After completing this course the student:
has a more informed understanding of the major problems and challenges in cities and of the different perspectives on urban governance on how to deal with these problems;
is able to do comparative research on urban problems and urban governance in two comparable cities;
is able to present the findings of the research in a structured and coherent way by preparing a presentation for the group.
Cities around the world are confronted with major problems concerning economic development, sustainability, social inclusion, safety and transport. How can these problems be solved, how to find a balance between different strategies that can be chosen, and how to develop a vision of the future of the city? In this course we do not focus exclusively on local governments but study the city – i.e. the variety of private businesses, NGOs, citizens, stakeholders etc. – as a problem solving system.
Using a combination of insights from public administration, political science, and urban studies, we will discuss five perspectives on urban governance reflecting different ways to deal with the challenges that cities are facing: the managerial city, corporatist governance, pro-growth governance, welfare governance, and smart governance (including the role of ICT and network governance).
The perspectives will be used to analyze the variety of urban governance practices both in the Netherlands and around the world: the course will both have a local and a global focus. The course will introduce you to urban governance in Utrecht and other cities in the Netherlands, but also other European countries, the US, India, China, and Brazil. International students will be invited to present material concerning cities in their own countries to enrich learning about urban governance in this course.
We use different formats, including lectures about the literature and brief presentations in which you relate the literature to empirical examples in cities. In guest lectures, we will go deeper into the practical aspects of urban governance in different contexts.
In concluding presentations, you will present an analysis of urban governance in two comparable cities. The idea of these presentations is that contrasting cities helps to study mechanisms of urban governance and assess the merits and drawbacks of different approaches.
Please note that for non-USG bachelor students the course Introduction public administration and organizational science (USG5520/USG5020) or another introductional course covering the subject of public administration is recommended.