The capable city
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This paper examines non-traditional forms of governance with an emphasis on consensus that has emerged in a Canadian context and responds to three questions. Are there models of cooperation across jurisdictions that might provide lessons for city regions that do not require mergers? Are there models for management of global common goods – such as watersheds, that do not involve legislative powers? Are there models based on consensus and voluntary agreements across sectors that show promise for influencing decision making related to sustainability? Three Canadian cases are presented: the Greater Vancouver Regional District; the Fraser Basin Council; and the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy. The models are assessed using UN-HABITAT’s criteria for good governance. The findings, along with pertinent literature and experience on governance and capacity building, yield observations and recommendations about their application to other cities.