City-region governance labs: Governance learning by strategic policymakers from European city regions

Linze Schaap, Niels Karsten, Carlo Colombo, M.J. Damen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter provides an overview of the conclusions of the research project on “Smart Transformations in City-Regional Law and Governance”. This study analysed the drivers, manifestations, and implications of hybrid city-regional governance. Hybrid city-regional governance is the kind of governance in which both public and private actors as well as public and private instruments go into the governance of a metropolitan area. The focus of the project was on “governance learning”, that is, the cognitive process in which individuals, in interaction, intentionally reflect on the process and procedures of multi-stakeholder decision-making. The data collection for the study included extensive document analyses, fifty-two in-depth interviews and five two-day workshops, called city-region labs, which involved representatives from four European city regions as well as local stakeholders. In these labs, participants from each of the four city regions collectively reflected on their experiences in dealing with the governance challenges that are particular to hybrid governance and, as a group, identified opportunities for improvement. The project succeeded in stimulating a collective learning process that drew on the participants’ experiences and research findings but cannot guarantee long-term effects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Network Learning
EditorsLeon van den Dool, Linze Schaap
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019


Cite this

Schaap, L., Karsten, N., Colombo, C., & Damen, M. J. (Accepted/In press). City-region governance labs: Governance learning by strategic policymakers from European city regions. In L. van den Dool, & L. Schaap (Eds.), Urban Network Learning Palgrave.