Urban Governance Research Group
Contemporary processes of urban governance are increasingly challenged by the rise of global finance and the explosion of municipal debt, by problems of environmental sustainability and by shifts in the geographical center of world-economic growth and political power. Previously lauded models for urban success – through urban entrepreneurialism, state-led redevelopment projects, public-private partnerships, and nested organization of government levels (local, regional, national) – are confronted by the crisis of welfare states and the rise of a politics of austerity. New forms of uneven spatial development are emerging within and between urban centers.
Under these conditions, the gleaming new mega-cities in China, India, or throughout the Arabian Gulf and the long-lived luminaries of global capitalism in Europe and North America, such as London or even New York, have become spectacles of a continuous urban crisis. Confronted from above, by the financial crisis and the repeated ‘booms and busts’ of global capital, and from below, by increasing inequality and the fracturing of older political, economic and social ties, cities seem to lurch between failures of governance and losses of legitimacy. Even the provision of basic services has become an acute problem, as can be seen from such divergent experiences as the exodus from and destitution of Detroit to the agglomeration of slums in Lagos. The micro (local) urban form has become more subjected than ever to acute macro (global) problems.
These challenges raise questions about what it means to govern urban areas. Specifically, how does governance extend across or within metropolitan regions, and what role do urban dwellers play in building and rebuilding urban space in the twenty-first century? The Global Urban Governance Research Working Group addresses these questions through the empirical study of contemporary forms of urban governance, especially the interaction between government organizations, private investment, civil society, and individual citizens. Ultimately this will involve a conceptual rethinking of the dominant strategies of urban development, providing a basis for better understanding of urbanization and urban development in the new century.
For more information, contact Dr. Daniel Pasciuti [firstname.lastname@example.org]