Track 4. Governing Cities - Cities and Democracy

Dr. Paula Russell, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin

Professor Jill Simone Gross, Hunter College, City University of New York

Dr. Cristina Stãnus, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu

Crises (economic, environmental, political and social) are generating complex multi-scalar challenges for cities, resulting in the emergence of different approaches to urban governance. Supranational, regional, national and local networks of power are redefining the field of urban politics and policy. Entrenchment and centralization, a post political environment, the rise and fall of grassroots democracy movements, populism, the emergence of co-decision making systems, sharing economies, sanctuary movements, transnationalism and participative planning can all be mentioned in this respect. This track calls for papers exploring the democratic challenges of governing and governance in the 21st century city.

Are we witnessing new efforts to enhance urban autonomy? Or are nation states clamping down on “renegade” cities? Do cities provide spaces for democracy in hostile geopolitical environments or are they complicit in efforts to shut out divergent voices? Are cities jumping scale, forging new types of partnership at the supra-national level? What is the state of play for cities regionally? At what level should cities be governed? Can we expect smart tools currently being deployed in cities around the world to support or subvert democratic processes, to enhance or undermine our ability to govern? More broadly, what is the current shape of urban democracy? And, how can we develop local, national and regional policies that support cities amidst this complexity?

Session/panel and paper proposals on these and other questions related to the topic of the track are welcomed.