In order to continuously improve the quality of life for people in our cities and regional communities, government officials and administrators must make decisions on every aspect of local life; from taxes and fines to municipal parks. The study of governance is all about who makes those decisions and how they are made. In this focus area, we study the systems, institutional structures, actors and processes involved in defining and implementing collective action at the city and regional level. We thus examine the relationships between government, businesses and citizens that help to define the needs of the community, the decision-making process that seeks to address those needs and its subsequent execution. Our work includes research and projects on multi-level governance, decentralization, and public sector reform.