Governance for Sustainability (G-FORS), a three year research project which brings together EURA members started in February 2006. The project funded by The EU Commission's Research Framework Programme 6 priority 7 (Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge-Based Society - The Implications of European Integration and Enlargement for Governance and the Citizen) brings together the Metropolitan Region of Hannover, EUROCITIES as well as ten universities and research institutes. They are: University of the West of England, Bristol, Darmstadt University of Technology, University of Warsaw, University of Twente, Politecnico di Milano, University of Göteborg, Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, Panteion University, Centre for Regional Studies of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning in Erkner (Germany).
The G-FORS STREP will develop an innovative analytical model for the study of governance for sustainability, focusing on the synergy between new governance modes and different forms of knowledge, taking into account the rapid changes in the knowledge society. For this purpose, G-FORS will identify a range of different forms of knowledge and analyse how these different forms of knowledge may interact in the context of particular governance arrangements to produce `reflexive knowledge' and contribute to a more legitimate understanding of sustainability.
The project will then empirically test this new model through case studies examining EU policies in the field of air pollution control and environmental planning and their implementation at domestic level. These areas have been chosen because they involve different governance modes in a multi-level context that illustrate the positive interactions, and potential tensions between certain governance arrangements, different forms of knowledge and sustainable development. Benchmark indicators will be identified for appraising the effectiveness of current political, economic, administrative and organisational processes and institutional settings to develop economically, socially and environmentally sustainable policies.
From the empirical research, the research team will be able to assess how the engagement of a range of actors in new complex multi-level governance arrangements can be activated to tackle any future threats of 'democratic deficit', and to promote participation and sustainable development. In particular, G-FORS will demonstrate the key economic, social and political roles of sub-national actors.
G-FORS will help shape the European Research Area by developing links with other projects on similar themes across Europe and developing a systematic disemination strategy to end-users at all levels of government, whilst adding to our knowledge of the interaction between modes of governance, knowledge and broadened participation.