Making Public Organizations Work

Bert George | Borgerhoff & Lamberigts

Publieke organisaties zijn belangrijk, nu meer dan ooit. Of het nu gaat om ziekenhuizen die ons gezondheidszorg bieden, scholen die ons onderwijs bieden, politieagenten die onze straten veilig houden, musea die ons cultureel erfgoed beschermen, er zijn tal van voorbeelden te geven van de wijze waarop publieke organisaties ons dagelijks leven beïnvloeden. Maar het runnen van publieke organisaties is complex en de verwachtingen ten aanzien van deze organisaties zijn nog nooit zo hoog geweest – ze moeten efficiënt en effectief zijn, kwalitatief hoogwaardige en rechtvaardige diensten leveren, en ontvankelijk zijn voor de burgers die ze dienen. Public organizations matter, now more than ever. Be it hospitals providing us healthcare, schools offering us education, police officers keeping our streets safe, museums safeguarding our cultural heritage, one can provide multiple examples of how public organizations impact our daily lives. But running public organizations is complex and expectations towards these organizations have never been greater — they need to be efficient and effective, provide high-quality and equitable services, and be responsive towards the citizens they serve.

Making public organizations work biedt een op onderzoek gebaseerd overzicht van publieke managementactiviteiten die publieke managers, of mensen die dat willen worden, helpen om na te denken over hun prestaties en deze te verbeteren. Het is hét boek voor iedereen die geïnteresseerd is in de praktijk van het leiden van publieke organisaties en richt zich op het managen van hervormingen, prestaties en waarden; het managen van publieke organisaties en netwerken; en het managen van bureaucraten, politici en burgers op straatniveau. Theoretische inzichten worden concreet gemaakt aan de hand van praktijkvoorbeelden van publieke organisaties over de hele wereld. Making public organizations work provides a research-based overview of public management activities that help public managers, or people aspiring to become one, reflect on and enhance their performance. It is the go-to book for anyone interested in the practice of running public organizations and centers on managing reforms, performance and values; managing public organizations and networks; and managing street-level bureaucrats, politicians and citizens. Theoretical insights are made concrete through real-life cases from public organizations around the world.

George, B. (2021) Making public organizations work. Gent: Borgerhoff & Lamberigts.


Local government is there for controlling the city. Working with advisers and strategists over the years and the experiences of city managers leads to the conclusion that – though there is one city – most of the local departments and aldermen have their own focus points and responsibilities.

This is driven by the fact that also higher governments show segmented approaches. Multi-level governance is a highly fragmented concept in daily practice. One city, 256 governments. Quite a picture.

In newly integrated approaches in strategy and policy, as related for example to city resilience, it is in the outlining of the governance something (segmentation and fragmentation) to be aware off and to submit it to redesign where possible.


The City

Consists of a group of eco-units with all growth phases present. An eco-unit related to the city can be defined as a ‘unit which started its development at the same moment and on the same surface” (After Oldeman, 1983)

The city in our approach is considered as an ecosystem consisting of a mosaic of units, like districts and neighbourhoods with organisations or groups as its living components.

Oldeman, R. (1983) The design of ecologically sound agroforests. In Huxley, P. (ed) Plant research and agroforestry, Chapter 14, ICRAF, Nairobi.

Form and Flow

Kian Goh | MIT Press

An examination of urban climate change response strategies and the resistance to them by grassroots activists and social movements.

Cities around the world are formulating plans to respond to climate change and adapt to its impact. Often, marginalized urban residents resist these plans, offering “counterplans” to protest unjust and exclusionary actions.

In this book, Kian Goh examines climate change response strategies in three cities—New York, Jakarta, and Rotterdam—and the mobilization of community groups to fight the perceived injustices and oversights of these plans. Looking through the lenses of urban design and socioecological spatial politics, Goh reveals how contested visions of the future city are produced and gain power.

Goh describes, on the one hand, a growing global network of urban environmental planning organizations intertwined with capitalist urban development, and, on the other, social movements that themselves often harness the power of networks. She explores such initiatives as Rebuild By Design in New York, the Giant Sea Wall plan in Jakarta, and Rotterdam Climate Proof, and discovers competing narratives, including community resiliency in Brooklyn and grassroots activism in the informal “kampungs” of Jakarta. Drawing on participatory fieldwork and her own background in architecture and urban design, Goh offers both theoretical explanations and practical planning and design strategies. She reframes the critical concerns of urban climate change responses, presenting a sociospatial typology of urban adaptation and considering the notion of a “just” resilience. Finally, she proposes a theoretical framework for designing equitable and just urban climate futures.