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Current Information

Urban Resilience & Planning

Urban Resilience: A Trilateral Start

Summary Post  by Robin Chang

From February 16th to 18th, colleagues from the Department of Urban Design and Land Use Planning convened a network symposium on Water Resilient Urban and Regional Development in New York. This event provided opportunities to present applied research projects from around the world and build relations for curriculum, practice, and research. I had the generous opportunity to attend with Nadine Maegdefrau from the Institute of Spatial Planning as collaborators.

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Planning and Governing the Metropolis

International Working Group of ARL starts in December

Different processes of rescaling (up, down, trans-scaling) in the EU countries have multi-faceted impact to the metropolitan governance and planning institutions. There is a variety of institutional forms, planning practices and episodes manifested and experimented recently in the metropolitan regions of Europe, but there is a gap of knowledge about these structures and processes – both in academia and practice (policy makers, planers, politicians).

Despite a diversity of books produced in the last few years on metropolitan governance issues presenting collections of case studies, there is no systematic comparison of factors that influence the institutional form of metropolitan governance, the success factors and the performance of metropolitan governance and especially the role of metropolitan planning.

Nowadays, a distinct set of problems and challenges for the metropolitan planning emerge. Included in these emerging hurdles are: non-regulated competition among municipalities to attract new investments, new fragmentations and contradictions under fiscal and economic crisis, unprecedented external episodes, new environmental and demographic problems, uncontrolled migration and refugees flows, increased inequalities, social and territorial segregation, and new poverty in the cities. All these challenges reformulate new requirements for planners and their planning agendas at different scales.

In the past, academics and planning practitioners gave priorities to the issues of entrepreneurship, competition, performance of metropolitan institutions, “market”-led planning, while they undermined the issues of redistribution, local democracy, social justice, and environmental challenges (green infrastructure). Consequently, open questions as to how and whether these new challenges and problems should be addressed by metropolitan planning practices and institutions remain. A critical appraisal is required which will not only focus on criteria of performance, innovation and efficiency, but also on criteria of democracy, transparency, social justice and social cohesion.

Aims and research questions of the International Working Group

  1. Institutions

How can we explain the variety of forms of metropolitan institutions among the EU countries (or even in the same country) and how to interpret their transformations across time? What are the reasons for change, from consolidated forms to abolishment of metropolitan institutions and then again to resurgence of new forms, e.g. London, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Manchester etc.?

How do metropolitan planning institutions deal with the new challenges and problems?

  1. Actors

How important are actor constellations in the rescaling processes? Do they influence transformations and/or continuities of metropolitan governance and planning?

How are actor’s strategies at different scales reconstructing? How are horizontal and vertical power relations transforming? E. g. between national spatial strategies for metropolitan regions and local actor strategies in the metropolitan areas (juxtaposed or negotiated).

  1. Practices/Discourses/ Cultures

How important is the local context? How important are beliefs, concepts/ideas, frames, narratives and knowledge for the public discourse and the metropolitan governance and planning practices?

How is a prevailing/ hegemonic narrative constructed from different and juxtaposed planning practices in metropolitan areas?

Neuerscheinung zu europäischer Kohäsionspolitik – New book European Cohesion Policy 2

Neuerscheinung zu europäischer Kohäsionspolitik – New Publication: European Cohesion Policy


Editied by Simona Piattoni, Professor of Political Science, Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento, Italy and Laura Polverari, Senior Research Fellow, European Policies Research Centre, University of Strathclyde, UK

This Handbook covers all major aspects of EU Cohesion policy, one of the most significant areas of intervention of the European Union. Over five parts, It discusses this policy’s history and governing principles; the theoretical approaches from which it can be assessed; the inter-institutional and multi-level dynamics that it tends to elicit; its practical implementation and impact on EU member states; its interactions with other EU policies and strategies; and the cognitive maps and narratives with which it can be associated. An absolute must for all students of the EU.

The German Research Association (DFG) finances a research project on metropolitan regions in Europe.

Logo: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) - zur Startseite

The German Research Association (DFG) finances a research project on metropolitan regions in Europe.

The function of metropolitan regions is currently re-defined in many European states due to changes in the welfare states and ever increasing global competition. In some states such as France and Italy, but also Germany we observe the emergence of scale specific governance arrangements and planning policies. The developments in the mentioned states illustrate different pathways: in Germany bottom-up, slowly and therefore contingent upon regional contexts, in France and Italy more top down with strong incentives given by central government.  Regional planning is given different emphasis. The objective of the proposed research is the description and subsequent analysis of the development paths in national spatial development policies with regard to the concept of metropolitan regions in the three states. The proposed research project seeks to find out if we can observe divergent or convergent developments. Empirically the comparison is organized around four dimensions: institutional aspects, functional aspects (competition, welfare policies), ideas (reasons and arguments) and spatial aspects. This differentiated approach allows for a more nuanced description of convergent or divergent developments. The empirical approach follows a multilevel-comparison. We compare two regions within each state and three states and six regions in total. In consequence we can distinguish national from local/regional influences.

Start: autumn 2016, duration 3 years