New Urban Governance

Urban complexity and institutional capacities of cities

The New Urban Governance project, co-funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, examined multiple aspects of municipal planning, management, and governance.

‘New Urban Governance: Urban complexity and institutional capacities of cities’ was a two-year LSE Cities research and engagement project co-funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to examine multiple aspects of municipal planning, management, and governance.

Cities increasingly rely on advanced institutional capacities, democratic governance and effective management to address ever more complex and interrelated economic, social and environmental challenges, while tapping into the potential benefits of new technological opportunities.

The project was split into four components: LSE Cities’ research, invited papers, a foresight seminar series (hosted in London, Berlin, New York and Madrid) and outreach activities.

The massive attention directed towards cities is undeniable. But are cities well-equipped and able to lead world transformations like championing resilience and sustainable development? The gap between expectations and available resources and autonomy extends beyond financial matters. Institutional capacity to coordinate efforts may also be lacking. This is not particular to the developed, developing or industrialising world, affecting cities in the Global North and South. To critically address whether cities have the necessary capacity or whether new governance arrangements might be required, we have assigned themed research papers to academics based across the world.

The practice of urban governance is very much on the agenda of both theorists and practitioners. However, the high level of interest in the topic is mostly not matched by empirical research. The Urban Governance Survey by LSE Cities in partnership with UN Habitat and UCLG attempts to address a general lack of empirical research into urban governance. Also, as part of LSE Cities’ research, networks of governance have been mapped and analysed. Underlying urban governance patterns have been formalised by applying social network analysis methods to the data gathered through structured interviews in London and New York City.

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Governing Urban Futures - Data

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