Urban Governance Theories

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The current literature of urban governance is dominated by political, social and economic perspectives (Razaghi 2013, Finger, 2012). Theories related to urban political economy (Peterson 1981; Hill 1984; Vogel 1992), urban democratic theory (Hill 1974, 1994), the role of civil and patterns of political and social cleavages are mostly derived from the study of American cities. They do not conceptualize or explain aspects of urban politics in other parts of the world (see, e.g., DiGaetano and Klemanski 1993b, 57-58; DiGaetano and Lawless 1999, 547; Harding 1994, 1995). Over the past several years, theories of urban governance have been rethinking urban public policy (Dowding 1996; Goldsmith 1997; Le gale’s 1997; Stoker 1998, cited by Pierre…show more content…
The institutional dimension of urban politics is conceptualized in a similar way to institutional (or new-institutional) theory (March and Olsen 1984, 1989, 1995; Peters 1996a). Institution refers to overarching systems of values, traditions, norms, and practices that shape or constrain political behavior. Institutionalists distinguish between institutions and organizations (North 1990; Scott 1995). Institutions have organizational logics (Clarke 1995); for instance, cities in more market-oriented economic systems. The relationship between institutions and organizations is dynamic. Nevertheless, one cannot always expect harmony between systems of values and norms, on one hand, and the organizational system of government, on the other (Pierre and Park 1997). At the level of the nation-state, institutions of urban governance are constrained by constitutional arrangements and a variety of legal definitions of the responsibilities of public organizations. As a result, organizations are instruments for democratic accountability, for instilling political authority into the governing process, and for linking the urban political process to higher echelons of government. To what extent do organizational arrangement shape urban politics and…show more content…
Public-private interaction is seen as necessary to manage the task of governing (Pierre 1999:377). The problems in urban governance are explained by differences in priorities, objectives, and strategies between different segments of the local state, or what Pierce (1993:39) called “governance gaps” caused by organizational insufficiency and a lack of inter organizational coordination (see Warren, Rosentraub, and Wechler 1992 cited by Pierre 1999:390). Institutional theory enables one to separate analytically the normative and organizational dimensions of local government. In traditional accounts of local government, organizational arrangements of the local state are seen as derived from fundamental norms of local democracy (see, e.g., Norton 1994, cited by Pierre 1999:390). Urban governance, according to this view reflects economic, social, political and historical factors and establishes mutual relations between the state, local authority and local civil

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