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Call for Papers: Annual Conference 2012 "New Challenges for Local Governance"

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IGU Commission on Geography of Governance

12-14 de abril de 2012, Lisboa, Portugal


Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon, Portugal

The Annual Conference of the IGU Commission on Geography of Governance, to be held in Lisbon, in April 2012, will explore some of the current problems and future challenges and opportunities in local governance.

We welcome submissions on any aspect of the broad area of local governance, but would particularly encourage papers on two main themes:

• A) The impact of the Economic and Financial Crisis on Local Governance;

• B) Citizen e-Participation in Urban Governance.

Papers may address issues related to one of these two themes, or other issues related to other aspects of local governance, by examining theoretical, methodological, and/or empirical issues. Please, do not hesitate to discuss with us any ideas that you might have for a paper on these or on other topics.


A. The impact of the Economic and Financial Crisis on Local Governance

The conference will explore the impact of the present economic and financial crisis on local governance, as well as the role local governance can play in the mitigation and in the overcome of these, geographically uneven, social and economic effects. We welcome both country reports and cross-country perspectives on the new challenges faced by local governance.

Among other topics, we would like to address the following issues:

• The impact of the financial and economic crisis on local governance structures

• The economic and financial crisis as a driver of local government reforms

• The influence of the present financial constraints on the local government finance system, on revenues, expenditures and financing capacities

• Short term and long term measures adopted by central and local governments to cope with financial scarcity at the local level

• The relation between the public debt crisis and the ability of local government to fulfill its social responsibilities within the welfare state

• The impact of local government cuts on urban regeneration, on the provision of social housing, public transport, and on other municipal policies

• Sustainable financing for urban development

• Local public sector: municipal and inter-municipal enterprises

• Public-private partnerships

• Privatization of local public services

• Re-municipalization of local public services

• The role of inter-municipal cooperation

• Metropolitan government reforms

• Abolition of regional and local administrative tiers and merger reforms

• Changes in central-local relations

• Ethics in Local Governance

• Researching the crisis and its effects: insights from public statistics and the problem of public data gaps

• Alternatives to neo-liberal approaches to local government reform

• Local governance and Spatial Justice

• Fiscal stress and urban innovation

• The crisis as an opportunity for new models of Local Governance

B. Citizen e-Participation in Urban Governance

Citizen participation in local government policy-making has been influenced, in different ways and with different outcomes, by the extensive use of information and communication technologies. With the advent of Web 2.0, a whole range of new possibilities emerged in the field of citizen participation in urban governance. This process has been empirically described and interpreted from different perspectives. The conference aims to enhance discussion on this rapidly moving issue and research field and to offer an updated account of these different perspectives, as well as of new cutting-edge methods and tools that have been employed to advance citizen engagement in local government policy-making.

In this Conference, we aim to explore and to discuss groundbreaking research in citizen participation in urban governance, in particular in the field of urban planning.

Among other issues the Conference aims to address the following topics:

• Theories and models of citizen (e-) participation in local public policies

• Methods and tools for citizen (e-) participation research

• Online and Offline citizen participation in local governance: comparative perspectives

• Digital governance

• Citizens as Voluntary Sensors in Urban Governance

• Volunteered Geographic Information for Urban Governance

• Neo-Geography and Urban Governance

• Urban Governance in the Ubiquitous City (U-City)

• Urban Governance 2.0

• Crowd-sourcing in Urban Governance

• e-Planning and Urban Governance

• Municipal e-Democracy


One of the expected outcomes of the conference is the publication of an edited book and a selection of papers in peer-reviewed scholarly journals. Plans have been made for a special issue in the "International Journal of E-Planning Research" and in "Lex Localis: Journal of Local Self-Government", and a Symposium in "The American Review of Public Administration". The selected manuscripts will undergo the standard peer review process of these journals.

We hope the conference will also provide the opportunity for the creation and/or reinforcement of inter-disciplinary research networks among members of the Commission and new participants, which might lead to future joint research projects.


All colleagues interested to participate in the conference are invited to submit, by e-mail, a 200 word abstract, by no later than 15 December 2011, to:

-Contacto: Carlos Nunes Silva, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon, Cidade Universitária, Av. Prof. Gama Pinto

1649‐003 Lisboa, Portugal



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