Multilevel Urban Governance or the Art of Working Together. Methods, Instruments and Practices

EUKN, 2011


The Multilevel Urban Governance Conference was organised under the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 2 December 2010 in Li├Ęge. The outcomes of this conference resulted in this publication focusing both on theoretical and practical aspects of multilevel urban governance with the aim of stimulating the ongoing debate on multilevel governance in the field of urban policy.

This publication analyses ten of the fifteen cases presented at the conference and includes one additional case study of Cyprus.

According to the findings of the report, the key elements of a coordinated multilevel approach are:

  • Relevant actors that agree upon common objectives.
  • Turning the agreed objectives into coordinated strategies and action plans which facilitate cooperation between the different levels of policymaking;
  • The monitoring and evaluation of actions and the fulfilment of the presupposed objectives, by making use of the Reference Framework for European Sustainable Cities as a comprehensive and truly intra-European tool;
  • Evaluating the practices of Multilevel Urban Governance, by encouraging mutual learning through the pooling of knowledge and exchange of practices. The use of European networks like EUKN and URBACT, or the setting up of peer reviews, as is the case with existing applications in the Open Method of Coordination, can be appropriate ways of achieving this mutual learning.

The report concluded that goodwill, conviction and empathy are not sufficient elements for the successful development of multilevel governance; what is also needed are sound instruments and methods to facilitate the process of cooperation, of building something together.