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Within a housing estate, neighbourhood public open spaces (NPOS) are typically governed and managed under the state property regime. However, issues of NPOS overexploitation, mismanagement, and underinvestment persist, which consequently compromise community neighbourhood sustainability. Underpinned by LinOstrom’s self-organising-and-governing collective action as a third alternative to addressing the neighbourhood commons issues, this paper examines the applicability and feasibility of the modified Ostrom’s eight design principles (DPs) to the institutional- social-physical system of local public open spaces (POS) and showcases how the current local state-owned common-pool-resource (CPR) can potentially be shifted to a polycentric common property club good NPOS. The Residential Country Lease (CL) NPOS and Native Title (NT) NPOS of two districts, namely Kota Kinabalu and Penampang in Sabah, Malaysia, were emphasised. We validated and assessed the local institutional- social-NPOS performance, using a systematic coding system that expresses the extent of absence and presence of DPs. The modified DPs are valid in curbing the existing local NPOS dilemmas as the former may minimise the enforcement cost and perverse incentives (opportunism) of the social-NPOS system, and they are likely to be feasibly adapted into the local NPOS system since the spatial and institutional attributes of some NPOS (especially CL NPOS) highly resemble and adhere to the modified DPs.
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