Discussion about the book Conflict, Improvisation, and Governance

14 januari 2016 tot 14 januari 2016
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On Thursday 14 January (20:00 - 21:30) at SPUI25, a discussion takes place with the authors of the book  Conflict, Improvisation, and Governance. 

The role of street-level practices in renewing urban democracy

In cooperation with the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

What holds our cities and our democracy together? How can the practical work of governing cities contribute to democratic renewal? With: David Laws, John Forrester, Maarten Hajer and Luca Bertolini.

These are pressing questions given the demands currently posed by migration, diversity, concerns for security, changing patterns of mobility, and persistent needs to pursue economic competiveness in a global world. Cities are a key site at which these global pressures get linked to the lives and aspirations of urban residents. Democracy takes shapes in the interactions that unfold along this boundary as the police officers, teachers, urban planners, and community development workers who are the face of government on the street engage residents’ hopes and fears, and their experiences of loss, and change, difference and common cause. Residents’ interactions with these “street-level bureaucrats” create the outcomes and memories that give practical meaning to citizenship and urban democracy. 

We will explore the role that street-level practitioners play in urban governance and democratic renewal in the Netherlands.The discussion will be centered around the book Conflict, Improvisation, and Governance that has recently been published by Routledge. The book is based on street-level practitioners’ stories of their work in Dutch cities. The stories provide grounded insights into the challenges, opportunities, and complex feelings of loss and grieving, of anger, threat and solidarity that street-level practitioners face as they improvise ways to create and sustain community by addressing practical challenges together. 

The authors of Conflict, Improvisation, and Governance, David Laws and John Forester, will present selections from the stories and discuss their approach to studying cities as well as their core findings. They will be joined in discussion by Maarten Hajer and Luca Bertolini.

About the speakers

Luca Bertolini is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and the Director of the Centre for Urban Studies at the at the University of Amsterdam.

John Forester is Professor of City Planning at Cornell University.

Maarten Hajer is Distinguished Professor of 'Urban Futures' at Utrecht University and Head Curator for the 2016 International Architecture Biënnale Rotterdam (IABR). Before joining Utrecht University he was the Director of the Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving and Professor of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam.

David Laws is Associate Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of the Centre for Conflict Studies at the University of Amsterdam.


Thursday 14 January, 8pm


Spui 25-27, 1012 XM Amsterdam


You can sign up for this program for free. Subscribing is not non-commital: we count on your presence. If you are unable to attend, please let us know via  spui25@uva.nl | T: +31 (0)20 525 8142.

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MINDBOOKSATH : athenaeum