The seminar discusses research on the forms of urban public spaces governance that are emerging in London out of a rearrangement of governance responsibilities between local government, communities and private interests. Based on cases of public spaces under a variety of different governance arrangements, the research critiques the dominant explanations of those processes, and suggests a far more complex picture in which empowerment and disempowerment of stakeholders of various types happen at the same time, along complex lines defined by geography, strength of stake and representation in formalized governance transfer contracts, and local authority institutional capacity. We suggest that the resulting ‘localization’ of the governance of public spaces, the devolution of governance responsibilities to those local actors with the stronger stake in them, does not intrinsically reduce the publicness dimension of public space, but it reshapes that notion towards one with a variety of ‘publicnesses’, with their own governance dynamics and positive and negative consequences.
About the Speaker:
Prof. Claudio de Magalhães is Professor in Urban Regeneration and Management at the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL, with a background in architecture and urban planning. In the early stages of his career, he worked for 12 years as a planner in local and regional government in Brazil, acquiring considerable experience in urban governance and in the management of urban investment programmes for urban and regional development. From the mid-1990s he has worked as an academic in the UK, first at Newcastle University and since 1999 at UCL. His interests have been in planning and the governance of the built environment at various levels, looking at property development processes and urban regeneration policy, the management of urban quarters, and the provision and governance of public space. Claudio has conducted research for Research Councils, professional bodies such as the RICS, CABE, UK government departments and local authorities and published on property markets and globalisation, capacity building for urban governance, the relationship between urban governance, the built environment and property markets, business improvement districts and the provision and management of public spaces. His most recent research looks at the relationship between planning policies and perceptions of risk in the housebuilding industry. His most recent books include: Design Governance, The CABE Experiment (2017) and Planning, Risk and Property Development: Urban Regeneration in England, France and the Netherlands (2013). He is currently working in a new book comparing the governance and management regimes for public spaces in London and Hong Kong.
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