T09P16 - Public Policies and Urban Governance in the Global South: Dealing With Policy Processes that Challenge Established Boundaries

Topic : Governance, Policy networks and Multi-level Governance

Panel Chair : HALPERN Charlotte - charlotte.halpern@sciencespo.fr

Panel Second Chair : Alvaro Artigas - alvaro.artigaspereira@sciencespo.fr

Panel Third Chair : Alza Carlos - carlos.alza@pucp.edu.pe

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Large Cities are a new phenomenon in urban history. The emergence of urbanized areas with a population over 10 millions is not only a change of absolute proportions, but it implies changes of scale as well. Most of these metropolises are located in large emerging countries; this fact certainly has particular implications in terms of their sustainable development. Their rapid emergence during the 20th century has drawn the attention of numbers of researchers, and methodological streams: studies focusing on large cities constitute an active debate and research field (Le Galès and Vitale, 2011; Lorrain 2015). To further the theoretical debate about their political and technical functioning and the evolutions they are enduring, an in-depth empirical fieldwork is needed. The aim of this panel is to use the tools of policy studies in order to grasp this urban phenomenon in the Global South.

Indeed, the governance of cities in the Global South (Miraftab and Kudva, 2016) poses important methodological challenges for policy specialists and challenges conventional wisdom, often leading to the functional stretching of analytical categories. Cities such as Lima, Mumbai, Lagos and Manilla often present -but not always- commonalities pertaining to important elements of policy making. On the one hand, we witness a hyper concentration of sectoral policies that determine much of city day-to-day functioning in very few hands, which often lead to serious implementation setbacks and lockdowns that are hard to overcome. On the other hand, policy processes are loosely articulated which leads to a segmentation and/or encroachment of decisions, but also to conflictive implementation processes that limit the possibilities for evaluation and policy learning.

This dual dynamic is very much related to the difficulty of national politics to account for the reality of cities and of national policy sectors to adequately integrate policy processes pertaining to subnational units. Confronted to the imperatives of multi-level, cross-sectoral and cross-territorial coordination, can urban problems become politicized enough as to derive into new, challenging policy-making processes? To what extent do central-local relations constrain the autonomization of the urban political agenda and political elites, which is often considered a key dimension of urban governance? Finally do we encounter commonalities in the set of actors engaged in the transformation of these cities (e.g., development banks, large urban firms, …) or in the diffusion and transfer of standardized policy solutions ? Building on this, we explore the dynamics of the policy process in the light of fundamental interrogations that have long animated the debates in policy sciences. As such, the study of decision-making remains a process of analysis through information gathering and processing but also of coordination and ultimately of conflict resolution within and between public and private actors and government actors and bureaucracies . In spite of this ambition however, intragovernmental interactions often follow a negative type of coordination whereby bandwagoning sequences of participation are the norm rather than more reactive policy-making, where forms of positive coordination would encourage learning processes and the inclusion of larger coalitions of stakeholders within this singular policy subsystem that are cities (Peters, 1998 ; Araral et al., 2013).

While patterns of interaction between governments and society in policy networks are regarded as an omnipresent phenomenon, the particular constellation of actors within large policy networks from cities in the Global South challenge our views on how policy domains get stabilized, and how specific arrangements pertaining to culture and history determine allegiances and shape the tune of conflicts. 

Call for papers

Large Cities are a new phenomenon in urban history. The emergence of urbanized areas with a population over 10 millions is not only a change of absolute proportions, but it implies changes of scale as well. Most of these metropolises are located in large emerging countries; this fact certainly has particular implications in terms of their sustainable development. Their rapid emergence during the 20th century has drawn the attention of numbers of researchers, and methodological streams: studies focusing on large cities constitute an active debate and research field (Le Galès and Vitale, 2011; Lorrain 2015). To further the theoretical debate about their political and technical functioning and the evolutions they are enduring, an in-depth empirical fieldwork is needed.

 

The aim of this panel is to use the tools of policy studies in order to grasp this urban phenomenon in the Global South. It aims at bringing together scholars currently conducting research on policy processes in cities in the Global South either in a comparative or in a monographic perspective. Proposals linking the analysis of a specific case study with theoretical and / or methodological thoughts are encouraged. Particular attention will be paid to the following themes: 

- Forms of urban governance in a context of transforming central-local relations

- An assessment of public policy change and implementation

- A comparison of diverse networks and assemblages of public and private actors that exist;

- A analysis of conflict-solving and coordination mechanisms between multiple interests

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