Governance models for sustainable urban construction logistics: barriers for collaboration

Urban construction logistics has a big impact on cities. A paper by researchers from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences looks at governance strategies for realizing more sustainable urban construction logistics. Practitioners have stressed the fragmented nature of the construction industry and the lack of collaboration in construction logistics as issues.

Barriers to collaboration

A literature review was done to identify barriers to collaboration. Based on these barriers the research objective was to determine which drivers for collaborative governance are needed to improve urban construction logistics. In the first analysis of their findings, and further explored in the workshop, they have identified several main barriers:

  1. City planning: a lack of vision. A general vision on what good construction logistics entails is absent and there is no endorsement in policies.
  2. Area planning: a lack of coordination, as there is no insight in the construction flows per area and the limited requirements for construction logistics within the land agreement.
  3. Tender phase: a lack of incentives for the supply chain partners to optimize construction logistics, as the tendering client often does not set specific requirements for construction logistics.
  4. Production phase: a lack of awareness on the benefits and the required redistribution of costs of logistics solutions.


Collaborative governance model

The collaborative governance model is applied as a strategy to overcome the barriers in collaboration and governance identified. Key findings are both formal and informal barriers hinder the governance of construction logistics. To provide an answer on the main question ‘how can governance strategies be improved to better cope with the current barriers in collaboration for innovation in construction logistics?’ the researchers reflect on the four drivers as described in the collaborative governance model. According to the collaborative governance model, one or more of the drivers are necessary for a collaboration to start.

Leadership. The lack of direction and sense of urgency results in the absence of a ‘leader’. Leadership can be a leading authority or instrument that guides public and private actors in executing innovation in construction logistics. Due to the multiplicity of internal and external actors and construction projects, there is a need for a leading authority or instrument to whom these actors can refer to when innovative solutions are created. Local authorities can authorize an independent authority to facilitate the collaboration process.

Consequential incentives refer to either internal (problems, resource needs, interests or opportunities) or external (situational or institutional crises, threats or opportunities) drivers for collaborative action. Such incentives are consequential in that the presenting issues are salient to participants, the timing or pressure for solutions is ripe and the absence of attention to the incentives may have negative impacts. These incentives are there but have not yet been acknowledged by all actors involved.

Interdependence between public and private actors – but mostly the acknowledgment of – is crucial for collaboration. This interdependence results in a collaboration between departments within the multiplicity of public actors, private actors, and between public and private actors. Although the interdependence is high, it is not always acknowledged as such. Instruments are frequently non-participatory and are focused on managing the specific phase of the project on department goals (time, costs, and risks). A holistic view, from city planning to the construction site, is a necessity.

Uncertainty about the problem and its possible solutions. Knowing that one party cannot solve the problem on its own drives, different actors, to work together. One of the identified barriers in governance shows the need for different actors to start sharing knowledge and data between public and private actors. A collaboration ethic of sharing data regarding costs, benefits, and risks of innovative solutions is needed to create innovative solutions. Constructive communication between public and private actors, public authority, and private actors within the supply chain is a necessity.

Source: Morel, M., Balm, S., Berden, M., & van Amstel, W. P. (2020). Governance models for sustainable urban construction logistics: barriers for collaboration. Transportation Research Procedia, 46, 173-180.



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