The narrative of urban sustainability transformations epitomises the hope that urban governance can create the conditions to plan and govern cities in a way that they contribute to local and global sustainability and resilience. So far, urban governance is not delivering: novel governance approaches are emerging in cities worldwide, yet are unable to transform conventional policymaking and planning to allow for innovative, co-beneficial and long-term solutions and actions to emerge and institutionalise. We present a capacities framework for urban transformations governance, starting from the need to fulfil distinct output functions (‘what needs to happen’) for mobilising and influencing urban transformation dynamics. The framework helps to diagnose and inform urban governance for responding to disturbances (stewarding capacity), phasing-out drivers of path-dependency (unlocking capacity), creating and embedding novelties (transformative capacity) and coordinating multi-actor processes (orchestrating capacity). Our case study of climate governance in New York City exemplifies the framework's applicability and explanatory power to identify conditions and activities facilitating transformation (governance), and to reveal gaps and barriers of these vis-à-vis the existing governance regime. Our framework thereby functions as a tool to explore what new forms of urban transformation governance are emerging, how effective these are, and how to strengthen capacities.

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Keywords Agency, Capacity, Cities, Climate change, Transformations, Urban, Urban governance
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Journal Cities: the international journal of urban policy and planning
Grant This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/603416 - Impacts and risks from higher-end scenarios: Strategies for innovative solutions (IMPRESSIONS)
Hölscher, K, Frantzeskaki, N, McPhearson, T, & Loorbach, D.A. (2019). Capacities for urban transformations governance and the case of New York City. Cities: the international journal of urban policy and planning, 94, 186–199. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2019.05.037