Urban Governance in Southern Europe
The concept of governance has evolved into one of the most important but also controversial concepts in urban politics. While it encourages co-operation, participation and collective construction, at the same time, it has brought about new forms of public demission, oligarchic regimes and less local democracy. The dilemmas accompanying these changes are particularly relevant when observing the cities of Southern Europe, whose socio-cultural specificities very much structure local political and policy materialisations. Bringing together a team of leading scholars from across the social sciences, this volume examines the issues of urban governance in the Southern European context. Illustrated by case studies of several main cities and metropoles on the North Mediterranean coast, it introduces and critically analyses the latest theories and approaches to urban governance. It questions how the 'real' or socio-cultural notion of city seems to have been separated from that of the 'political' city and explores how more integrated socio-political forms might be developed. It looks at current structures, dynamics and cultures of governance in urban development and questions whether they are well adapted to new realities and challenges or whether there are significant imbalances causing limited or fragmented political-administrative visions. By considering both the long Mediterranean history along with the recent but enduring global economic and political developments, this book argues that Southern European cities will have to depend greatly upon its own socio-cultural networks, dynamics and cosmopolitan evolution, making the most of the region's characteristic urban strengths, as trading hubs, with rich hinterlands and large and varied population.