The newsletter of the International Group on Law and Urban Space |

As another year draws to a close, we welcome you to this, the final IRGLUS newsletter for 2016.

It was busy year in our field, with much talk centering on the Habitat III conference held in Quito in October. There has been some reflection on the New Urban Agenda, including this piece by Debra Roberts, which bemoans the lack of a personal call to action in the lengthy document. Roberts makes an important point, which is that the Agenda needs to move beyond the rhetoric so as to avoid another 20-year period in which very little is done to realize the commitments made. 

We saw this with the last Habitat conference, held in Istanbul in 1996. According to the Global Urban Futures Project’s Habitat Commitment Index ('HCI'), “in the 20 years since Habitat II, progress towards meeting the goals set forth in the Istanbul Declaration has been in many ways disappointing” (HCI, 48). “Though some countries have made commendable advancements, such as Turkey, Portugal, and Tanzania, progress for much of the world has been small or negligible, and most worrisome, the performance of a number of countries has even declined.” (HCI, 48).
But over and above the many policy goals articulated in the New Urban Agenda, urban law and governance must also respond to changes in global politics, with the controversial election and referendum results in the USA, UK and Colombia, for instance, showing a growing schism between the political leanings of urban and non-urban voters worldwide and raising many questions over the interrelation between urban and national laws and policies, especially as cities take the lead on issues such as responses to climate change.  There is therefore much for us to think about in the year (and years) to come.
In this issue, we profile a course offered by the Continuing Professional Development programme of the University of Cape Town, and co-presented by IRGLUS member Stephen Berrisford. 

We hope that 2017 will be a productive year for members and also hope that we will succeed in injecting more life into the IRGLUS network – something, of course, we rely on you for.  We are co-sponsoring together with the Legal Geography CRN a workshop entitled 'Reimaginging Access: Institutional Experiments in the Postindustrial City' which, if accepted, will form part of the forthcoming joint International Sociological Association / Law and Society Association conference to be held in Mexico City in June. We hope to be able to also add a session or two at other events, so urge members involved in organizing academic events to be in touch, even if only to use this newsletter or IRGLUS’ social media presence to advertise your event.
We also welcome suggestions for increased member involvement in the network and, once again, remind you to check out our facebook page (which Edesio Fernandes keeps filled with interesting and on-topic news) and our website. If you have something related to your work you would like to share with members of the network, please do not hesitate to e-mail us.
All the best over the festive season and for the new year!
Until 2017
Thomas Coggin & Marius Pieterse

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) 
Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, University of Cape Town

Corruption & Urban Planning in Sub-Saharan Africa
22 - 24 February 2017

Compromising the good of the public for personal, professional, or political gains – also known as corruption – is a global challenge. Regarding urban development, the effects of corrupt planning decisions made today have long-term and often irreversible negative impacts for cities.

Urban planning decisions inevitably result in material changes to land values; hence it is here where opportunities and temptations to compromise broader public interests in pursuit of private gain are most acute. It is thus not surprising that corruption is a major issue in current urban planning and development practice. Thomas Melin writes in Pieterse and Parnell’s “Africa’s Urban Revolution” (2014) that ‘many African cities continue to be plagued by deep-seated corruption at multiple levels of government’. In consequence, the question of how to tackle - and ultimately eradicate - corrupt planning practices is increasingly and urgently pertinent.

The New Urban Agenda calls on all countries to ‘promote capacity development programmes to help subnational and local governments in financial planning and management, anchored in institutional coordination at all levels, including environmental sensitivity and anti-corruption measures.’ However, despite the pressing challenges presented by the Urban Age, municipal officials, political decision-makers, and civil society advocates still possess only very few practical tools that help them to better understand and effectively address urban corruption. This professional training course – developed in close collaboration with Transparency International’s Urban Integrity Initiative – has been specifically designed to close this gap.

Course Overview

The course equips practitioners in the planning and urban development profession from private, government and civil society practices with the latest tools, tactics and networks to tackle the complex issue of corruption in urban planning processes.

Consisting of five modules taught over three days, it unpacks the negative effects of urban planning corruption, discusses challenges of personal ethics and professional integrity, and presents different hands-on approaches for how to combat corrupt planning practices in the context of urban development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information, download the course brochure here, and click here to access more information on courses offered by the University of Cape Town's Continuing Professional Development Programme.

IRGLUS Membership Information

We are running a survey to establish who are members, where they are based, and what their research interests entail.

If you have an opportunity, we would greatly appreciate it if you could take the time to fill in this form.
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