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Strengthening accountability for urban service

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-11-03, 16:49 authored by Sue Cavill, M. Sohail (Khan)
Participatory governance is explored in this article in the context of participatory mechanisms of accountability for urban services. Accountability has become a buzzword internationally over the past few years, and, as is the case with many such terms, there is confusion as to what exactly is meant. The people and organisations promoting accountability view it as critical to solving problems with urban services in an increasingly fragmented context of service provision. This article seeks to explore the growing interest in accountability and to assess the potential of participatory governance to improve the provision of urban services. Other objectives are to: • Consider contemporary innovations in the way urban services are delivered – the context of accountability. • Define accountability using the existing literature and present current models for accountability. • Discuss how the concept of participatory governance can be operationalised in the context of urban services • Present initial findings from case studies undertaken in South Africa, Bangladesh, South Korea and UK. These case studies are used to illustrate different functions of accountability. • Examine the potential of accountability arrangements demonstrated in these case studies to improve the quality of local services and the responsiveness of services providers



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)


CAVILL, S. and SOHAIL, M., 2004. Strengthening accountability for urban service. Environment and Urbanization, 16 (1), pp. 155-170


© SAGE Publications

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This article was published in the journal, Environment and Urbanization [© SAGE Publications] and the definitive version is available at: http://online.sagepub.co.uk/09562478




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