The Co-City Design Principles

The Co-City Design Principles

The Co-city approach has been formulated at this stage considering the various developmental phases it has been through in each chapter and the cases that have been analyzed in different cities. The most recent chapter dubbed Urban Co-governance illustrated the 5P’s which are 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. The final chapter now offers a set of design principles extracted from the previous chapters and empirically acquired co-cities research projects.

They are: (1) co-governance; (2) enabling state; (3) pooling economies; (4) urban experimentalism; and (5) tech justice. These were also somewhat inspired by Elinor Ostrom’s 8 design principles in her book entitled “Governing the Commons” (Ostrom, 1990).


The co-cities examined case studies of community or city-level initiatives that represent horizons of cooperative or collaborative urban governance, inclusive and sustainable local economies, and social innovation in the provision of local goods and services. It surveyed over 200 cities and over 500 projects and policies within these cities, especially from countries within the Global North. It consisted of examples of public projects and policies from many kinds of cities. These were included in the data set, including some ground-breaking policy experiments were also discussed. The intention was for a larger effort to be explained in the dynamic process (or transition) from a city where urban commons were absent to one in which they were emerging, supported, and enabled by the state, both the community-led examples and those institutionalized in local government. This write-up focuses on the first design principle and will explain the other four design principles (Enabling State, Pooling Economies, Urban Experimentalism & Tech Justice).


Principle 1: Co-governance is the first principle developed for the co-city framework. Some scholars call it multi-actor governance while others also term it collective governance. Ostrom at a point called it polycentrism (Ansell & Gash, 2008; Wilson et al.  2003; Ostrom, 2010). Tine De Moor (2012) helpfully suggests that we think about the commons as consisting of three dimensions: a resource system, a collective property regime, and interactions between the resource and its users; these three come together to form a common-pool resource. From the lenses of Foster and Iaione, co-governance embraces and entails the collective management and ownership of urban assets that provide resources and critical services for the well-being of the most vulnerable urban residents. The co-governance principle simply focuses on collaboration or interaction amongst the various stakeholders in pursuit of a common goal or interest. Co-governance has the potential to evolve, and this helps to enable and recognize the development of urban commons throughout a city. For instance, policies in cities such as Bologna, Naples, Barcelona, and Madrid have enabled shared governance among urban actors and local authorities through collaborative efforts. Co-governance may be applied as a ladder to fabricate urban commons public policies and projects in a specific context by encouraging superiors in an institutional unit. Gathering definitions by other scholars and a thorough observation of case studies in various countries, Foster and Iaione came up with the definition of co-governance as a multistakeholder governance scheme whereby the community emerges as a key actor and partners with at least one of the other four actors or sectors in the quintuple helix governance scheme—the public sector, the civic sector, the private sector, and the knowledge sector. The five helices are first, the Knowledge / Academic helix: This helix depicts academic institutions and universities as the main forces behind knowledge generation, research, and education. By supplying intellectual capital, carrying out research, and providing training programs that promote entrepreneurial abilities, they support the growth of an intrapreneurial ecosystem. The second is the private sector/industrial helix which is made up of companies and sectors that promote economic expansion and open doors for entrepreneurship and innovation. They provide tools, market information, money, and industry-specific knowledge to help the growth and commercialization of innovative ideas. The third helix is the Public Sector helix which identifies the government’s role in establishing the laws, rules, and institutions that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship is crucial. They support the expansion of intrapreneurial ecosystems by providing resources such as money, infrastructure, enabling laws, and hospitable business environments. Civil society helix is the fourth helix and is made up of non-governmental organizations, neighborhood associations, the media, and citizens who take an active interest in social and environmental issues. By supporting social innovation, solving societal issues, and advocating for sustainable and socially responsible behaviors, civil society groups support the entrepreneurial environment. Finally, the last helix which was introduced by Carayannis and Campbell is the Environment Helix: The Environment Helix tackles the effects of entrepreneurship on the environment and underlines the significance of ecological sustainability. It acknowledges the necessity of eco-innovation, sustainable business practices, and ethical entrepreneurship to secure long-term profitability and reduce unfavorable environmental effects. This is referred to as the quintuple helix because a fifth actor is included, that is, the Environment. Carayannis and Campbell proposed the fifth helix because they found the Quadruple helix lacking especially at a point where Sustainability had become a global trend. The Quintuple Helix provides an analytical framework where knowledge and innovation are linked to the environment on the one hand, thus respecting social ecology (Carayannis, Barth &Campbell, 2012). This allows co-governance to respond to the extent of diversity among actors, ensures the distribution of power between them, and encourages responsibilities and benefits within the partnership. Under co-governance, Foster and Iaione classify this into three other forms, Shared governance, collaborative governance, and polycentrism.


Shared Governance includes cross-border contacts or alliances, such as those between public authorities and urban communities or citizens. It practically exists in the management and stewardship of small-scale resources such as neighborhood parks, and community gardens, just to name a few. Shared governance may be likened to Ostrom’s idea of self-governance. She explains it as a type of governance where resource users themselves establish and enforce regulations to protect or conserve common pool resources. This is viewed as a prerequisite for more complex and dynamic kinds of collective governance. Though others consider it as privatization, Foster and Iaione agree with Kooiman and van Vliet that it is a form of re-regulation. This is because it remains in the domain of the public, thus, the residents themselves who use and depend on the resources without having to wait on the central government’s efforts.


Collaborative governance transcends bilateral public-community partnerships and usually includes different types of stakeholders. They are involved in constructing and supporting institutional arrangements to support resource stewardship. They may be formal or informal, but they are the result of extensive contact and exchanges with various stakeholders (Kooiman 2003, 97). Collaborative governance is realized through the implementation of public policies that enable nongovernmental stakeholders to manage public resources collaboratively. These policies frequently stimulate cross-sector collaboration and alliances between for-profit and nonprofit players, depending on previous or new connections and social networks (Cepiku, Ferrari, and Greco 2006).


Polycentric governance is cooperative governance arrangements that eventually develop into a polycentric system, whether they are fueled by formal institutions or informal social norms at the city level. The book cites examples of policies that indicate forms of shared governance and self-governance that may lead to polycentrism. Such are in the cases of Turin, Reggio Emilia, Barcelona, or certain US towns where community land trusts are predominant.


Co-governance has evolved and progressed over time, it gives room to build authentic, power-sharing relationships among the actors, offering opportunities for transformative changes in cities and beyond.   The first principle has been elaborated upon in this paper, and the other four design principles will be critically analyzed and discussed in the next segment.

Co-governance covers both vertical and horizontal governance, self-governance, shared governance, and collaborative governance. It does not settle on one framework but considers the most suitable form for the city or community and how best it can solve the urban challenges they face today.



Ansell, Chris & Gash, Alison. (2008). Collaborative Governance in Theory. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. 18. 10.1093/jopart/mum032.

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).

Elinor Ostrom, Polycentric systems for coping with collective action and global environmental change, Global Environmental Change, Volume 20, Issue 4, 2010, Pages 550-557, ISSN 0959-3780,

Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions) Cambridge: Cambridge Press University.

Community-led Solid Waste Management, Koregaon Bhima -India

Community-led Solid Waste Management, Koregaon Bhima -India

The non-profit CHF India has been operating in India for roughly 11 years. The organization primarily works with urban poor areas in several cities, enlisting locals in participatory waste management and sanitation initiatives. A business entity approached CHF for assistance in developing an innovative solid waste management initiative and this is where CHF’s community-led solid waste management spun off.  It took off in Pune, a slum neighborhood with available land, and hired women to lead the effort in solid-waste management. Fortunately, the approach has been replicated in three additional locations in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Koregaeon Bhima in Maharashtra. This story focuses on Koregaon Bhima and discusses its work, methodology, and the approach it applies to promote sustainable waste management in the city.


3 out of the 5 design principles of the Co-cities methodology are highlighted in Koregaon Bhima’s project.

Collective governance was rated strong in Koregaon because between 3-4 actors were involved in the initiative as the Quintuple helix suggests by scholar, Carayannis and later by Foster & Iaione in their study of polycentrism. The project was initiated and funded by a corporation and implemented by a non-profit organization.


The case of Koregaon Bhima represents an intriguing blend of urban and rural characteristics. It is officially recognized as a “census town” by the Census of India, implying urban features, but lacks formal government recognition as a town. As a result, the state government treats it as a village, maintaining a rural local government (panchayat) rather than a municipal board. This unique administrative status has proven advantageous for the CHF project. Working with the panchayat has been more accessible than dealing with municipal corporations, and it has allowed for changing local habits and educating officials about solid waste management in preparation for future municipal governance. Additionally, the project benefited from the federal Swachcha Bharat Abhiyan, which incentivizes corporate donations to sanitation efforts. Despite no public funds being invested, this project is classified as Moderate on the Enabling State principle.


Regarding social and economic pooling, the project demonstrates moderate pooling within the communities where it operates. CHF’s intention is to empower community residents to continue the project without direct involvement. While the success in Koregaon Bhima is still uncertain, Pune, where a similar approach was taken, has shown promise. Community residents took ownership and continued the project when corporate funding decreased, and CHF withdrew. Thus, the project rates as Moderate on the Pooling design principle.


In terms of experimentalism, the project is not particularly innovative on its own. Household-level recycling and composting have long been practiced in rural India. Although the community-led approach is commendable for urbanizing areas with limited local government resources, it is not considered highly experimental. This project is rated as Weak in Experimentalism.


Lastly, regarding tech justice, technology did not play a role in this project, as indicated in the interview with CHF.

Farmacia popular de Valparaiso – Chile

Farmacia popular de Valparaiso – Chile

The case study is about the city of Valparaiso, Chile (South America), which covers an area of 402 square kilometres and has approximately 253 580 residents (as of 2012).

Following the election of Jorge Sharp as mayor of the City in December 2016, a project started in 2017 for the creation of a ‘Red de Servicios Populares de Salud, a network of community pharmacies that provide services sold by the City’s health department at reduced prices (up to 70% less than the market price). The service is granted to members (together with their families) of citizens’ associations and labor unions and to all people who live, work or study in the city who only have to present the operators with a prescription and a valid ID card.

The project includes not only the creation of pharmacies, but also optics, a municipal health center, orthopedics, and in the future, the creation of a “popular laboratory”.


With the support of the Central Abastecimiento Nacional (CENABAST), the national entity for the distribution of medicines as a partner, the pharmacy wants to guarantee access to medicines to all the members of Valparaiso. Moreover, the Municipal Pharmacy is planning to create a User Association to co-manage the service, aiming to promote a network of medication distribution at the neighborhood level, arraigning the importations of high-cost medicines, and incorporating the Chilean Municipal Association.


The experiment is juxtaposed with Imbroscio’s idea of a ‘solidarity economy’, a concept that reflects the desire to fight poverty and invest in the stability and prosperity of communities. In fact, the research is based on the conception of urban resources and city space as common goods, affirming the existence of a common stake and interest in shared resources with other inhabitants, as a way of resisting the privatization and/or commodification of these resources.



Considering the urban institutional framework of the city of Valparaiso, we can say that Chile’s Constitution’s centralist approach does not permit much autonomy to City councils. Even today, most of the relevant issues, such as the control of financial resources and the authority over determinate areas of urban governance are still managed by the central State. With the establishment of the Valparaiso network of community pharmacies, there has been a call by the health department of Valparaiso City Council to create at the State level, a public health fund to help Cities that might want to invest in the creation of such institutions.


The five dimensions endogenous to our design principles that define a Co-City were assessed: Collective Governance; Enabling State; Poolism; Experimentalism; and Technological Justice. The design principles are analyzed to better understand whether it is possible to consider the city of Valparaiso a collaborative and inclusive space, and with what intensity each principle is present: weak; moderate or strong.


Collective governance (co-governance) refers to the presence or absence of a self-, shared, collaborative, or polycentric organization for the governance of the commons in cities and it is a strong variable in this case. The Network of Community Pharmacy of Valparaiso project is a multi-stakeholder collaboration providing low-cost healthcare for city residents. All the project actors of the quintuple helix system project are involved: active citizens and community groups, non-governmental organizations, and public authorities.


The Enabling State is present to a moderate extent. The State support to the project has been positive and a certain degree of autonomy has been conceded to the City and the citizens’ associations. However, the presence of non-standard, informal procedures for cooperation are still missing. It is the project principle that expresses the role of the State in the governance of the commons and identifies the characteristics of an enabling state that facilitates collective action for the commons and can be a key factor for the success of community projects on the urban commons.



Social and economic pooling is a strong design principle here, which aims to identify the presence of forms of pooling. The experience of the Valparaiso community pharmacy network seems to be ascribable to the ‘community economy’ subgroup of the pooling economy because it is essentially collectively owned and publicly managed; thanks to the involvement of the public (the City of Valparaiso and organs of the central State) and private (associations) entities; it also involves a transfer of resources from the private or public actor to the collective group and is aimed at realizing the goals of the right to the city, in particular universal access to public health services.


The project is not particularly innovative. However, it is very practical and replicable on a larger scale, and other cities in the world that do not yet guarantee the right to free access to health services; indeed the idea is based on a process that can be exported and adapted to different contexts and is replicable by following the same steps. Experimentalism is a moderate variable. Building a network of community pharmacies was an unprecedented case for Chile, but surely not for other Countries in South America or the world.


Technology may constitute the weaker element in the project. A strong technological innovation and a push towards reachability via the internet could have been a step forward in terms of the quality of the project both for efficiency and universality.



In conclusion, we can say that the Valparaiso network of community pharmacy is a laudable example of how the empowerment of local communities and a strong coordination, can lead to substantial and tangible improvements in the lives of citizens.

The Chilean National Statistical Institute predicts that by 2035, in 82% of cities, people over 65 will outnumber those under 15. This will lead to an increased demand for medical care and health services. Against this background, it is difficult to see how the older generation will manage to conserve their health without being able to afford the right medications.

The project might bring temporary alleviation from these problems and set an example for other cities in a similar situation. The project still needs to improve from a methodological point of view, especially about the Enabling State and Experimentalism variables, which are present to a moderate extent, and the Tech Justice variable, which is almost completely absent.

Either way, even though this case has still space for improvement, it certainly constitutes a full example of communities that work together for common well-being towards a common good dimension.

The Case of Beirut Madinati of Lebanon

The Case of Beirut Madinati of Lebanon

In the wake of a severe crisis that engulfed downtown Beirut in 2015, a group of passionate academics from the American University in Beirut initiated a movement that would change the face of Lebanese politics forever, Thus, Beirut Madinati (BM) was born, a political campaign aligning to challenge the traditional political system and prioritize the livability of the city and its people.

Initially centered around addressing the garbage crisis through their “Municipal Solid Waste” policy based on the 4 R’s (Refusing, Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling), the movement quickly gathered momentum as it received overwhelming support from frustrated citizens. The Waste Management Coalition, a diverse group of NGOs, recycling factories, municipalities, and young political movements, joined forces with BM, pressuring the authorities to take action.

Despite the Municipality’s lack of interest in waste management, BM’s mission transcended its original cause. The movement transformed into a political force, encompassing volunteers from various backgrounds such as urban planning, transport engineering, waste management, and economics. Their ideology focused on achieving social, economic, and political rights for the population while preserving the environment and cultural heritage of Beirut.

The 10-point municipal program outlined by BM covered crucial aspects of city life, including mobility, public space, housing, waste disposal, social and economic development, urban security, green energy, and cultural heritage. Their ambitious goals included improving waste recycling rates, expanding green spaces , and fostering community services.

One of the defining features of Beirut Madinati was its commitment to independence. The movement financed its actions through crowdfunding, and to maintain transparency, they refused donations exceeding 10% of the budget. This independence allowed BM to stand apart from the entrenched political class in Beirut, who saw the movement as a threat to their grip on power.

Over the years, Beirut Madinati’s scope has expanded, driven by Lebanon’s widespread social unrest. Debates that were once limited to city matters have now expanded to address national issues, with discussions covering everything from banking policies to the demands of the revolution sweeping across the country.

Collective Governance Principle: Beirut Madinati’s strength lies in its collective governance model, embracing active citizens, civil society organizations, and partnerships with local businesses and universities. The movement’s collaborative approach empowers citizens and ensures that projects stem from community-driven ideas and debates. The project answers to the characteristics of “collaborative governance” involving all stakeholders; citizens, private actors, and civil society organizations.

Enabling State Principle: Although the government has shown resistance to BM’s initiatives, the movement garners informal support from progressive entities like the Ministry of Interior. Despite this, the enabling state principle remains relatively weak due to the lack of substantial financial or official backing.

Social & Economic Pooling Principle: Beirut Madinati’s commitment to “right to the city” and inclusive engagement across sectors further strengthens its standing in the Social and Economic pooling aspect. The project engages both engaged both NGOs, political parties, and citizens.

Experimentalism Principle: The efforts of Beirut Madinati have led to a number of experimental approaches. In actuality, they plan gatherings, discussions, and displays. Each event is announced on the Beirut Madinati Facebook page, and a recap is also provided there following it. Every follower on Facebook has access to information regarding debates, including the date, location, and primary themes, enabling them to take part. This level of experimentalism is moderate.

However, when it comes to Tech Justice, the movement faces some challenges which allows it to be rated as Weak. While BM effectively uses social media to disseminate information about projects and events, there remains a digital infrastructure divide in Lebanon. Not everyone has equal access to technology, potentially making some feel disconnected from the movement.

In summary, Beirut Madinati is a beacon of hope for Lebanon’s political landscape. Founded with a mission to transform the city of Beirut, it has evolved into a nationwide symbol of collective governance and social change. By encouraging citizen involvement, nurturing partnerships, and challenging the status quo, BM proves that a new era of inclusive politics and responsible governance is within reach for Lebanon.

Atelier de l’Observatoire in Morocco

Atelier de l’Observatoire in Morocco

Atelier Observatoire is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2012 purposely as a place for art and research. The intent is to develop participative projects and support the creation of the Moroccan population. The idea is to bring artists, students, researchers, and inhabitants involved and engage in these participatory projects. Activities are involved on the geographical fringes of Morocco, from suburbs to rural areas and marginalized territories, targeting the most vulnerable communities.


The programs developed involve numerous partners, enrich the visions, ideas, and knowledge of the communities involved, and these are long-term programs that include:

The Collective Museum: is a citizen museum for the collective memory of cities in Morocco and several recovery actions are led by activists for this purpose.

Madrassa is a regional research, meeting, and training program for contemporary curatorial practices.

La Ruche is a program for the production and support of emerging Moroccan artists.

Les Invisibles is a research program that aims to trace the history of the lives of societies.

L’Aquarium is a collective reflection for future new activations of public, educational, and heritage places in Casablanca.

La Serre is a temporary, shared place that takes place in public places, suburbs, and rural areas to encourage the emergence of new ideas, breaking with traditional constraints and visions.


The areas in which L’Atelier de l’Observatoire is developed are the office and residence for artists in Casablanca (Maarif) as well as the space for creation, research, and archiving in Laassilat. The project was born in Morocco from the significant political fragmentation of the territory and the strong weakness of local governance, which caused disparate alliances between a poor and slow local development and a development of projects with a strong centrality of the State, which has always maintained control over local issues and projects.


Since 2015, the adoption of advanced regionalization has aimed to break this traditional governance model by giving local representatives more prerogatives in their local areas and promoting citizen participation in the management of local affairs. Despite its achievements, the project is still far from being completed. The main challenge for territorial development in Moroccan cities remains the transfer of powers to local elected representatives and the lack of clear and established governance. This counts as a major obstacle to the development of collaborative cities in Morocco.


Three design principles of the Co-Cities methodology characterize L’Atelier de l’Observatoire:

First is the collective governance principle. This principle is identified as strong as all actors are united together around the Atelier de l’Observatoire. For instance, in 2016, the Casablanca Aquarium, part of the city’s historical heritage, closed since 1980, reopened to the public at the initiative of the artist Mohamed Fariji for an ephemeral project dedicated to a collective utopian reflection on the future of the place. The Atelier de l’Observatoire played a substantial role here, with various partners such as foundations, the support of the municipality, and the artists’ collective. The project involves:

1) Active citizens, ordinary citizens, social innovators, city makers, and local communities.

2) Public authorities.

3) Private actors.

4) Civil society organizations and NGOs.

5) Knowledge institutions.


The enabling state principle seems to be weak. L’Atelier de l’Observatoire has the support of the Minister of Culture, which means a lot in the top-down approach of power in Morocco. The main reason why the enabling state is weak id due to a lack of collaboration at the public level; indeed, L’Atelier de l’Observatoire denounces the lack of institutional structures and policies in the cities. The aim of the project, however, is not to denounce the failures of public policies or governments, but to introduce the notion of civil society; to set aside the usual dichotomy that defines the state and capital as the only holders of power in our contemporary societies, and to support and empower civil society agency through art.


Thanks to the Atelier de l’Observatoire, a large network of artists has been created, making social and economic pooling a strong principle. In fact, several actors in the neighborhood create an economy of aggregation around cultural and social issues. The Collective Museum, for example, is the result of the research, collection, reflection, and creation of groups of artists, activists, students, children, and residents acting in their neighborhoods to bring out unknown stories, thus dedicated to the collective memory of the city and the suburbs of Casablanca.


L’Atelier de l’Observatoire has other innovative projects, that enable a whole community to access cultural heritage through various approaches, such as meetings, surveys, exhibitions, educational programs, conservation projects, production of works, and publications. Madrassa is a program of residencies, meetings, and pieces of training in contemporary curatorial practices for the North Africa and Middle East region. It is the first of its kind and has been successful in the Mediterranean region, with other initiatives active in several countries. This curatorial program is indeed a good example of experimentalism, that has been spread in different places. The pilot Madrassa session took place in October 2015 in Casablanca, bringing together 15 participants from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, and Cameroon and more than 12 international instructors, with the support of the Arab Fund for Art and Culture, the Goethe Institut Maroc, the Institut Français and Art Moves Africa. It enabled them to work directly with the European Union and apply for funds through the Med Culture program.


Finally, we can say that the potential of digital infrastructures and access to technology to facilitate collaboration does not seem to be considered in the various Atelier de l’Observatoire projects. However, there is an awareness of this weakness and a willingness to improve this dimension.


In conclusion, this case study of the Atelier de l’Observatoire shows us how it could be relevant to adopt in the state of Morocco, a co-city perspective, in order to identify that the weakness of local governance constitutes a major obstacle to the development of the territory. This analyzed model has a collaborative artistic structure, based on strong local action, to bring about a general renewal in Casablanca and from a more national perspective: it creates new ways of approaching collaboration, from the bottom up in the cultural sphere and new methods of interaction between people. The Atelier de l’Observatoire is currently negotiating with the public authorities to launch its project. It would be in the government’s interest to use this initiative to continue advanced regionalization, creating new possibilities for urban life.

Urban Co-Governance

Urban Co-Governance

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