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Governance of Cities and Citizens


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA Urban Studies.


How are contemporary cities governed? How to address their increasingly ‘wicked problems’? How to manage public security in our complex urban environments? The course begins addressing these questions by first explaining the scope, main themes and challenges of contemporary urban governance and why–as some scholars argue–the city has become increasingly complex and decentered, not only spatially and structurally but also conceptually. In order to provide focus, the course elucidates key notions of urban governance by concentrating on the level of security governance.

On the one hand, the course illustrates the particular importance of metropolises such as London or Paris in the constitution of ‘global’ threats and policing responses. These ‘city-regions’ have become key players with global responsibilities and challenges. Here, the course first explains the commonalities and differences between various police systems, models and technologies of policing and reviews results of comparative research, predominantly in Europe, capable to highlight the role that metropolitan authorities play in the diversity of policing policies. On the other hand, urban security is not only the realm of the police and of European metropolises. As a result of societal changes, technological developments and the growing complexity of security issues, local authorities throughout the world increasingly manage public affairs –including security governance– in cooperation with other public and private actors (e.g. schools, housing corporations, private security or citizens organized in neighborhood watch groups). The course discusses conceptions and models of security networks and explains their rise, challenges and factors affecting their functioning in urban settings.

The course elaborates these topics with reference to the latest conceptual developments not only in urban studies but also in surveillance studies, philosophy of technology, and social scientific discourse about urban security governance. A set of guest lectures from specialized scholars complements the focus of this course by addressing a variety of other aspects of urban governance.

Course objectives

The student is able to:

  1. Identify and explain key themes and challenges of contemporary urban governance.
  2. Classify and compare different policing systems, models and technologies and explain the role of metropolitan authorities in the shaping of urban security governance policies.
  3. Explain the rise of local security networks and differentiate their types, actors and modes of interaction.
  4. Evaluate ‘real life’ local security networks in terms of their characteristics, effectiveness, legitimacy and factors affecting their functioning in urban settings.
  5. Reproduce the most important theoretical contributions to the study of a variety of urban governance aspects (from a multidisciplinary perspective).


The timetable is available on the BA Urban Studies website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), equal to 140 hours, devoted to:
Lectures: 26 hours
Study of compulsory literature: 54 hours
Assignment(s): 33 hours
Preparation exam and presentation: 25 hours
Exam(s): 2 hours

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

The final grade consists of the following assignments:

  • Written mid-term exam with open questions and an essay question (50%)

  • Individual paper (30%)

  • Group presentation (10%)

  • Reports based on ‘serious game’ (10%)

The exam and paper both need to be graded 5.5 or higher in order to complete this course.


Students will be permitted to resit the written exam and/or the individual paper if they have a mark lower than 5.5.

Students who want to take part in a resit for a written exam, are required to register via uSis. Use the activity number that can be found on the ‘timetable exams.’

Exam review

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 organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • all course communication (e.g. announcements, syllabus, etc.)

  • turning in papers

Reading list

  • Devroe, Elke, Adam Edwards, and Paul Ponsaers. 2017. Policing European Metropolises: The Politics of Security in City-regions. London: Routledge.

  • Dupont, Benoît. 2004. "Security in the age of networks." Policing and Society no. 14 (1):76-91. doi: 10.1080/1043946042000181575.

  • Additional mandatory literature tbd.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


V. Niculescu-Dinca


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