Partnering with citizens and civil society in order to find better solutions has become a growing strategy in many urban regeneration projects in Western Europe countries. Street-level bureaucrats (SLBs) are increasingly recruited to manage what can be labelled ‘participatory planning processes’, where public and private actors co-produce joint solutions for the benefit of local neighbourhoods. Despite the fact that the quality of the interaction between SLBs and citizens is considered to be of vital importance for the degree to which a policy is being implemented, there is hardly any research on how SLBs deal with conflicts or the tensions they face mediating between different actors and institutional logics. This article shows how the scholarly literature identifies new and more interactive roles for SLBs, but notes that many of these descriptions are unable to unfold what they imply in practice. The contribution of the article, therefore, is to offer an empirical account of what kind of conflicts and coping strategies SLBs use in their everyday practices. The article is based on a study of 16 SLBs in area-based initiatives (ABIs) in Malmö and Copenhagen. By zooming in on ‘microlevel performances’ in a policy field characterised as having a high level of conflictual views of the use of common spaces, the article is able to shed light on contextual factors that can influence the performance of an SLB and thus inspire future work with ABIs and the practice field of public administration.