The Globalisation of Urban Governance: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Globalisation of Urban Governance

1st Edition

Edited by Helmut Philipp Aust, Anél du Plessis


280 pages

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pub: 2018-12-11
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The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN General Assembly in 2015 represents the latest attempt by the international community to live up to the challenges of a planet that is out of control. Sustainable Development Goal 11 envisages inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities around the world by the year 2030. This globally agreed vision is part of a trend in international policy toward good urban governance, and now awaits implementation. Fourteen original contributions collectively examine how this global vision has been developed on a conceptual level, how it plays out in various areas of (global) urban governance and how it is implemented in varying local contexts. The overarching hypothesis presented herein is that SDG 11 proves that local governance is recognised as an autonomous yet interrelated part of the global pursuit of sustainable development. The volume analyses three core questions: How have the normative ideals set forth in SDG 11 been developed? What are the meanings of the four sub-goals of SDG 11 and how do these relate to each other? What does SDG 11 imply for urban law and governance in the domestic context and how are local processes of urban governance internationalised?

The Globalisation of Urban Governance makes an important scholarly contribution by linking the narrative on globalisation of good urban governance in various social sciences with legal discourse. It considers global governance and connects the existing debate about cities and their place in global governance with some of the most pertinent questions that lawyers face today.


'The Globalisation of Urban Governance is a must-read primer for any researcher interested in the role of cities in addressing global sustainable development goals. Through a diversity of case studies and theoretical perspectives, the editors offer a valuable guide to navigating the challenges and opportunities for the governance of safe and sustainable urban spaces. A virtuoso effort led by two of the world's leading scholars in this field of environmental governance.'

Prof. Benjamin J. Richardson, University of Tasmania

'How to govern our globe’s cities well? That is, how to live up to the sustainable development ideals of SDG 11? This is one of the most pertinent questions of our time. The Globalisation of Urban Governance is an excellent volume that advances the emerging field of research on urban governance at the intersections of global governance, (international) law, political science and urban studies. Aust and du Plessis have put together a wonderful collection of clear and engaging chapters, which deal with various aspects of the globalisation of good governance of cities from a legal perspective. A highly innovative book relevant to both the scholarly and policy discourse on the meaning of SDG11.'

Janne E. Nijman, Academic Director of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague and Professor of History and Theory of International Law, University of Amsterdam

‘Cities around the world have started to use whatever powers they have to achieve inclusiveness, safety, resilience and sustainability for their residents, not because they were empowered to do so by states, but simply because they experience the impact of poverty, discrimination, insecurity, pollution and climate change on a daily basis. This important new book, edited by world leading experts on the topic Aust and du Plessis, shows how cities thus have become essential global actors for the achievement of sustainable development, and what are the implications for urban governance.’

Jonathan Verschuuren, Professor of International and European Environmental Law, Tilburg University

Table of Contents

Part 1

1. Introduction: The Globalization of Urban Governance – Legal Perspectives on Sustainable Development Goal 11

[Helmut Philipp Aust And Anél Du Plessis]

2. Including Cities in the 2030 Agenda – A Review of The Post-2015 Process "Cities Are Where the Battle for Sustainable Development Will Be Won or Lost."

[Noora Arajärvi]

3. International Institutions and The City: Towards A Comparative Law of Local Governance

[Michael Riegner]

4. City Limits: Sustainable Urban Governance in Planetary Infrastructural Regimes

[Boris Vormann]

Part 2

5. Funding and Good Financial Governance as Imperatives for Cities’ Pursuit of SDG 11

[Oliver Fuo]

6. War And Peace In The City

[Cindy Wittke]

7. Ensuring Access to Public Space As A Dimension Of "Safe Cities": The Role Of UN Entities In Shaping The Global Urban Governance Agenda

[Hannah Birkenkötter]

8. The Challenges of Cultural Diversity for Safe and Sustainable Cities

[Francois Venter]

Part 3

9. Global Goals and Urban Development: The Territorial Effects of Implementing the MDGs In Brazil

[M. Cecilia Oliveira]

10. City Regions in Pursuit of SDG 11: Institutionalising Multilevel Cooperation in Gauteng, South Africa

[Jaap De Visser]

11. The Pursuit of SDG 11 Through the Lens of Integrated Development Planning

[Angela van der Berg]

12. Governance in The Smart City: Sketches of A Research Programme in Legal Theory

[Peter Gailhofer]

13. The Tensions Between Local Resilience-Building and Transnational Action; US-Mexican Cooperation in Crime Affected Communities In Northern Mexico, And What This Tells About Global Urban Governance

[Alejandro Rodiles]

14. Conclusion: Summary of Observations And Pointers For Future Research

[Anél Du Plessis And Helmut Philipp Aust]

About the Editors

Helmut Philipp Aust is Professor of Law at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Previously, he was a Senior Research Fellow at Humboldt University Berlin (2011-2016). He was also Visiting Professor at the University of Konstanz (2016) and Visiting Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre of International Law, University of Cambridge (2008) and at the Institute of International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School (2014/2015). His research interests lie in the fields of public international law and comparative constitutional law. He is the author of Complicity and the Law of State Responsibility (2011) and of Das Recht der globalen Stadt (2017). He has also co-edited the collection The Interpretation of International Law by Domestic Courts (with Georg Nolte, 2016). Since May 2017, he is Co-Chairman of a new study group of the International Law Association on "The Role of Cities in International Law".

Anél du Plessis is Professor of Law and the SARChI Chair in Cities, Law and Environmental Sustainability (CLES) at the North-West University (NWU), South Africa. She is author and editor of various publications, including Environmental Law and Local Government in South Africa (2015) and Fulfilment of South Africa’s Constitutional Environmental Right in the Local Government Sphere (2009). Her research focuses environmental-, local government and different aspects of constitutional law and governance. She is member of the Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Association of South Africa, project coordinator for a long-standing local government capacity building project of the NWU and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and serves on the Teaching Committee of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law. She is a rated researcher of South Africa’s National Research Foundation and an alumnus of the scholarship programmes of the DAAD, Fulbright and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

About the Series

Cities and Global Governance

Scholarly concern over the role of cities as sites for global governance and the organization of global activities has increased substantially over the past 25 years. The partial denationalization of global politics has been accompanied by the increasing importance of non-state and sub-national state actors, including municipal governments. It has further resulted in the rising significance of cities as sites in and for global governance. Cities serve as platforms for scale-jumping—the movement of organizations and issues across scalar boundaries—locales for networking, and sites for the convergence of disparate global ideologies. Global actors, by concentrating in cities, take advantage of propinquity and the dense networks available in the urban landscape to organize their activities, and in doing so, also establish certain cities as "nodes" in their global networks. At the same time, global ideologies are expressed in urban landscapes and global politics takes concrete form in cities.

Because of these developments, scholars of global affairs have expressed increasing interest in the presence and influence of the city in global governance. This series will feature unique perspectives on theoretical and empirical issues in the relationship between cities and global governance. The series will serve as a platform to theorize previously undertheorized aspects of the relationship, to challenge conventional wisdom in the field, and to offer new empirical analysis of the role of cities as sites and actors in global governance as well as the role of global governance on the ground in cities. Each volume will make a distinct contribution to one or more of these questions. Volumes may take various conceptual and methodological approaches. Some will study cases, others will examine networks; some will have a regional focus, others will have a global focus; some will be focused on cities as they intersect with particular issues in global governance.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • African, Asian, and/or Latin American cities in networks of global governance
  • Case studies of the roles of various cities in global governance
  • Cities and climate change
  • Cities and disaster governance
  • Cities and global environmental governance
  • Cities as sites of emergent conflicts between governance regimes
  • Cities, security, and global governance
  • Global cities/capital cities: Urbanism and the apparatus of state-based governance
  • Municipal foreign policy
  • "Power" and "the urban" in global governance
  • The role of data collection and "city indicators" in global governance
  • The role of transnational actors in shaping local landscapes
  • "Super-global" cities
  • Transnational municipal networks in global governance
  • The urbanization of global politics

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Reference
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Local