Theorizing Governance


This chapter presents an overview of governance theories and discusses the emergence of governance as an analytical and a normative tool. It reviews theories that conceptualize the relations between different governance actors, including debates on interactive and hybrid governance, and presents different perspectives on the spatial dimensions of governance incorporating theories of multi-scalar governance. Specifically, the chapter focuses on how these debates on governance apply to the urban level and emphasizes what a geographical perspective might add to existing governance discussions. This chapter notes a number of contemporary conceptions of the city that operate as overarching goals of urban governance, including ideas of ‘just’, ‘smart’ and ‘sustainable’ cities.


Governance Good governance Interactive governance Hybrid governance Multi scalar governance 



The authors acknowledge the comments of the reviewers Loraine Kennedy, Sue Parnell and Jochem de Vries with thanks.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  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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