Oslo Summer School for Social Sciences 2021

Global Urban Policy Mobilities 

Professor Kevin Ward, Geography, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester, UK

Course dates: 28 June - 2 July

Main disciplines: Human Geography, Sociology 

Course Credit: 8 ECTS

Limitation: 25 participants

Teaching: Online

 

Course content

How are we to understand the making of urban policy in a globalizing world?

In what ways do policies emerge in one place and then appear and reappear in other locations? What happens to policies as they travel between places? Who is involved in the construction of “best practice” examples and what do they reveal about the uneven power geographies of policy-making? It is to answering these questions, and related others, that a new sub-field of urban studies has emerged over the last two decades. This lies at the intersection of, on the one hand, the re-thinking of notions of place along relational lines, and, on the other, the re-thinking of what an attention to the city in the at and the making-up of urban policy. “[U]rban policy mobility studies”, as Jacobs (2012: 418) terms this work, is one strand to a broader approach centred on a relational urban geographical scholarship. It takes aim at traditional accounts of urban policy and politics. It is argued that this earlier work tended to privilege proximate relations over those from further afar. This is not surprising. Bringing into view more novel geographies of urban policy-making, however, involves not just leaving city hall – as those working on issues of governance have long argued – but also leaving the city itself. In addition, urban policy mobility studies junk the positivist/rationalist-formalist work on policy transfer, and replace it with a post- positivist /-rationalist-constructive approach. It argues that the former rests on rather narrow typologies, is insufficiently sensitive to the socially produced nature of geographical scale and underplays the extent to which policies are constituted through movement.

This course historicizes the emergence of this new sub-field of global urban policy mobilities. It introduces and discusses its intellectual origins, from across anthropology, human geography, political science, planning and sociology, before setting out its central features. The methodological consequences of understanding the making of urban policy in a global-urban context is explored before the course turns to particular case studies. These exemplify both how policies emerge, travel and appear and reappear in places, and the range of methods that have been used to study the phenomenon. It concludes by thinking through what the future of this sub-field might be in a COVID- 19 urban world.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, successful students should be able to:

  • Understand and explain the emergence of the global urban policy mobilities field;
  • Understand and explain the various methods that have been used to study global urban policy mobilites;
  • Illustrate arguments with examples and empirical case studies from around the world

Course outline

The teaching on this course will consist of nine lectures and one seminar/workshop. These will address the following themes that run through this short course:

1 Introduction

  • Dolowitz D and Marsh D (1996) Who learns what from whom: a review of the policy transfer literature, Political Studies 44 (2): 343-357 [14 pages]
  • Hoyt L (2006) Importing ideas: The transnational transfer of urban revitalization policy, International Journal of Public Administration 29 (1-3): 221–243 [12 pages]
  • Peck J and Theodore N (2001) Exporting workfare/importing welfare-to-work: exploring the politics of Third Way policy transfer, Political Geography 20 (4): 427-460 [33 pages]
  • Ward K (2006) ‘Policies in motion’, urban management and state restructuring: the translocal expansion of business improvement districts, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 30 (1): 54–75 [21 pages]

2 Foundations I: From policy transfer ...

  • Benson D and Jordan A (2011) What have we learned from policy transfer research? Dolowitz and Marsh revisited, Political Studies Review 9 (3): 366-378 [8 pages]
  • Benson D and Jordan A (2012) Policy transfer research: still evolving, not yet through? Political Studies Review 10 (3): 333-338 [5 pages]
  • Cook I R (2008) Mobilising urban policies: the policy transfer of US Business Improvement Districts to England and Wales, Urban Studies 45 (4): 773–795 [22 pages]
  • Dolowitz D P and Marsh D (2000 Learning from abroad: the role of policy transfer in contemporary policy-making, Governance, 13 (1): 5-23 [18 pages]
  • Dolowitz D P and Marsh D (2012) The future of policy transfer research, Political Studies Review 10 (3): 339-345 [6 pages]
  • Evans M and Davies J (1999) Understanding policy transfer: a multi-level, multi-disciplinary perspective, Public Administration 77 (2): 361-385 [24 pages]
  • Marsh D and Evans M (2012) Policy transfer: coming of age and learning from
    the experience, Policy Studies 33 (6): 477-481 [4 pages]
  • McCann E and Ward K (2013) A multi-disciplinary approach to policy transfer research: geographies, assemblages, mobilities and mutations, Policy Studies 34 (1): 2-18 [16 pages]
  • Stone D (2000) Non-governmental policy transfer: the strategies of independent policy institutes. Governance 13 (1): 45-70 [25 pages]
  • Stone D (2012) Transfer and translation of policy, Policy Studies 33 (6): 483-499 [16 pages]

3 Foundations II: ... to Policy mobilities

  • Bunnell T and Das D (2010) A geography of serial seduction: urban policy transfer from Kuala Lumpur to Hyderabad, Urban Geography 31 (3): 277–284 [7 pages]
  • Chang ICC (2017) Failure matters: reassembling eco-urbanism in a globalizing China, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 49 (8): 1719–1742 [23 pages]
  • Clarke N (2012) Urban policy mobility, anti-politics, and histories of the transnational municipal movement, Progress in Human Geography 36 (1): 25–43 [18 pages]
  • Didier S, Peyroux E and Morange M (2012) The spreading of the city improvement district model in Johannesburg and Cape Town: urban regeneration and the neoliberal agenda in South Africa, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36 (5): 915–935 [20 pages]
  • Harris A and Moore S (2013) Planning histories and practices of circulating urban knowledge, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 37 (5): 1499-1509 [10 pages]
  • McCann EJ (2008) Expertise, truth, and urban policy mobilities: global circuits of knowledge in the development of Vancouver, Canada's ‘four pillar’ drug strategy, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 40 (4): 885–904 [19 pages]
  • McCann EJ (2011) Urban policy mobilities and global circuits of knowledge: toward a research agenda, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101 (1): 107–130 [23 pages]
  • Peck J and Theodore N (2010) Mobilizing policy: models, methods, and mutations, Geoforum 41 (2): 169-174 [15 pages]
  • Peck J (2011) Geographies of policy: from transfer-diffusion to mobility-mutation, Progress in Human Geography 35 (6): 773–797 [24 pages]
  • Pow CP (2014) License to travel: policy assemblage and the ‘Singapore model’, City 18 (3): 287–306 [19 pages]
  • Prince R (2012) Policy transfer, consultants and the geographies of governance, Progress in Human Geography 36 (2): 188–203 [15 pages]
  • Prince R (2012) Metaphors of policy mobility: fluid spaces of “creativity” policy, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 94(4): 317-333 [16 pages]
  • Temenos C and McCann E (2013) Geographies of policy mobilities, Geography Compass 7 (5): 344–357 [13 pages]

4 Critique and state of the art

  • Baker T and Temenos C (2015) Urban policy mobilities research: an introduction to a debate, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39 (4): 824-827 (3 pages)
  • Bok R and Coe NM (2017) Geographies of policy knowledge: the state and corporate dimensions of contemporary policy mobilities, Cities 63 (1): 51–57 [6 pages]
  • Cook I R, Ward S V and Ward K (2014) A Springtime Journey to the Soviet Union: Postwar planning and policy mobilities through the Iron Curtain, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38 (3): 805–822 [17 pages]
  • Croese S (2018) Global urban policymaking in Africa: a view from Angola through the redevelopment of the Bay of Luanda, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 42 (2): 198-209 [11 pages]
  • Dolowitz D P, Plugaru R and Saurugger S (2020) The process of transfer: the micro-influences of power, time and learning, Public Policy and Administration 35 (4): 445-464 [19 pages]
  • Harris A and Moore S (2013) Planning histories and practices of circulating urban knowledge, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 37 (5): 1499–1509 [10 pages]
  • Jacobs J M (2012) Urban geographies I still thinking cities relationally, Progress in Human Geography 36 (3): 412-422 [10 pages]
  • Lauermann J and Vogelpohl A (2019) Fast activism: resisting mobile policies, Antipode 51 (4): 1231- 1250 [21 pages]
  • Lieto L (2015) Cross-border mythologies: the problem with traveling planning ideas, Planning Theory 14(2): 115–129 [14 pages]
  • Lovell H (2019) Policy failure mobilities, Progress in Human Geography 43(1): 46–63 [17 pages]
  • McCann E and Ward K (2015) Thinking through dualisms in urban policy mobilities, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39 (4): 828–830 [2 pages]
  • Müller M (2015) (Im-) Mobile policies: why sustainability went wrong in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, European Urban and Regional Studies 22 (2): 191–209 [18 pages]
  • Nciri A and Levenda A (2020) Urban policy (im) mobilities and refractory policy lessons: experimenting with the sustainability fix, Urban Geography published on-line [21 pages]
  • Robin E and Nkula-Wenz L (2020) Beyond the success/failure of travelling urban models: exploring the politics of time and performance in Cape Town’s East City, Environment and Planning C: Society and Space published on-line [22 pages]
  • Robinson J (2015) ‘Arriving at’ urban policies: the topological spaces of urban policy mobility, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39 (4): 831–834 [3 pages]
  • Savage G C (2000) What is policy assemblage? Territory, Politics, Governance 8 (3): 319-335 [16 pages]
  • Stein C, Michel B and Glasze G (2017) Learning from failed policy mobilities: contradictions, resistances and unintended outcomes in the transfer of “Business Improvement Districts” to Germany, European Urban and Regional Studies 24 (1): 35–49 [14 pages]
  • Temenos C and Baker T (2015) Enriching urban policy mobilities research, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39 (4): 841-843 [2 pages]
  • Temenos C and Lauermann J (2020) The urban politics of policy failure, Urban Geography published on-line [10 pages]
  • Weller S (2017) Fast parallels? Contesting mobile policy technologies, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 41(5): 821–837 [16 pages]

5 Doing global urban policy mobilities studies I

  • Cochrane A and Ward K (2012) Researching the geographies of mobility, Environment and Planning-Part A: Economy and Space 44(1): 5-12 [7 pages]
  • Cook I R and Ward K (2012) Conferences, informational infrastructures and mobile policies: the process of getting Sweden ‘BID ready’, European Urban and Regional Studies 19 (2): 137-152 [15 pages]
  • Larner W and Laurie N (2010) Travelling technocrats, embodied knowledges: globalising privatisation in telecoms and water, Geoforum 41(2):218-226 [12 pages]
  • McCann E and Ward K (2012) Assembling urbanism: following policies and “studying through” the sites and situations of policy making, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 44 (1): 42- 51 [9 pages]
  • Peck J and Theodore N (2012) Follow the policy: a distended case approach, Environment and Planning-Part A: Economy and Space 44 (1): 21-30 [9 pages]
  • Temenos C and Ward K (2018) Examining global urban policy mobilities in Harrison J and Hoyler M (Eds.) Doing Global Urban Research, Sage: London 66-80 [12 pages]
  • Wood A (2016) Tracing policy movements: methods for studying learning and policy circulation, Environment and Planning: Economy and Space 48 (2): 391-406 [15 pages]
  • Wood A (2020) Tracing urbanism: methods of actually doing comparative studies in Johannesburg, Urban Geography 41 (2): 293-311 [18 pages]

6 Doing global urban policy mobilities studies II

  • Cochrane A and Ward K (2012) Researching the geographies of mobility, Environment and Planning-Part A: Economy and Space 44(1): 5-12 [7 pages]
  • Cook I R and Ward K (2012) Conferences, informational infrastructures and mobile policies: the process of getting Sweden ‘BID ready’, European Urban and Regional Studies 19 (2): 137-152 [15 pages]
  • Larner W and Laurie N (2010) Travelling technocrats, embodied knowledges: globalising privatisation in telecoms and water, Geoforum 41(2):218-226 [12 pages]
  • McCann E and Ward K (2012) Assembling urbanism: following policies and “studying through” the sites and situations of policy making, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 44 (1): 42- 51 [9 pages]
  • Peck J and Theodore N (2012) Follow the policy: a distended case approach, Environment and Planning-Part A: Economy and Space 44 (1): 21-30 [9 pages]
  • Temenos C and Ward K (2018) Examining global urban policy mobilities in Harrison J and Hoyler M (Eds.) Doing Global Urban Research, Sage: London 66-80 [12 pages]
  • Wood A (2016) Tracing policy movements: methods for studying learning and policy circulation, Environment and Planning: Economy and Space 48 (2): 391-406 [15 pages]
  • Wood A (2020) Tracing urbanism: methods of actually doing comparative studies in Johannesburg, Urban Geography 41 (2): 293-311 [18 pages]

7 Taking stock (seminar)

8 Case study 1- Financing the city, the case of Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

  • Baker T, Cook I, McCann E, Temenos C and Ward K (2016) ‘Policies on the move’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 106 (2): 459-469 [10 pages]
  • Ward K (2018) Urban redevelopment policies on the move: rethinking the geographies of comparison, exchange and learning, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 42 (4): 666-683 [17 pages]
  • Ward K (2018) Policy mobilities, politics and place: the making of financial urban futures, European Urban and Regional Studies 25 (3): 266-283 [15 pages]

9 Case study 2 –Travelling the city, the case of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

  • Wood A (2014) Moving policy: global and local characters in circulating bus rapid transit through South African cities, Urban Geography 35 (8): 1238-1254 [16 pages]
  • Wood A (2015) Multiple temporalities of policy circulation: gradual, repetitive and delayed processes of BRT adoption in South African cities, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39 (3): 568–580 [12 pages]
  • Wood A (2015) The politics of policy circulation: unpacking the relationship between South African and South American cities in the adoption of Bus Rapid Transit, Antipode 47 (4): 1062-1079 [17 pages]

10 Conclusion/take homes

This last session pulls together the conceptual and methodological elements of the course. It revisits the central elements behind the emergence of the global policy mobilities field over the last two decades. Attention is paid to its conceptual and methodological consequences and the session sets out the take home points through element of both a mini-lecture and a mini-seminar.

 

Key books for course preparations

  • Clarke, J, Bainton D, Lendavi N and Stubbs P (2015) Making Policy Move. Policy Press: Bristol
  • Kingfisher C (2013) A Policy Travelogue. Berghahn Books: Oxford
  • McCann E and Ward K (Eds) (2011) Mobile Urbanism: Cities and Policymaking in the Global Age. University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis
  • Peck J and Theodore N (2015) Fast Policy. University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis
  • Roy A and Ong A (Eds) (2011) Worlding Cities. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford

The lecturer

Kevin Ward is Professor of Human Geography and Director of the Manchester Urban Institute. He is a urban geographer with interests in the financing and governance of cities. His current work explores urban policies to see where they come from, how they travel, where they end up and what these journeys mean for the cities the policies pass through. Theoretically, this involves rethinking what is meant by ‘the urban’ in urban politics, as elements of different places are assembled and reassembled to constitute particular ‘urban’ political realms. Methodologically, this involves doing fieldwork in a range of sites inside and outside of the cities that are the objects of study, literally seeking to reveal the circuits, networks and webs in and through which policies are moved. His co-edited book (with Eugene McCann) Mobile Urbanism: Cities and Policymaking in the Global Age (Minnesota University Press) was published in 2011. He is currently exploring the constitution of financial 'models' that have emerged in different areas of the world and that have been circulating as a means of funding infrastructure in the current economic condition.

Tags: Oslo Summer School, PhD, Human Geography, Sociology
Published Dec. 23, 2020 9:59 AM - Last modified Jan. 12, 2021 3:36 PM