Co-creating Sustainability Performance Accounts in Cities via Tinkering and Bricolage

Justyna Bekier*, Cristiana Parisi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Existing performance assessment frameworks, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), struggle to incorporate diverse voices and representations of heterogeneous contexts. Cities, in particular, present a challenging context for sustainability performance assessment as they pursue new forms of governance based on the multiplicity of actors and inter-organisational collaboration. This study explores how sustainability performance accounts are created at the urban level within collaborative forms of governance and amidst the plethora of available devices for performance assessment.

This study adopts a case study approach. Qualitative methods are mobilised to study a large European project focused on the urban transition to a circular economy in six participating cities. The construction of sustainability performance accounts is studied via the Actor-Network Theory lens.

The study highlights that when it comes to sustainability assessment in city initiatives, existing performance assessment devices are adapted and modified to fit local needs and other sources of performance information are spontaneously mobilised to address the different dimensions of sustainability.

This study contributes to the public sector accounting literature by explaining the process of modifying existing devices for performance assessment to allow for the co-creation of accounts and by illuminating the spontaneous way in which performance information is generated and combined.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 25 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 25 December 2023


  • Public sector accounting
  • Sustainability accounting
  • Performance assessment
  • Circular economy
  • Cities
  • Actor-network theory

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