Collaborative Governance: A Management Tool to Improve the Sustainability of Development in Metropolitan Regions


Governance is a significant factor impeding or facilitating the sustainable development of metropolitan regions. This chapter explores collaborative, or network, governance, as a way of overcoming institutional, operational, and political obstacles to integrated planning, development, and financing of metropolitan regions. It puts forward ten principles of collaborative governance, argues the need for change from hierarchical, competitive governance models to more collaborative decision-making, and explains the advantages of this change. It supports the need to build collaborative capital in metropolitan regions by broadening inclusiveness and transparency in the planning and operations about decision-making. The paper outlines a framework and strategy to introduce collaborative governance arrangements as a way of transforming urban governance functions and practices in metropolitan regions in support of sustainable development outcomes.


Brian Roberts is an Emeritus Professor and international urban management expert. Roberts holds qualifications in land surveying, urban and regional planning, urban design, and business management, as well as a Ph.D. in urban and regional economic development. He has held senior positions with the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, Queensland state government, two academic institutions, and within the consulting industry. Roberts has managed large and complex multidiscipline projects, and overseen national and regional institutional reform programs, national and international urban management policy, higher education and training, and ministerial advice in several countries. Roberts has co-authored more than 100 publications and conference papers including 10 books with contributions to the UN-Habitat World Cities Development Report in 2011 and 2015.

John Abbott is a metropolitan planner and researcher, and the Principal of John Abbott Planning in Brisbane, Australia. He has worked for national, state, and local governments in Australia and the United Kingdom, and has extensive practical experience in collaborative governance and regional planning projects in South East Queensland (SEQ) and Victoria. He has a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the University of Queensland and an M. Sc. (Econ) in social planning from the University of Wales. His doctoral research was on “Understanding and managing uncertainty in metropolitan planning” and reviewed metropolitan governance and regional planning processes in SEQ and Greater Vancouver, Canada. He has taught planning theory, strategic metropolitan planning, governance and infrastructure planning at the University of Queensland and has published in these areas.