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Essay

Access_open In de ban van stadsgoeroes?

Herijking van inspiratiebronnen voor stadsbestuurders

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2020
Auteurs Prof. dr. Nico Nelissen en Dr. Wouter Jan Verheul
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The urbanisation of society is a well-known fact. It is perhaps less well known that this process is accompanied by the emergence of ‘city gurus’. By this, the authors mean advisers, scientists and other authors who have an international influence on the thinking and actions of city administrators and other urban policymakers. City administrators nowadays often find their intellectual inspiration from ‘contemporary city gurus’. They are usually not public administration experts; instead they come from the fields of urban geography, urban economics, or urban sociology. Their ideas do however resonate in administrative practice. The questions that the popularity of contemporary city gurus raise are: is this a hype or is it really about thoughts that have a lasting impact on ‘urban development’ and city management? Which city gurus are we actually talking about? There are several of them, but in this essay the authors highlight a few that can be counted among the favourite speakers among the ‘science and advisor conference goers’ in recent years: Richard Florida, Bruce Katz, Richard Sennett, Benjamin Barber and Jeb Brugmann. The city gurus ask us to have an eye for the city. But the authors of this essay believe that that also means that we must be aware of differences, because every city and every city dweller is different, and that requires an interpretation of the ‘city of difference’. The popularity of the city leads to an increase in those differences and they present us with various considerations and management issues.


Prof. dr. Nico Nelissen
Prof. dr. N.J.M. Nelissen is emeritus hoogleraar aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, redactielid en oud-hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Dr. Wouter Jan Verheul
Dr. W.J. Verheul is onderzoeker, adviseur en universitair docent aan de Technische Universiteit Delft bij de faculteit Bouwkunde. Hij houdt zich bezig met urban governance & leadership, grote iconische stadsprojecten, stedelijke gebiedstransformaties, place branding en place making.

    This essay is written on the occasion of the appearance of the Dutch translation of Richard Sennett’s new book Building and dwelling. Ethics for the city. For more than half a century Sennett has been occupied with the position of man in the changing society in general and with the life of people in the city in particular. Apparently he doesn’t stop thinking and writing about it. His central thesis is that in the past decades, we have worked from the vision of the ‘closed city’, a city that was conceived and designed by professionals in advance, while for the future there is a need for an ‘open city’, a city where not everything is carefully planned in advance, but where there is room for unpredictability and coincidences. That sounds and is very abstract indeed, but it is a signal that is being delivered in the direction of a city nowadays controlled by state and capital, that should make room for a city that is more inspired by civil initiatives and civil involvement. A statement that is, moreover, largely at odds with the current practice of urban design and spatial planning in the present era. Does this mean that Richard Sennett’s central message has actually been said in advance against ‘deaf ears’? Is the chance that ‘his mission’ ends up in the right place already gone in advance? When we talk about the city Sennett distinguishes between two (and inseparable) dimensions: the city as a physical space (‘ville’) and the city as a whole of people of flesh and blood (‘cité’). It is a fascinating quest for the phenomenon of city: an ‘academic pilgrimage’ to an uncertain urban site, an ‘open city’, undergoing the purification of talking with the great figures in the history of (urban) sociology and urban planning.


Prof. dr. Nico Nelissen
Prof. dr. N.J.M. Nelissen is emeritus hoogleraar aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, redactielid en oud-hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.
Reflectie & debat

Access_open Slavernij in de maatschappij

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 2 2019
Auteurs Dr. Karin Lurvink en Drs. Tamira Combrink
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Reflection and debate initiates academically inspired discussions on issues that are on the current policy agenda.


Dr. Karin Lurvink
Dr. Karin Lurvink is post-doc onderzoeker aan de VU. Drs. Tamira Combrink is promovenda bij het International Institute of Social History. Zij waren collega’s binnen het onderzoeksproject ‘Slaves, Commodities, and Logistics’. Lurvink was verbonden aan de Vrije Universiteit als postdoc-onderzoeker en publiceerde artikelen over slavenverzekeringen in de achttiende eeuw. Ze promoveerde in 2016 op een studie naar gedwongen winkelnering op plantages en veenderijen in de negentiende en twintigste eeuw. Combrink werkt als promovenda aan het Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis en publiceerde over de impacterijn van op slavernij gebaseerde producten, zoals suiker en koffie.

Drs. Tamira Combrink

    Despite the praise for Richard Florida’s new book The new urban crisis, it remarkably can be seen as an ‘urban confession’ or even as a ‘public penance’ for everything he wrote before in his glorious publication The rise of the creative class. That book offered the opportunity to look at the city in a different way and to formulate approaches for new urban politics. As a child, Florida and his family fled the city with its crime and other problems and moved to a suburb. As a young intellectual, Florida returned to the city, where he became interested in the role of the creative class in the process of re-urbanization. During his academic research, he discovered the ‘magic formula’ that cities could flourish by stimulating this creative class. However, his belief in this magic formula has eroded and now, about fifteen years after his publication, he admits he was mistaken. What seemed a solution appeared to be the cause of ‘the new urban crisis’. In his new book, the ‘urban optimist’ is replaced by the ‘urban pessimist’. New policies are needed that replace the concept of ‘the-winner-takes-all’ by ‘urbanism-for-all’ to stop the so-called ‘patchwork metropolis’ of segregated neighborhoods.


Prof. dr. Nico Nelissen
Prof. dr. N.J.M. Nelissen is emeritus hoogleraar aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, redactielid en oud-hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    Since 2001, the Dutch province of Overijssel has had its own knowledge centre focusing on urban society, called the ‘KennisInstituut Stedelijke Samenleving’ (KISS), alongside national knowledge centres. This essay gives an overview of some relevant KISS meetings devoted to a many kinds of citizen participation. The overview is based on reports made by the author himself. Examples of citizen participation are: the new styles of neighbourhood governance, citizen participation through neighbourhood budgets, the strength of the city and location-based leadership, innovative urban renewal and the promotion of citizen initiatives in the province of Overijssel. Examples are not only from the province of Overijssel (situated in the east of the Netherlands), but also from other parts of the Netherlands and other countries (Flanders, United Kingdom, United States and all over the world). The subject of citizen participation (in connection with urban renewal and administrative leadership) enjoys an ever-increasing popularity as is shown by the number of KISS meetings devoted to this subject.


Dr. Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de opleiding European Public Administration aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.
Interface Showing Amount
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