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    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.

    In this contribution to the special issue on his own book ‘If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities’ Benjamin Barber first explains the background of his proposal to establish a global parliament of mayors: the failure of nation-states in solving the problems of the 21st century. The hope for a democratic solution lies especially in the rise of the cities and their mayors. A crucial role in this solution should be played by a global parliament of mayors. According to Barber the key issues for such a global parliament of mayors are climate change, immigration, policing and violence and urban autonomy. The biggest practical problem of this project is how thousands of representatives could meet on a regular basis. The digital technology of the information age offers the solution for this practical problem through a virtual platform for meetings of the global parliament of mayors. The global parliament of mayors is a unique form of intercity association that establishes a new form of political authority rooted in universal-rights claims: the rights of the city and citizens.


Prof. dr. Benjamin Barber
Prof. dr. B.R. Barber is als onderzoeker verbonden aan het Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York.

    The central argument according to Eric Corijn in the book of Benjamin Barber is that a legitimate political authority should be created that can add some governance, some regulation to the world system. Within the world system a democratic deficit has emerged that is caused by the process of globalization, in which international political and economic decisions are taken without reference to a global constituency, civil society, citizenship or global public opinion. Eric Corijn sees four strong arguments for an increased political role of mayors through a Global Parliament of Mayors. He also discusses three structural global challenges that can better be dealt with by cities than by dysfunctional nations: a) our relationship with nature, b) the growing social inequality, c) superdiversity resulting from migration and socio-cultural diversification. In dealing with these issues (the political agenda) the Global Parliament of Mayors should act in a pragmatic way.


Prof. dr. Eric Corijn
Prof. dr. E. Corijn is cultuurfilosoof, sociaal wetenschapper en hoogleraar Stadsgeografie aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Hij is oprichter van Cosmopolis, Centre for Urban Research (http://www.cosmopolis.be).
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