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Assessing Urban Governance

The Case of Water Service Co-production in Venezuela


Luisa Moretto

When examining the relationship between urban governance and improved service provision in the Global South, there is frequently a gap between the rhetoric and the reality. Informal, practice-based local governance processes that aim to produce better urban services often diverge from official governance prescriptions and mechanisms for service delivery within the institutional sphere. This book explores the complex area of urban governance assessment, focusing on the issue of sustainable water supplies for the urban poor.
Adapting the UN-Habitat Urban Governance Index, the author explores the dual nature of urban governance, analyzing its formal dimension at the municipal level but also taking account of informal and locally specific governance arrangements aimed at improving access to basic services. Water service co-production strategies involving both public institutions and organized groups of citizens in Venezuela provide an excellent case study of this phenomenon. The book illustrates the limitations of official governance assessment tools in appreciating the extent and vibrancy of local practices and agreements, as well as investigating the discrepancies between normative prescriptions and governance arrangements on the ground.
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“Public Action”


The series “Public Action” studies the State and how it works from a variety of perspectives. It focuses on public policy analysis (environment, health, employment culture etc.) as well as the institutional and organisational study of public administrations. The mutations that characterise nowadays public action (deregulation, externalisation, contractualisation and networking) are at the heart of these preoccupations.

Consequently, the series “Public Action” also places further emphasis on the relationship the State maintains with its environment, – not only the political apparatus and, of course, civil society, but also with broader social changes such as individualism and globalisation.

Multidisciplinary work is an essential characteristic of contemporary research in the field. Given the essential need for such approaches to the topic, this series encourages economic, historical, judicial, politological, sociological and philosophical perspectives.

Series Editors : Jean-Louis GENARD, Professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles Steve JACOB, Professor at the Université Laval

Published Books

N° 1 – Steve JACOB, Frédéric VARONE et Jean-Louis GENARD (dir.), L’évaluation des politiques au niveau régional, 2007, 218 p.

N° 2 – Fabrizio CANTELLI, L’État à tâtons. Pragmatique de l’action publique face au sida, 2007, 268 p.

No.3 – Isabelle DE LOVINFOSSE, How and Why Do Policies Change? A Comparison of Renewable Electricity Policies in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, 2008, 317 p.

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