What isCollaborative Governance

The transition to circular cities needs whole scale system reforms. Next to ambitious visions and strategies of urban development, it requires new regulations, investment, partnerships and a new body of knowledge and capacities. Above all, circular transitions require new forms of “democratised innovation” so that all actors in cities can access to and benefit from the opportunities that the circular economy will create.

In Reflow, we understand collaborative governance as a long term, systemic process of steering and coordination of all the different levers in cities – policy, regulation, funding, knowledge, collective intelligence, and many others – in such a way that allows distributed capacity, legitimacy and agency for (circular) change across public and private sectors.

Scroll down the page to discover our collaborative governance journey.

RCG Framework

In Reflow, we define Collaborative Governance for Circular Cities as an “open-ended infrastructuring process”: a continuous work of providing the means for circular action, discovering and learning within a loose steering and coordination framework that supports both present and future circular collaborations. This infrastructuring can be understood to operate at different scales and scopes and with different emphasis including:

  • the STRATEGIC, focused on creating synergies and alignment across different actors and related agendas so that their resources can be made widely accessible and pooled towards collective impact;
  • the OPERATIONAL, focused on building operational capacities and tools in a way that allows different circular experiments and activities to exist as a highly connected, systemic process;
  • the RELATIONAL, focused on building trust, distributed agency and legitimacy, developing shared value.

Each emphasis can be fostered by combination and activation of different levers in a process that is iterative – thus facilitating the emergence of innovations at micro, meso and macro levels (from material to societal innovation) and over time.

This definition is built on the work of many authors, including Thorpe & Manzini 2018; Manzini 2015; Le Dantec and Di Salvo 2011; Bjorgvinsson et al. 2010; Simonsen et al. 2020.

RCG Levers

A set of instruments that creates leverage to steer the change of individuals and collectives towards circularity.

Baseline assessment

Baseline assessment

Define the system and its current state; …

Visioning

Visioning

Craft a circular vision and associated g …

Roadmaps Strategies Action plans

Roadmaps Strategies Action plans

Identify areas for interventions, plans …

Social, environmental,  economic impact  assessment & learni …

Social, environmental, economic impact assessment & learni …

Assessing impacts, evaluating alternativ …

Urban management of  assets and material flows

Urban management of assets and material flows

Analysis and management of city-owned ph …

Prototyping and  experimentation

Prototyping and experimentation

Conduct pilots, experimentations, new pr …

Data & Tech

Data & Tech

Data collection, value capture from ICT, …

Public procurement

Public procurement

Create new markets, support circular mat …

Economic and financial incentives

Economic and financial incentives

Support initiatives through funding, sub …

Fiscal measures

Fiscal measures

Discourage or incentivize certain behavi …

Legislation and regulation

Legislation and regulation

Shaping bylaws that stimulate circular e …

Engaging and Convening

Engaging and Convening

Enable stakeholders participation and co …

Innovative Partnerships

Innovative Partnerships

Involve multiple stakeholders in public …

Capacity building

Capacity building

Provide training, coaching and advisory …

Awareness raising

Awareness raising

Activate citizens by challenging linear …

Communication

Communication

Disseminate learnings, activities, impac …

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