As the previous chapter exposed us to the policies and regulatory instruments to enhance the city collectively and provided clear examples of cities that have learned from the Reggio Emilia Regulation which also brought forth Co-Bologna, this chapter seeks to build upon the abstraction of urban co-governance. This chapter is a build-up and spells out 3 tenets which are broken down into comprehensive units as it unfolds. These 3 tenets focus on firstly, communities as necessary but not self-sufficient actors: multistakeholder cooperation as essential for the long-term durability and effectiveness of urban commons. The second tenet is a consequence of tenet 1, legal recognition and legal tools (e.g., pacts of collaboration or civic uses) recognizing or granting governance rights to communities are not enough; what is required are policies and programs that provide a set of enabling conditions that structure complex forms of cooperation in the form of public-community and public-private-community partnerships; and the third views it as an addition to legal tools, creating a set of enabling conditions requires institutional, learning capacity-building, digital, and financial tools. The question to ponder over is: to enhance urban co-governance in cities, what is the unique significant role of multi actors and how are their individual and group roles beneficial? The chapter is vivisected to answer the question with examples. It is presented in six fractions, with each building upon another.


It Is Not Just About The Community

The main thing this chapter does is to vividly explore urban co-governance from a policy and communal perspective. It presents us with features of urban co-governance and the first feature identified is that it embraces the role of the enabling state, in which city officials and staff have a responsibility of providing resources and technical guidance to help create the conditions for co-governance, in the form of partnerships. The second feature is that urban co-governance develops a system that, at its core, redistributes power and influence in decision-making away from the center and toward a network of active urban players. This symbolizes the quintuple helix of innovation founded by Carayannis and Campbell in 2010. The quintuple helix evolved from the triple helix which was designed by Leydesdorff and Etzkowitz in the 1990s. Carayannis and Campbell found it insufficient and later formed the Quadruple helix but found that lacking certain components and added another helix to form the quintuple helix we have today (Carayannis et al 2012). It includes the government, private sector, university/research institutions, civic & media-based actors, and the environment. These actors exist to co-produce, co-design knowledge and new ideas. Foster and Iaione advise that cities choose the most suitable innovation helix as it arises from a matter of context, yet through both empirical and experiential observation, currently, the quintuple helix meets the rising needs of cities. The final feature the chapter proposes of co-governance is the capacity to build a bridge between science and society, thus citizen science theory. Urban citizen science frequently focuses on the creation of solutions to deal with pandemics and climate change, which require cities to mitigate and adapt to these kinds of existential and difficult problems, eg. City Science Initiative of the Joint Research Center of the European Commission.


From Government To Governance: Public-Private science-Social-Community Partnerships

The usual form of partnership is the Public Private Partnership (PPP or 3P’s), yet the chapter mentions a shift to another model known as the public-private people partnerships (4P’s). This partnership is a collaboration between private companies, public institutions, and citizens. The difference between the 3Ps and 4Ps is the element of city residents. One strong example of the 4Ps is the case of Manila, Philippines in the management and delivery of water services to residents who lacked. Collaboration was obvious among the public water utility and local government, two private concessionaires of the water utility, and local associations and nongovernmental organizations. Another model introduced by the authors is the 5Ps which is public-private-science-social-community partnerships. This refers to a legal and economic arrangement between communities, civil society organizations, science or knowledge institutions, and the social, science, and community actors. A co-city is built from the 5Ps model, a typical polycentric governance approach where each actor plays a unique role to improve the city. Concurrently, the 5Ps stress the role of knowledge institutions in building capacity, improving skills, and providing knowledge. An example is the Urban Collaboration Lab situated in London. However, if urban co-governance is to scale and enable the co-governance of massive, complex resources and infrastructure, the private sector is a frequent crucial actor.


Scaling The Ladder Of Citizen Participation

This section presents examples of cities in the US that through the establishment of distributed sub-local bodies, primarily advisory, offer chances for direct community input into local government decision-making about goods and services in their communities and facilitate communication with various stakeholders. A variety of participatory or collaborative governance models were made possible through boroughs, neighborhood councils, community boards, etc.  Community boards were founded in the 1960s and exist in cities such as New York, North Carolina, Seattle, and Washington DC. Advisory boards also have no binding authority in the city’s centralized decision-making process. Regardless of the positive outcomes that these sub-local bodies present, they are also faced with power struggles between elected officials, developers, and communities. Community Benefits Agreements (CBA) also come up, which benefit large-scale urban development. CBAs are confidential agreements made between developers and the areas affected by a project the most. It began in Los Angeles in the early 2000s as a private agreement between developers and community groups. (Gross et al 2005). Both developers and communities have incentives to participate in and negotiate with one another, it becomes a win-win situation for both parties.


Enabling The Community In Co-Governance

In the context of urban or living labs, the passage discusses the idea of collaborative hubs. These hubs act as meeting places for stakeholders, community members, and municipal officials to collaborate and co-design projects. They operate outside of the established structures of government and promote collaboration and mutual learning. An example of a city that has developed collaborative hubs at the neighborhood level, Reggio Emilia in Italy is used. Reggio Emilia develops institutional spaces where public, corporate, community, and civic representatives can collaborate to construct community-based institutions and enterprises through neighborhood-as-a-commons programs and citizenship agreements. These agreements cover tasks including repurposing and revitalizing urban areas, helping small enterprises, and developing digital services. By assisting urban communities in drafting and concluding citizenship agreements, the neighborhood architect plays a crucial part in the collaborative process. They collaborate with groups of people to establish a shared vision and include other parties in developing solutions. The main objective of collaborative hubs, like urban or living laboratories, is to provide areas where local populations may actively take part in the design and management of solutions to regional problems, promoting social, economic, and technological innovation at the neighborhood level.


Urban Co-Governance as A Driver For Neighborhood Pooling Economies

Urban co-governance’s framework places a strong emphasis on the value of public-private-science social-community (5P) partnerships in fostering collaboration between the public sector and locally based social innovators. This entails building platforms for group action and funding collaborative ecosystems throughout the city. Turin is used as an illustration of how municipal co-governance might encourage cooperative economies for urban people who are at risk. Turin has experienced financial difficulties as a result of the demise of its automobile manufacturing sector. Diversifying the economy, encouraging social entrepreneurship, and regenerating urban areas have all been attempted as ways to rejuvenate the city. The Turin Neighborhood Houses are essential in fostering cooperative economies. They serve as development organizations that pool economies and bring together a variety of urban players to provide goods and services for the local community. Partnerships between the local government, people, and the innovation ecosystem are used in the residences, which concentrate on rehabilitating abandoned urban assets. Pacts for cooperation have been put in place in Turin to combat poverty and promote neighborhood-based pooled economies. These agreements cover efforts like turning vacant buildings into community centers, starting culinary and culture-related enterprises, offering childcare and support services, and setting up teen art studios. The Turin examples demonstrate how neighborhood-level cooperation and institutional structures can create collaborative economies by transforming resources and services into jointly controlled ones.


Financing Urban Co-Governance

Two encouraging strategies for funding the Commons are discussed; the first entails project financing strategies designed to support the objectives of local communities, such as the creation of an Urban Commons Foundation. The Turin Regulation established this foundation, which enables a city to transfer assets to a foundation in charge of administering shared municipal resources for the benefit of the public. The foundation performs tasks that the community would ordinarily perform, maximizing the value of the assets for future generations. The second strategy makes use of the corporate finance strategy known as green or sustainable finance, known as the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) approach. Reevaluating public and private investment indicators are part of this strategy’s effort to assess the effectiveness of cooperative neighborhood-based business models. The New Turin Regulation offers financing options like tax exemptions, fee waivers, support for co-governance, and management of pooled resources. The rule also highlights how crucial monitoring and assessment are to determining the social and economic effects of the civic deal’s actions. The Community Interest Company (CIC), which reinvests income solely for social objectives, is another alternative for financing (Cho, 2016). Community-based integrated approaches to urban development are further supported by the European Urban Initiative and the EU Cohesion Policy framework. The rate of vulnerable communities can be capped if the strategy for funding commons in the most vulnerable states is adopted and more resilient communities will be built, and Urban Co-Governance will be enhanced.


To conclude, the 5 P’s are relevant to build resilient communities and cities such as Bologna, Turin, and Rome and many others have tried it out and can sincerely testify to how helpful the concept has been. Both local and international development agencies as well as local and national authorities in conjunction with research institutions, citizens, and the media in both Global South and North countries can effectively apply it. Ongoing projects in Rome such as Co-Roma, the Agenda Tevere project, and the Caserta project are recently applying the 5Ps. This proves the relevance of urban co-governance.


In the next post, we will return to the principles underlying this paradigm, further exploring the Co-city book.




Samuel R. Gross, Kristen Jacoby, Daniel J. Matheson, Nicholas Montgomery, Exonerations in the United States 1989 through 2003, 95 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 523 (2004-2005).

Carayannis, E.G., Barth, T.D. & Campbell, D.F. The Quintuple Helix innovation model: global warming as a challenge and driver for innovation. J Innov Entrep 1, 2 (2012).

Cho, E. (2016). Making Reliability Reliable: A Systematic Approach to Reliability Coefficients. Organizational Research Methods, 19(4), 651–682.



Author: Benedicta Quarcoo