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English summaries edited in

Numéro 80/81 Décembre 1998


Scott Bollens
Governing Cities with High Political Risks

Jerusalem, Belfast, Johannesburg and
many other cities condense the explosive
tensions of the present-day world.
In a context of migratory movements
and developmental inequalities that perpetuate
ethnic wars, urban planning policies
cannot be dissociated from the outcome
of the drama being played out.
Land use planning strategies, whether
segregative or integrative, have a significant
role in maintaining or undermining
these unstable equilibria.

Annick Osmont
« Governance » : a Weak Concept, a Strong Policy

At the end of the 1980s, the Anglo-Saxon
concept of « governance » was adopted
by the World Bank to enable public policies
in debt-ridden countries to adapt to
market demands. For this purpose, « good
local governance » must not only be driven
by tight budgetary policies and economic
deregulation, but must also display
transparency in its decisions. Nevertheless,
the contract between local public
authorities and the population, which is
one of democracy, does not conform to
a model used primarily to make indebted
countries fit criteria of global liberalism.

Sylvy Jaglin
Urban Management builds archipelago in Southern Africa

In the current democratization process
in Southern Africa, urban management
partners are endeavouring to achieve the
right balance between regulation and
liberalization. Encouraged by the World
Bank, privatization of community services
is making up for the inadequacies
of the public monopoly. It is in South
Africa that the inhabitants’involvement
in these transformations seems the most
advanced, at the risk of running counter
to the rules of representative democracy.
Locally persisting ethnic and social antagonisms
are making new national regulations

Thierry Paulais
The market in Black African cities

In what is commonly called the urban
crisis in Black Africa, markets, whether
specific facilities or commercial areas,
are having a severely disturbing effect
on local policies. The polarization of
cities around these markets, in urban
centres or close to railway stations, gives
rise to urban dysfunctions, the cost of
which weigh heavily on communes with
scant financial and technical resources.
The failure to relocate these markets
shows that in isolation, local authorities
are unable to control the conditions of
city-wide access and supply.

Rebecca Abers
Grassroots Participation in Porto Alegre in Brazil

For some twenty years, the municipality
of Porto Alegre has been closely
involving the inhabitants in decisions.
The extravagant investments of previous
years have given way to small operations
defined by a more socially balanced
distribution of resources. The new
participatory structures, which go
against the local client-oriented
approach, have made change a longterm
objective but still leave the most
deprived people without any say in matters.

Anete Brito Leal Ivo
Experience with Urban Governance in Salvador de Bahia in Brazil

The democratic project of the municipality
of Bahia in Brazil, newly elected
in 1992, is having to cope with a public
funding crisis and worsening social
inequality. This municipality, which is
generous but lacking in governmental
experience, is meeting with opposition
from local leaders and the machinery of
government. Despite differences of opinion
from within its ranks, the new progressive
coalition has initiated some
innovative operations in the fields of
cultural promotion, education and

Diana Mosovitch Pont-Lezica
The Subsidiarity Policy in Godoy Cruz and Mar del Plata in Argentina

In two medium-sized towns in Argentina,
Godoy Cruz and Mar del Plata, decentralization
of local management responsibilities
in a neo-liberal context is
building on the significant features of
each urban entity. The inhabitants from
the middle and working classes are organized
in neighbourhood associations and
are making themselves heard in the face
of the privatization of services. In Godoy
Cruz, in an industrial region, their pressure
has influenced social policies in
favour of fairer redistribution. In Mar
del Plata, in a farming and tourist region,
local demands remain low key.

Rob Atkinson
The Vagaries of Inhabitants’Participation in Urban Governance in Europe

Urban governance is defined as a more
or less informal system coordinating
players of various origins, both public
and private, working in socially fragmented
and geographically variable
areas. In a Europe in the grip of social
precarity, this term has come to reflect
the links forged between the protagonists
of solidarity or urban social development
policies. But the actual participation
of the inhabitants concerned is
still the blind spot of this new trend.

Dominique Lorrain
Administrate, govern, regulate

The development of cooperation between
the local public sector and private
companies in a heteronomic urban
context does not justify recourse to the
concept of governance, which originally
referred to a set of more or less
informal measures for simplifying
social relations in big American firms
in the inter-war period. Local government
and administrative coordination
are still concepts capable of accounting
for current trends. In this context,
trade mechanisms, hierarchies and the
sharing of common orientations are all
variables relevant to the analysis of
local interrelationships.

Dominique Joye, Vincent Kaufmann
Fifty years of Land Use Planning in Geneva

An examination of urban planning procedures
in Switzerland, a country with
a long urbanistic tradition, highlights
the increase in the scales of reference
and key players. In Geneva, the expansion
of commuting zones, environmental
protection systems and action plans
against poverty are thus enlarging the
decision-making circle. Parliamentary
representation confronted with democracy
on a case-by-case referendum
basis is the body most affected by this
new trend.

Jean-Philippe Leresche
Swiss Cities Braced against Poverty

In Switzerland, growing inequalities and
the exclusion process are taxing the
social services, which are highly compartmentalized
between the confederation,
the cantons and the communes.
Despite this negative fragmentation, the
urban agglomeration provides the most
appropriate framework for making
public and private actions complementary
to one another. The concept of local
governance as a new horizon for social
policy coordination takes on meaning
with the crisis of local finances and questioning
as to the finality of public action.

Michel Grossetti, Christophe Beslay, Denis Salles
The Neo-Republican Model and Industrial Reconversion Sites

Since decentralization, many skills networks
have been disorganizing the traditional
interplay between community
leaders and the prefect. In cities undergoing
industrial reconversion, there are
various forms of cooperation between
local players and specific operators. The
growing power of expertise and international
market linkages are leading
towards a highly fragmented decision
system led by the Département (county)
and ad hoc organizations - a system that
can be described as neo-republican.

Dominique Chevalier
Urban Policy, the reserved sphere of the mayor ?

Decentralization, openness towards
Europe and the social fracture are conducive
to the mass-mediatized commitment
of mayors fully determined to make their
mark on their city. The presidentialization
of the metropolis system is particularly
strengthened through urban planning
decisions. Any charismatic mayor
worthy of the name must be able to
mainstream the smallest kerbside repair
into a universal forward-looking vision
that does not neglect local history.

Taoufik Ben Mabrouk
The Metropolitan Ambition of Lyon

In spite of unanimistic language, big cities
are always living environments where
antagonistic pressure groups will clash.
Intercommunal cooperation, which pays
lip service to rational planning, has only
gradually been phased into the Lyon urban
area. The emergence of Michel Noir’s
leadership in the 1980s merely revived
old quarrels between the elected representatives
in the city centre and those in
the outer suburbs. Owing to these tensions
and to the project to form an urban
region, the State departments maintain
their presence in local affairs to some

Jean-Marc Offner
Saint-Denis/Bobigny Tramway embracing Uses and New Uses and New

The history of the tramway from Saint-
Denis to Bobigny in the greater Paris area
challenges the assumption of negotiated
cooperation between the State and the
local authorities on which the urban
governance concept is based. The decision
and then the building of this tramway,
which was uncontested, are consistent
with the regulation model between the
centre and the fringes of power based on
the symbolic tension between the State
and the suburbia, and on the political
consensus around the technology involved.

Nathalie Hubler
Interplay of Actors on the Var Coast

Nature conservation policies on the Var
coast, despite being seemingly disorganized
and ineffectual, are patterned by
their protagonists’strong self-replicating
logics. The most common way of overcoming
conflict in the use of an ecosystem
threatened by destruction, is for community
leaders to call on international
expertise and invoke local interests.
When all is said and done, the symbolical
equivocation of the environmental
concept ensures a degree of political stability.

Gilles Jeannot, Fabienne Margail
Strategic « Awareness-raising »

The « awareness-raising » procedure
illustrates the State’s new position
towards decentralization-based urban
planning. In the urban agglomeration of
Marseille, the Public Works Departments
provide objective information on economic
and social trends in the metropolitan
area and on risks of urban malfunctioning,
in order to encourage the institutional
organization of the urban area
and to make it a subject of public debate.

Taoufik Souami
Whether to Participate in Governance ?

Urban governance set up as a paradigm
introduces doubts as to the ultimate aims
of public action and the sincerity of its
partners. Utilitarianism based on a liberal
approach, which secretly inspires
successive social participation systems
is widening the gap between legitimate
institutions and individuals or unorganized
minorities. Repeatedly making
argument for the partnership procedure
is evidence of a lack of understanding of
the relationships specific to populations
considered as excluded or fringe groups.

Gilles Novarina
Building Social Demand through the Urban Planning Project

The Anglo-Saxon concept of governance
attaches little importance to the social
antagonisms underlying urban planning
decisions. It is mainly concerned with
socio-technical processes for developing
major urban projects but ignores day-today
municipal management or the difficulties
of expression of local disadvantaged
inhabitants. But speaking of governance
or urban systems brings up further
questions on forms of local democracy
and the conflictful building of the
general interest.

Alain Bourdin
Governance, Social Consciousness and Management of Urban Services

Geographic mobility, family instability
and deteriorating employment are putting
social consciousness to the test. The
disavowal of community values accentuates
the division of the city into reserved
areas. The impact of services on
daily life, from top to bottom of the
social scale, places their management
at the centre of urban governance matters.
Their quality can then become a
major policy issue.

Isaac Joseph, Anni Borzeix
A day without cars in La Rochelle or Democracy on a Case-by-Case Basis

On 9 September 1997 in la Rochelle,
the city celebrated the commonweal by
giving the citizens back the pleasure of
being able to walk and meet together in
streets devoid of cars. Throughout this
sunny event, the city’s general public
tuned its many movements into the open
air, health, the heritage and conversation.
The universal message of an event
such as this owes much to the long-standing
pedagogic and republican spirit cultivated
by the municipality.

Carlos B. Vainer
Urban Planning based on Tolerance

Since ancient times, urban legend has
celebrated the miracle of the peaceful
coexistence of heterogeneous groups in
the same place. Modernity has brought
this ability to integrate diversity right
into the individual conscience of the citizen,
a two-minded figure if there was
one. But the unanimistic and utilityfocused
strategic planning doctrine now
being advocated by urban planners gainsays
the antagonisms at play in the city
patchwork. Conversely, building the city
as a place where cultures which can
never entirely lose their specificity,
revives the tradition of urban tolerance.

Yves Chalas
Urban Planning as Practical Thinking

Urban planning that aims to repoliticize
the city at grassroots level, far from
large-scale projects, is preventing the
experts from monopolizing daily life.
The neighbourhood concept serves as a
pretext for triggering dialogue between
elected representatives, experts and
inhabitants. This pragmatic urbanism
rejects spatialism, coercive economic
planning and technicism. But its extreme
sensitivity to fluctuating contexts makes
its aims uncertain.