Multi-level Governance

When knowledge is built up and policy is formed to promote socially, ecologically and economically sustainable urban and regional development, this often occurs through interaction between different stakeholders. Politicians, officials, researchers and ordinary citizens are expected to participate in shaping the development of a good society. Within this context, a basic view is held that everyone conveys knowledge, everyone produces knowledge and everyone uses knowledge. This especially pertains to the need for research and practical experience to be brought together in a productive way, mainly through collaboration between researchers and practitioners. The latter is also called transdisciplinary knowledge development.


When different levels of public policy and management are coordinated and simultaneously interact with other autonomous organisations, authorities and stakeholders, this is called multi-level governance. Governance must then be viewed in a broader context than the classical hierarchical sense. The term governance describes the process of using various means to transform knowledge and ideas into desired acts that lead to desired goals. Since multi-level governance is considered a good way to promote sustainable development, but is quite complicated in reality, it is necessary to examine how this actually works.

Collaboration between multiple sectors and over multiple levels

This project aims to describe and analyze the collaboration between multiple sectors and over multiple levels of governance of sustainable development. The overarching question is: What knowledge and what experience can be used to develop effective strategies for transdisciplinary collaboration that promotes sustainable urban and regional development?

Processes studied

The pilot project will run until November 2011 and a number of processes will be studied. These are the deliberative process for the Göteborg Region Association of Local Authorities (GR), the future program for public transport development (K2020), the City of Gothenburg´s work with the social dimension of sustainable development (S2020) and a project carried out in Rosengård in Malmö. The working group for the pilot project includes both practitioners and researchers. Along the way, several meetings (workshops) will be held where the various processes will be studied and discussed. In addition, a reference group to be linked to the pilot project will serve as a sounding board in connection with the various texts that are written. A planned by-product of the project is a "cookbook" that presents important lessons from multi-level governance.



Forsemalm, J. (2012). Transdisciplinarity: making way for a critical proximity? Conference paper presented at the 32nd Nordic Conference of Ethnology and Folkloristics: Dynamics of Cultural Differences, Department of Archeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen. Bergen, Norway, 18-21 June 2012.
Type: Conference paper (peer-reviewed)
Parker, P. & Johansson, M. (2011). Challenges of managing an urban commons. Conference paper presented at the CCW 2011 : Multi-faceted nature of collaboration in contemorary world, School of Advanced Social Studies, Slovenia & Junior Sociologists Network of the International Sociological Association. Novo Mesto, Slovenia, 7-8 November 2011.
Type: Conference paper (peer-reviewed)
Parker, P., Delshammar, T. & Johansson, M. (2012). Planning for appropriation: public space led development to integrate a fragmented city. Conference paper presented at The Second ISA Forum of Sociology, International Sociological Association. Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1-4 August 2012.
Type: Conference paper (peer-reviewed)
Parker, P. & Johansson, M. (2012). Challenges and potentials in collaborative management of urban commons. In D. Modic, A. Kovacic, T. Besednjak Valic, U. Lamut and G. Rinzivillo (eds.), Multi-Faceted Nature of Collaboration in the Contemporary World (pp. 92.113). Vega Press.
Type: Book chapter
Johansson, M. (2011). Förslag på arbetssätt för att utveckla forskningssamverkan kring hållbar stadsutveckling i Malmö. (Report). Malmö: Institutet för hållbar stadsutveckling (ISU), Univeristy of Malmö.
Type: Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief

Project members

  • Joakim Forsemalm

    Joakim Forsemalm, works at Radar Architects as an ethnologist and within the field of Human Geography.  

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  • Stig Montin

    Professor Stig Montin works at the Institution of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg.

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Lars Lilled
Jan Gustafsson
Kerstin Elias

Kerstin Elias is an expert in urban development at SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden

Ylva Löf
Magnus Johansson

Magnus Johansson är projektlmedlem i Mistra Urban Futures Skåneplattform.