Reflecting on Collaborative Networking and the Roles of Municipalities in Local Sustainable Development

By Sara Gustafsson and Elin Wihlborg.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 12, 2016 $US5.00

Sustainable development must be addressed locally; therefore, local governments and municipalities play a critical role in most states, having different formal responsibilities and potentials to be accountable for outcomes. However, municipalities are far from the sole owners of sustainable development. This paper considers various aspects of actor collaboration for sustainable development by conceptualizing who has responsibilities and opportunities to collaborate with whom, regarding what, and when. This paper synthesizes results of earlier case studies of municipal sustainability policy and praxis as well as theoretical considerations regarding networked governance and accountability. The empirical basis is derived from interviews, surveys, observations, and document studies of Swedish cases, but has more general implications as well. This examination interprets the meanings of local resources and constraints in the networked governance of sustainable urban development. It contributes to local actors’ reflections on each other’s “worlds” and collaboration agendas. Our analytical conceptualization distinguishes between groups of actors and their relationships with the local community and specifies spheres of responsibility by identifying these actors’ perceptions of their action space. By providing this analytical framework, the conceptualization can encourage more sustainable collaboration and practices.

Keywords: Collaboration, Sustainable City Development, Municipalities

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 12, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.13-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 12, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 469.577KB)).

Dr. Sara Gustafsson

Assistant Professor, Department of Management and Engineering, Division of Environmental Technology and Management, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

Prof. Elin Wihlborg

Professor, Unit of Policyanalysis, Department for Economic and Industrial Development, Linkoping University, Linkoping, Western Region, Sweden