Cities: who decides?

by Jane-Frances Kelly


Cities: who decides? investigates decision making in eight of the world’s most successful cities, and asks what governance arrangements accompanied their broad-based improvement.

Every city has a different story, but a number of common themes emerged. They included the importance of public engagement, consistent strategic direction, cross-sectoral collaboration, and regional cooperation.

The report’s findings have a number of implications for Australian cities. First, residents must be involved in decisions. The cities that made and implemented tough choices had early and deep public engagement, of an order of magnitude different from the usual Australian experience. Second, changing structures does not, in itself, produce success, and can even be a distraction. No one type of governance structure was associated with these cities’ improvement.