This paper focuses on the opening of a new Italian season of local development and urban planning in recent years. Many questions are raised by the strong emphasis on governance. A governance approach is overcoming the traditional government approach to urban policies, at two levels of innovation: -the impact brought about by Europe’s key principles on technical and administrative culture of local authorities, through new forms of cooperation, collaboration and negotiation between the various sectors and levels of public administration;
-specific practices generated by European urban programmes, with the promotion of thematic networks that have increased the number of individual and collective actors involved in urban policies, and have strengthened their capabilities of self-organisation. In this perspective, the paper aims to clarify some problems generated by the governance approach through the analysis of theoretical and practical implications about coordination activity, learning processes, a better understanding of problems, the capability of defining proposals developed in a wide range and the maximisation strategy coherence.