Governance mixes for sustainable peri-urbanization

Chair:  Chiara Cortinovis, (
Co-chair:  Silvia Ronchi,  (
                  Marcin Spyra, (

Short Description:
Peri-urbanization processes involving urban expansion through land take and soil sealing are massive, often taking place beyond any regulations, threatening the performance of ecosystems and the provision of ecosystem services. They lead to the emerging of peri-urban landscapes (PULs), transition territories connecting cities with their surrounding environment, where urban, rural and natural or semi-natural characteristics are mixed. The governance of PULs faces multiple challenges: vertically and horizontally fragmented management and planning, increasing pressure of market forces, speed of peri-urbanization processes, and lack of awareness about the potential consequences of peri-urbanization, among others. It needs to address urban, regional and (cross-) national development goals such as air pollution reduction, integrated watershed management, infrastructure planning and management, biodiversity conservation, provision of and accessibility to ecosystem services. Beyond the conflicts, to foster sustainable development, PULs can be seen as places for governance experimentation and opportunities for new governance mixes to emerge.
In this session, we are interested in spatial planning-oriented governance mixes for PUL. Governance mixes do not refer here to a particular type of governance or a simple combination of policy instruments, but indicate a thoughtful mix of different, top-down and bottom-up governance approaches, introduced at different administrative levels, discussed and implemented by a wide range of governance actors, and bringing different formal and informal outcomes. With this special session, we welcome innovative research concerning governance mixes oriented towards a more sustainable development of PULs. We encourage contributions that address case studies, exemplary applications, theoretical frameworks and perspectives, as well as proposals of innovative planning processes, methods, and tools.
Papers submitted to the session are invited to contribute to a Special Issue on this topic in Sustainability (deadline for paper submission: December 2020).