From governance in ‘Campus development’ to governance in ‘Smart cities’ – Savis Gohari
On the 21st of June, 2019, our new colleague, Savis Gohari, gave a presentation on governance processes on smart city initiatives, linking in this way her PhD research (Governance in the planning and decision-making process: The co-location case of university campuses in Trondheim, Norway) to +CityxChange project.
Accordingly, the research objective was to analyse ‘governance structures’, i.e. the way actors stand in a network and interact with each other across levels, together with ‘governance processes’, i.e. the interrelation between actors’ attributes (such as interests, resource, power and roles) at different levels and rounds of decision-making. Part of the empirical research was conducted in one of the +CityxChange Demonstration Areas in Trondheim, namely, Campus Gløshaugen. Citizen participation is one of the main pillars upon which +CityxChange is based on. However, participatory processes remain a complex task, especially when trying to transit to new forms of policy-making in a smart city context.
Savis’ discussion on how to govern ‘smart cities’ pointed out that the formal mechanisms of transitioning to sustainability are ill equipped to address and conform with the political and power dimensions in smart cities. Furthermore, there is no determined blueprint for sustainability transitions and the existing governance systems hitherto have been inefficient and implicated in unsustainability.
During her work as a postdoc which is directly linked to research on citizen participatory processes for +CityxChange, Savis will try to conceptualise the co-creative governance and the dynamic interplay between power relations in the face of conflict of interests. Thereby, she aims to go beyond the traditional division of governance network between private, public and academia to investigate the political structure underpinning the functionality of governance.