Governance of rapid urbanisation from a global perspective

Lead universities: UoC, SYSU and JNU:

Prof. Dr. Frauke Kraas (UoC)
Dr. Carsten Butsch (UoC)
Prof. Xue Desheng (SYSU)
Prof. Sucharita Sen (JNU)
Prof. Milap Punia (JNU)

We aim at an empirically based and theoretically informed understanding of local processes, actors and organisations, institutions and mechanisms of governance in situations of rapid urban growth.
In many cases rapid urbanisation results in unsustainable structures, which then determine further development paths.

Of special interest for the understanding of rapid urbanisation is the urban fringe, since this is the area, where the urban is created and rural-urban linkages and conflicts are most visible. Urban development corridors in newly emerging mid-sized cities are of particular interest here, as they contribute to the blurring of legal and social orders.

While urbanisation-related processes are highly diverse and remain linked to partially idiosyncratic regional histories, we aspire to establish a strongly comparative agenda.

Our activities will focus on two major issues:

1) We will explore the role of self-organisation, collective group action, emergence of institutions, elites, and co-management of material and immaterial resources between state, municipality and civil society groups. Where possible, we will trace the historical trajectories of these processes in order to assess continuous and structural changes.

2) We will explore the dynamics of urbanisation on the urban fringe and the multiple relations between the urban, the peri-urban and the rural. We will compare the different frameworks under which the actual land acquisition on the urban fringes take place and how rural livelihoods are transformed (UoC and SYSU Geography Departments already have worked extensively on "villages in metropolises" and on the "urban fringe").