Urban Governance, Policy, Planning and Public Private Partnerships

Course introduction

Cities are growing quickly and are extremely dynamic. (Local) governments must try to steer and guide the development process in many ways. Their motivation for doing this and the way they do this lie at the heart of the fields of study of urban governance, policy and planning. This course will discuss the efforts of governments, often undertaken in partnership with other stakeholders, to deliberately intervene in and influence, steer and guide the development process of cities. The role and responsibility of both public and private actors are central in the academic debate of urban governance, policy and planning.

This course will introduce the current academic debates in Urban Governance, Policy, Planning and Public and Private Partnerships and it will identify the linkages between these.

Course objectives

After the module participants should be able to:

1. Discuss and describe the key characteristics of complex decision making and the problems associated with complexity; distinguish and compare network governance theory, new public management perspective and traditional public administration and discuss the implications of these differences for decision-making processes; discuss and analyse the key characteristics of network governance theory; and apply the concept to practice using a case study.
2. Understand the meaning, dimensions and objectives of urban policy, understand the importance of the policy process and tools for implementation, discuss and deliberate on the nature of public interest and who determines it; understand the nature of policy analysis, and analyse policy documents using a set of guidelines.
3. Reflect on what planning is and why it is useful; assess different planning approaches and explain what strategic planning is; analyse the implications of these different planning approaches for the role of the planner and other stakeholders in the planning process.
4. Distinguish and discuss the different theories that underpin Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), in particular the value of neo-liberal economic theory as a framework for PPPs; discuss and identify the key characteristics of and the rationale for PPPs; identify, discuss and analyse the potential pros and cons of partnerships, as well as the issues faced in setting up PPPs in different sectors; distinguish various forms of PPPs and their characteristics.
5. Understand the interconnections between the different module components and analyse what these linkages mean in practice;
6. Within a multicultural team, jointly discuss and come to decisions that are mutually agreed upon.

Course content

Policies for urban development: This module introduces the meaning of ‘policy’ and highlights various approaches towards urban policy. We will look at what makes a policy “urban” as opposed to sectoral, the impact of changing concepts (for example, integration, decentralization, participation, neo-liberal approaches), the influence of major actors and what makes a good policy document.

Decision making in situations of complexity: In this module, we look at theories underpinning urban governance and focus on trends to networked forms of governance. Network governance is seen as an alternative to markets and rational choice, in a situation of increasing complexity and uncertainty. Government is no longer the lead actor in development, but one amongst many. This implies a new role for government, a role in steering and managing horizontal relations.

This module introduces the different meanings and interpretations of 'urban planning' and the urban planner. It highlights trends in planning approaches and zooms into the shift from traditional land use planning towards more strategic forms of planning.

A mechanism of governance: Since the 1990’s PPP’s have become an important approach to streamlining cooperation and risk sharing between the public and private sectors, and achieving value for money in service provisions. This module introduces participants to different rationale, objectives and forms of PPP’s. Participants discuss and deliberate on the conditions under which PPP’s can be successful instruments for urban development.

Course information

ProgrammeUrban Governance, Policy, Planning and Public Private Partnerships
PeriodBlock 1
Coordinator(s)Carley Pennink; Els Keunen
LecturersCarley Pennink, PhD
Carolina Lunetta
Catherine Foley
Els Keunen
Francesca Vanelli
Rianne Warsen
MethodologyVideo lectures, live online sessions, discussion session and workshops, individual and group assignments, Canvas discussion boards, self-study
AssessmentIndividual paper 60%; group work 40%; peer evaluation

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