Inclusive Governance for Urban Justice
Realising just cities means radical transformation in how cities are organised, managed and how decisions are made. We need to restructure existing relationships and processes amongst governance stakeholders but also shift power towards greater citizen engagement and meaningful participation. Such goals have been recognised by the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.
Goals 11 and 16 commit to
· developing effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels (16)
· ensuring responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels (16)
· enhancing inclusive and sustainable urbanisation and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries (11)
At the same time, UN policy frameworks have been criticised for not going far enough and more action is needed to deliver these aspirations on the ground.
We need more critique of the dynamics and issues in participation, including politics, power and culture; a focus on what works and what doesn’t work; a focus on tactics and strategies for change; the need to learn from social innovations and experiments and to understand questions of up- or outscaling to move from micro to macro level change.
Participatory Cities is a bridging project within the wider international partnership of Mistra Urban Futures, with a particular focus on adding value to locally funded projects in Greater Manchester and Gothenburg. The overarching aim is to share knowledge drawn from our platforms and projects with urban decision-makers and international policy communities about how to create more participatory cities. Work in the project will position the centre as a critical friend to decision-makers and help shape the direction of future research and practice. It will also draw together networks beyond formal decision-makers – in community groups and horizontal networks – to galvanise and support action to create more participatory cities.
This project will seek to draw on existing and new knowledge across the LIPs to identify lessons and insights about the realisation of the three SDG goals:
Q1: How can cities develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions? Our contribution will reflect on the local interaction platform as a governance innovation and space for cross-institutional working.
Q2: How can cities ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making? Our contribution will be to review existing debates, identify secondary cases and undertake interviews with senior decision-makers to understand elite perspectives on this issue.
Q3: What needs to be done to enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanisation and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management at the urban level? Our contribution will be to review lessons from existing projects in participation in spatial planning and to identify good practice methods and processes.