Setting the Scene: The Geographies of Urban Governance

  • Joyeeta Gupta
  • Karin Pfeffer
  • Mirjam Ros-Tonen
  • Hebe Verrest


This chapter sets the context for the discussions on the geographies of urban governance in this book. It highlights the current themes of urban governance and how the recent wave of globalization has changed the geographies of urban governance in nine ways – by shaping dominant discourses about societal organization; through changing the goals, opportunities and arenas of urban development; by making cities prominent actors in transformation processes through decentralization and economic and capitalistic production; through the shift towards fragmented cityscapes; by enhancing a network society stimulated by increased digitalization, informatization, spatialization and ubiquitous computing; through the great acceleration in resource use, ecospace pollution and causing global climate change; through rescaling, but also re-territorialization; by changing the power of cities; and by transforming the drivers of change at various spatial levels. The geographical approach unpacks place as context; space as being absolute, relative and/or relational; scale as spatial, temporal, jurisdictional and institutional; and human-environment interactions. The governance approach examines the opportunities and limits of governance beyond government within the context of changing geographies. Together they help understand the variety of socio-spatial configurations and patterns in cities. The book examines current governance patterns from the perspective of inclusive development, which is seen as including human wellbeing and protecting ecosystems. In doing so, it tries to understand how governance can contribute to the development of just and resilient cities.


Globalization Geographies of governance Urban governance Sustainable development Inclusive development 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joyeeta Gupta
    • 1
  • Karin Pfeffer
    • 1
  • Mirjam Ros-Tonen
    • 1
  • Hebe Verrest
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development StudiesAmsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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