Contractual governance landscapes

Mar 6, 2021

Contractual governance landscapes – New publication by Tuna Tasan-Kok, Rob Atkinson and Maria Lucia Refinetti Martins on public accountability.

In a new publication in Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, Tuna Tasan-Kok, Rob Atkinson and Maria Lucia Refinetti Martins explore the idea of public accountability in the contemporary entrepreneurial governance of cities.

The contemporary governance of cities is strongly influenced by market dependency and private sector involvement. Within this complex setting, the authors specifically focus on the fragmentation of public accountability through hybrid contractual landscapes of governance, in which the public and private sector actors interactively produce a diversity of instruments to ensure performance in service. This situation, they argue, stands in sharp contrast to the traditional vague norms and values appealed to by urban planning institutions, to safeguard the public interest.

Tasan-Kok et al. illuminate how public accountability is produced by public and private sector actors, through highly diverse sets of contractual relations and diverse control instruments that define responsibilities of diverse actors who are involved in a project within a market-dependent planning and policy making environment. These complexities mean public accountability has become fragmented and largely reduced to performance control.

They demonstrate how public accountability is assuming a more ‘contractual’ and unpredictable meaning in policy and plan implementation process on the basis of comparative empirical evidence from The Netherlands, UK and Brazil. While context-specific institutional relations exist in these three countries, the authors are able to show how the creation of regulatory instruments that attempt to hold those involved accountable at multiple scales of governance makes overall public accountability difficult to enforce.

Full reference

Taşan-Kok, T., Atkinson, R., & Martins, M. L. R. (2020). Hybrid contractual landscapes of governance: Generation of fragmented regimes of public accountability through urban regeneration. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 2399654420932577.


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