ISA World Congress

23-29 July 2006
Durban, South Africa

RC21 Sociology of Urban and Regional Development
14 sessions available + 2 (one business meeting) @ 9th May 2005

Programme Coordinator: Yuri Kazepov (University of Urbino, Italy)


Ian Gordon (LSE, UK)

A new conventional wisdom’ about the role of cities in an increasingly competitive international economy suggests that there is a necessary and observable shift toward more responsive forms of ‘governance’ at this scale as a means of securing a required combination of competitiveness and cohesion. Though the notion of governance is somewhat fuzzy, its key factor seems to be that of cutting across established models of regulation and of principles of accountability.
The aim of this session is to dig behind the functionalist and ideological elements of ‘governance’ talk, to identify what kinds of related change are actually underway in the processes of policy, politics and regulation at an urban scale. Papers are particularly invited which can cast light on:
• how these vary between societal, institutional and local contexts; and
• what the implications of shifts toward some version of governance are – or could be – for democratic
citizenship and how major conflicts of interest get resolved.


Attention: Joint Session RC19-RC21

Yuri Kazepov (University of Urbino, I)
Rianne Mahon (Carleton University, CAN)

In the light of most welfare reform processes the territorial (urban and regional) dimension is acquiring prominence, not only in terms of implementation, but also increasingly as a regulating actor with widening degrees of freedom. Reasons for that are many (decentralisation, privatisation, new forms of governance,...), but all point to a deep reorganisation of social policies at the territorial level. Even the EU (in Europe) is fostering that, trying to gain regulatory terrain. The joint session aims at looking from different perspectives into this process. What are the implications of this territorial re-organisation? How does it take place in different contexts and what are the reasons for territorial differences? Papers are asked to provide both empirical and theoretical reflections on the processes with preferably a comparative perspective.


Alan Scott (University of Innsbruck, AT)

Cities are in increased global competition with each other. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that urban decision makers believe this to be the case and act accordingly. These beliefs are themselves in part a response to social scientific debate (and/or rhetoric), in this case to notions such as ‘knowledge society’. The result has been an emphasis upon the need to ‘position’ the city and/or region; to build clusters; to institutionalize knowledge transfer; to market the locality. Nor is it just major centers or ‘global cities’ that pursue such strategies and assert their locational advantages over rivals. Lesser players must do the same, at least within the national or regional context of inter-city competition.
What are the implications of this renewed emphasis upon knowledge, innovation and growth? How does it affect key actors within the locality; not just governing elites, but also universities, research hospitals, research centers, etc.? Are we witnessing a reconfiguration of of the urban ‘growth coalition?’ Will new forms of urban inequality emerge within and between cities? Is this a game from which cities outside the ‘developed world’ are excluded? This session will seek to address these and related questions and issues arising from the urban learning imperative.


Diane Davis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, US)

The study of globalization's impact on cities has shed new light on such questions as economic restructuring, metropolitan governance, and spatial transformation, among other issues. Implicit in many of these studies is the assumption that globalization is creating a new international urban order in which cities are key nodes in a highly inter-connected global network built around a hierarchy of cities reflecting a relatively functional (if not efficient) socio-spatial pecking order of inter and intra-urban functions and activities. Less well studied have been the "dysfunctional" effects of such changes -- or the ways that globalization, either on its own or as mediated by the aforementioned political, economic, spatial, and cultural factors, has led to new or more visceral forms of urban conflict and disorder. This session seeks papers that examine how globalization produces disorder and disarray in everyday urban life, either by rupturing old political, economic, social, and spatial practices or producing entirely new ones. Among the suggested topics for discussion are: the growing urban political struggles and social tensions that accompany new immigrant or labor flows; the increasing use of coercive force (police and/or private security firms) to manage accelerating social and spatial polarization; the growing intra-urban conflicts generated by the rapid transformation of land uses in emergent global cities; the political tensions within discrete territorial jurisdictions that form sprawling global metropolises; and the trade wars between global cities or within global city regions. Papers can examine the origins or impact of such conflicts -- for cities, for their citizens, or for future patterns of globalization and urban development.


Patrick Le Galès (CEVIPOF, Paris F)
Edmond Preteceille (CEVIPOF, Paris F)

Cities and metropolis are being fragmented and reshaped: new groups, new identities, new socialisation processes are emerging, in a context where divisions, fragmentation, inequalities, segregation, fragilisation and precarisation seem to be deeply affecting all categories. Thus, the capacity of cities to foster social integration, or social cohesion as some put it, is questioned in new ways. Urban research has reflected that by focusing on issues of fragmentation, exclusion. Urban sociology also needs a better understanding of the processes which allow groups within cities to cohere, to integrate, to govern as well as to fragment. Papers are asked to explore both conceptually and empirically how we might understand cities as a social fabric, within a comparative frame of reference.


Alison Todes (University of KwaZulu-Natal eThekwini, Durban)

In parts of the developing world, urban-rural divides are declining as fragmented and impermanent migration occurs in the midst of declining formal employment, and sometimes stagnant national economies. Urban agriculture is dispersed throughout the nominally urban areas and increases in scale towards the nominal urban fringe.
Preconceptions of urban and rural provide a poor guide to these circumstances. Papers in the sessions are asked to address the underlying dynamics of urbanisation and migration processes, the relationships rural and urban areas, and the nature of urban livelihoods in different parts of the developing world.


Xolela Mangcu (Human Sciences Research Council, Tshwane, Pretoria)
Ranvinder S. Shandu (Guru Nanak dev University Amritsar, In)

Slums, which are defined by the limited availability of unsanitary water and sanitation, little or no waste removal and energy and transport infrastructure, poor housing, and informal forms of dispute resolution, are ubiquitous in developing countries. Slums in their various forms are an inevitable consequence of, inter alia, insufficient jobs that allow households to afford better housing and services, inadequate local government resources and a variety of governance issues. However, conditions in slums and the potential for improving these conditions vary considerably, depending on, inter alia, the pre-conditions for pro-poor policies, civic action and the responses of households. Papers in the session are asked to provide examples of improvements in slum conditions, or the obstacles to improvements, and also the analysis of the circumstances that led to these outcomes.


Susan Fainstein (Columbia University, NY, US)
Fernando Diaz Orueta (University of Alicante, ES)

Critiques of urban renewal and large-scale developments throughout the world have emphasized their negative environmental and social consequences and particularly their displacement effects. In the 1980s and 90s, we saw a decline in such projects in many places, responding to popular protest and intellectual dissent, along with a new emphasis on preservation. More recently, however, we see the revival of mega-projects, often connected with tourism and sports development. This session will present papers evaluating some of these new ambitious projects in terms of their social and spatial effects. In particular it will investigate whether these interventions are reducing or increasing urban inequality. The comparison among different cities and analyses of the differing roles of the state, the private sector, and citizen groups provides the basis for understanding the implications of the new mega-projects.


Hartmut Haeussermann (Humboldt University at Berlin, D)

Residential segregation by ethnicity, race or class is one of the central issues of urban studies since their beginning. At the end of the 20th century the thesis of urban 'polarisation' was widely discussed. This perspective was very often related to new city types like the 'global city'. But this 'theory' has been criticized, and more and more evidence shows, that the patterns of social and spatial inequality are varying very much in different countries and cities. This panel should bring together researchers, who are engaged in empirical work on changes of patterns of segregation.


Attention: Joint Integrative Session RC21-RC24-RC47

Louis Guay (University of Laval, CAN)
Pierre Hamel (University of Montreal, CAN)

City-regions are increasingly on the top of the agenda of territorial public policy. This is related to demographic and spatial change, but also to the expansion of the knowledge economy at a global scale. Beyond the new urban hierarchy emerging out of demographic and economic changes, environmental and territorial management issues are becoming paramount and multifaceted. They are linked to urban sprawl, to the quality of city life as well as to the capacity of local and metropolitan governments to manage environmental and territorial controversies. The objective of this panel is above all to assess the importance of these issues and their relationships to other aspects of city-region’s development in a comparative perspective. In what terms are environmental challenges defined by social and political actors within city-regions? Under what conditions is urban development in city-regions compatible with environmental protection and territorial management? To what extent can these issues be considered a main concern of metropolitan governance? These questions are only a small sample of the territorial concerns of city regions’ development. Nevertheless, we think that if the development of city-regions is on the urban agenda, these questions cannot be dealt with without taking into account environmental issues and territorial management. This is mainly what we intend to explore in the session.


Kuniko Fujita (Michigan State University, US)

World wide urbanization is clashing with nature’s limit. Cities are both prime contributors to the environmental crisis and testing grounds for new, eco-friendly practices. Is an ecologically sustainable urban development possible? This panel seeks papers that approach the future city from perspectives of ecologically sustainability. Contributors may focus on case studies of environmental policies, politics, and planning but sensitivity to national and global contexts is also important. Cross-national comparisons among cities are especially desirable. Local efforts to build solidarity around environmental issues: establish sustainable industries and employment; develop greener patterns of consumption and styles of life; institute incentives to motivate and mechanisms to enforce conservation; establish compatibility between visions of ecological sustainability and a more egalitarian and inclusive city; and engage in learning networks with other cities are among the issues authors might address.


Justin Beaumont (University of Groningen, NL)
Walter Nicholls (California State University, US)

This session addresses the ways that various forms of urban political action contribute to (or limit) social integration and enhanced quality of life for more deprived, vulnerable and marginalized people in an era of globalization. Previous and mostly European investigations on this issue tend to focus on the character of urban policy interventions at various levels, the rise of interactive strategies between multiple “urban governance” agents, the socially integrative function of local welfare arrangements and area-based initiatives for so-called distressed urban neighbourhoods. The session confronts the European urban tradition, rooted partly in Durkheim, with one more closely associated with American political science. In the spirit of De Toqueville and Dahl, the US pluralist tradition emphasises the importance of autonomous associations in civil society that mediate between the individual and the state to ensure the plural and successive influence of interest groups. Confronting these traditions might improve our understanding of the relationships between urban political action, on the one hand, and interventions for social integration and enhanced quality of life for citizens of cities on the other. The aim of the session is to critically interrogate and examine relations between urban political action and its impact on the livelihoods (for better or worse) of the urban poor. Inviting scholars from a variety of disciplines (urban sociology, urban planning, urban geography), the session will also benefit from a growing body of work devoted to urban governance and politics, democratization and social justice in South Africa. The general question is: “How do various forms of political action contribute to (or limit) social integration and enhanced quality of life for more deprived, vulnerable and marginalized people in cities?” Papers are invited to address these issues both in theoretical and empirical terms.


Hank Savitch (University of Louisville, US)

This panel will address the rising phenomenon of how cities have become seats for the exercise of specific forms of collective violence such terror and warfare. The papers selected for this panel will cover a spectrum of collective, systematic violence that are unique to cities. This includes the rise of terror (defined as deliberate and purposeful efforts to kidnap, maim or kill non-combatants) the prominence of guerrilla warfare (defined as armed violence carried out by irregular fighters aimed at other combatants) and conventional warfare (defined as armed violence between regularly organized armed forces). Thus, we can include terror stricken cities like Belfast, Jerusalem, New York and Istanbul) as well as cities that have recently been sites for guerrilla or conventional warfare (Sarajevo, Baghdad, Kabul). Some major themes of selected papers should embrace how cities have changed over the last 30 years in the wake of contemporary warfare, the link between some forms of collective violence and globalization and the spatial implications that stem from this occurrence. These themes are integral to the quality of urban life and the future of cities.


Ash Amin (University of Durham, UK)
John Eade (University of Surrey Roehampton)

Living with ethnic diversity has become one of the key challenges in our times of growing transnational flow and civilizational clash. Yet, much of the debate on models of integration, such as multiculturalism, remains largely at the national level, while the real business of negotiating ethnic and cultural diversity unfolds at the level of everyday urban practices and experiences. This session is interested in exploring how the urban, as context and as lived arena, shapes performances and attitudes towards the other. It is keen to explore the relevance of anxiety, hate and suspicion, but also their opposites in framing practices towards the stranger. It is also keen to explore normative and policy options at varying spatial scales of interaction for negotiating diversity in positive ways. Papers may be of a social theoretic nature or offer grounded evidence from a variety of urban contexts, especially from the Global South.


Sharon Zukin (Brooklyn College, NY)

During the past few decades, cities have been repopulated and re-imagined by structural changes suggested by the shorthand terms of globalization, gentrification, and liberalization of markets. Immigrant quarters have grown in both historic cores and distant suburbs, world-class buildings tower over waterfronts and heritage sites, and public spaces such as shopping centres support the performance of new urban cultures. This session invites the submission of 15-page papers that present case studies of how the cultures of cities are re-imagined in light of these structural, spatial, and demographic changes.


Hartmut Haussermann (RC21 President)
Yuri Kazepov (RC21 Secretary)

The balance of the 2002-2006 board activities: facts, figures and prospects

Election of the new board


1) Potential paper givers should send their abstracts to sessions chair(s) and in carbon copy to the programme coordinator by November 15, 2005.
2) Chair will make their selection by January 15th, 2006.
3) Authors of accepted papers will have to submit their abstracts to the Sociological Abstracts web site within March 31st, 2006. Only abstracts submitted by this web site will be accepted. In order to submit an abstract, a participant must have registered for the Congress.
4) Pre-registration deadline for all programme participants (presenters, chairs, discussants, etc.) is May, 31st, 2006. Otherwise their names will not appear in the Programme Book and abstracts of their papers will not be published.


The above list of sessions is tentative since the number of sessions given to Research Committees depends on membership. All those submitting abstracts must be (or become) members of RC21. The number of sessions listed is based on the April 2005 membership. If membership decreases between now and June 15th, 2005 the number of sessions will be reduced accordingly. If membership increases significantly RC21 will be entitled to one or more additional sessions. Consequently it is essential that membership be renewed or taken out before that date. We encourage you to check with ISA Secretariat if you are duly registered at ISA and RC21 Urban and Regional Development. If not, do so as soon as possible in order for the RC21 to be allowed to organize the proposed sessions.
ISA membership form is available at
For any question please inquire with Yuri Kazepov (