Suburban Governance in an Era of Globalizing Urbanization

untitled (6)This workshop, organized by Professor Pierre Hamel at the Université de Montréal, took place over two days, October 26 and 27, 2015.

It was hosted at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Université de Montréal and brought together international scholars with expertise in urbanism and suburban governance in different parts of the world, and doctoral candidates engaged in joint research with them. Researchers in the suburban governance subproject of the MCRI Global Suburbanism as well as faculty members and students from Montreal universities also participated.

A paper with the title “Institutional Forms, Political Outcomes and Democratic Challenges of Suburban Governance in an Era of Global Urbanism”, distributed by Hamel presented an overview of recent debates about how to meet the new challenges suburbs are facing in a globalizing world considering that the traditional dichotomy between the city and the suburb is clearly behind us whilst urban democracy is being defined in new terms. While urban studies researchers share a large consensus about an inevitable transition in the management of cities from government to governance within a globalizing context where the role of the state has been redefined, numerous disagreements prevail regarding the meaning of the notion. If some insist on the role played by private economic actors in managing public resources, others focus on the openness towards participation and deliberation – governance becoming in that perspective a “distinctively normative model” – while some others prefer an analytical approach emphasizing the role played by norms, culture and institutions in circumscribing the cooperation between public and private actors. Finally, collective work in an volume on Suburban Governance edited by Hamel and Keil on the governance of suburbanization highlighted three modalities (the state, capital accumulation, and private authoritarian government) in the governance of suburbanization in several parts of the world.

Participants of the Montreal workshop presented case studies based on exploratory interviews in various regions across the world: Bangalore, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Miami, Montreal, Shanghai, and Toronto. These presentations brought out common concerns about the main issues of suburban governance. The papers led to intensive discussions on the conceptual and empirical aspects of each paper. The contributions will be the basis for chapters in an edited book for the University of Toronto Press’s Global Suburbanisms series.

Click here for a copy of the workshop program.