Universiteit Leiden

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Centre for Governance of Sustainability


Within the Centre we cover several research themes.

Co-creation and stakeholder participation

A first theme is co-creation and stakeholder participation. Co-creation and participation are important mechanisms to make policy and decision-making more inclusive and effective, and to foster the creation of public value. At the same time, they are no panacea to overcome sustainability challenges and produce problems, for instance in terms of legitimacy and alignment with institutional structures and representative democracy. We do not only analyse processes of participation and co-creation, but also aim to improve governance practice by developing new methodologies for participation and co-creation. 

Role of technology

A second theme is the role of technology in governance of sustainability. Technology allows for new modes of governance. Think, for instance, of digital technology that promises to make governance ‘smart’, or of production technologies that allow citizens to become producers of energy. Socio-technical innovations typically require, or lead to, institutional change and innovation. However, green technological innovations also encounter regulatory and policy barriers. This begs the question how institutional innovations and new governance practices can best support sustainability transitions. 

Politics of sustainability transitions

A third theme revolves around the politics of sustainability transitions. Governance of sustainable transitions are struggles of power, with winners and losers. It matters how sustainability is framed and which sustainable solutions are proposed. It matters whose knowledge and experiences are excluded in the making of a green economy. And it matters how the sustainable transition is financed and with which distributional consequences. How can sustainability transitions be governed in such a way that we solve environmental problems while ensuring socially just transitions? We address these questions empirically and conceptually, while contributing to just transition perspectives. We collaborate with the Centre for Public Value & Ethics, focusing on ethical and public value dimensions of environmental issues. 

The coordination of environmental policy in the multi-level governance system

A fourth theme is the coordination of environmental policy in the multi-level governance system. In order to implement international and European ambitions on local levels, different coordination structures have to be put in place. What are then the key components that have to be addressed in this coordination between different levels of government? How can sustainability be integrated in different policy sectors? What distinguishes successful collaborative governance? We address these questions from a leader-laggard perspective to tailor our policy recommendations. 

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