Climate change mitigation in English and German municipalities: Dynamic governance versus persistent government?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper illustrates the contrasting governance approaches of comparable ‘postindustrial’ municipalities in England and Germany – the twin towns of Newcastle upon Tyne and Gelsenkirchen. Drawing on Hooghe and Marks’ (2003) characterisations of “Type I” and “Type II” multilevel governance systems, it uses data from over a dozen in depth interviews with practitioners in each city to highlight how the council in Gelsenkirchen has been able to take a much more hierarchical approach to climate change mitigation than its counterpart in Newcastle. This is partly due to Germany’s long tradition of local autonomy (Norton, 1994), which has helped Gelsenkirchen to develop its strategic capacity with support from the regional, state and federal governments. Although English municipalities have enjoyed greater de jure autonomy since the UK Government granted them a general power of competence in 2011, the study found that they are unable to punch at the same weight as their German counterparts in local governance arrangements.Using the characterisations of Treib et al. (2007), the paper therefore places Newcastle towards the ‘governance’ end of the spectrum, whereas Gelsenkirchen lies closer to a more traditional ‘government’ model. It also argues that the concept of distinct “policy styles” for specific countries (Richardson, 1982), which previous studies have investigated almost exclusively at the national level, is also relevant for municipalities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Paper presented at the 64th annual conference of the UK Political Studies Association in Manchester


  • climate change
  • local government
  • England
  • Germany
  • policy style
  • multi-level governance

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