Expertise, Representation and the Common Good: Grounds for Legitimacy in the Urban Governance Network

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Marijn Meijering

Authors: L. Haikio

Publication Year: 2007


Journal: Urban Studies

Volume: 44

Issue: 11

Categories: Resilience


This paper discusses the local planning of sustainable development in terms of urban governance. It is particularly interested to examine the grounds for the legitimacy of different actors and the process of legitimation in one urban network. Legitimation is understood here as a discursive process of acceptance in which the actors involved locate themselves and others in the structures of governance. The results indicate that people from the local community and local government justify their positions in the urban governance network and policy-making by means of traditional forms of authorisation—namely, in terms of expertise, representation or the common good. These characteristics have traditionally given legitimacy to the activities and decisions taken by public administration and government. In the case at hand, the traditional grounds for legitimacy are transformed into network-based practices, but those grounds are not pre-given for any of the parties involved. The future challenge in urban governance is to enable the formation of new kinds of political identities that are suitable for governance networks by reforming local discursive practices.


Marijn Meijering