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Who governs Swiss urban areas? Urban regimes and policy resources in Switzerland

Applicant Lambelet Sébastien
Number 162157
Funding scheme Doc.Mobility
Research institution The Open University Faculty of Social Sciences
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.09.2015 - 31.08.2016
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Keywords (5)

policy resources; urban power; public-private cooperation; Switzerland; urban regime

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Cette recherche vise à analyser les rapports de pouvoir entre les acteurs publics et les acteurs privés dans les villes suisses. Elle s'intéresse aux arrangements conclus entre les autorités locales et leurs partenaires privés (propriétaires fonciers, entreprises de construction, promoteurs immobiliers) afin de développer et de renouveler le tissu urbain. Qui finance la création du parc public jouxtant ce nouveau quartier d'affaires? Comment garantir la mixité sociale des nouveaux quartiers d'habitation? Qui met les terrains à disposition? Quelles contreparties sont offertes aux acteurs privés qui réalisent les projets? Cette recherche tente d'apporter des réponses à chacune de ces questions.
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche

Cette recherche s'appuie sur la théorie des régimes urbains développée par la littérature anglo-saxonne et l'applique aux villes suisses. Un régime urbain implique une coopération pérenne entre les autorités locales et certains acteurs privés, basée sur un échange de ressources d'action. La possession d'une ressource d'action permet d'influencer les processus de décision et l'application des politiques publiques. Les droits de propriété, l'expertise, l'argent ou la légitimité politique sont des exemples de ressources d'action. Or, la théorie des régimes urbains ne précise pas quelles ressources d'action doivent être échangées pour établir un régime. Cette recherche vise à combler cette lacune théorique en analysant des projets urbains récents et emblématiques dans les villes de Zurich, Winterthour, Berne, Bienne, Genève et Nyon.

Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche

Cette recherche analyse plusieurs sources qualitatives (entretiens en face-à-face, documents officiels, articles de presse) dans une perspective comparative. Elle permettra d'objectiver les rapports de pouvoir à l'échelle locale et de mieux comprendre qui gouverne les villes suisses au début du 21e siècle.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 22.06.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
Filling in the Resource Gap of Urban Regime Analysis to Make It Travel in Time and Space
Lambelet Sébastien (2017), Filling in the Resource Gap of Urban Regime Analysis to Make It Travel in Time and Space, in Urban Affairs Review, 1-31.
Le déclin comme atout et la croissance comme handicap
Lambelet Sébastien (2016), Le déclin comme atout et la croissance comme handicap, in Métropoles, (18), 1-27.
Les ressources du pouvoir urbain
LambeletSébastien, PfliegerGéraldine (2016), Les ressources du pouvoir urbain, in Métropoles, (18), 1-20.
The influence of politicization on the implementation of developer obligations in a federalist country. Evidence from Switzerland
Lambelet Sébastien, Viallon François-Xavier, The influence of politicization on the implementation of developer obligations in a federalist country. Evidence from Switzerland, in van der Krabben Erwin, Munoz Gielen Demetrio (ed.), Routledge, Abingdon, 1-9.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Open Space Research center Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Open Space Research Center seminar Talk given at a conference Filling in the resource gap of urban regime analysis 17.02.2016 Open University Milton Keynes, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Lambelet Sébastien;
American political association annual meeting Talk given at a conference urban regimes and policy resources: a necessary reconciliation 03.09.2015 San Francisco, United States of America Lambelet Sébastien;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television L'oeil des experts: le logement à Genève Léman Bleu Western Switzerland 2018
Media relations: radio, television Logement la PPE en question - Le Journal Léman Bleu Western Switzerland 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Praille-Acacias-Vernets : un projet pris en otage par la classe politique Le Temps Western Switzerland 2018
Talks/events/exhibitions Table ronde "Yverdon-les-Bains demain?" Western Switzerland 2017

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
140366 Power in the city. The renewal of regime politics in swiss metropolises - POWURB 01.09.2012 Project funding

Abstract

Nowadays, almost three quarters of the Swiss population leaves in urban areas. Swiss cities have known major changes in their economic and sociodemographic structure in the last decades. However, Swiss metropolitan areas remain overlooked by political scientists and represent the lost dimension of Swiss federalism. The last study focusing on the issue of urban power in Switzerland has been published in 1978. The first aim of this research is to fill this empirical gap by studying the power structure of the Swiss metropolitan areas of Geneva, Zurich and Bern. Applying the theoretical framework of urban regimes analysis, this research conceives Swiss politics as a multi-level system and leaves out the classical institutional view focusing either on the municipal, the cantonal or the federal level. The second aim of this research is to improve the theoretical framework of urban regimes which is widely recognized as a dominant paradigm in the field of urban politics. A key element characterizing an urban regime is the capacity of public and private actors to mobilize policy resources to sustain their common political agenda. However, urban regime theory does not specify which policy resources are necessary for the emergence of a regime and how exchanges of policy resources allow a governing coalition to remain influential over the long term. This research aims at filling this theoretical gap by showing that some policy resources are fundamental for the establishment of an urban regime, independently of the political agenda it pursues.In a nutshell, the strength of this research is to use the overlooked field of Swiss urban areas to improve the dominant theoretical framework of urban regimes.
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