The Collaboration Riskscape: Fragmentation, Problem Types and Preference Divergence in Urban Sustainability

  • April 2019
  • Peer-Reviewed Articles
  • Multiple

Deslatte, A. & R. Feiock. (2019). The Collaboration Riskscape: Fragmentation, Problem Types and Preference Divergence in Urban Sustainability. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 49(2), 352-377.

ABSTRACT: Local governmental efforts to achieve greater sustainability have come to play a prominent role within urbanized regions. Despite the prominence of collaboration and collective action in the inter-governmental literature, we know little about how the collaborative mechanisms used to address them are influenced by the configurations of horizontal, general-purpose governments and vertical, single-purpose governments. We combine national- and metropolitan-level analyses through a mixed-methods design to fill this lacuna. The first component examines how fragmentation influences choices of mechanisms for interlocal collaboration utilizing surveys of U.S. cities. The second component examines collaboration barriers between localities in a single metropolitan area through qualitative analysis of interviews conducted with twenty city managers in the Chicago metropolitan region, one of the most fragmented in the United States. These analyses offer evidence to support the conclusion that more fragmented regions may be better suited to overcome coordination risks and find more avenues for collaborative activities. However, preference heterogeneity within fragmented environments increases the risk of defection and thus offsets some advantages of polycentricity.

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