De-privatisation and remunicipalisation of urban services through the pendulum swing: Evidence from Germany

Gabriel Weber, Gunnar Frahm, Ignazio Cabras

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Abstract

This paper explores and examines the distribution of environmental conflicts in Germany between 1985 and 2015, analysing the main causes for environmental conflicts related to privatisation and de-privatisation processes of urban services in 80 German cities. Using information collected via means of a Delphi Method based on focus groups with experts, we identify 90 cases of large-scale privatisation initiatives involving urban services occurred in different fields within the period considered. In 38 cases, privatisation was reversed due to initiatives undertaken by environmental justice organisations and other local grassroots groups promoting de-privatisation and re-municipalisation. In another 30 cases, privatisation was prevented as a result of these initiatives. Findings from our analysis indicate that de-privatisation initiatives and potential conflicts related to them are frequently driven by grassroots organisations promoting the provision of commons-based urban services. Our findings also suggest that privatising services in the energy, water supply and waste management sectors is likely to negatively affect the quality of service supply and increasing prices for urban residents.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117555
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume236
Early online date4 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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