Project

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Power in the city. The renewal of regime politics in swiss metropolises - POWURB

English title Power in the city. The renewal of regime politics in swiss metropolises - POWURB
Applicant Pflieger Géraldine
Number 140366
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département de science politique et relations internationales Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.09.2012 - 31.08.2015
Approved amount 173'397.00
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Keywords (5)

metropolis; urban power; governance; urban regimes; switzerland

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

The originality of the project is to assess the transformation of regime politics within central and peripheral communes of two polycentric metropolises, in a comparative perspective.

Besides the development of a polycentric metropolitan form, the two areas of Zurich and Geneva are concerned by similar issues of urban sprawl, suburbanization, functional and social differentiation and gentrification. The two metropolitan areas and their communes are all involved in new agglomeration projects and are all impacted by the new federal policy on agglomeration. This will allow to compare the weight of our common independent variables on urban regimes within the two areas.

More precisely, five possible independent variables will be combined to explain the emerging of long-term governing arrangements and their types: (1) the influence of upper levels of government (cantonal, federal or even european) through incentives for urban growtb and economic development, (2) financial resources and the level of local tax resources, (3) the pace of economic growth and the nature of economic restructuring (weight of local capital, dynamics of real-estate and construction industries), (4) the capacity to develop urban renewal or densification projects, and (5) the weight of middle-class voters and inhabitants movements.

The objective of this project is to compare regime politics at the level of various municipal contexts within the two polycentric metropolitan areas of Zurich and Geneva. The central aim is to assess and explain the impact of two set of independent variables – institutional and socioeconomic scale shifts – on the structure of urban power and on the type of local governing arrangements.

This project is based on the urban regime theory developed by Stone (1989) during the 1990’s which links urban political economy and pluralism in order to study urban power. Urban regime theory considers that classical studies on urban power overly focused on identification of the elite or multiple governing elites and neglected the question of the aims of these elites. The point of Clarence Stone is to underline that local governments are elected but not omnipotent and must develop a capacity of social production to take and implement decisions. To act, elected officials have to build "informal arrangements by which public bodies and private interests function together in order to be able to make and carry out governing decisions”, which are called urban regimes.

The tertiarization and gentrification process as well as the new institutional context of multi-level governance invite to reopen the black box of urban power in Switzerland which haven’t been studied for more than thirty years. The aim of this project is to assess to what extent the competition to attract new service firms, the gentrification process and the new federal and cantonal urban policies impact the governing arrangements between governmental and non-governmental actors within metropolitan areas in Switzerland, by comparing core cities and suburban communes politics within the metropolitan areas of Zurich and Geneva.

Swiss urban regions have known major changes in their economic and sociodemographic organization since the 1980’s. The service sector, historically well developed with bank and finance industries, grew in absolute and relative value, with the progressive deindustrialization and the development of advanced services. From the 1970’s to 1990’s, metropolitanization modified the economic urban geography with a strong development of edge cities. Central cities faced an increasing pressure of their housing markets. The gentrification process is impacting the demography of city centers. In parallel the development of the new federal policy on agglomerations strengthened both competition and cooperation between municipalities to attract funds for infrastructure development.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Book review. "The Political Ecology of the Metropolis. Metropolitan Sources of Electoral Behaviour in Eleven Countries" by Sellers et al. (2013).
Lambelet Sébastien (2015), Book review. "The Political Ecology of the Metropolis. Metropolitan Sources of Electoral Behaviour in Eleven Countries" by Sellers et al. (2013)., in Swiss Political Science Review, 21(1), 199-202.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Zurich, Department of Political Science Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
111th American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Urban regimes and exchanges of policy resources: a necessary reconciliation. Defending the relevance of urban regime analysis in three Swiss cities 03.09.2015 San Francisco, United States of America Lambelet Sébastien;
9th General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Talk given at a conference Urban regimes and exchanges of policy resources: a necessary reconciliation. Defending the relevance of urban regime analysis in three Swiss cities 26.08.2015 Montréal, Canada Lambelet Sébastien;
International Planning, Law and Property Rights Conference (PLPR) Talk given at a conference Urban Power in Switzerland. Urban regimes and exchanges of policy resources in three Swiss metropolitan areas 25.02.2015 Volos, Greece Lambelet Sébastien;
6th Congress of French-speaking Political Science Associations Talk given at a conference Pouvoir urbain en Suisse. Régimes urbains et échanges de ressources d'action dans trois métropoles helvétiques 05.02.2015 Lausanne, Switzerland Lambelet Sébastien;
Annual Meeting of the Swiss Political Science Association Talk given at a conference Emergence of urban regimes in Zurich and Bern 30.01.2014 Bern, Switzerland Lambelet Sébastien;
12th Congress of the French Political Science Association, Talk given at a conference Transformations urbaines à Zurich et Winterthur 09.07.2013 Paris, France Lambelet Sébastien;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
“Les ressources du pouvoir urbain”- Panel dans le 6e congrés des associations francophones de science politique 05.02.2015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Assises Citoyennes de Grenoble 08.11.2014 Grenoble, France Lambelet Sébastien;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Le Grand Genève dans l’impasse : l’heure du rebond ? Le Temps Western Switzerland 2014

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
162157 Who governs Swiss urban areas? Urban regimes and policy resources in Switzerland 01.09.2015 Doc.Mobility

Abstract

Swiss urban regions have known major changes in their economic and sociodemographic organization since the 1980’s. The service sector, historically well developed with bank and finance industries, grew in absolute and relative value, with the progressive deindustrialization and the development of advanced services. From the 1970’s to 1990’s, metropolitanization modified the economic urban geography with a strong development of edge cities. In parallel, central cities faced an increasing pressure of their housing markets. The gentrification process is impacting the demography of city centers. In parallel the development of the new federal policy on agglomerations strengthened both competition and cooperation between municipalities to attract funds for infrastructure development.The tertiarization and gentrification process as well as the new institutional context of multi-level governance invite to reopen the black box of urban power in Switzerland which haven’t been studied for more than thirty years. The aim of this project is to assess to what extent the competition to attract new service firms, the gentrification process and the new federal and cantonal urban policies impact the governing arrangements between governmental and non-governmental actors within metropolitan areas in Switzerland, by comparing core cities and suburban communes politics within the metropolitan areas of Zurich and Geneva.This project is based on the urban regime theory developed by Stone (1989) during the 1990’s which links urban political economy and pluralism in order to study urban power. Urban regime theory considers that classical studies on urban power overly focused on identification of the elite or multiple governing elites and neglected the question of the aims of these elites. The point of Clarence Stone is to underline that local governments are elected but not omnipotent and must develop a capacity of social production to take and implement decisions. To act, elected officials have to build "informal arrangements by which public bodies and private interests function together in order to be able to make and carry out governing decisions”, which are called urban regimes.The objective of this project is to compare regime politics at the level of various municipal contexts within the two polycentric metropolitan areas of Zurich and Geneva. The central aim is to assess and explain the impact of two set of independent variables - institutional and socioeconomic scale shifts - on the structure of urban power and on the type of local governing arrangements.More precisely, five possible independent variables will be combined to explain the emerging of long-term governing arrangements: (1) the influence of upper levels of government (cantonal, federal or even european) through incentives for urban growtb and economic development, (2) financial resources and the level of local tax resources, (3) the pace of economic growth and the nature of economic restructuring (weight of local capital, dynamics of real-estate and construction industries), (4) the capacity to develop urban renewal or densification projects, and (5) the weight of middle-class voters and inhabitants movements.Besides the development of a polycentric metropolitan form, the two areas of Zurich and Geneva are concerned by similar issues of urban sprawl, suburbanization, functional and social differentiation and gentrification. The two metropolitan areas and their communes are all involved in new agglomeration projects and are all impacted by the new federal policy on agglomeration. This will allow to compare the weight of our common independent variables on urban regimes within the two areas.The originality of the project is to assess the transformation of regime politics within central and peripheral communes of two polycentric metropolises, in a comparative perspective. This POWURB project has been conceived in close collaboration with Daniel Kübler and will help to consolidate a research network for the analysis of urban policy and urban power in Switzerland. This project fits perfectly with the current scientific trend dedicated to the study of the government of great metropolis worldwide.
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