Reference : Diversity of governance in European cities: towards an indicators-based analysis of g...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Human geography & demography
Law, criminology & political science : Political science, public administration & international relations
Diversity of governance in European cities: towards an indicators-based analysis of good governance?
Breuer, Christophe mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de géographie > Géographie économique >]
International Conference : Integrated with the world
14 - 18 novembre 2011
UGI - Union Géographique Internationale
Santiago de Chile
[en] urban governance ; good governance ; European cities
[en] Nowadays, the attractiveness of cities and metropolitan areas seems to be a central challenge for competitiveness, territorial cohesion and economic development on a European and regional scale (European Commission, 2009). The interest carried by actors of territorial development on large urban areas and metropolises is essentially explained by their relative weight in regional economies and their role of catalyst for sustainable development. In the absence of competitive cities, many experts estimate that territories cannot completely develop their socio-economic potential. This report is one of the bases of the strategy for city polycentric systems recommended by the development scheme of the European Community space (SDEC - European Commission, 1999), renewed in many strategic European “papers”.

This strategy rose during the last decades whereas the dynamic affecting urban areas was strongly modified by the increase in mobility through two scales. On one hand, the intra-urban scale refers to processes of exurbanisation, urban sprawl, as well as functional and institutional fragmentation. On the other hand, the interurban scale has shown phenomenons of metropolisation and an increase in exchanges between cities. Cities changes, networks and urban hierarchies which result from this dynamic, apply new tensions on urban areas - in particular the biggest of them. Theses tensions have to be answered to avoid any loss of competitiveness. In this context, the ‘good governance’ of urban areas is often presented like an essential factor for their development. It is necessary to understand through the notion of “governance” the definition from Le Galès (1995) that is “a process of coordination of actors, social groups, and institutions to achieve clear goals discussed and defined collectively in split up environments”. Thus, cities governance (but also networks of cities) acts on the whole “city system” through all its complexity. The predominant role of governance generally takes the shape of a postulate, as well in the scientific world as in the active and political discourse. Nevertheless, the relation between the governance of urban areas/ cities/ metropolises and their absolute versus relative evolution in networks is not a subject for abundant theoretical studies nor empirical validations. Considering its rasing importance within territorial development policies, it must be clarified allowing a new and quantified highlight on strategies of most important urban areas.

While general objectives of urban “good governance” are clearly identified in many documents, concrete impacts of governance on the urban development are ambiguous and unclear. In addition, the definition of “good governance” is regularly paradigm-oriented and often dedicated to the third world or emergent countries (as heritage of many international organisations politic which promotes development and trade efficiency). Furthermore, it appears that former studies on European and North-American cities are relatively factual and suggest a poor typology of the governance in urban areas. They are consequently not very useful for the development of a conceptual model that associates competitiveness of cities and urban governance.

Consequently, our research aims at considering the impacts of governance on cities and metropolises through a set of “keys to understanding” theoretically based. We lead our work to a critical analysis of literature in order to highlight expected interactions between governance and urban territories. The construction of a conceptual scheme of interactions will allow the identification of useful indicators of governance.

The identification of a set of indicators to measure governance characteristics is valuable for an objective analysis in this field of research. It should allow more precise analyses and the construction of typologies that include multi-dimensional sides of governance. We will focus our attention on European metropolises and cities systems taking into account European specificities of towns, territories and political contexts.

As described above, the study is based on reviewing the state-of-art of governance theories (transaction cost, path dependency, management efficiency, etc.) and on exploiting literature about cities competitiveness (characteristics of competitive cities, measurements...). Our conceptual development of a scheme of interactions between governance and urban territories will allow to deal with the issue of governance indicators.

Our theory will be tested through samples of European cities (> 500.000 inhabitants). Existing databases will allow the processing of many indicators at the European scale. The choice of a set of indicators will be carried out on the basis of discriminating statistical analysis and conceptual model of interaction allowing the reduction of the variables number. The critical analysis will take into account papers from European Commission and national governments about “good governance” and “cities management”.
Lepur : Centre de Recherche en Sciences de la Ville, du Territoire et du Milieu rural

File(s) associated to this reference

Fulltext file(s):

Open access
BREUER-UGI2011_Chile_END.pdfPublisher postprint948.91 kBView/Open

Bookmark and Share SFX Query

All documents in ORBi are protected by a user license.