Communities, Organizations, and Democracy: Key Challenges in Urban Governance

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How do things happen in cities, and why? This core question of urban governance is the focus of this course. Urban governance flows from a web of organizational actors, not simply from the official institutions of government. To understand why community organizations focus on certain issues, government bureaucracies prefer particular approaches to problem solving, social movements build strategy, and many other urban phenomena, it is critical to think about how the many different kinds of organizations found in cities perceive and enact their commitments, relationships, and limits. This course develops theoretical tools to think about cities at the organizational level of analysis, with a focus on the application of those tools to communities, community organizations, and public bureaucracies. The course is guided by an overarching concern with the implications of existing urban governance on the democratic promise of cities, and will be useful for students interested in community organizing, public policy formation, institutional politics, and the emergence of legitimate authority in all these domains.

Courses are subject to change at any time. Please check mySSA for the quarters, days, and times that courses will be held, as well as room numbers.