Governance in The Smart City: Sketches of A Research Programme in Legal Theory

[Translate to English:] A contribution by Dr Peter Gailhofer in the newly published anthology "The Globalisation of Urban Governance".

Dr Peter Gailhofer

Dr Peter Gailhofer's contribution outlines a legal theoretical approach to the “smart city”.

Smart cities – as concepts on the digitisation of urban space – conflate two transformative “mega-trends” of the twenty first century, digitisation and urbanisation, both of which are being discussed quite a lot in the social sciences and, at least recently, in jurisprudence. Focusing on the implications of smart cities for law and governance means reformulating many of the legal theoretical problems commonly associated with transnationalisation – like legal polycentricity or fragmentation – yet from a new, differing perspective, which reproduces notions of “glocalism” in a rather radical way.

A legal theoretical reconstruction of the concept of the smart city may, on the one hand, diagnose new challenges for the law, which are fundamental and practical at once. On the other hand, it helps to clarify the conceptual role and the practical importance of overarching legal values, principles or objectives like those in Sustainable Development Goal 11 and may be of use in the complex task of reconstructing their substance.

The contribution concludes with a general and preliminary proposal for a deepened exploration of the normative consequences of the digitisation of urban spaces.

Excerpts from the article "Governance in The Smart City: Sketches of A Research Programme in Legal Theory" by Dr Peter Gailhofer About "The Globalisation of Urban Governance"

The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN General Assembly in 2015 represents the latest attempt by the international community to live up to the challenges of a planet that is out of control. Sustainable Development Goal 11 envisages inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities around the world by the year 2030. This globally agreed vision is part of a trend in international policy toward good urban governance, and now awaits implementation. Fourteen original contributions collectively examine how this global vision has been developed on a conceptual level, how it plays out in various areas of (global) urban governance and how it is implemented in varying local contexts. The overarching hypothesis presented herein is that SDG 11 proves that local governance is recognised as an autonomous yet interrelated part of the global pursuit of sustainable development. The volume analyses three core questions: How have the normative ideals set forth in SDG 11 been developed? What are the meanings of the four sub-goals of SDG 11 and how do these relate to each other? What does SDG 11 imply for urban law and governance in the domestic context and how are local processes of urban governance internationalised? The Globalisation of Urban Governance makes an important scholarly contribution by linking the narrative on globalisation of good urban governance in various social sciences with legal discourse. It considers global governance and connects the existing debate about cities and their place in global governance with some of the most pertinent questions that lawyers face today. More Information: "The Globalisation of Urban Governance", edited by Helmut Philipp Aust and Anél du Plessis, New York (Routledge), 2019

Dr Peter Gailhofer is a researcher in the Environmental Law & Governance division.

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