Dear N-aerus Members

Please see below a call for papers for session number 70 on the RC21 2020 Conference in Antwerp. 

Research Policy Interface: Equity, Services and Economic Development for Cities in the Global South

Over the past decade, the statement “cities are the engines of economic growth” has been repeated often. Yet, our knowledge about the growth trajectories of cities remains limited. Even as populations and ecological footprints grow in many places, challenges related to providing basic economic opportunities and socio-economic divides remain.

Among the many factors dictating growth, the inability of urban labour markets to provide economic opportunity to growing populations has led to widespread informality. In most developing regions informal employment represents more than half of non-agricultural employment. High rates of inequality – both in income and opportunity can threaten economic growth and human development. While being a key resource for ‘survival’ and a path to prosperity, informality is frequently associated with conditions of vulnerability when it develops within weak institutional contexts.

Responding to the interconnected challenges of rising inequality and lack of economic opportunities in cities, this session focuses on research and policy as liked to equitable access to public goods and services by all citizens and both formal and informal businesses through the production of global knowledge products (and knowledge co-production mechanisms), facilitation of research-policy dialogues, and the support of city-level diagnostics and policy recommendations.

The session recognizes that improved access to public goods and services not only benefits the marginalised but also strengthens the fundamental prerequisites for growth and productivity, enabling cities to benefit from economies of agglomeration and scale. The universal provision of basic infrastructure is fundamental to increasing the productivity of people and businesses alike. An effective, affordable transport infrastructure for example, is required to avoid congestion and reap the economic benefits of connectivity. No economy can thrive without reliable sources and supply of energy, especially electricity. Public space is essential to the livelihoods and productivity of informal workers, who often operate in the streets and open areas of the city. Crucially, many public goods and services are within the control of cities and local governments
themselves, rendering them a key entry point for addressing the challenge of adopting more equitable and sustainable approaches to economic development in cities.

In this session we are interested in papers: 
- Exploring case studies of projects that address(ed) equitable economic development between through public services provision - and potentially discuss the role of urban planning herein;
- Critically reflecting on ideologies and politics on the paradigm of inclusive and equitable development linked to economic growth (related to triple down economic-thinking);
- Discussing alternatives and counter movements to mainstream (economic) growth paradigms.


• General information on the RC21 2020 Conference in Antwerp can be found here: https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/conferences/rc21-sensing-the-city/

• Call for papers https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/conferences/rc21-sensing-the-city/call-for-papers/

• Submitting an abstract https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/conferences/rc21-sensing-the-city/call-for-papers/submit-your-abstract/ 
Select the correct session number 70 when uploading your abstract.

Kindly submit your abstract to the session organizers if possible in a separate email. The deadline for submitting abstracts is March 15, 2020.

Session organizers

Sukanya Krishnamurthy – University of Edinburgh (Sukanya.Krishnamurthy@ed.ac.uk)
Peter Gotsch – NTNU (peter.a.gotsch@ntnu.no)
Enrico Michelutti – University of Udine (enrico.michelutti@catunesco.upc.edu)



Yours N-aerus Coordination Team,

Paola Alfaro d’Alençon, Jakub Galuszka, Paola Piscitelli and Mariano Scheinsohn 



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