Exploring the effect of network governance on the facilitation of urban innovation: an evaluative case study on City Deals
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There is a deficit on theoretically derived frameworks on network governance and innovation. This research aims to provide a contribution to the scientific and social community by performing an empirical case study on City Deals by combining two theoretically derived frameworks on network governance and protective spaces. City Deals are a cooperative agreement were a network aims to collectively solve a complex societal problem by facilitating innovations. This research explores the effects of a City Deal on the governance of a network to facilitate innovation by using the framework on governance capacities, and analyzes the effect of a City Deal on the facilitate space for innovation by using the framework on protective spaces. Governance Capacity revolves around the set institutional capacity by a network to collective solve the problem and the performance of that network to govern the problem. Innovation requires a protective space where a niche is 1) shielded from mainstream selection systems, and where the niche can be 2) nurtured to become 3) empowered enough to function within a mainstream selection systems. Forty-four interviews with City Deal officials have provided the input for the analysis of this research. Respondents experience the effect of a City Deal on the established network as positive and make creative use of their network to govern a problem with the limited resources set in available for the network. But for City Deals to facilitate innovation, more institutional capacity available should be set available for a network to govern a complex problem more successfully. Moreover, more institutional capacity needs to be set for a network to effectively facilitate a protective space for a niche to develop. Learning processes should be more structurally embedded within City Deals to nurture the development of a niche better and follow-ups need to be more incorporated within City Deals to ensure the empowerment of a niche.