Making Southern Urban Policies

Making Southern Urban Policies: International Agendas, Transnational Networks and National Programmes


Abigail Friendly (University of Utrecht)

Gabriela De Brelàz (Unifesp)

Roberta Sakai (King’s College London)


 Debates on how the making of cities is influenced by the circulation of ideas and practices have contributed to the consolidation of policy diffusion as an analytical perspective in urban studies (Baker, Temenos, 2015; McCann, Ward, 2011; Robinson, 2011; Healey, Upton, 2010). This has led to the emergence, in different disciplines, of research concerned with the way cities in the so-called Global South have worked as sources of policy models around the world (e.g. Porto de Oliveira, 2016; Peck, Theodore, 2015; Healey, 2012). However, the major concentration on the analysis of Porto Alegre’s participatory budgeting disregards how the interaction between different levels of governance has fostered the international diffusion of a variety of southern ideas and practices in the last years. In this sense, this session encourages contributions that interrogate both the influence of southern experts and institutions in the global arena and the engagement of developing countries and cities with the diffusion of certain concepts of urban development.

We look forward to receiving papers that focus on the following issues:

  • How have ideas and practices (e.g. right to the city, urban agriculture, smart cities, social housing, slum upgrading, bus rapid transit) been mobilised and translated into policies in different contexts?
  • What has been the role of South-South cooperation, paradiplomacy and city networks (e.g. UCLG, Metropolis and Mercociudades) in the promotion of southern experiences?
  • How has the knowledge exchange between countries produced similar national policies in developing countries (e.g. housing policy, participatory urban planning)?
  • How have international organisations (e.g. UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance, World Bank, UCLG) engaged with the valorisation of southern knowledge in the last years?
  • How has Habitat III and other regional and global fora (e.g. World Urban Forum, Africities, IBSA) been able to strengthen the connections between southern institutions?

Contributions that consider similar questions not listed above are of course welcome.