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City Partnerships For Urban Innovation - Discussion paper n° 9
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  • How should the roles and mission of an Urban Observatory of Innovative Partnership Practices be defined?


  • Partnership generalization leads to the multiplication of devices and to a flowering of procedures which are often experimental at the start and remain hardly codified afterwards. It makes it difficult to apprehend the diversity of the practices made in the field and to interpret the whole. It is difficult to draw a global knowledge from the innovating experiences in progress. It is also difficult to say if they have led to durable results. Researchers in social sciences could, together with all the concerned players, organize a memory of these experiences and enable their assessment (Maurice Blanc. 1995). With this in mind, the creation of an "urban observatory of innovating partnership practices", which would register and describe the various experiences undertaken throughout the world, would certainly be useful. It would be a place where experiments in progress could be followed up. It would allow a procedure of systematic scientific comparisons of these experiments to take place. It would allow the accumulation of knowledge drawn from experiments both finished and in progress. This observatory would have the following three main tasks :

  • It would detect the places where political and cultural changes are expressed and would identify the innovative experiments made in the field of partnerships. We would therefore have the possibility to show the range of partnership practices conceived as new forms of local public actions. These experiments would be listed on an electronic catalogue available for consultation on the Internet network.


  • It would set these innovative experiments according to a typology which could be organized along the following grid: Types of partnerships; Public/public; Public/private; Public/citizen; Objectives Equito; Durability; Citizenship; Economic efficiency; Well-being of citizens


  • The principle of the double entry, both by the partnership combinations and by the objectives, is the main aim of this grid. Obviously, excellency in the field of innovation consists in filling the grid. An experiment which would be identifiable only in one box, for example the box combining "public/private" with economic efficiency, would be poorly considered.


  • It would analyse experiments retained. This analysis could be taken in several steps, described in a second grid:

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