Track 5 – The transformative city

Track co-ordinator: Dr. Marta Lackowska (University of Warsaw)

This track aims to explore the contribution of urban areas to the transformation of societies, economies and political systems, with a special emphasis on the post-socialist cities and their role and place in the democratic transition and consolidation. It looks, among others, at how urban policy experiments are transferred to central government policy and how regional (trans-border) urban alliances are transforming entire areas and produce organisational innovation. It also embraces considerations on urban rescaling as a way of coping with new challenges of reterritorialisation.

Globalisation processes have pressured cities to act as international economic and political actors. In the European context the latter role is being strengthened by European Union, which encourages subnational (substatal) actors to participate in the EU governance (for instance via institutions like Eurocities, CEMR or Committee of the Regions, or by programmes like URBACT). Exerting of the political power by contemporary cities (by some called “the resurgence of cities”) takes place not only on the international scene, but also in the domestic context transforming both of those power constellations. In case of post-socialist cities the national power interplay is especially interesting as it has started only recently, after the political transition.

In the track we will look into the way in which the cities co-shape political reality on various levels of organisation. Papers on the urban policies in relation to other scales (regional, metropolitan, national, international) are welcome, both referring to the European post-socialist context and a broader perspective.