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Co-production: taking stock of achievements and possibilities


Co-production, or service delivery in partnership between citizens and the public sector, has come a long way in the decades since it was first conceptualized. In urban areas, co-production is being applied to water and sanitation provision, to post-disaster rebuilding, and to housing upgrading, among other uses.

This issue of Environment and Urbanization explores the range of urban co-production in the global South. Three papers profile urban poor groups in Namibia, Kenya and Thailand, explaining their history of working with and through government. Other papers focus on tools of co-production, applied in specific circumstances: memoranda of understanding in Zimbabwe, community mapping in the Philippines, and a network of knowledge production spanning multiple continents. Still others reflect on the nature of co-production, and how it relates to the strategies of urban social movements and the concept of intersectionality.

Together, these papers show that co-production is about the daily work of service provision, but also about the larger work of cultivating relationships and empowering communities. The cases provide ample evidence of low-income urban communities taking the lead.

Also in this issue of Environment and Urbanization are papers on: urban flood resilience in Dhaka; sanitation services in smaller urban areas of Malawi; water protests in Tanzania; and urban waste management in Maputo.

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