Governance for the Green City: Lessons on Coproduction from Greater Manchester, UK

09:00 Thursday 30 May

SS041 • OC245

Room S11


Ryan Bellinson (United Kingdom) 1

1 - Urban Institute, University of Sheffield

Climate change is regularly categorised as a ‘super wicked’ problem, and as such, cannot be solved using the governance tools and processes that have been complicit in its creation. In response, some local governments have begun exploring innovative governance arrangements, including coproduction. Coproductive governance relies on ‘policymakers’ and ‘policy-users’ working in tandem to create policy through long-term cooperation and resource sharing (Bovaird 2007: 847), and is well suited for challenges that are complex and require strong dialogue between science, society, and government (Jasanoff 2004). However, there is uncertainty within scholarship and practice surrounding how to put coproductive urban governance arrangements into action (Richardson et al. 2018). To address this gap, I ask: what might the drivers and barriers be for installing local coproductive climate governance frameworks?

To answer this question, I first conduct a literature review of coproduction, networked governance and metropolitan planning theories to explore how governing climate change in cities takes place through a web of complex relationships. I then apply this theoretical understanding to Greater Manchester, UK „ an area currently developing a landmark climate policy through novel coproductive governance mechanisms. Great Manchester was selected as the case study site because the local government explicitly attempted to create climate policy through new coproductive processes. Lastly, using interviews with key stakeholders and participant observations collected during embedded research, the case investigates the processes, capacities, networks, resources and knowledges Greater Manchester utilised to install coproductive climate governance frameworks and examines the challenges of facilitating this new model of governance.

The results note that strong local government coordination, consistent dialogue between actors from varies organisations and sectors, institutional flexibility, and setting clear objectives are all important components for instituting coproductive governance arrangements. Local government organisations also benefit from strong communication both internally across departments and externally with governing partners from diverse constituencies. Conversely, installing coproductive arrangements can be hindered by unclear leadership. In sum, the findings demonstrate that communication and leadership are two tenants for implementing coproductive governance frameworks and a lack of either can lead to crippling breakdowns within the process.


Bovaird, T. (2007). Beyond engagement and participation: User and community coproduction of public services. Public administration review, 67(5): 846-860.

Jasanoff, S. (Ed.). (2004). States of knowledge: the co-production of science and the social order. London: Routledge.

Richardson, L., Durose, C., & Perry, B. (2018). Coproducing Urban Governance. Politics and Governance, 6(1): 145.