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The 2008–2009 Global Economic Crisis (GEC) created an opportunity, eagerly seized by many national governments and international organizations, to impose a prolonged, and widespread period of austerity. Austerity is widely recognized to have done enormous damage to social, cultural, political and economic infrastructures in cities and larger urban areas across the globe (Davies, 2021). As the GEC was also the first such crisis in what is widely considered ‘the urban age’ (Brenner and Schmid, 2015), (COVID-19 merely the latest and most intense), austerity measures were chiefly administered through municipal and regional mechanisms. A great deal has been written since the crisis, about the way austerity was experienced, governed, resisted and urbanized. This volume considers these issues anew, by reflecting on the multi-faceted and shape-shifting concept of ‘collaboration’. It draws from research funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council titled Collaborative Governance Under Austerity: An Eight Case Comparative Study, led by the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity at De Montfort University in the UK City of Leicester.1 Research was conducted over three years (2015–2018) in the European cities of Athens, Barcelona, Dublin, Leicester and Nantes, North American cities of Baltimore and Montréal, and the Australian City of Greater Dandenong, part of the Greater Melbourne metropolis.
Our objective in this volume is to reflect on the theme of collaborative governance, considering this from the perspective of resisting austerity, or otherwise finding ways to circumvent or move beyond it. As a research team, we have a range of political views, but all share egalitarian sympathies articulated in the following chapters.
This chapter seeks to better understand how austerity governance has been experienced in the eight cities, from the perspective of the local state. As earlier chapters demonstrate, austerity governance is a real challenge for cities and local states, which can often have competing priorities and imperatives. This is because traditionally, local managers and elected politicians are more inclined than those of the upper tiers of the state to listen to and be responsive to the residents of their local constituencies, because they are closer to them. Consequently, the principles and rules in municipalities for managing public budgets are usually more responsive to social demands. However, if the democratic local state is a political unit, with at least some autonomy to enact its values and citizen preferences, it is also subject to a range of structural and contextual constraints. These include cultures and practices of neoliberal marketization and the level of resources available through transfers and taxation. In that respect, local state managers and elected representatives are caught in a difficult situation. On the one hand, they seek to respond to the needs and priorities of their constituents while, on the other, they operate within the constraints set by national priorities of neoliberal marketization and cuts to resources. This leaves them looking two ways, trying to overcome continuous contradictions, conflicts and uncertainties that arise from this difficult positioning.
In addition to these immediate and contradictory demands on local officials, questions of local state power are strongly connected with urban culture.
This book presents the findings of a major Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) project into urban austerity governance in eight cities across the world (Athens, Baltimore, Barcelona, Melbourne, Dublin, Leicester, Montréal and Nantes). It offers comparative reflections on the myriad experiences of collaborative governance and its limitations.
An international collaborative from across the social sciences, the book discusses ways that citizens, activists and local states collaborate and come into conflict in attempting to build just cities. It examines the development of egalitarian collaborative governance strategies, provides innovative ideas and tools to extend emancipatory governance practices and shows hopeful possibilities for cities beyond austerity and neoliberalism.
The reality of austerity in our eight case study cities and elsewhere has been strongly shaped by a phenomenon, long studied by geographers and recognized across the social sciences as well as by practitioners in policy making, politics and activism: social, political and institutional spaces are structured through a hierarchy of spatial scales that is not pregiven but socially constructed. Emphasizing scale in this manner confirms an intuitive assumption we make on a daily basis – when we go to work from our home, or when we go on vacation – that ‘spaces across the world differ from one another’ (Brenner, 2009: 27). What might sound trivial, is an important marker in the way we understand the world around us. How, then, does scale matter specifically? We all know the concept of scale from the ways we use a map or a measuring tape. In this colloquial usage, we presuppose that there is a natural quality to the concept: we rely on its truth as given. If you use a map for a cycling trip, and its scale tells you that one centimetre on the map represents ten kilometres, you assume that if you plan a trip represented by five centimetres on the map, it means that the distance you will travel is, in fact, 50 kilometres in reality (never mind the hills and valleys).
While this ‘natural’ understanding of scale underlies its use in this chapter, we add to it the notion that scale in social life is, for the most part, not a given but socially constructed.
Economic migration flows, accelerated by globalization, have substantially increased the cultural and ethnic diversity of Western societies with high GDP economies. As a large part of these migration flows are motivated by the aspirations of those living in the Global South, or the majority world, to improve their living conditions in more economically prosperous countries, the result in the host societies is not only a substantial increase in ethnic and cultural diversity, but also greater social challenges in accommodating difference as well as the policy challenges of addressing socio-spatial inequalities that already exist in cities. The rapid growth of inwards migration not only poses a formidable challenge from the point of view of intercultural relations, but also for the social and spatial cohesion of the destination societies. The resulting inequalities add to the racialized geographies of the early 21st century in many Western countries. The different kinds of migrants coming from the Global South – labour migrants, refugees, asylum seekers – and the places in which they concentrate, together with the local disadvantage created by histories of racism and colonialism of the last century, are amongst the most vulnerable to the dynamics of social marginalization and stigma. These dynamics have been exacerbated in many Western cities since the 2008 Global Economic Crisis (GEC) and the introduction of austerity policies discussed throughout the book.
This chapter discusses the way that (neoliberal) austerity has impacted social, racial and cultural inequalities and the ability of collaboration to support more inclusive democratic cities or resist exclusions.
Night-time has often been seen as the end of formal activities and the start of rest, respite or fun for many. Considered ‘after hours’, the dark period of our days has, in many contexts, been residual time for policy attention, public discussions and major initiatives beyond perhaps those emerging from the entertainment and hospitality sectors. Cities around the planet have been scantily planned for, imagined and debated at night. Yet, the night-time is all but inconsequential for our lives, especially on an increasingly urbanized Earth. All life on our planet experiences darkness to some extent. Most mammals are, after all, nocturnal. Around one in 15 employees in North America, and one in nine in Australia, work at night-time. Internationally, energy use tends to peak in the evening hours. Yet, precious little going on at night is still subject to scholarly and policy scrutiny. Here is where our primer for managing cities at night comes in. We take a cue from an emerging and, we would argue, exciting interdisciplinary crowd of ‘night studies’ (Gwiazdzinski et al, 2018), which has expanded over the last few years as a collaboration between night-time practitioners and scholars, and we step in with an intervention aimed at offering an accessible introduction as to why, and how, our cities’ night-time should be governed. We start in this chapter by stressing this growing call of night studies to put the ‘after hours’ in the spotlight, and we make a case for both the importance of governing the night-time and the necessity to do so in a way that recognizes the value of the many international experiences out there, setting night-time governance as a trend, rather than a passing fad.
This accessible guide provides a stimulating analysis of the governance of the night-time economy in cities for practitioners and newcomers alike.
Drawing on a wide range of case studies of after dark activity in cities around the world, it reviews labour, environmental services, healthcare, the role of leaders including night mayors, managers and commissioners, and the influence of both public and private sectors.
Offering invaluable insights for the future of night-time governance during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, this book deepens our understanding of the benefits, challenges and impacts of a neglected aspect of the economy.
The global crisis ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 hit cities the world over hard. Even harder hit, through lockdowns and stretched essential services, has been the world of the NTE and management. Yet, at the same time, the movement to institutionalize and discuss and campaign for the night in cities (depicted in previous chapters) also laid some important ground for tackling this, and NTE movements are already afoot. Drawing from media reports, current research, events and direct experiences by the authors, this chapter analyses how these night-time governance structures have responded to COVID-19 and shares some insights into how this crisis might reshape the way night scenes are managed around the world. The goal of the chapter is to contextualize the ‘primer’ introduction of the previous sections in the wake of one of the deepest disruptions of our century: what will the NTE look like in the future? What can be learnt and leveraged from the way COVID-19 unfolded after dark? What will happen to the trends, themes and institutions that flourished up until 2019 in a world radically challenged by the health, and economic, crisis of COVID-19? Our goal in this chapter, then, is to underline how the crisis has been impacting the trajectories and realities discussed thus far, seeking to look ahead at how these might change or return to the fore, rather than simply drawing conclusions as to the outcomes of COVID-19 when the global crisis that emerged from the pandemic is still, almost certainly, under way.
We move here to underline the importance of the urban policy context, its history and trajectory when considering night-time governance cases from around the planet. In order to think through the evolution of the governance of the night in cities with a deeper sense of context, our goal in this first of two in-depth comparative case-study chapters is to stress the value and the institutional positioning of the urban night and the underpinning economic imperatives that drive it in one or another direction. This chapter, then, is once again empirical in nature. It offers more information on the cases of London, Sydney and New York, building on our own work in several of these contexts. In Chapter 5, we move to think of questions of scale, non-governmental imperatives and continuity in the wake of changing political priorities. Overall, these are realities that deal with the issue of night-time governance in very diverse ways and present, in our view, valuable stories of institutionalization to be considered. This is not to privilege a specific set of cities, but rather to highlight the importance of stepping into the lived realities and long-lived pathways that might have cast different governance shapes in places as different as the UK, Australia and the US. Then, in Chapter 5, we speak of Tokyo, Berlin, Valparaiso and Bogota. This allows us to step beyond the summary and bird’s-eye-view approach of Chapter 3 to better account for complex private and community interests, how they intersect, and how a mix of public management institutions intersect with each other in the governance of the night-time.
The trajectories of night-time governance presented in Chapter 4 speak to the need to understand the institutionalization of how we manage the NTE within the broader context of urban governance. Numerous factors that are often sidelined in much of the practice, and some of the literature, stand out already. Questions of scales of governance, political-economic continuity, embeddedness of the NTE into a progressively 24/7 society Crary, 2013) and contestation and inequalities at night all stand out as key learnings from the stories of Sydney and London, and their Melbourne and New York counterparts, sketched out in Chapter 4. We move here, then, to look in more depth into these themes, introducing four more case studies: those of Tokyo in Japan, Berlin in Germany, Valparaiso in Chile and Bogota in Colombia. In doing so, we stress the necessity of paying closer attention to the scalar depth of night-time governance and the ‘bottom-up’ attention for the NTE that might emerge, as the Tokyo story tells us, in the absence of strong government action. Yet, to counterbalance this view, we also spotlight the challenges that might emerge from the opposite, as in Valparaiso, where local government buy-in to the NTE might not have translated directly into action and continuity (24horas.cl, 2017). In between these two cases is Berlin, a case that stresses further how the non-governmental realm is still a critical one for night-time action, and how the action of committees or associations should not be underplayed due to their capacity to animate night-time governance.