The governance of cities has recently seen a considerable increase in attention. But what makes the territory of a city so special? Why, besides historic legacy, should we equip the city with particular powers? And how can this be a discussion we need to have now? A global urban age with ever increasing populations and economic activity based in cities is one obvious answer for this. But it is also the pragmatic and hands-on way in which cities 'get things done' that has made them an attractive arena in politics. They also often lobby their national governments, create spaces for policy experimentation and establish global networks to, for example, more effectively tackle climate change, address social inequality and improve livelihoods for millions of disadvantaged urban dwellers. Not surprisingly, cities and city governance have also been centrally considered as part of the latest global policy efforts and are firmly embedded in the United Nation's New Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the follow-up on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
This is the context within which this lecture on the Frontiers of City Governance combines new insights from individual cities, comparative perspectives across different urban governance regimes, and global agendas aiming to further strengthen city-perspectives in governance. Whether it is managing the relationship between urban planning and transport policy or local economic development and climate action, urban governance implies dealing with considerable complexities which require both institutional stability and change.
Philipp Rode is Executive Director of LSE Cities and Associate Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is co-director of the LSE Executive MSc in Cities and co-convenes the LSE Sociology Course on ‘City Making: The Politics of Urban Form’. As researcher, consultant and advisor he has been directing interdisciplinary projects comprising urban governance, transport, city planning and urban design at the LSE since 2003.
The focus of his current work is on institutional structures and governance capacities of cities and on sustainable urban development, transport and mobility. He is co-directing the cities workstream of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and has co-led the United Nations Habitat III Policy Unit on Urban Governance. He has previously led the coordination of the chapters on Green Cities and Green Buildings for the United Nations Environment Programme’s Green Economy Report.