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Dear colleagues,

We are happy to announce details of the 4th International Conference on Private urban governance & gated communities (Paris, June 2007)

Private Urban Governance : Production of urban spaces, Interactions of public and private actors, Sustainability of cities.

5-8 june 2007

Location : Paris, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

More information :

Chair of local organizing committee & contact :

Dr. Renaud Le Goix, Assistant Professor Univ. Paris 1

UMR Géographie-cités 8504 (CNRS, Universités PARIS I et PARIS VII) 13, rue du four 75006 PARIS - Tél : 01 40 46 40 01 - Fax : 01 40 46 40 09


Deadline for proposals (short abstracts) : 31 october 2006

Please download the MS Word Template on the Conference web site for your abstract.

Dealine for papers : 31 march 2007


Following the successful international symposium on Territory, Control and Enclosure held in Pretoria in February 2005, the next conference in the biennial series of the international research network Private Urban Governance & Gated Communities (which started in Hamburg in 1999) will be hosted in Paris, in the week 5-8 June 2007, at the University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne.

Are the new models of urban territorial production created by privately-operated urbanization significant for the evolution of cities? The question focuses on the urban patterns generated by the private provision of collective urban services. Cities have always been shaped by private interests engaging in the development of land under private ownership and this process has, in the modern era, generally been structured by state organised infrastructure development and land use regulation. More recently, collective territorial interests have been represented by institutions other than the state, producing urban spaces that are public but not open to all and private but open to many co-owners. Homeowners Associations, Planned Unit Developments, Business Improvement Districts, Redevelopment Zones, condominiums, shopping malls, Community Development Corporations, Common Interest Developments, gated communities, airport cities and similar are creating space and territory that is neither purely public nor purely private.

A decade or more of research on private urban governance has shown how important it is to understand the dynamics by which these phenomena interact with other parts of urban systems, including neighbouring communities and the wider urban economy, society and polity. Local public authorities play a key role in the evolution of privately governed territory, imposing financial and organisational regulations, controlling land-use, restricting land availability, co-ordinating infrastructure and regulating resident and housing types. An active public governmental role in the production of club neighbourhoods is nevertheless quite consistent with the gradual erosion of publicly-owned and managed territory. In many ways the story is an extension to the trend emerging in Europe in the 1980s, for a shift from direct production to enabling, contracting out and regulation of public services. A private urbanism is emerging in which PUDs, BIDs, CIDs and other forms of private realm are key features.

In thinking about these issues, we should be reminded from history that urban morphological change has always involved interconnected private and public actions. Public policy, subsidy, taxation, regulation, arbitration and direct investment have strongly influenced private investment decisions. Potsdamer Platz in Berlin and London Docklands tell the story of public planning relying on private developers to fulfill the state’s objectives. On one sense, the sprawling private suburbs of Beijing and Buenos Aires are part of the same story. There is also an earlier historical story in which private infrastructure, much of it retro-fitted – London’s underground railway for example - helped shape the first wave of city expansion. A century later, privately financed infrastructure is once again being retrofiited to resolve the congestion problems of large cities throughout the world. The private-public partnerships are more explicit this time round and more complex and implemented using sophisticated legal instruments.

With these ideas in mind authors are invited to submit papers with the following emphases:

- historical and cultural analyses that help develop an understanding of the significance and nature of private urban governance in the long-term shaping of cities.

- the nature of formal public-private partnerships, including an analysis of how partnership forms of urban governance are framed by different social and national contexts and how they shape territory

- the regulation of private urban government, including self regulation, state regulation, private dispute resolution

- sustainability issues, including the idea that private urban governance might well be a locally sustainable urban solution, stabilising the financing of urban growth and the redevelopment of aging neighborhoods; maintaining social diversity; conserving non-renewable urban resources; and encouraging reinvestment in urban infrastructure

- impacts and spill-over effects of privately governed territory on other parts of the urban system, including social cohesion effects, local spill-overs of crime diversion, systemic spill-overs of traffic diversion, fear and so on.

The conference aims, therefore, to address several cross-cutting P.U.G. issues and to encourage multidisciplinary debate (notably geography, economics, sociology, history, political sciences, law). It will also provide a forum for discussing operational issues of concern to planners and policy makers.

Paris offers a good laboratory for studying the long-term emergence, transformation and contemporary reshaping of private urban governance. A site visit will take delegates to some of the oldest private residential gated subdivision (Montretout, 1832) - the blue-collar 19th century private streets and villas of downtown Paris. This will help focus on the historical conditions of emergence of private governance and public-private partnership. We will also visit sites where new complex interactions are emerging in the suburban areas, for instance between Disney, developers (Kaufman and Broad, Nexity) and public body of governments (in Marne-la-Vallée). In some places, local public governments behave as if they were CIDs (small scale democracy based on consensual agreements); in other places, public debate has ultimately forced public authorities to ban the development of private gated enclaves - where they once were used as part of “new urbanism” designs near Disneyland Paris.

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