A Lecture on "The Future of Urban Governance" by Prof. Patrick Le Galès

Prof. Patrick Le Galès, CNRS Research Professor, Sciences Po, France is currently a Dr. Kennedy Wong Distinguished Visiting Professor hosted by the Department of Government and International Studies (GIS), Faculty of Social Sciences. On 2 March 2023, Prof. le Galès gave a well-received public lecture on “The Future of Urban Governance” to an audience of staff, researchers and academics. The event was organized by GIS, in association with the Departments of Geography and Sociology.


The 21st century will be humanity’s most urban century, as most of the less urbanized parts of the planet become more urban. In his lecture, Prof. le Gales asked the central question: What is governed in cities and how will urban challenges be addressed in the future? Cities are sites of face-to-face contact, and often generate social tolerance beyond tribalism. But cities also exhibit many deeply problematical dimensions of human life, including segregation, inequality and social isolation, environmental degradation, pollution, violence, congestion, ugliness, and inter-group conflict. However, urban areas have throughout history also been sources of innovative solutions to their own problems, of social, technical, engineering, political and organizational nature. In a magistral overview, Prof. le Gales identified core features of urban governance across the continents and argued strongly in favour of scientific collaboration to develop insights into the most pressing wicked issues facing cities.