Urban Governance

The scope of this Working Group is to explore urban governance and insecurity implications of increasing polarization in urban livelihoods. A particular aim is to analyse conceptual, theoretical, and policy related challenges multi-stakeholder approaches and arrangements for dealing with issues of livelihood insecurity, inequality and resource conflict. The Working Group wants to deal with one or more of the following sub-topics:

  • Insecure economic assets: Differential and insecure access to income and economic assets that increase inequality across social groups and geographic location. Issues of livelihoods, inequality and poverty - status, trends, and risks of conflict - and challenges for conflict management and governance (e.g. through joint private, public, and civic action or partnerships).
  • Insecure habitat and tenure: Inadequate housing, insecure tenure, and lack of habitat infrastructure and services related to, for example low quality and overcrowded housing, limited public services, poor quality water, sanitation, refuse collection, and weak communication systems - which increase health burdens, undermine working conditions, erode living conditions and create high-density neighbourhoods with high risks related to social conflicts, crime, violence and personal insecurity. Policy and governance implications.
  • Insecure urban environment: Inadequate access to a good quality environment which undermine health and social standards and increases the risks of environmental hazards and resource conflicts. Governing urban environments in unequal societies.
  • Insecure social capital and networks: Weak or limited social and/or family networks and safety nets to acquire assets and ownership and ensure basic consumption needs in the face of income deficiency or habitat deterioration. Local institutional or civil society engagement in support of community action to improve work- or habitat-related conditions. The role of local business in neighbourhood renewal. Processes of social inclusion and exclusion in relation to access to social networks, social security, education, training, credit, jobs, secure tenure and housing.

Urbanisation, urban inequalities and urban transformation, and the development of new forms of urban governance to address these phenomena, will be important political and intellectual challenges in years to come. The new Sustainable Development Goal on sustainable cities and communities (SDG11) includes a renewed focus on urban governance in achieving its targets.

What are the core topics?

Urban inequality, hybrid governance; urban knowledge production; public service provision.

What are our aims? What do we want to achieve as a Working Group?

We want to contribute to the production and dissemination of new knowledge on urban transformation and forms of urban governance in the global South; and to encourage comparative and relational approaches to urban studies, that contrast and connect analyses of urban processes in both the global North and South.