WIT Press

Successful Fast-track Cooperation Towards Environmental Action: Three Coproduction Cases In Mexico City


Free (open access)





Page Range

673 - 684




339 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. Montelongo, R. P. M. Wittek


Local organizations can play a decisive role in implementing environmentally friendly collective practices in urban communities. Many initiatives fail, however. One possible way to reduce the number of failures is to develop understanding of cooperation processes to answer the question of why some coproduction initiatives involving relationships between local actors and external organizations are successful. We argue that answering this question requires a closer look at the sequence in which co-productive actions unfold. According to the behavioural assumptions underlying Ostrom’s influential work on collective action, successful cooperation follows a pattern of bottom-up self-organization: in settings where interdependent stakeholders have the opportunity to communicate, reciprocal exchanges will eventually foster the development of trust, reciprocity, and reputation, which in turn provide the foundation for collective action. The present investigation examines to what degree this hypothetical sequence also holds for collective action among members in urban communities and what is the consequence for sustainability related coproduction processes. For that purpose, we draw on a multi-method comparative case study of the successful implementation of Water Collector Systems in three low-income neighborhoods in Mexico City in 2014. The findings suggest that rather than emerging spontaneously, community leaders, external stakeholders and past successful experiences with cooperation play a critical role in fostering present and future collective action. Moreover, there is no conclusive evidence that durable patterns of trust, reciprocity, and reputation emerged among community members at any stage of the process.


coproduction, leadership, collective action, cooperation, case study