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Governance, participation and in-between

Inclusion in policy making and policies for inclusion in four Western European metropolises
Ernesto d’Albergo


Cet article présente une comparaison des pratiques par lesquelles les acteurs non-institutionnels sont intégrés dans les processus de gouvernement à Londres, Madrid, Paris et Rome. Des concepts bien connus comme ceux de gouvernance ou de participation sont utilisés de manière singulière pour former un continuum idéal type des différentes formes d’inclusion. Dans chaque ville, le degré de consistance et de complémentarité entre les pratiques de gouvernance et/ou d’inclusion peut-être le résultat d’une politique d’inclusion explicite et complète concernant l’ensemble de la ville, fondée sur une stratégie cohérente, ou bien est expliquée par d’autres facteurs. Les convergences et les différences entre les quatre métropoles européennes sont expliquées en analysant le rôle joué dans chaque ville par des variables comme l’orientation de l’agenda politique, la nature du système politique urbain et les changements qui l’affectent, l’organisation institutionnelle des collectivités locales, la force du leadership politique et ses stratégies pour chercher un consensus avec les intérêts économiques et la société civile ainsi que les pressions exogènes exercées par des acteurs nationaux et transnationaux qui fournissent aux acteurs locaux des cadres cognitifs et normatifs.

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1The European metropolises are at the centre of the global-local relationships and of political rescaling processes (Brenner, 2004). This makes them places in which local regulations of economy and society can increasingly take place. The kind of relationships between urban society and political systems these regulations are based on depends on institutional legacies as well as the specific way in which every city reacts, through «new» policies, to challenges and opportunities coming from the external environment. Cities have reacted to globalization partly similarly and partly differently, carrying out policies and strategies with different orientations (Savitch & Kantor, 2002; Jessop, 2002; Brenner & Theodore, 2002; d’Albergo & Lefèvre, 2007). The actions of this generation of policies are commonly supposed to be more effective and governable if produced through consensual and cooperative relationships between political institutions and the urban society. For this reason different non-institutional actors are included in different forms into decision and implementation processes. Such inclusion is expected to provide solutions not only to the functional needs of policy making, but also to the local political elites’ need of legitimization. Thus, many forms of inclusion appear to complement the processes of concentration and personalization of political power, which also at the local level result in a reduction of democratic spaces and underpin the dominion of the elected actors (Jouve, 2004).

2This article presents a preliminary comparison of the inclusion of non-institutional actors in governing processes that has been put into practice in four Western European metropolises, namely London, Madrid, Paris and Rome. The analysis focuses on the relationships between the various inclusive initiatives and practices that are put into place within each city, which may be contradictory or consistent, incompatible or complementary with each other. The actual degree of consistency and complementarity may result from a city-wide explicit and comprehensive policy of inclusion, based on a coherent strategy, whose presence and characteristics are detected in the article. The possible complementarity between different practices in places where inclusion is a sum of politically and institutionally fragmented initiatives must be explained by other factors.

3Every single inclusive practice and initiative as well as the overall strategies of inclusion, if present, may have different nature and meaning, which in the article are discriminated adapting to this specific analytical need a couple of concepts – governance and participation – through which the various forms of inclusion into the governing processes have been analyzed and interpreted by political and social sciences since the nineties. Such concepts are used here in a very ideal-typical and stylized manner as the opposite and internally coherent poles of a continuum, whose articulation and meaning are presented in section 2. Basing on this ideal-type the repertoire of inclusive initiatives put into practice in the four cities is shortly presented in section 3. The existence (or not) of a comprehensive policy and strategy of inclusion is identified using indicators that are presented in section 4 together with a first empirical verification. A tentative interpretation about the factors that may explain the most important analogies and differences between the cases of London, Madrid, Paris and Rome is presented in section 5.

An ideal-typical stylization of inclusion : between governance and participation

4Nowadays the formal inclusion of non-institutional actors into public action processes by initiative of the political leadership is a largely diffuse and orthodox phenomenon. Inclusion is considered to be important above all for three kinds of reasons, which are not always present altogether. First, for functional reasons, as the complexity of public policies makes necessary resources that are under control of non-institutional actors. Second, for political reasons, as including non-institutional actors may produce democratization effects. Third, for social reasons, as inclusion may contribute to create social capital (Sintomer & de Maillard, 2007). Moreover, there can be further expectations, such as effects of elites’ legitimization. For this reason in different cities, metropolitan areas, boroughs, as well as within a city in different times, the motives, modalities, consequences and meanings of inclusion can be dissimilar.

5So far the existing heterogeneous forms of inclusion have been mostly identified through concepts such as governance and participation. These two keywords are widely diffused in the lexicon used both in the «real world», within the communities of auto-reflexive actors that concretely produce inclusive practices, and by political and social scientists, and this has contributed to make their meanings to some extent blurred. Besides, if risks of ambiguity come from the overlapping of analytical and normative perspectives in social and political research, such a risk is made visible by the interchangeable use of these two concepts, as well as by their combination to form a synthetic concept such as that of «participatory governance». This article proposes a different and specific use of the concepts of governance and participation, conceived as the opposite ends of a semantic continuum forming an ideal-type of the inclusive practices. On this basis it is possible to analyze the relationships existing within a metropolis between the initiatives and strategies of inclusion promoting practices that can be found on the far ends of the continuum, or on intermediate positions. In particular, one may ask on what condition can they be found within the same space of urban government ?

  • 1 For the same reasons of space a discussion on how does inclusion occur (forms, methodologies, degre (...)

6On the opposite ends of such a continuum there are two patterns of inclusion that are both internally coherent and divergent from each other. They are based on four major variables: who (which actors) is included in the policy-making; on what (which policies and stakes); where (at which spatial scale) and why (aims and meanings of the promoted inclusion according to the strategy of the promoter, although unexpected or counterintuitive effects are possible). As it is impossible to discuss here the modalities of such variables1,they are summarized in the figure 1.

Figure 1. The Governance vs. Participation ideal-type

Figure 1. The Governance vs. Participation ideal-type

7At the ends of the continuum there are :

8(i) practices of governance, in which private actors (stakeholders, vested interests, business) are included in order to reach consensus and harmonize the existing preferences concerning economic development and the use of space that produces important allocation of resources on a wider urban scale. Such inclusion is consistent with and/or contributes to the primacy of economic growth within the goals of urban policies, while there is either indifference for, or less attention is paid to its social and environmental costs.


10(ii) participatory practices, in which actors bearers of interests and values oriented to common goods and conflicting with the strategies of economic growth and urban space exploitation, such as no-profit associations, committees, social movements, weaker social groups, single inhabitants, are included in processes through which priorities about the use of urban space on smaller, neighbourhood scale as well as social services are set. Such inclusion is consistent with and/or contributes to introduce into the making of public policies more concern for social sustainability of economic development, social inclusion, redistribution and the common goods, even as a complement of pro-growth policies. This can also happen through processes of rhetorical sterilization of potential conflicts or symbolic compensation.

  • 2  Information comes from web sites and downloaded documents. For reasons of space URL are omitted.

11At first sight the notion of «participatory governance» sounds incompatible with such a semantic opposition between governance and participation, looking like a contradictory oxymoron. This concept can be found in studies with a rather strong normative orientation (e.g. Fung & Wright, 2003) and in analyses that keep together social and economic actors within a very comprehensive, even blurred definition of civil society (e.g. Lovan, Murray & Shaffer, 2004). Moreover, participatory governance schemes can be instrumentally set in a policy’s implementation phase with the aim of overcoming local protest and the «nimby» syndrome (Papadopoulos & Warin, 2007, p. 446). The empirical evidences coming from a first comparison2 of single inclusive practices and overall strategies and policies of inclusion in London, Madrid, Paris and Rome using the governance vs. participation ideal-type make evident (see below) how the practices in intermediate positions share some aspects with the mentioned participatory governance scheme.

Practices and forms of inclusion

Governance practices

12Practices with the characteristics of the ideal-typical «governance pole» are present in all the four cities.

13Economic interests are the most important interlocutors and partners of London’s government. The institutionalisation of the Greater London Authority (GLA) itself was based on such a coalition and they are represented in the governing boards of the London Development Agency (LDA) (Newman & Thornley, 2003, p. 103). In Madrid the inclusion of economic and social actors has a definitely neo-corporatist shape as strategic decisions are based on the dialogue between political actors and big organizations representative of firms and labour. The Consejo Director de la Ciudad, the Consejo Local para el Desarrollo Económico y el Empleo and the Consejo Rector of the agency Madrid Emprende are the most institutionalised boards in which such organizations are members. The 2008-2001 strategic plan of Madrid Emprende was decided through an inclusive process of such economic and social interests. In Paris the municipality’s agency ParisDeveloppment board’s members are the Chamber of commerce, firms, but not representatives of the trade unions. The Conseil de développement économique durable is an informal task force whose function is to provide the mayor and the adjoints au maire with advices for policies and actions in the field of sustainable development, employment and innovation and international. Firms and trade unions are part of the Council, together with non-representative members (single firms, banks, scholars). Even though in the rhetoric of sustainable development this should be based on principles such as gender equality, fight against racial discrimination, poverty, exclusion etc. (Codev, 2002), such policy takers are not included in political processes on the city scale.

14In the 2002-2008 period a practice with some features of neo-corporatism and some others of the Parisian Codev has been present in the Project of Rome, a permanent consultation board of the mayor, composed of the city’s most important economic organizations and trade unions. After the political change occurred in 2008 a new Committee was established, without the presence of the trade unions and with the inclusion of single firms and individuals from the economic and academic fields. Its purpose is to provide the City with ideas and goals for a forthcoming strategic plan.

Participatory practices

15Participatory practices at the borough level are also present in all the four cities. These are many and differentiated in London, in the field of economic development and strategic planning (Local Strategic Partnerships), health (Local Involvement Networks) and social (Local Compact) policies. In most of these practices the inclusion of business leaders (should) go together with the inclusion of the community sector and disadvantaged social groups, through a variety of methods and techniques. According to a national law of 2002 the 20 arrondissments rule the 121 Conseils de Quartier of Paris so that their composition, mission and activities are very different from each other. The Concejos Territoriales de los distritos of Madrid are very institutionalized consultative boards, within which a highly structured civil society takes part in the political processes especially concerning social issues. In Rome municipi there are some sporadic experiences of participatory budgeting, while third sector organizations are institutionally involved in the planning and management of social services. Other practices are addressed to specific social groups or categories, such as young people (Paris : Conseils de la jeunesse and Conseil Parisien de la jeunesse ; London Boroughs : Youth CouncilsandYouth Cabinets ; Rome : Consiglio Municipale dei giovani); immigrants (Paris : Conseil de la citoyenneté des Parisiens non communautaires ; Rome : consiglieri comunali aggiunt i; Madrid : Mesas de Diálogo y Convivencia Distritales) and the elderly.

16Several participatory practices take place in the implementation of national and European area based urban policies aimed at urban regeneration, social inclusion and/or community safety. These programmes and their participatory devices and styles are not under control of local political actors, even though these inclusive experiences may not only generate learning opportunities concerning attitudes and methods for further local initiatives, but also disappointments.

17Most of the above mentioned practices fit in with the proposed ideal-type’s poles. Economic actors are prevailingly included in processes with valuable stakes on a city (Rome, Madrid, Paris) or metropolitan scale, while no-profit civil society and single inhabitants are commonly included in processes with minor stakes, especially at the neighbourhood level. In intermediate positions along the ideal-typical continuum there are some practices in London, Paris and Rome. The best value review of consultation and engagement of the Gla group provides a framework for the consultation activities (Gla, 2003) in which the target of consumers, users, citizens, voters, taxpayers, experts, individuals, communities to whom address initiatives of Consultation, Public Engagement and Stakeholders Engagement is wider than economic interests. The presence of community sector organizations and of communities based on cultural, religious, ethnic, place and interest, as well as gender identity, which are often excluded by democratic processes, provides London government’s politics of inclusion with the need to identify «key equality target groups» (Lda, 2007). Such a wider target is also present in the Code of Consultation (Oda & Lda, 2008) of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

18In Paris the urban renewal projects undergo consultation procedures such as the Enquête publique on Grands Projets de Renouvellement, the consultation on the Plan Local d'Urbanisme and the Débat public, which are open to individuals and associations. The Rome City’s master plan passed in 2008 was submitted to open consultations and since 2006 a City regulation of citizens’ participation on urban transformation decisions provides a framework for open processes of consultation.

19Such hybrid inclusive processes, apparently embodying principles compatible with the «participatory governance» scheme deserve further investigation, in order to ascertain first of all whether formal rules and official rhetoric actually concretize in real practices. The institutional actors that are part of the policy communities of urban planning and urban renewal projects have been exposed to cognitive inputs concerning participation coming from European programmes such as the Urban and Urbact initiatives. Thus, they reproduce the so called «acquis Urban» endorsing the inclusive processes through which urban projects undergo the consultation of civil society. This sort of institutional transplantation produces isomorphic practices but also brings with it the possibility that widely inclusive initiatives turn out to very difficultly keep together private stakeholders and civil society (Vicari Haddock, 2004,p. 123), as in order to influence major political decisions the former do not need such practices. In such cases «participatory governance» schemes (see above) may be interpreted as hegemonic tools, simulacra of active citizenship through which getting consensus from a wider urban society on uses of the urban space that are actually preferred by a restricted number of economic actors.

Are there city-wide policies and strategies for inclusion ?

20Within each city the actually realized inclusion and the relationships between different inclusive practices can be the result of :

21(i) an explicit and comprehensive policy of inclusion based on a unitary politics and strategy, transversal to various policy sectors and different territorial and institutional scales within an urban or metropolitan area (Ville and Arronndissments ; Greater London Authority and London Boroughs; Ayuntamiento de Madrid and Distritos, Comune di Roma and Municipi). When such a strategy does exist practices that are different as concerns the included actors, object, stakes and methodologies are intentionally projected as reciprocally consistent and complementary ;


23 (ii) a sum of fragmented initiatives, based on distinct inclusive strategies developed by several institutional promoters within different sectors of public action and aimed at different specific collective problems and/or territorial scales. In this case the coexisting practices can be not only diversified and independent from each other, but also based on different, if not conflicting goals and values. Any possible compatibility between them could depend on factors that are far different from a policy of inclusion carried out at the city or metropolitan level.

24The existence of an explicit and comprehensive policy and politics of inclusion based on a unitary strategy, transversal to various policy sectors and different territorial and institutional scales can be deduced from two indicators: (i) the presence of a programmatic document and/or an institutional regulation from which a strategy clearly emerge stating who is to be included, where, how and above all for which purposes; (ii) the presence of a political and institutional roles of coordination, supervision and harmonization of inclusive practices. According to such indicators, synthetically exposed in figure 2, a comprehensive policy does exist in Madrid. In Paris an attempt does emerge to coordinate and harmonize the participatory practices, while the ones that are classified here as forms of governance belong to a different field of political action and responsibility. Such a policy is not present in London and Rome, so that between the inclusive processes there is reciprocal, albeit implicit compatibility.

Figure 2. Indicators of existence of a policy of inclusion

Figure 2. Indicators of existence of a policy of inclusion

25All the Madrilenian forms of inclusion are deeply regulated, especially by the City’s Reglamento Organico de Participación Ciudadana, (AGEPC, 2004) which provides a legal and organizational framework. All the practices fall under the responsibility of an official appointed by the mayor, who manages a City’s office in charge of all the types of inclusion (territorial and sectoral). Because of such an organic management all the inclusive practices are based on homogeneous principles, within which the existing of organized structures of civil society and economic actors is an asset for making the city governable through negotiation and agreements.

26In Paris the démocratie de proximité is a value and a programmatic point of the current mayor. There is an Adjointe au Maire in charge of the Vie Associative et de la Démocratie Locale et des relations avec les associations, and of the Mission Démocratie locale. Nevertheless, the policy of inclusion is less comprehensive than in Madrid, as the practices through which the economic actors have access to decision-making are not part of the same area of political and administrative responsibility. Moreover, when trying to harmonize the highly differentiated forms of conseils de quartier, the City’s political actors are hampered by the autonomous ruling power of the arrondissments, guaranteed by the law. The City’s strategy is then to make up for the absence of authority resources through political and cognitive resources. The Printemps de la démocratie locale are (since 2004) yearly events of discussion of the issues of participation. The Charte de la participation (2009) is an attempt to harmonize the forms of participation across the arrondissments through a participatory, cognitive and not authoritative process.

27In London the inclusive practices at different spatial scales are reciprocally coherent, as both public-private partnerships and the consultation procedures that are often imposed by the law are based on the managerial approach typical of the New Public Management. This shared underlying normative and organizational model makes up for the absence of a centre of political and administrative responsibility within the GLA, whose codes and guidelines concerning consultation (GLA, 2003) only apply to its own policy making and in particular to the LDA, but not to the Boroughs. Other than being object of the central government’s normative pressure, the Boroughs show their own propensity to experiment a wide range of inclusive methods, from those typical of strategic planning to a variety of consultation procedures.

28In Rome the inclusion of economic actors within city-wide consultative boards coexist with very different participatory practices run by political actors at the borough level. The actions of the City administration for providing lower level institutions with incentives or regulations in order to establish or enhance participatory practices are far weaker than in Madrid and Paris. If there is no comprehensive and explicit policy of inclusion at the city scale, the inclusive initiatives here classified according to their governance vs. participation features are complementary to each other and together have an effect on governability. This reflects the pluralism of Rome’s political system, as the political promoters of inclusive initiatives have preferential relationships with different parts of the urban society.

29As far as single practices are concerned the ideal-type governance vs. participation confirms its discriminatory effectiveness, as it makes quite clear their different political and institutional meaning. But the ideal-type does not prove to be effective as concerns a city’s field of practices as a whole. In other words, both the approaches of governance and participation are present in every city but it is not easy to ascertain whether an overall model of inclusion oriented toward governance or participation is prevailing. The apparent complementariness between governance and participation practices and its contribution to a city’s governability in absence of an explicit comprehensive policy of inclusion deserves further analysis. For the moment it is possible instead to put forward some tentative hypotheses about the factors depending on which such a policy may or not be present, and about its strength.

Explaining analogies and differences : tentative hypotheses

30The presence/absence of an explicit comprehensive policy of inclusion may depend on both subjective factors and exogenous constraints.

31Subjective factors: all the promoters of non-political actors’ inclusion have their own goals and strategies and within a city and its government these can be very different. The political leadership, that usually is mayors, may be more or less interested in and/or have more or less capacity to govern and orient the inclusive initiatives and practices attributing them a common meaning. This attitude is to be considered interdependent with a city’s policy agenda, the characteristics of the local political system and the leaders’ strategies towards the urban society.

32Exogenous constraints: all the promoters of non political actors’ inclusion act within a framework of constraints, rules, pressures and other important exogenous factors, such as the institutional arrangement of the urban or metropolitan government, the institutional resources on which the political leadership can rely on and the normative, political and cognitive pressure concerning why and how to promote inclusive policy-making coming from national governments and trans-national or supra-national actors.

The policy agendas

33In the neo-liberal urban policies the priorities of growth and competitiveness can be more or less radical or hybridized with social and/or environmental concerns (Jessop, 2002). Such hybridization helps to explain why the making of economic development policies is opened to a wider participation, with the inclusion of non-economic actors. In London and in the United Kingdom the «third way» paradigm, to some extent aligned to with neo-liberal principles, has made the GLA group’s and the Boroughs’ inclusive initiatives easier to fit together, even when the governments’ political orientations were different. This convergence has made up for the lack of political authority of the metropolitan government over the London Boroughs. In the «temperate» neo-liberalism of the «Modello Roma» only recently has the priority of economic growth entered the agenda and at least as far as rhetoric is concerned, until 2008 it was combined with objectives of social cohesion and solidarity (Jouve, 2007), even though according to some authors growth concern remained preponderant (Allegretti & Cellamare, 2009). A strategy trying to give voice in distinct arenas to different if not conflicting interests and/or identities was not pursued through an explicit policy and politics of inclusion, but through the complementary and not politically coordinated presence of governance and participatory practices.

34Only recently did the Ville de Paris discover how much new urban policies including economic development as a central aim were important, as the inertial good position of the city among the global cities did not make up anymore for political measures aimed at innovation and competitiveness. Also in the case of Paris the coexistence of growth, social cohesion and solidarity within the politics of development helps to explain the coexistence of governance and participatory practices, even though these remain separate, except for the consultation on urban renewal projects. As far as the latter are concerned the actual sharing of a same inclusive space by private stakeholders and no-profit actors of civil society is still to be empirically verified. The case of Madrid is characterized by a stronger and clearer orientation of the policy agenda towards urban competitiveness. Within this orientation the cooperation between firms and trade unions is so much institutionalized to provide with a taken for granted model even the proximity participatory practices, so that participation and governance are ruled according to a unitary political and institutional vision.

The role of politics

35Bipartite or bipolar political systems and political changes within them are likely not to hamper convergence and continuity in the making of public policies, as well as in the inclusion of non-political actors. So far the political change affecting the GLA in 2008 (from the Labour Party member mayor K. Livingstone to the Conservative B. Johnson) has not brought dramatic changes. The boroughs run by the two parties do not show important differences as far the mix of governance and participatory practices is concerned and in the repertoire of inclusive methods and forms. Not even in the Parisian arrondissements ruled by the left and the right political wings do appear important and regular differences in the regulation of the conseils de quartier, even though decentralization and participation have been from 1995 to 2005 a conflicting issue and also a resource in the political conflict. The left put the démocratie de proximité on top of its agenda, while the right feared its possible political effects (Lidgi, 2001; Kuhlmann, 2004; Houk, 2004). In Rome in the 1997-2008 period the mayoral coalition including the Green Party and the Neo-communist Party, together with the moderate parties of the centre-left Party has been a facilitating factor of inclusive practices’ plurality. Several political entrepreneurs, each one with his/her own specific political culture and relationships with the civil society, have been able to follow their own, even diverging preferences. The coexistence of contradictory practices has been made possible, while an explicit overall inclusive policy has not.

The leadership strategies towards the urban civil society

36Theory and research on urban regimes has shown how important is the propensity of urban political leaders to establish coalitions with economic and social partners. In all the four analyzed cities political leaders try to establish consensus on a wide social block, including business as well as other parts of the urban society, but this occurred in different ways.

37In Madrid the privileged relationship with the economic interest is evident and institutionalized but it appears inconceivable without the involvement of the trade unions. In the urban society the tendency to form associations is important and political leaders consider it an important base of consensus and governability. Thus an amount of resources is invested in order to legitimate and support the strengthening of associations. The design of inclusive practices is also aimed at such a goal, through both neo-corporative arrangements and reserving participatory practices above all to the organized actors of civil society. Even in Paris does the political leadership try to build consensus on the inclusion of different parts of the urban society, coherently with a policy vision based on sustainable development. This is a motive for the political and institutional investment, even though weaker than in Madrid, in a city policy for inclusion, albeit governance and participation remain two separate spheres.

38In London the political strategies of both the Labour Party and conservatives leaders are oriented toward a high profile involvement of economic actors in the governing processes and this makes coherence between GLA’s and Boroughs’ inclusive practices easier. At the metropolitan level the inclusion of business has been growing in the years without metropolitan government (1986-1999) through the public-private partnerships (Urban Development Corporations ; London Planning Advisory Committee) and this has been going on during the phase of projecting and establishing of the GL, as well as during the years of K. Livingstone’s mayorship. Such a model, which can also be found in the Boroughs, is due to the competitiveness goals and the fiscal dependence from the national government, to be made up for by the mobilization and support of private partners (Newman & Thornley, 2003, p. 98). As it was mentioned above, this has been going together with the inclusion of non-economic actors, due to the orientation towards sustainability of the economic development agenda.

39Within the «Modello Roma» (1997-2008) the fragmentation of the governing political coalition made easier for each component to establish privileged relationships with different sectors and interests of the urban society and to use institutional resources in order to make such relationships stronger. After the 2008 elections, changes affecting in the governance practices reveal the aim of an even more privileged relationship with the economic interests. In the municipi (borough level institutions) run by centre-left coalitions some participatory practices open to weaker social actors and no-profit civil society still survive. This is made easier by the lack of a city-wide policy of inclusion.

The institutional arrangement of territorial government and political leadership

40Some important factors depending on which a city-wide, explicit and based on authority resources policy of inclusion can be carried out or not are to be found in the local government’s institutional morphology. In all the four cases it derives from the national legal order.

41A first aspect concerns the status and the resources of the political leadership. All the four cities share a tendency to reinforce the mayor brought about by national reforms during the last ten years or so. The personalization of power and leadership and the control exerted over institutional levers make not only the political consensus easier, but also the integration of policy actions carried out by political coalitions. This factor is important in Rome and Paris, where the mayor’s legitimating umbrella can be easily extended to cover inclusive initiatives and practices established within different policy domains.

42A second aspect concerns the degree of fragmentation and independence (tightly vs. loosely coupledness) between the institutional components of urban government. If infra-municipal institutions are a prerequisite for proximity participation their autonomy from the City or the metropolitan government also hampers a city-wide or metropolitan-wide policy of inclusion that is able to constrain or influence the inclusive initiatives of the «local» leadership. Madrid’s political leadership can rule the governance and participation types of inclusion at the city and neighbourhood levels, but not at the metropolitan scale, as well as the mayors of Paris and Rome, even though the Ville de Paris is trying to extend some inclusion procedures to the metropolitan area. The latter cannot directly rule the démocratiedeproximité by authority, so have recourse to a more «open» method of coordination, based on cognitive resources. The mayor of London may implement his own strategies of governance and participation at the metropolitan scale, but has even less authority to influence the boroughs’ policies, like the other institutions of the weak English regionalism.

The exogenous pressures

43Even in times of political rescaling the national normative frameworks still play an important role in the structuring of local governments and in providing them with guidelines for action. In particular national policies promote or endorse different forms of inclusion in the local policy making, through compulsory norms or incentives. Local governance forms are embedded in institutional settings ruled also on a national basis (Kazepov, 2005, p. 29). Both the enquête publique and the consultations on the PLU have been ruled by national laws. Italian laws provide for forms of inclusion in the regulation of local governments even though prescriptions are less compulsory than in the British, French and Spanish legislations. Sector-based laws, such as the one of 2000 concerning the local welfare, and the regulation of national urban area-based programmes, such as the Contratti di quartiere (neighbourhood contracts) are more mandatory and detailed.

44A lot of national prescriptions rule the inclusive initiatives in London. The Greater London Act of 1999 (section 32) obliges all the GLA group to consult economic and social actors. Being a Regional Development Agency, the GLA must also comply with the 1998 Act on regionalism. Boroughs ought to consult stakeholders and citizens according to the laws on local government of 1998 and 1999, by the Race Relations Amendment Act of 2000, thePlanning and Compulsory Purchase Act of 2004. Local Involvement Networks (LINks) were provided for by the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Actof 2007. Above all, the Local Strategic Partnerships, introduced by the Local Government Act of 2000,are a model of strategic planning imposed by the law. Both the 1978 Constitution, and the Ley Reguladora de las Bases del Régimen Local of 1985 provide Madrid’s leadership with legitimization and encouragement to implement inclusive initiatives and instruments. All the local regulations of inclusive practices explicitly refer to national rules.

45Because of the processes of globalization and European integration the European cities are subject not only to national directives but also to pressures coming from trans-national and supra-national actors. Both the urban policies and the inclusive practices can be partially intended as local adaptations to normative and cognitive pressures coming from national governments as well as trans-national actors, such as the European Union, the Oecd, other than several city-networks. The four analyzed cities are part of member countries of the EU and of course exposed to globalization, so this does not explain the variance existing among them. But interesting research perspectives on the different way influence coming from the same source may be different perceived come from the sociology of translation (Czarniawska, 2002) as well as the policy transfer (Dolowitz & Marsh, 2000) and institutional transplantation (De Jong et al., 2002). For example programmes of urban policy such as the different generations of the Urban EU’s initiative, local Agenda 21, etc. (Blanc & Beaumont, 2005) are sources of models of inclusion promoted or supported by conditionality or cognitive resources and not by authority. The case of Paris, differently from the Madrid one, shows how the urban leadership may draw on this methodological lesson, which does not refer to the «if» or «why», but to the «how» to promote a city-wide policy of inclusion even when authority resources are lacking.

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1 For the same reasons of space a discussion on how does inclusion occur (forms, methodologies, degree of institutionalization, kind of social relationships) and on its consequences is omitted.

2  Information comes from web sites and downloaded documents. For reasons of space URL are omitted.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. The Governance vs. Participation ideal-type
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Titre Figure 2. Indicators of existence of a policy of inclusion
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Ernesto d’Albergo, « Governance, participation and in-between »Métropoles [En ligne], 7 | 2010, mis en ligne le 08 juillet 2010, consulté le 13 avril 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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