Keywords:neighbourhood associations, urban governance, collaboration, post-socialist city, Estonia
Throughout the 21st century a clear shift from hierarchical government towards network-like governance is evident in Europe and countries of the former Soviet Union. A door has been opened for citizens to assert their social and political citizenship and for the public sector to systematically search for novel ways to improve and expand representative practices. Estonia may be considered a post-socialist ‘market-experiment’, as almost no urban land belongs to the public sector. Thus, all decisions related to urban spatial changes are strongly influenced by private interests. The situation of ad-hoc planning, which intensified during the real-estate boom of the mid-2000s, evoked the mushrooming of civil activism, mostly in the form of neighbourhood associations. Current research investigates the roles and efficiency of neighbourhood associations in the collaborative urban governance of Tallinn. The study shows that neighbourhood associations help to reinforce people’s social and political citizenship; however, there are still insufficiencies regarding their ability to represent different interests in Tallinn and in their own neighbourhood. We also discovered that Tallinn, as a post-socialist city, is currently in an experimental phase of learning how to efficiently gain from collaborative networks in the urban governance processes.