NEWSLETTER: 50th Newsletter of the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies (Berlin)

Topics: Urban Governance and local Democracy in European Cities *** GSZ Think & Drink Colloquium *** Application Deadline 16.05.: International Forum “NGOs in Support of the World Heritage Properties” *** Deadline 15.05.: ONE Lab: “Future Cities Summer 2012” *** GSZ-Graduate Studies Group

Urban Governance and local Democracy in European Cities: “The Future of Urban Europe – Forms and Implications of New Urban Governance“. This is the title of the 2007 post graduate assignment. Particular focus has been placed upon what ( new ) scope and options arise and for whom. At the center lie the following questions: Can citizens and civil society players/ activists gain greater influence upon urban politics through new forms of governance? What sort of power distribution exists within the Governance-Arrangements? How are these new forms embedded in regulatory structures of national and international law/ policies? And What gains do they provide? What implications does governance have for the future of European urban politics.

In this context Gabrielle Schmitt`s dissertation examines the example of (urban) district development programs in the UK under New Labour, with regard to what degree the various players are able to assert influence, their function and potential problem-solving abilities. She shows that participating parties have opposing interests and thus are unlikely to be able to “take equal shares of the political cake”. These are:(i) Innovative Problem solving (Effectiveness goals), (ii) Boosting of social bonds in disadvantaged neighborhoods(Integration goals),(iii) Revitalization of local democracy(Legitimation goals). Whether and to what degree local Governance-Arrangements actually result in greater scope and flexibility for civil society players and as to whether they really contribute to effective problem solving, depend to a high degree on various factors. Important factors include: Geographical reference (neighborhood vs. city authorities), the type of problems to be solved Interaction and orientation of local players (trust and understanding vs. competition and suspicion), organizational structures and network decision processes and how far they are embedded in the traditional form of decision making and representative democracy (Gabi Schmidt).
Events at the Georg-Simmel Think & Drink-Colloquium in Mai:
07.05.: Prof. Andreas Farwick: Kontexteffekte von Wohnquartieren auf den Eingliederungsprozess von Migranten – Empirische Befunde und methodische Herausforderungen
14.05.: Prof. Kevin Ward: Transatlantic Travels: mobile policies in the current era
21.05.: Prof. Ash Amin: Telescopic Urbanism and the Poor
The complete list of lectures to be held in the Georg Simmel Think & Drink Colloquium may be seen at the following link:
Call for Paper: International Forum “NGOs in Support of the World Heritage Properties” (Application Deadline: May 16): This Forum will be held on June 22-June 24, before the 36th annual Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and has the aim to present the position of civil society, NGOs and experts on problems with the World Heritage Properties to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee Members and the broader public. For the registration and further informations see:
ONE Lab: Future Cities Summer 2012 (Application Deadline: 15.05): The Future Cities seminar in New York takes place from July 9th to August 3rd. This a month long intensive program educates the future creators of urbanity. For more informations see:
GSZ-Graduate Studies Group: If you are a post-graduate student in the field of metropolitan studies, currently living in Berlin and looking for discussion partners – please contact the GSZ Graduate Studies Group. Contact: Martin Schwegmann (