Voluntary urban climate programmes: should city governments be involved and, if so, how?

Jeroen van der Heijden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


It has been proposed that voluntary urban climate programmes overcome shortfalls in mandatory, top-down, state-led government interventions to address climate change risks. Such programmes seek commitments from households and firms to improve their environmental sustainability, but do not have the force of law. City governments are actively developing and implementing such programmes, seeking improved and accelerated urban climate action. There is little evidence, however, of whether their involvement positively affects voluntary programme performance. This article presents qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) of 26 voluntary programmes from Australia, the Netherlands and the US, seeking to understand whether, and if so how, city governments affect the performance of voluntary urban climate programmes. The results will help to inform city governments about the roles they may play in urban climate governance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-465
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number3
Early online date3 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • built environment
  • climate action
  • qualitative comparative analysis
  • urban climate governance
  • voluntary programmes


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