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Governance and Inclusive Development

Urban governance and resilient development


The Urban Governance Cluster is part of the Research Programme Governance of Inclusive Development (GID) of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), University of Amsterdam.

The cluster brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers who study emerging governance arrangements of urbanizing spaces, socio-economic and spatial inequalities and exclusion, infrastructure and services, and spatial knowledge management systems with a special focus on explaining and reducing injustices and improving resilient development.

The group focuses on urban areas in the global South, in particular in India, Brazil, Peru, the Caribbean, and South Africa. The team consists of Prof. Isa Baud, Prof. Kees Koonings, Dr. Michaela Hordijk, Dr. Rivke Jaffe, Dr. Karin Pfeffer, Christine Richter, MA and Dr. Hebe Verrest. Currently eight PhD students, from Europe, India, Peru, South Africa and the Caribbean, are attached to the group.


The Urban Governance cluster has been a mainstay of the Research Programme for a long time, shifting gradually from studies of urban livelihoods and poverty to research on governance and institutions and drivers shaping urban inequalities and vulnerabilities. As such the focus has shifted from an emphasis on livelihood strategies of poor households to a more relational approach highlighting interactions between households, entrepreneurs and institutions in the context of new hybrid governance arrangements.

Research approach and focus areas

Rescaling of the state and neoliberal policies have led to increasing interaction between local governments and new sets of actors at various scale levels.

The current focus in the research group is on such emerging hybrid arrangements that draw in new actors in urban governance.

The group focuses on these new governance configurations in three thematic fields:

  1.  Security and urban governance
  2. Urban governance, planning for climate change and renewable energy
  3. ICT-based spatial knowledge management for urban governance