Reappraising Governance and Urban Development: Habitat III & the New Urban Agenda
The recently adopted New Urban Agenda (Habitat III, Quito, October 2016) lays out the international vision on development challenges and required changes for the next 20 years. In an attempt to connect to the Sustainable Development Goals, the document brings two conflicting concepts forward. The expressively charitable goal of “leaving no one behind” is aimed at government consent, functional integration of the urban poor, and "enable" markets. And, on the other hand, the rather opposing concept of “the right to the city” is meant to empower all citizens to ensure access to land, services, and social participation. The “right to the city” proposes a spatial justice approach and can be understood as a conceptual answer for the need to transcend conventional citizen enfranchisement. The co-existence of both concepts in the same agenda reveals not only coordination problems of international agreements but also indicates the deep crisis of urban governance and development.
The question that remains unaddressed is how to actually translate the broadly idealistic NUA into the Realpolitik of national agendas. This session aims at reasserting a theoretical and methodological agenda into the complexities and dynamics that urban development and governance faces within different political, institutional, regulatory, and geographic contexts. Proposed papers should place case studies (ranging from neighbourhoods to nation states and beyond) in relation to the “right to the city”, the concept of “spatial justice”, or addressing the tension with the idea of "leaving no one behind" for urban development and governance.