Copenhagen: Fading international star?

Karsten Bruun Hansen, Annika Agger, Jacob Torfing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingReport chapterResearch


The study provides an outline and comparative analysis of the evolution in climate policies and governance systems of four cities with ambitious climate goals and strategies; three Scandinavian cities, Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Oslo; and one South African city; Cape Town. In each city, we explore the evolution in climate goals, strategies, policy and institutional designs over two decades and how these materialize in distinct approaches to urban climate governance and co-creation. Our aim is to shed light on different – and similar - paths to urban climate governance among forerunning cities with bold climate goals i.e. in terms of embracing a coherent climate policy for mitigation, adaptation, climate equity and sustainable urban futures. The study adopts a polycentric governing perspective (multilevel and multi-actor). The empirical findings from the four city case studies are based on reviews of key climate change-relevant policy documents and websites (through 2019) and a set of key informant interviews. In each of the cities, we find that urban climate governance is manifest in a mix of traditional governance mechanisms, and new, more innovative co-creational instruments through hybrid forms of governance. The study brings up some distinctive and important differences in the urban climate policies and governing approaches between the three Scandinavian cities and Cape Town, but the study also reveals many similarities in approaches across all the four cities. All the cities engage in diverse networks and co-creational arenas for shared climate responses at different levels and scales. Drawing upon the comparative experiences of urban climate governance all these forerunning cities, ‘eight essentials for effective, sustainable and fair urban climate governance and leadership’ are suggested that might bring cities onto pathways towards climate transformation.
Translated title of the contributionKøbenhavn - et falmende international klima fyrtårn?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban climate governance and co-creation : In Cape Town, Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Oslo
EditorsHege Hofstad, Trond Vedeld
Number of pages13
Place of PublicationOslo
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9788283093094
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesN I B R-Rapport

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