nl en

Governance of Cities and Citizens


Admission requirements

This course is available for students in the BA Urban Studies programme and to a limited amount of external students.


Today, 56% of the world’s population lives in cities, and this number is expected to increase substantially by the year 2050. This is largely due to the fact that cities produce about 80% of the world’s GDP, which is accelerating the scale and speed of demands in various services, such as affordable housing, transport, sanitation, and basic services . Rising conflict and climate change are further pressuring cities, causing massive human migration to densely populated areas, while rural areas gradually depopulate. Moreover, cities account for two-thirds of the world’s energy consumption and produce 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions, representing a significant challenge to government efforts to reduce carbon-based emissions.

Considering the relevance and centrality of cities for governments worldwide, this course explores the complex and dynamic relationships between cities and their surrounding regions, the actors involved in urban governance, and the institutions and policies that shape urban development.

First, the course will discuss key concepts related to “the city” embedded in governance scholarship, such as strategic planning, building inclusive cities, the politics of urban governance, and participatory governance.

Second, the course will also address normative aspects related to city governance and citizenship, examining questions about who 'owns' the city and struggles for sustainable and just cities in the context of power and the struggle for hegemony among different stakeholders (e.g., technocrats, multinationals, activists).

Third, the course will elaborate on the latest conceptual developments not only in urban studies and governance, but also in relation to environmental politics, and will also touch upon current key debates in urban policy and governance by considering cases from the Global South. In the tutorials, insights from the readings and lectures are further explored and discussed.

Course objectives

The student is able to:

1) Understand the complex and dynamic relationships between cities and their surrounding regions, and the role of urban governance in shaping urban development;
2) Identify key concepts of contemporary governance theories and apply them to cities and urban development;
3) Identify and analyze the key actors involved in urban governance and the institutions and policies that shape urban development;
4) Reflect on the normative aspects underlying urban governance;
5) Develop critical thinking skills and the ability to engage in informed and productive discussions, through active participation in tutorials, analysis of readings, and in-class discussions.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Tutorials (mandatory)
    All students are expected to attend every tutorial session of the course. If a student is unable to attend a tutorial or lecture, they should inform the lecturer in advance, providing a valid reason for absence. Note that lectures and tutorials are in-class (depending on Covid-19 measures).

Assessment method


  • Midterm exam (open questions)

  • Final paper

  • Tutorial exercises


Partial grade Weighing
Midterm Exam 40%
Final paper 50%
Tutorial exercises 10%

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assesment components.

  • The weighted average of the midterm exam grade and the final exam grade needs to be 5.50 or higher.

  • This means that failing exam grades cannot be compensated with a high tutorial grade. Failure to attend at least 3 out of 4 tutorials leads to a grade of 1 for the tutorial grade.


If the end grade is insufficient, or the midterm exam grade or the final paper grade is lower than 5.50, there is a possibility to retake the midterm exam and/or the final paper. The deadline for resubmission of the final paper is to be consulted with the lecturer. There is no resit possible for the guest lecture memo.

Faculty regulations concerning participation in resits are listed in article 4.1 of the Faculty Course and Examination Regulations.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.

Reading list

To be announced.


The programme’s administration office will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.

General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

Registration Exchange

For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Student Affairs Office for BA Urban Studies


A limited amount of external students can follow this course as an elective course. To enroll, send an email to the Education Administration Office: