Governance for Urban Sustainability and Resilience

Governance for Urban Sustainability and Resilience

Responding to Climate Change and the Relevance of the Built Environment

Jeroen van der Heijden

Cities, and the built environment more broadly, are key in the global response to climate change. This groundbreaking book seeks to understand what governance tools are best suited for achieving cities that are less harmful to the natural environment, are less dependent on finite resources, and can better withstand human-made hazards and climate risks.

Chapter 4: Voluntary programmes and market-driven governance

Jeroen van der Heijden

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental governance and regulation, law - academic, environmental law, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation


It is a little step from collaborative governance to voluntary programmes and market-driven governance, and the exact dividing line between these approaches to governance is difficult to draw. Both build on voluntary participation in governance tools combined with clear financial or other direct rewards for their participants. This makes these tools somewhat different from the collaborations discussed in the previous chapter, which often build on the sharing of lessons and information about how to achieve urban sustainability and resilience. At first glance the term ‘voluntary programme’ seems to imply that this approach to governance is fully non-coercive, while the term ‘market-driven governance’ seems to imply that this approach to governance is without government involvement, and thus voluntary to a certain extent as well. Yet, studies on both approaches point to a more complicated picture. Voluntary programmes often echo the structure of direct regulatory interventions (Potoski and Prakash, 2009), with a set of rules that its participants are expected to follow. Often these rules are enforced, at least to a certain extent; and non-compliance may in certain programmes lead to disciplinary action. Market-driven governance, in turn, is often found to have some form of government involvement (Cashore et al., 2004). Voluntary programmes and market-driven governance as approaches to governance have become popular since the 1990s. Like collaborative governance, they fit the shift ‘from government to governance’ discussed in Chapter 3.

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