Publication : Clara Vadillo Quesada, « Governing the city for pedestrians and cyclists: How national institutions shape urban governance », 2016

4 mars 2016

Governing the city for pedestrians and cyclists: How national institutions shape urban governance

The case of non-motorized mobility in Mexico City and Guadalajara, Mexico



Clara Vadillo Quesada

Quesada Vadillo, Clara. « Governing city pedestrians and cyclists: How national institutions shape urban governance ». Cahiers de recherche du Programme Cities are Back in Town, n°2016-1, Paris, Sciences Po



Abstract :

In Mexico, recent processes of democratization and decentralization have opened up new avenues for the participation of diverse actors in the making of urban politics and policies. Nonetheless, these actors remain subject to the structural influence of the nation state. Drawing on the concept of the national infrastructure of urban governance (Sellers, 2002, 2005), this paper offers a multilevel account of Mexican urban governance applied to the case of Non-Motorized Mobility (NMM) policies in Mexico City and Guadalajara. It argues that Mexico’s national infrastructure is shaped by two pillars – the centralized national fiscal system and the multi-party system – which produce inadequate mobility planning, patterns of partisanship in local politics, and weak local governments in both cities. Within such a framework, the agency of local stakeholders often differs depending on the specificities of each city, including its political-administrative characteristics and degree of civil society organization, resulting in vastly different policy-making processes. In Mexico City, coalitions arose between its strong local government and civil society groups specialized in sustainable urban mobility, although results have been inconsistent due to the changing interests of local political administrations. In Guadalajara, local conditions were more favorable to processes of policy learning between civil society groups and the local governments, which created more opportunities for sustained collaboration and continuity in NMM policies.

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