Participatory governance of urban green spaces: Trends and practices in the EU

Alexander van der Jagt, B.H.M. Elands, Bianca Ambrose-Oji, E. Gerőházi, Maja Steen Moller, I.M. Buizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Green spaces provide a variety of benefits that contribute to more
healthy and attractive cities. This paper, building upon results of the EU
FP7 GREEN SURGE project, aims to identify, describe and categorize innovative
participatory governance practices characterized by non-governmental
actor involvement in the maintenance, decision-making or management
of urban green spaces. A total of 20 cities in 14 EU-countries were
studied and for each of these, information on participatory governance
arrangements was acquired using a multi-method approach. This was a
combination of: a) semi-structured interviews with green space planning
city officials, b) desk studies, and c) analysis of planning documents with
relevance to urban green space. We identified four broad trends influencing
participatory governance policies and practices in the EU, and we
categorized participatory governance practices relating to urban green
spaces into seven clusters. To capture and compare between different
cities and countries the different ways in which non-governmental actors
are involved in urban green space governance, we introduced a participatory
governance matrix. The matrix has two dimensions: “mode of
governance” (ranging from government regulation to self-governance)
and “means of participation” (ranging from more structural institutional
influence to influence through hands-on activities). By considering participatory
governance practices along with trends at a European level,
practitioners are provided with an improved understanding of how to
harness the potential of civil society in urban green space management,
now and into the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-40
JournalNordic Journal of Architectural Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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