The Janus Face of Urban Governance in Denmark


Études théoriques et méthodologiques






John Andersen

John Pløger


Copublication Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales / Roskilde University, Denmark


The article argues that the present Danish urban policy and urban democracy can be characterised by a striking duality and tension between: (1) Participatory empowering welfare oriented community strategies, which targets deprived districts and neighbourhoods, which are based on notions of the Inclusive City. This trend is founded on priorities of radical democracy, social justice and inclusion and citizens empowerment. (2) Neoelitist/corporative market driven strategic regional and global growth strategies, which are based on notions of the Entrepreneurial Globalized City and where urban policy becomes a question of facilitation of the “growth machine” and neoliberalised urban authoritarianism. The article discusses dilemmas for overcoming the growing tension between elitist neo-corporate growth regimes, which are in operation via “Quangoes” and closed elite networks, and community empowerment and welfare oriented policy in the age of globalisation. Taking the stand of community empowerment and welfare policy, the article conclusively discusses ways to shape a new inclusive politics of difference including using ‘positive selectivism’ as part of an empowerment strategy.