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Experimental governance: the role of municipalities in urban living labs

Journal article
Authors Annica Kronsell
Dalia Mukhtar-Landgren
Published in European Planning Studies
Volume 26
Issue 5
Pages 988-1007
ISSN 0965-4313
Publication year 2018
Published at
Pages 988-1007
Language en
Keywords collaboration,enabler,Meta-governance,partner,promoter, roles
Subject categories Public Administration Studies, Political Science


Innovations in urban governance such as Urban Living Labs (ULL) are expected to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable and climate-resilient cities. This article reviews different ULL across Europe and explores the role and potential capacity of municipalities in the development of and/or facilitation of ULL as a form of experimental governance. It focuses on the role of the public sector in the multi-actor collaborations that often characterize experimental governance. The article draws on literature on cities in sustainability, climate and environmental governance, and bridges this with political science literature on governance. Based on institutional theory that emphasizes roles, identities, and perceived and actual acting space, three functional roles for the municipality are singled out – promoter, enabler and partner – in a framework with a set of indicators that are used to analyse 50 case studies of ULL ( The aim is to advance knowledge on how municipalities can facilitate urban sustainability through experimental governance.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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