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What is (not) governed in the large metropolis? (WHIG)
As part of an informal research network between 5 teams studying the large metropolises of Paris, Mexico, São Paolo, London and Milan (led by the Ecole Urbaine of Sciences-Po Paris), a small team from the Bartlett School of Planning has started to develop a research agenda on the governance of the built environment in London. The members of the ‘What is (not) governed in the large metropolis’ (WHIG) network seek to go beyond the classic question of ‘who governs’ posed by political scientists to investigate ‘who governs what?’ (and ‘how?’), as well as ‘who governs what when the state doesn’t govern?’. A series of workshops and small pilot projects have been carried out since 2014, in particular to develop comparisons between London and Paris, which have been faced with growing development pressures over recent decades. Their built environments have become highly attractive locations for global investors, particularly in the residential and commercial property sectors, in the provision of urban infrastructure, and in productive enterprises and creative industries. These developments have occurred within the context of broader shifts in urban governance including, inter alia, processes of privatisation and deregulation/re-regulation, fiscal innovations, as well as institutional rescaling (i.e. debates on city-regional and metropolitan governance such as the ones surrounding the Grand Paris). These development pressures and new patterns of investment in the built environment have generated controversial socio-spatial impacts and have in some cases been accompanied by new or increased patterns of socio-spatial segregation (e.g. the contribution of wealthy overseas investors to the London housing affordability crisis). And yet the governance (or lack thereof), the regulation and deregulation patterns and actors that underpin these processes of investment into the built environment and infrastructure remain relatively little understood. (How) are they governed (or not governed)? A comparative perspective on Paris and London, two neighbouring ‘global’ cities strongly shaped and remoulded by international flows of investment into the built environment, is needed, to shed light on those processes and better understand them. •What are the formal and informal governance processes that shape the production and management of (particular aspects of) the built environment? Who are the key players involved? What are their ownership structures and organisational capacities? •How is power exercised and what patterns of conflict and consensus exist between state, market and civil society actors? •Is there an influential ‘dark side’ to policy-making processes? •What are the direct and indirect impacts of policy interventions and regulations on the evolution of the built environments in London and Paris? •Which processes and trends do policy interventions NOT manage to influence and if so, who ‘governs’ in those fields?
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