Volume 24 (2018)

Volume 24 (2018) / Issue 3

Carlo Maria Colombo, 'New Forms of Local Governance and the Transformation of Administrative Law' (2018) 24 European Public Law, Issue 3, pp. 573–593

cities; metropolitan governance; collaboration; public-private divide; hybrid networks; discretion; judicial review; administrative law; public functions; economic innovation; fairness; reflexive legitimacy.


In policy areas in which the cities are today leading, networked collaborations between state and nonstate actors to co-define the public good are increasingly supplementing classic models of administrative governance. While triggered by the combination of spatial interconnection, internal density, and knowledge creation in contemporary urban spaces, these hybrid structures come at a price. Although created to pursue a public interest as much as any other administrative body, the discretion exercised in these organizations is horizontally fragmented across a set of actors, each of whose individual reflexion is equally needed to generate the common goal of the collaboration. The dilemma this appears to create comes down to one question: what is the role of administrative law in ensuring the legal accountability of these forms of collaborative urban governance? This article looks at Brainport Eindhoven, a Dutch triple-helix cooperation pursuing economic innovation. Based on this illustrative case study, it argues that, to cope with this institutional innovation, scholarship must abandon the classic public law paradigm of administrative law and explore rules and mechanisms to ensure that partners effectively collaborate to achieve the desired common outcome together.

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ISSN: 1354-3725
ID: EURO2018032