Governing the Twenty-First-Century City

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

This article examines the linkages between urban governance structures and an economically successful and environmentally sustainable democratic city. It will consider both developed and developing cities and the policy challenges that confront them in the twenty-first century. It is important to understand the political causes of urban economic decline, the unique fiscal and legal constraints on city governments and the opportunities for democratic participation and sustainable economic growth that only cities can offer. Urban policies or programs are only successful if they harmonize with city politics and with a city government’s fiscal and operational capacity for implementation. The objective of this article is not simply to present the challenges of governing the twenty-first century city, but also to describe the structural characteristics of cities that promote democratic participation, effective urban governance and policies that support public safety, economic growth and environmental sustainability.