire survey and participatory observations from the researcher and the secondary data from archival research on existing literature and public documents will be utilized in this study. The paper aims at extending Pawson and Tilley (1997) line of enquiry ‘what kind of public-private partnership works for whom under what circumstances’ through contributing an urban case regarding privately-built public elevated UGS. The paper seeks to report on the changes from failure to success of PPP as denoted by initial lax government monitoring and problematic management practices from private sectors like the management agencies and property owners who ignored the public welfare to access to privately-built public UGS in sustainable built environment. The author hopes to contribute a PPP case which can throw new light on the public policy formulation and related service delivery with the element of PPP for enhancing the effectiveness of UGS governance. This paper concluded by arguing that the success of PPP in UGS policy is a kind of check-and-balance collaboration from multiple stakeholders characterized with concerted effort between (pro)active monitoring and surveillance from the government particularly with the intra-governmental investigation from Audit Commission to relevant bureaux and departments, pressured to be self-disciplinary input from the private actors such as property owners, management agencies, and effective participation and scrutiny from active citizenry.


Partnerships for Green Cities

Ank Michels - a.m.b.michels@uu.nl - Universiteit Utrecht - Netherlands

Cor van montfort - c.vanmontfort@rekenkamer.nl - Tilburg University - Netherlands

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People settle in cities to find work and a better future. But the growing population in the cities puts pressure on the environment, public health, and livability in general. Because urban governments are unable to address these major challenges on their own, they seek cooperation with other governments, companies, civil society organizations, and citizens. But how can this be done in a successful way? And what are the main barriers for success?


In this paper, we first explore the various forms of partnerships. We use a classification model that is based on the distinction into three societal domains – state, market, and civil society. Within the scope of this triangular model, various partnerships can be plotted. This variation in partnerships will be illustrated by giving examples of green (in) cities. In this part of the paper we also pay attention to the fact that partnerships can vary within one single project with different functions: financing, organization, day to day management etc. (‘layered partnerships’).


In the second part of the paper, we discuss what has been said in the literature about the contribution of partnerships to livability. The main questions are: what makes the partnerships in itself work (input, throughput) and how do the partnerships contribute to the livability of cities (output, outcome)? And, what are factors of success and failure, and for whom? The findings from the literature review will be illustrated by presenting four cases of partnerships that contribute to a green and livable city.


The four cases represent different types of partnerships. The first case is the Westergasfabriek, a former factory, in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The initiative was taken by citizens and resulted in a partnership between the government and local entrepreneurs and civil society organizations. The second case is the Toronto and Region Conservation for the Living City Foundation. The TRCA was set up as a non-governmental organization, working together with multiple stakeholders. The third case is the Millennium Park in Chicago. This park was an initiative of the local government (who bought the land) and is funded and managed by private parties.  And the fourth case is Gardens By The Bay in Singapore. This case was initiated by the government, and led to a co-operation with private companies and multi-disciplinary professionals.



Making decentralization work for the poor through state-society synergy: the resettlement program of select Philippine cities

JUlius Porley - jlporley@gmail.com - Colegio de San Juan de Letran - Philippines

By examining the performance of decentralized housing service delivery in select cities in Metro Manila in the Philippines, this study aims to clarify the conditions under which local governments can realize their governance and development potentials in the context of incomplete decentralization. Drawing on the concept of state-society synergy, it assumes that despite the expanded responsibilities but limited capacities of local governments under the current framework of Philippine decentralization they can satisfy their public mandate by maintaining a synergistic relationship with development-oriented societal actors. Through synergistic relations, state and society link up to overcome lack of capabilities or resources to solve development problems via cooperation and coordination of activities. It is most likely to emerge whenever their engagement is defined by complementarity and embeddedness. Complementarity pertains to the distinct but complementary activities of state and social actors. Embeddedness, on the other hand, refers to the close interaction based on relations of trust and reciprocity between them. To give empirical basis to this assumption, it employs the case study method, taking the joint resettlement venture of select Philippine local government units (LGUs), private business sector and the development non-government organization (NGO) Gawad Kalinga or GK as unit of analysis. It utilizes qualitative statements collected from interviews with pertinent officials and personnel of these LGUs and volunteers and activists of GK as well as group discussions with the program’s beneficiaries as main corpus of data.


This study fits with the panel topic “Partnerships for Livable Cities” because it focuses on the experiences of these LGUs not only in improving the housing condition of informal settlers but also in facilitating the activation of their associational life by forging novel ties with development-oriented elements of civil society to co-produce effective, suitable and cost-efficient housing services. As such, it offers insights as regards how and under what conditions collaborations between public and private actors can mutually empower both to become agents of effective decentralized governance, citizen participation and social capital.       

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