Municipal services—such as water, energy, and waste management—play a significant role in shaping the sustainability of cities. In many places, these services are also fully or partially delivered by the private sector, but we are only beginning to understand the implications this has for the politics and administration of urban sustainability initiatives. In this paper, we use the case of organics waste recycling in the Twin Cities, Minnesota to identify and discuss three ways private sector engagement can shift the political and administrative landscapes of municipal service delivery: through the presence and form of accountability mechanisms, norms and conditions for entrepreneurship, and the feasibility and appropriateness of traditional policy tools for achieving urban sustainability transformations. The analysis highlights the need to better understand best practices available to local governments for pursuing urban sustainability in the context of privatization, the importance of public sector capacity, and the potential for corporate social responsibility in municipal service delivery.
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