A qualitative comparative analysis of collaborative governance structures as applied in urban gardens

Astrid Molenveld*, William Voorberg, Arwin Van Buuren, Liselotte Hagen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Many public issues require collaboration between governments, private actors, NGOs, civic organizations, and individual organizations. Initiating such a collaboration is challenging, but sustaining such a partnership can be even more difficult. This paper aims to explore what types of collaborative governance structures (CGSs) are found in urban gardens that have continued to exist over the years and that have been discontinued. In order to do this, we analysed 14 urban gardens in the Netherlands as striking examples of CGSs. By applying Fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (FsQCA), we were able to unravel plausible explanations for gardens that (did not) stand the test of time. The analysis shows that financial independence, strong institutionalization, and having a small core group of volunteers is the most important configuration for the durability of an urban garden. Even though some gardens were meant to be temporary, this structure made them durable. Two urban gardens envisioned to be temporal did not develop an institutional design or financial independence, which led to their discontinuation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1683-1704
Number of pages22
JournalPublic Management Review
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Furthermore, these five gardens received support from various stakeholders. De Groeituinen receives support from the municipality, as the project fits perfectly into the municipal policy to stimulate citizen participation. Additionally, the municipality saw opportunities to enhance social cohesion in the neighbourhood with this project. To coordinate the project, a board was formed, consisting of members who value self-sufficiency. Therefore, it wanted to arrange the resources needed for the project themselves: ‘We try not to use the subsidy of the municipality, we will only use it if we are not capable anymore to find funds ourselves.’ De Groeituinen is also supported by a group of 20 to 25 volunteers involved in the maintenance of the project. Bikkershof also received financial support from both the municipality and neighbours. While it can be a challenge to find enough willing volunteers, up to now the project has succeeded in finding enough helping hands to maintain the garden.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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