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Municipal capacity for transformative experimentation: how much of a constraint is projectification?
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8968-3500
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

How local autonomy is shaped by structuring of funding opportunities by higher-level government is a long-established research theme. Studies of experimentation in UK and European cities have found that reliance on short-term, project-based and competitive funding is a major constraint on local actors’ capacities (Ehnert et al. 2018, Schwanen 2015, Hodson et al. 2018). Hodson et al. (2013) have shown how this may lead to ‘piecemeal’, rather than ‘systemic’, modes of urban energy innovation. Recently, these debates have been recast as ‘projectification’ of urban experimentation (Smeds 2018, Torrens and von Wirth 2020): the increasing reliance on temporary organising within the public sector (Godenhjelm et al. 2015). 

This paper engages this debate with a focus on municipal government capacity for experimenting with urban mobility innovations in ways that are transformative and may contribute to transitions towards post-car cities (Smeds 2021). We extend Hodson et al.’s (2013) framework by drawing on organisational studies literature (Lundin and Söderholm 1995). We argue for a distinction between two dimensions of projectification: 1) forms of organising experiments, e.g. as a fixed-term project; and 2) funding that is awarded on a project, short-term and/or competitive basis. Mobility funding landscapes are examined as a driver that may cause experimentation to be organised in project-based, piecemeal forms. 

We ask: how much of a constraint is projectification on municipal capacity, compared to other constraints on local autonomy in the context of state restructuring and austerity urbanism (Peck 2012)? This is answered through a comparative analysis of Bristol City Council and New York City government from 1996-2016, as contrasting cases with high and low degrees of fiscal autonomy, and representative cases of UK and US multi-scalar governance contexts. The study draws on large-N databases on the outcomes of 108 experiments, 48 interviews, and analysis of funding and municipal budget data. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London, 2022.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-334972OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-334972DiVA, id: diva2:1792741
Conference
RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, 30 August - 1 September 2022, Newcastle, UK
Note

QC 20231023

Available from: 2023-08-30 Created: 2023-08-30 Last updated: 2023-10-23Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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