Metropolitan governance issues

Read in of 29 April 2016:

foto: Lex Banning

This week, some ninety students Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam will finalize their course on Cities in Transition by passing their exams. Six weeks long they have studied urban transitions in Moscow, Istanbul, Seoul, Toronto, and Amsterdam, all related to globalisation ànd regionalisation. They read papers of Allen Scott, Saskia Sassen, Peter Hall, Engin Isin, Michael Porter, Thomas Courchene, Ian Buruma, and John Friedmann. They discovered that many cities outperform countries. Last week lecture and workshops were on governance issues. How can the global city-regions of the future be governed and how will metropolitan planning look like if city-regions will be connected in global urban networks? We discussed this issue in the temporary People’s Industry Palace (Volksvlijt 2056) in the Public Library of Amsterdam. Wonder if they also read Kemal Dervis and Bruce Katz. In their article on the website of the Brookings Institution, the two – Dervis the vice-president and director of Global Economy and Development, Katz the cross-disciplinary Centennial Scholar at the Brookings Institution –, claim that governing cities will be the central challenge facing nearly all countries over the next century.

Dervis and Katz think a fundamentally stronger understanding of how governance relationships are structured and function is necessary. “This is critical at a time when inequality among cities – even within the same country – is growing at a rate just as worrying as inequality within a particular urban economy.” Brookings Institution will start a research on how urban and metropolitan governance nowadays works in a comparative context. “We will try to learn from those that have been most successfull and understand the underlying reasons for success as well as the remaining challenges.” My students know this, they have prepared themselves. End of the week they can reflect on how the key powers and responsibilities are distributed in different nations and cities among different levels of government and how difficult it is for city governments to deal with fiscal constraints and debt burdens. Their comparative research on governance issues in five global cities ended in Volksvlijt 2056, Amsterdam. The exhibition annex program illustrates how thousands of citizens can get involved in these governing issues and help generate a kind of collective intelligence on a regional scale, only in twelve weeks time.






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