A new role for citizens’ initiatives: the difficulties in co-creating institutional change in urban planning

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In this paper, we analyze the institutional work that underlies the attempt to institutionalize a more active role of citizens in urban planning. We draw on a case in which a group of citizens aims to redevelop a brownfield site into a vital urban area. This citizens’ initiative is co-creating a new form of urban planning with the municipality, private organizations and individual citizens. The study shows how citizens’ initiatives can be a driver for institutional change, but that uncertainties about new institutions tend to reinforce the maintenance of existing ones. This paradox explains why even if the ambition for a new form of planning is widely shared, actually realizing institutional change can still be difficult and time-consuming.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-87
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number1
Early online date13 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019



  • citizens' initiatives
  • co-creation
  • institutional work
  • institutional change
  • urban planning

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