"Progressive Cities" in an Era of Resurgent Populist National Politics

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:30-12:20
RC21 Regional and Urban Development (host committee)

Language: English

A few days after the results of the “Brexit” referendum, the mayors of London and Paris published a joint statement stressing the openness to diversity and progressive nature of their cities. In the aftermath of the election of D. Trump in the USA, the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco passed a symbolic resolution reaffirming the city’s commitment to values such as the welcoming of migrants, and its status as a “sanctuary city”. In some European countries, recent local elections have brought to power new progressive coalitions (in Barcelona, Madrid, or Berlin) or social-democratic mayors (in London or Rotterdam) who have, on various occasions, distanced themselves from the political agendas of national governments, and advocated stronger forms of cooperation between “progressive cities”. What room for manoeuvre do city governments and urban actors have to enact “progressive” agendas, or take an oppositional stance, in the context of increasingly reactionary, populist, nationalist, xenophobic or anti-migrants national agendas? What tensions does this give rise to? How are “progressive” discourses at the city level translated into policy initiatives, with what outcomes and limitations? Is this phenomenon likely to contribute to territorial, electoral and socio-economic divides between metropolitan and other areas?



Claire Colomb

University College London (UK)


“Sanctuary Cities” in the USA

Walter Nicholls

University of California Irvine (USA)


“New municipalism” and the scope for social and policy innovation in Spain

Marc Pradel

University of Barcelona (Spain)

"Local politics and policies in recent Brazil: accomplishments and failures"

Eduardo Marques

University of São Paulo (Brazil)

Session Organizer:
Claire COLOMB, University College London, United Kingdom
Claire COLOMB, University College London, United Kingdom
Walter NICHOLLS, University of California, Irvine, USA, Marc PRADEL MIQUEL, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain and Eduardo MARQUES, University of São Paulo, Brazil