Democratic and collective ownership of public goods and services
Many cities and citizens have devised new ways to manage essentials. Public-community collaborations can unlock local knowledge and empower citizens by combining the city’s administrative and political power with the potential of its citizens.
Many cities and citizens have devised new ways to manage essentials such as water, energy, housing, care, food, urban space and more. This report presents innovative approaches between public institutions and collective citizen organisations in order to co-produce ideas and policies and to jointly deliver these public goods and services.
Recognising that public ownership plays a critical and strategic role in climate-saving and social inclusion, we propose public-community collaborations are a vital instrument in democratising public ownership. What does this mean? These public-community collaborations reveal they can unlock local knowledge and empower citizens by combining the city’s administrative and political power with the potential of its citizens.
This report is presented in three parts: Theory, Practice, and Imagination. The Theory section introduces the co-production approach and the essential characteristics of public-community collaborations. In the Practice section, we present ten inspiring international experiences from the areas of food, care, energy, water, housing and urban development, highlighting the most important lessons learned from each in a practical toolbox. Finally, the report shows how we can Imagine ways in which this new approach can be introduced and structurally developed in your city.
Public-community collaborations do not offer to take over public responsibility. Strong and well-funded public institutions are an important starting point for a successful collaboration. Public-community collaborations are a useful tool or lens to explore democratic forms of public ownership for public services and goods delivery.
Luckily, plenty of local authorities and communities are taking on the challenge of addressing ecological transition and social cohesion. All of the stories presented in this report illustrate how local authorities in partnership with local communities have devised mechanisms of democratic public-services delivery.
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Citation: Transnational Institute (2021). Democratic and collective ownership of public goods and services - Exploring public-community collaborations. Retrieved from: tni.org/public-community-collaborations (CC BY 4.0)