Table of Contents

Cities and Partnerships for Sustainable Urban Development

Cities and Partnerships for Sustainable Urban Development

Edited by Peter Karl Kresl

Over the past two decades, sustainability has become a principal concern for city administrators. It is a more than just environmental entailing economic, demographic, governance, social, and amenity aspects. After a short introduction to some theory, this book provides broad coverage of these aspects and their manifestations in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. The contributors discuss, in detail, topics surrounding measurement, growth strategy, citizen participation, revitalization, and competitiveness. Though each of the cities discussed – ranging from Shanghai, to Barcelona, to Montreal – are distinct, there are similarities that connect them all. The book highlights their common elements to provide a feasible outcome for sustainable urban development.

Chapter 6: Political engagement deficit in sustainable governance of cities in East Africa

Winnie Mittulah

Subjects: economics and finance, urban economics, urban and regional studies, cities, urban economics


This chapter examines political engagement and sustainable governance of cities in East Africa using selected participation variables from Afrobarometer (AB) citizens’ perceptions survey data1 of 2011. Political participation is embedded in the broad field of public participation which includes political, social and moral participation (Berger, 2009), all contributing to democratic governance. Political participation is conceptualized using Ekman and Amna’s (2012) definition which includes ‘civic engagement’ and social involvement, and Teorell et al.’s (2007) extensive five-dimension typology. Although debates exist on the concept of civic engagement (Putnam, 1993; Tolbert et al., 1998; Skocpol and Morris, 1999; Norris, 2002; Teorell et al., 2007), a number of scholars, for example Portney (2005), argue that public participation is at the centre of sustainable development, and sustainability is a matter for ordinary citizens. Citizens’ perceptions of the quality of services being provided by those mandated with responsibility, and trust in leaders, are important elements which have an influence in the level and quality of participation for sustainable development in cities. It is in line with this that UN-HABITAT, in its Global Campaign on Urban Governance, appreciates the concept of governance as opposed to government. Governance is an embracing concept which exists inside and outside the formal authority and institutions of government, including government, the private sector and civil society. A governance framework emphasizes ‘process’ and the complex relationship between many actors with different relationships and priorities (UN-HABITAT, 2002).

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