Collaborative partnerships – featuring intergovernmental and/or public-private sector cooperation – have been identified a leading organisational expression of the ‘new urban governance’. The paper examines the Vancouver Agreement – an urban development compact between the governments of Canada, British Columbia and the City of Vancouver. Signed in March 2000 for a five-year term, and renewed in April 2005, the Vancouver Agreement has been widely acclaimed as an example of successful collaborative working addressed to the revitalisation of the city’s Downtown Eastside. The origins of the agreement are explained in the context of an urban crisis ascribed to the Downtown Eastside, where established policies were seen to be failing. High-level political support for a new governance approach led to the adoption of an urban development partnership, and the article sets out its structure and strategic programmes of action. Benchmarked against conditions for effective intergovernmental working posited in the academic literature, the paper then analyses five procedural attributes of the partnership – resource sharing, leadership, community involvement, mutual learning and horizontal accountability. Concluding observations are offered on whether any general lessons can be inferred from the Vancouver Agreement experience
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