Urban policy

From Baripedia

We will see what urban policies are, how they have been implemented and how they have been transferred to meet changing demands and needs. Today, just over 50% of the world's population lives in cities. From a descriptive point of view, Geneva is a medium-sized city that has kept its balance in proportion with its natural environment, and Los Angeles with the L.A. River which was completely concreted makes that it remains of the river of Los Angeles only a channel of wastewater which being emblematic of the majority of these cities in rupture with their natural environment. What are urban policies? Who is governed? What is governed? What is the urban space?


In real time, we see a representation of a part of the planet with some very striking elements. The luminous concentrations correspond to significantly urbanized regions. The means are such that the lighting possibilities are not representative of overall development. For both coastal areas and northern India, urban development has accelerated over the past century in close proximity to important ecosystems. We can be questioned about the proximity of large areas next to very fragile ecosystems such as mountains and seas.

The UN estimate proposes a projection of 5 billion urban dwellers in 2025. Cities of 8 million and over will be the standards. By 2015, 33 cities around the world had already reached a population of 8 million or more. Cities and metropolises continue to attract the population and encourage urban immigration because they concentrate not only economic and cultural facilities but also natural and financial resources. In this context, there is also a reversal of agglomeration trends. There is a fragmentation of the whole territory. Between Geneva and Lausanne, there are almost peri-urban areas if we take the whole of this large future urban area, but in the middle of the countryside. There is a territorial fragmentation which makes the classifications that we had until now completely obsolete. Trends have changed, definitions are becoming increasingly blurred and correspond less and less to territorial realities.

The 21st century raises the question of whether it will be the end of proximity. This is a trend that every urban planner today must integrate into his vision of the city and every responsible decision maker of the city that is the absolute necessity of proximity to the workplace simply because of the ecological footprint of cities and the way resources are used. There is the will to integrate new concepts of urbanization, new urban policies in the conception of the city and the urban fact.

In two centuries, we have gone from a very disparate vision of urban areas to megacities. In 1961 in Megalopolis: The urbanized Northeaster Seaboard of the united States, John Gottman began calling these urbanized areas "Megalopolis". We can no longer really talk about a city, it is a huge space that is urbanized. The origin of the megalopolises is a more political vision than a territorial reality that dated back to 370 BC at the time of the Peloponnese peace. By joining the forces of the cities, it is possible to develop a critical mass and a military power that could develop a power unlike isolated cities.

What is the city today[edit | edit source]

We must understand what urban policy is about. The city is a representation of a connective thought, an association with the formation or expression of a civilization. Shanghai has become the metropolis of the 21st century par excellence because of its density with the population, its scale, its urban form with buildings and its economic specialisation. From Machu Picchu to Rome, today's city requires and demands different policies. The transformation that makes Shanghai the perfect example of the urban area of the 21st century means that cities continue as in the past to be the place of development of human societies, accelerates exchanges between human beings, but also innovation. These same cities are increasingly places of inequality, poverty and environmental degradation. Despite these negative elements, cities constitute to develop.

There are two things to consider:

  • The concept of centrality: a major element that is still relevant is the question of centrality without which the city cannot exist. In the concept of centrality, there are some important elements which are the common and permanent place of worship, the place of the market, the concentration of decision-making bodies such as town halls and municipalities as the place of conception of the city and management of a society. Geneva, like all other cities, is becoming polycentric. It is a particularity to be integrated into urban policies which is the mutation of urban space in the sense of a morphology.
  • The appearance and development of cities presupposes specific conditions: until now, the city had to be close to an agricultural zone. There are many examples in the history of urban civilization of cities that were conceived and dreamed by a prince and did not survive. The example of Easter Island is quite revealing of the tension between the development of the city and the extraction of resources from the environment.

The urban economy is essentially based on the economic specialisation of a city and how this specialisation can grow according to a new division of labour. Geneva is a global and world city in terms of global governance with very important decision-making centres enabling the city to develop and grow.

The city is not an isolated creation, it is in relation with the space which surrounds it according to morphological dispositions. Some cities develop according to a very particular thought or way of life. The city of Salt Lake City dates from the late 19th century in the state of Utah and was thought to become the capital of the Mormons. The city is the place from which control of the territory is established. The city, is not reduced to urban objects, it gathers a population with a demographic, social and ethnic composition.

From the city to urban policy[edit | edit source]

The city exercises political and administrative functions that are in line with the territorial framework, it is the place of exchange and centrality and the place of dissemination of ideas, expression and struggles. It is a place that encourages a certain endless growth if all these elements are not integrated into urban policies.

On the basis of the functionality of the city, urban policy can be defined:

  • guarantee the possibilities of regulations related to its functions, in particular the choice of the public authority within the framework of these functions;
  • the city gives way to the expression of formal and informal organizations;
  • it must facilitate the response to change and the need for rapid intervention.

The City and the State: scene and actor of urban policies[edit | edit source]

The issue raised is that of decision-making and intervention power. If you have a strong state, a municipality is weak, the main actor in this configuration is the state. Other configurations make the municipality an important part of decision-making. The decision-making and intervention powers make the Cities and States the main actors in decision-making.

According to Tribillon, the external conditions of urban intervention depend on:

  • The speed of urbanization: starting from a speed of urbanization and a "demographic quantity", i.e. the accession to the city either by migration or by birth, any urban policy becomes impracticable if it is not rethought.
  • Urbanization costs and available resources: very high urbanization costs and insufficient resources are the main costs borne by the population. If the cost of urbanization is not spread throughout the territory, it will create equity and equality problems.
  • State power and public authority: can establish reformist urban planning. In the absence of a strong public power, the bourgeois legal city withdraws from the poor population.

In order to determine who is in charge of urban policy, there are two major points. Understanding urban policies means understanding the relationships between social groups and the transformation of the role of urban governance actors:

  • social control: ideological positioning from one city to another and socio-economic positioning;
  • Urban governance must also integrate the role of the State in the provision of public services: the provision of public services, particularly through the welfare State, is also economic promotion outside traditional prerogatives, such as private companies that take risks.

Control - social contract[edit | edit source]

All these elements make the local community, like the State, the major actors in urban governance. Urban policy has two extreme poles.

Géopo politique urbaine contrôle social 1.png

The dynamics between different groups and social control are the result of compromises between the state and the city. For Marxists, urban policies reinforce the role of the city as a place of demands and class struggle, while for functionalists, urban policies are an instrument for improving the city. These two different readings participate in the negotiations that exist between the actors that are the State and the communities.

Urban governance[edit | edit source]

The State may govern a city by decree by entrusting it with territorial administration powers, by endowing it with a development plan, by launching beautification and urban renovation programmes.

In the dichotomy between the State and the urban community, urban policy can be decreed, but it is difficult to find the support of social groups to take over and create a crisis of legitimacy. Urban policy is undergoing a crisis of speed due to globalisation and raises questions about the relationship with space, nature and work that have evolved. The economic crisis with the arrival of new economic actors and the general interest paradigm are integrated into urban policy, as is ecological awareness with the mobilization of all local actors and the emergence of new urban ideologies. The State will intervene more and more in order to regulate globalisation and meet the needs of its population. The local community is developing as a guarantor of the balance between the welfare state and globalisation.

From the sanitary city of the 19th century to the sustainable city of the 19th century[edit | edit source]

Cities are the main sources of development and aggregation of life and the main sources of environmental degradation. Environmental degradation increasingly motivates politics to protect the environment and promote certain behaviours.

The debate of the hygienist city of the XIXth century had to solve and solve the problem of salubrity and public health. The urban growth that followed the Industrial Revolution required a re-reading of the city that was the hygienist city in order to use the means and technologies available to clean up the city. We saw a new vision of the city moving away from the city as a centre of degradation and insalubrity. It is a concept of reinventing the city by injecting the natural environment in small doses. It is an idyllic vision of the city where nature can be replanted in the city to address the health problem and make the city healthier. The issue of the natural environment was accompanied by a series of other measures such as wastewater treatment. The very symbol of this transition was the urban park and a speech around the hygienist city. The town of the 20th century with Olmsted made the urban park the location of a landscape that was very far from the town that is the green space. It is quite an effort to transform the city so that it feels like the countryside. The conception of nature in the city was the trigger for a new vision of the city not only as a kind of problem, but as a source of well-being. This had to be reinstated in a new reading of the city. Today, the discourse about these green spaces is no longer relevant. Social reformers were preoccupied with disadvantaged neighbourhoods and nature became like an antidote to the city's misdeeds. The standardization of urban parks means that they are places of recreation, safety and free from the misdeeds of nature.

The reality of the city is the immediate proximity of the production areas of environmental degradation. This proximity makes this vision of nature completely obsolete and outdated. The question is how to integrate nature into the city through urban policies. Cities, once redesigned with the right policies can have a positive impact on the natural environment. There is a need for new urban management and the integration of new urban knowledge.

The new urban nature generates a debate on the environment and on cities as environments. On the other hand, the city is a hotbed of degradation due to climate change and various pollution but redevelopment can play a positive role. Urban nature contributes to environmental quality and urban nature is important for the well-being of the population, the economy and equity in the city. The green economy is the promotion of sustainable policies and renewable energies encouraging the transition from fossil energies to renewable energies.

New urban policies for urban transitions?[edit | edit source]

Urban change[edit | edit source]

There is more and more talk of urban transition. The concept of a city in transition is the sum of local initiatives to mitigate the effects of a future crisis related to environmental, consumption pressures and consumption patterns. Urban policies can in no way change the city, but they can incorporate elements of urban transition. This can be profound changes with citizen measures to adopt a model of "living in a sustainable city" that concerns all dimensions of the city. From the state of today's cities to what they will be goes through a transition with incentives and taxes. There is not going to be a radical change, but we are entering a city in transition.

Today's city results from the integration of a viaire system on founding grids that make today's city very complex.

Autopia, E-topia, Utopia[edit | edit source]

Autopia and the Environment[edit | edit source]

Motorway networks cause pollution, congestion and have to cope with air laws. On the other hand, mobility is at the centre of urban concerns, for example, in the United States, this represents 94% of trips. Some local authorities advocate an increasing wisdom of the Internet and actions on the cost of transport with individualisation of travel costs and urban tolls. Internet economy would influence the number of trips, but e-commerce involves a massive redeployment on the territory maxi-deposit-minicentres of distribution.

E-topia and physical space transformations[edit | edit source]

Published in 1999, Etopia by James Mitchell shows how the Internet is transforming the urban. The industrial revolution has forced the separation of work and home while the digital revolution will bring them together again. The principles of strategic planning must be reviewed on a city scale so that the place of work and the dwelling must no longer be separated. Mixing should be encouraged. Small-scale e-commerce is an online interface that becomes the store front, but also the movable and anonymous back shop, and on a large scale, e-commerce challenges large-scale distribution with a more economical management of resources and soil leading to a redevelopment of the territory.

Utopia[edit | edit source]

It is an urban plan based on public transit. Virtual mobility is a reinforcement of the prestige of the place and proximity. The future is New Urbanism's Transit oriented development (TOD). It is urbanisation that is causing a drop in car traffic and the use of public transport between TOD. Elsewhere, a recovery movement enhances the centre. Demographic and social changes are occurring with a greater attraction of the centre to the detriment of the peripheries.

Mobility and sustainable urban planning[edit | edit source]

Mobility[edit | edit source]

We can distinguish two hypotheses with virtual mobility as reinforcement of the prestige of the place and proximity and mobility at the centre of the concern of the sustainable city, notably with the explosion of mobility which tests the ecological limits of the modern city.

Urban travel causes multiple dysfunctions in the urban system with pollution, noise, congestion, road safety and civic-mindedness. Any urban project in the sense of sustainability must be part of the balanced and prudent development of urban functions in harmony with the (natural) environment.

Public transport territories[edit | edit source]

The extension of the public transport network and a priority to intermodal transport forming the backbone of TU's public policies. The transformation of the public transport market is taking place in the logic of supply, replacing the logic of demand. The TU is no longer confined to the mobility sector, but is also becoming an instrument of territorial and social cohesion.

From the mobile city to the sustainable city[edit | edit source]

The problems linked to spatial mobility, taking into account the phenomena of ecological and economic exclusion and future generations, is the subject of urban policy research.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

The idea of the intelligent city is new modes of urban regulation based on collective learning, public and private participation and consultation. The new urban policies aim to transform urban areas through mobility, economic globalisation and metropolisation.

The new reflection of urban policies is oriented towards controlling and limiting daily mobility, such as reversing the relationship between the level of development and the level of mobility, stopping the trend towards longer travel distances or even discussing the pre-eminence of economic growth over the logic of ecological sustainability by integrating the cost of non-action.

Annexes[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]