ISSJ - N° 193/194 - Approaches to Urban Governance

September 2008
Editorial adviser: Germán Solinís

Territories are the result of interactions between physical and built-up spaces, on the one hand, and social, economic, political, and cultural systems, on the other. During the last four centuries, modernism and industrialisation have produced territories that have given rise to various urban forms, of which the ideal remains the city, a rhetorical figure and discourse propped up by a very wide range of disciplinary scaffolding, from history and philosophy to urbanism. Yet “the city” is increasingly under question. The current universality of urban expansion contrasts with the complexity and diversity of its forms. For example, “clusters of territorial production” go beyond the classical conception of urban forms.

Also, urban areas are fundamentally different according to their positions in territorial relations. A world city is not the same thing as a “metropolis” or a “capital”; small and medium-sized urban areas are, again, different.

Taking stock of growing interdependence between the regional, national, and local levels throughout the world, this issue considers current trends in urban transformation in light of three major challenges that call for renewed analytical tools: insecurity, tertiarisation, and the informalisation of urban forms.

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