How should we understand the role of hybrid organisations in urban heritage governance? What explains their particular hybrid forms? Those questions were addressed by studying two Malaysian hybrids: George Town World Heritage Incorporated and Think City. They are in charge of urban
renewal and heritage preservation in Malaysia’s Penang State. Interviews and participant observation revealed how different types of embeddedness influence the internal and external dynamics underpinning the organisations’ effectiveness. They are shaped by local historical and
institutional conditions and staffed by individuals recruited through networks spanning different scales in society and government. The hybrid organisations’ networks involve collaborations with local and national governments, with other state-linked institutions, with international
organisations, and with civil society. The hybrid organisations have arguably provided more dynamic protection of George Town’s heritage, but the gains have yet to be evenly distributed among the local community. The findings also suggest that hybrids in developing economies are less
a product of austerity and more a reflection of local political, geographical, and social contingencies.