Municipal or local government climate governance has attracted much research attention with a proliferation of literature investigating institutional enablers and barriers to climate action. This paper addresses a gap in this literature through considering critically the role of informal/shadow systems and spaces; the significant inner social workings that constitute what we call the ‘invisible aspects’ of municipal institutions for learning and decision-making processes. Insights are based on a critical and open reflection of the city of Durban’s experience in developing their Municipal Climate Protection Programme (MCPP). We argue that beyond formal institutional requirements or policy, local governments rely considerably on shadow systems and informal spaces of information and knowledge exchange across their operations to introduce and sustain new ideas. This dependence is rarely acknowledged explicitly, however, in research, policy or practice and requires much deeper consideration.

Leck, H and Roberts, D (2015). In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 13, April 2015, Pages 61-67.

Keep in touch with the Grantham Research Institute at LSE
Sign up to our newsletters and get the latest analysis, research, commentary and details of upcoming events.