At the corner of climate neutrality and urban mission? Ask for directions! A case study about public value, missions, and climate

University essay from Lunds universitet/Internationella miljöinstitutet

Abstract: Horizon Europe has identified climate-neutral and smart cities as one of its mission areas. In Sweden, the national innovation programme Viable Cities has set its sights on realising climate neutrality in cities by 2030. In both cases, a mission-oriented approach focused on citizens as drivers of climate action represents a pathway to success. However, citizen involvement has been presented as an area often neglected in research and innovation initiatives while clear design guidelines for mission-oriented policy (MOP) remain largely absent. The aim of this thesis is to support municipalities working with societal challenges and achieving climate neutrality by contributing to the development of MOP through a citizen perspective. This thesis investigates the conundrum of how municipalities can involve citizens in MOP focused on climate neutrality. To address this question, a single case study has been conducted on Malmö, Sweden, a city looking to develop MOP and improve citizen involvement. Interviews have been conducted across national and local levels with leaders and managers actively involved in developing citizen participation and mission-oriented design. The results of the interviews are presented across citizen-related areas such as co-production, collaborative governance, and participation, before discussing the findings based on the mission-oriented policy approach and public value creation. This research finds that the climate programme at the City of Malmö maintains a vast network of partners, providing knowledge to the municipality and demonstrating its leadership. Notwithstanding, citizen involvement remains underdeveloped and may carry implications for programme sponsorship, implementation, public value creation, and consequently, a mission-oriented approach. Ways forward for the City of Malmö and municipalities include involving citizens at earlier stages, providing clarity on the climate mission, and assembling learnings from other MOP initiatives. Areas of future research involve adopting new analytical frameworks to examine citizen involvement in MOP and investigating relationships between citizens and mission-oriented areas such as funding and procurement.

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