The GreenGov project aims to create new, cutting-edge knowledge on which leadership strategies and mechanisms can effectively support co-creation, learning and innovation in favour of the green shift. The green shift is pursuing goals of sustainable, low carbon urban development to transform cities towards more climate smart, energy efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable futures.

Key questions to be addressed are:

  • What challenges and dilemmas do public leaders face in promoting the green shift, how they cope with them, and how their coping strategies affect the outcomes of the endeavours to make cities greener and more sustainable?
  • How can cities build co-creation arenas and through these enhance their capacity for creating synergies between institutional layers of hierarchical, market-inspired and network measures that together make up the governance mechanisms available to political and administrative leaders when striving for sustainable low carbon transformation?

These questions will be explored in-depth in the cities of Oslo, Gothenburg and Copenhagen, and to a lesser extent in Cape Town as a way of exploring what can be learnt from a very different context to the Scandinavian cities.

A transdisciplinary research approach is combined with CityLabs as design experiments to investigate how different leadership interventions influence green co-creation in different contexts. Results will be based on case-studies and co-creational actions in the cities of Oslo, Gothenburg and Copenhagen. GreenGov will facilitate learning by also exploring examples of co-creational leadership in Cape Town as an ambitious yet dissimilar city regarding its climate policies and activities. This will not be a full case study, but rather an opportunity to share examples to inspire further development of co-creation and governing of the green shift in Scandinavia and South Africa in different cultural-institutional settings.

By taking a transdisciplinary and applied approach to the research on co-creational leadership and policy learning, the project aims to challenge, develop and change conventional knowledge and habitual solutions concerning 1) governance and policy practice, 2) research practice, and 3) theory development in the context of transformation to sustainable, low carbon cities. The GreenGov focus on co-creational leadership and new, innovative policies and institutional structures will contribute to city, national and international efforts to realize the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG goal 11 of making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

The Greengov project will study a number of cases of co-created climate solutions that involve public and private actors at the city level; local, regional and national actors in a multi-level governance system; and public leaders and managers from different cities. The cases will be studied based on data drawn from document analysis, qualitative interviews and observations. The use of different data sources enable triangulation of the results.