Constructing the role of the city in EU multi-level governance: a comparative analysis of the URBAN programmes in Rotterdam and Strathclyde: a comparative analysis of the URBAN programmes in Rotterdam and Strathclyde

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)


Through a detailed analysis of the EU URBAN Programmes, including the comparative analysis of the role played by two city councils (Rotterdam and Strathclyde), the thesis seeks to establish the role played by the city and the conditions which facilitate or militate against a meaningful role for city councils in EU policy-making.
Initial findings are discouraging: the EU URBAN programme developed largely as an adjunct to broader regional and environmental policies and has not moved significantly out of the shadow of these initiatives; the involvement of city councils in EU governance has not been institutionalised within the structures and processes of the EU; the extent to which city councils have been allowed to participate in EU policy processes has been contingent upon the needs and interests of other actors more central to the structures of EU governance.
However, it is argued that such a snapshot picture reveals only part of the story. Drawing on social constructivist approaches to EU governance, it is argued that the interaction and learning which take place through the participation of city councils in the URBAN programme contribute to a redefinition of the role of city councils within EU governance and a normalisation of their participation in discussions concerning urban policy. This process of institutionalisation by its nature takes time and it is clear that through programmes such as URBAN it has already become accepted that city councils have a key role to play in deliberations on matters of urban policy and in defining the very scope of such policies. As the scope of urban influence extends, and the interest of the EU in shaping the urban experience expands, it is likely that over time cities will both influence the shape of urban policy and have their own role in EU governance shaped through their participation in these deliberations. In this way the role of the city in EU governance is constructed and reconstructed.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Strathclyde, department of Government
Place of PublicationGlasgow
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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