This course starts from the premise that urban politics and governance arrangements shape the character, form, and function of cities as well as the planning strategies used to make them more just, equitable, and sustainable. Using a focus on cities in the developing world, the course examines an array of governance structures (centralized versus decentralized institutions; local versus national states; participatory budgeting, etc.) and political conditions (democracy versus authoritarianism; neoliberal versus populist versus leftist party politics; social movements) that are relatively common to cities of the global south.
The course is structured around a comparative analysis of theories and cases that give us the basis for documenting the ways that politics affect urban policy and the built environment of the city more generally. The course’s critical approach to case studies and policy prescriptions will also prepare students to formulate relevant planning strategies in the future. Among a range of policy domains, special attention is paid to transportation, housing, mega-project development, land policy, and environmental sutainability, with most examples drawn from Latin America, South and East Asia, and Africa.