Slide 1

A comparative overview of different approaches to dealing
with antagonistic group identity claims on the city.
Brussels (Belgium)
Montreal (Canada)
Johannesburg (South Africa) *
Belfast (Northern Ireland)
Beirut (Lebanon)
Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) *
Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina) *
Nicosia (Cyprus)
Jerusalem (Israel/Palestine)
Baghdad (Iraq) *
Kirkuk (Iraq) *
Mitrovica (Kosovo) *
Johannesburg (South Africa) *
Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) *
Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina) *
Baghdad (Iraq) *
Kirkuk (Iraq) *
Mitrovica (Kosovo) *
Major political transitions.
Intense inter-communal conflict and violence reflecting ethnic or nationalist fractures.
Ethnic identity and nationalism combine to create pressures for group rights, autonomy, or even
territorial separation.
3 main options that acknowledge group identity in the urban arena
•Political (or physical) separation
•Two-tier federated governance
•Consociational local government
Although they are not mutually exclusive, these three options run the gamut from least
to most inter-ethnic cooperation.
Complex institutional accommodation
Linguistic and nationalistic
Dutch speaking Flanders to north; Francophone Wallonia to south.
Brussels in the contested middle.
Creation of an officially bilingual Brussels Capital Region (BCR)
Directly elected regional parliament for Brussels region chosen from candidates put forth
by each of two main linguistic communities and Parliament decisions require a majority in
each language group.
“Regions” and “Communities”
“Communities” are non-territorial and exercise their legislative authority over cultural,
educational, and health matters within linguistically determined geographical boundaries.
In Brussels, bi-communitarian public authority, the “Common Community Commission,”
responsible for implementing cultural policies of common interest
Two linguistic community-specific public authorities—the Flemish Community
Commission and the French Community Commission--implement policies of the
respective Communities in the Brussels Capital Region
Language borders, “oil stain”, and “iron collar”
Boundary drawing, multi-tier government
Linguistic (Francophone vs. Anglophone) and Nationalistic—
largely Francophone central city of Montreal contrasts with more bilingual and
English-speaking communities elsewhere on Montreal Island
Multi-level reform of Montreal government—
both consolidation and decentralization
Since 1996,
reorganized metropolitan-level government
amalgamated local governments in the urban core
decentralized some political power to boroughs.
Creation of 27 boroughs (arrondissements).
Boroughs are viewed as a key ingredient of the urban reforms
because they “preserve a place for the expression of local distinctions” and
thus made the larger municipal and metropolitan restructuring more politically
Decentralization at the local level as set up for secession?
Tensions inherent in amalgamating (and in decentralizing) power in a
binational urban area marked by linguistic and cultural contestation.
Transitional power sharing,
boundary drawing, metropolitan restructuring
Legally enforced segregation white, black, and ‘colored’ residential areas of
Johannesburg and townships.
Consociational negotiations and power sharing used as effective transitional
devices on the way to eventual majoritarian democracy
Transition-period Johannesburg (1991-1995 pre-democratic elections)– process
negotiated by officials of the old regime, black political leaders, and nongovernmental organizations.
Use of boundary drawing and metropolitan government as social justice
Metropolitan scale as a focal point for local government transition negotiations, and use of
metropolitanism as a means to integrate and transcend old local authority boundaries that
had separated races.
1995 democratic election-- ensure white minority representation during the transition
period; ease the eventual change to majoritarian democracy.
Third party intervention, impotent local government
Nationalistic and religious divide– Protestants (Unionists / Loyalists)
Catholics (Nationalists / Republicans)
"Direct rule" midst sectarian conflict from 1972 to 1998-- legislative power for
Northern Ireland was held by the British House of Commons
Obstacles by impotent local city councilors, whose relative lack of power freed them
to be extreme in their interactions with government
1998 “Belfast Agreement” transfers day-to-day rule to a new directly-elected
Northern Ireland Assembly, in which Protestants and Catholics have shared
power– decisions require concurrent majorities within both unionist and nationalist
The Belfast Agreement called for comprehensive review of local governments in
Northern Ireland.
A “Review of Public Administration”, initiated in 2002, called for the existing 26 local
councils in Northern Ireland to be reduced to seven. Local power-sharing?
Urban and national power sharing rigidified
18 confessions officially recognized, with Maronites, Orthodox Christians, Druze,
Shiite and Sunni Muslims being main antagonists/ competitors.
Power sharing necessary and successful in early years of country, but now more a
roadblock to needed political evolution and maturation in the country and city.
Political “confessionalism” allocates political power among the various confessional
and sectarian communities according to each communities’ percentage of the overall
The Lebanese National Accord signed soon after independence in 1943 used the
national census of 1932 to assign political positions and shares of parliamentary
seats to each religious group.
Prior to 1990, the ratio of Parliament representation stood at 6:5 in favor of Christians.
In 1990, at the end of the 1975-1990 civil war, this ratio was adjusted to 50/50.
Estimates today about 60 percent Muslim.
City of Beirut
Confessionalism most clearly runs up against demographic realities.
Newly emergent urban Shiite Muslims have been met with systematic political and
economic exclusion.
Instead of urban social and economic dynamics spawning new more urban
secular and cross-confessional communities, new urban politics was thwarted and
rigidified into a “static consociational edifice”
“Urban coexistence has emerged as the weakest link within the Lebanese model”
Multicultural city unraveled
Pre-war mixed ethnic population in 1991 of 540,000 Bosnian Muslims (40%),
Bosnian Serbs (30%), and Bosnian Croats (20%)
Early post-war years became an approximately 80% Muslim city of about 340,000
Sarajevo demonstrates the difficulty of sustaining the multiculturalism of a city
after it has experienced the trauma of massive war aimed at its death.
Local power sharing efforts sought electoral representation of displaced
residents and provided minimum representation to minority groups. Protocol on
the Organization of Sarajevo (1996) specified that at least 20 percent of city
council seats go to Bosniaks, Croats, and to “other”. Minimum representation
An initial strategy during early diplomatic efforts to counter possible ethnic claims on the city
was to create a special status as a district under United Nations or European Community
administration; a “corpus separatum” strategy.
By the time of the 1995 Dayton Accord that ended the war, the idea for international
governance or oversight of the city had been overtaken by the give-and-take
negotiations of ethnic leaders.
Peace- making paradoxically started processes that unraveled Sarajevo as a
multicultural space amidst a fracturing state.
Strategy to “reunify” post-war Sarajevo transferred certain Serbian-populated districts and
suburbs into post-war Sarajevo city boundaries in effort to maintain the Bosnian Serb
population within the post-war city.
Yet, to be reunified within the city, Serbs would also under Dayton be simultaneously
incorporated into the Muslim-Croat Federation. Resistance and substantial out-movement of
Bosnian Serb population.
Fragmented city
“War within a war” between Bosniaks and Croats.
Post-war city contested and divided.
Direct international administration of the city +
Representation of displaced residents in municipal governments +
Creation of a “central zone” to act as neutral buffer in post-war development.
Six municipal districts, or city municipalities—three in Croat-controlled areas and three
in Muslim-controlled areas .
Early elections--the intent of the IC was that the holding of municipal elections would
be a concrete and positive first step toward the city’s democratization and
In effect, however, democracy’s early emergence in the city locked in
obstructive ethnic elements that would then act to retard the city’s
Central zone
Approximately 1 mile long and one-half mile wide, a ‘‘central zone’’ in the traditional
commercial and tourist center of the city was to be administered by an ethnically balanced
city council and administration.
The same forces that captured the six municipalities for ethnic gain also were able
to warp and dismantle the integrative goals of the central zone.
Unification decree, 2004
UN High Representative imposed through a unilateral decree the political unification of
the city of Mostar. Mostar to have a single city administration for the entire pre-war area of
the city.
Limits the ability of the demographic majority to rule and imposes power sharing
governance model.
Physical partition
Inverse of power sharing.
Since 1974 a "green line" (wall) has physically separated the city into Greek Cypriot
(south) and Turkish Cypriot (north) municipalities.
Extreme physical partition has created separate and self-contained municipalities on
either side of the barrier.
This has resulted in each of the two urban regimes having a solid territorial base
that has, ironically, set the foundation for some bridge-building in terms of
functional planning.
Such cooperation dependent upon local leadership.
Recent promising signs
Hegemonic control
Israel exercises de facto hegemonic control over Jerusalem.
Visible and stark inequalities in public services and living conditions.
Recent political changes
Between 1920 and 1948 a multicultural mosaic under British control.
Two-sided physical partitioning between 1948 and 1967 into Israeli and Jordaniancontrolled components.
Since 1967, it has been an Israeli-controlled municipality three times the area of the
pre-1967 city (due to unilateral annexation) and encompassing formerly Arab East
Jerusalem. The international status of East Jerusalem today remains as ‘occupied’
Corpus separatum proposal
When the British Mandate period (1917-1948) came to a close, there was a United
Nations resolution that the city of Jerusalem be a demilitarized and neutral corpus
separatum (separate entity) governed by a special international regime and
administered by the U.N.
The resolution was approved by the national leadership of the Jewish community in
Palestine, and rejected by the Arab Higher Committee.
Intense warfare turned Jerusalem instead into a physically divided city for almost
twenty years, with Israeli west and Arab east parts separated by concrete barriers and
“no-man lands.”
Borough Plan proposal
In the early years of contested Jerusalem under Israeli control, a plan was debated
from 1968 to 1977 envisioning a single municipal government under dual sovereignty
and the creation of semi-autonomous borough governments to manage local affairs in
different ethnic neighborhoods.
Camp David Summit 2000
Key elements of a Jerusalem proposal provided:
Palestinian sovereignty over specified outer neighborhoods and over the Muslim
and Christian quarters of the Old City,
Meaningful Palestinian self-government in inner neighborhoods (although under
Israeli sovereignty).
Metropolitan Jerusalem?
A metropolitan expansion of Jerusalem's borders would encompass within the new larger
city approximately equal Arab and Jewish populations.
There could then be two ethnically-based municipalities under a joint umbrella
metropolitan council -- a “metropolitan federalism” of two sovereignties.
Sovereignty issues within today’s Jerusalem would remain, however.
Capital city of a federalist Iraq?
(1) How to locally govern a city that has been segregated, cleansed, and sorted
during war?
(2) How to govern the city in a way that might hold together a country that
likely faces some federalist devolution of national power to ethnic autonomous
zones? Can Baghdad constitute a multiethnic capital district or zone that holds
together a fragmented or federalized state?
The stability of Baghdad has consistently been a key plank of American military and
political planners.
Protection of the Iraqi population in Baghdad is primary because it would allow breathing
space to Iraqi leaders to achieve needed political reconciliation.
“Localized security” through agreements at the local level, including with militias and
former insurgents, would be a necessary complement and encouragement to national
U.S. is attempting to establish a three-tier system utilizing neighborhood, district,
and city council representation.
Federalism and the city
The 2005 Constitution allows semi-autonomous regions to be created through
referenda out of one or more existing provincial governorates.
One scenario is that there would be reconstitution of the country’s 18 provinces as
three self-governing entities and reconstruction of Iraq as a loose confederation of
these governments.
Key centerpiece of any sustainable federalist arrangement for Iraq would be
creation and protection of Baghdad city as a multi-ethnic capital district.
Within this special district, power-sharing of local governance and protections
afforded minority residents would be needed to avoid dismemberment of Baghdad
into sectarian districts of autonomy.
Northern flashpoint
Flashpoint of ethnic and sectarian conflict and a key element of national negotiations
over the future status of the country.
Will contested lands of Kirkuk join region of Kurdistan or remain with the rest of Iraq?
Oil-rich region of ethnic contestation
City of Kirkuk makes up about 90 percent of provincial population. Saddam Hussein displaced
thousands of Kurds from Kirkuk and adjacent provinces as part of his “Arabization” plan. Hussein
also gerrymandered borders by detaching four Kurd-majority districts from Kirkuk province.
Today, there are three provinces currently fully under authority of the Kurdistan Regional
Government; however, the regional government claims in whole or in part four other provinces,
including Kirkuk.
Provincial elections in 2005 produced a Kurdish majority in Kirkuk province (26 of 41 seats).
Normalization Plan
The intent of national legislation is that there is to be “normalization” process to include the
re-integration of the four detached districts, followed by a referendum (by November 2007)
to decide whether the province would become part of the Kurdistan regional government.
Efforts have been underway by all sides to create demographic "facts on the
ground" in advance of the referendum.
Kurdish negotiators have proposed a binding political pact between the
leadership of the Shia, Sunni and Kurdish blocs to return the administrative
boundaries of Kirkuk to the 1970 map.
In July 2008, an Arab-sponsored plan was put forth to delay elections in Kirkuk
province and city and impose a quota-based power sharing arrangement.
This proposal further inflamed the situation and put in jeopardy provincial
elections in all of Iraq.
U.N. supervised reintegration or separation?
Divided Serb-Albanian city of Mitrovica presents a critical challenge to the
sustainability of the disputed newly independent country of Kosovo.
City split between a northern Serbian part and a southern Albanian part.
The population of the city in 1998 was approximately 82 percent Albanian and 9
percent Serb.
Local self government
United Nations Mission in Kosovo (Unmik) sought to promote self-government in Kosovo as
a preliminary run-up to possible full independence.
At the same time, Kosovo’s Serbs with backing from Belgrade suggested that selfgovernment be based on a functional partition of the region so that minority Serbs could be
assured of some protections and rights.
Illegal parallel administration set up in the northern part of the city and supported by Serbia;
Belgrade was able to stake out a de facto division of Kosovo.
Mitrovica-- two strategies by international community:
Serbs in Mitrovica were offered substantial decentralization of existing municipal powers, plus
various economic development incentives, if they participated in local elections.
When this failed, Unmik established in late 2002, with Belgrade’s cooperation, a special UNadministered area in the north, created a council of local Serbian, Albanian, and Bosniak
leaders and brought local Serb police officers into the fold.
Is this “reunification” program by Unmik legalizing a previously defacto division? Do
they run counter to international goals of having Kosovo as a unified, multi-ethnic
Tensions rose considerably after the Kosovo Assembly declared independence in
early 2008. Soon after, UN forces were withdrawn from the northern Mitrovica.
Institutional Diversity
Political (or physical) separation
Sarajevo ( City= majoritarian democracy; Bosnia= political separation )
Two-tier federated governance
Consociational local government
Johannesburg (during transition)
Belfast (if follow national formula)
Uncertain cases
Institutional Adaptation
Even in the sustainable cases—Brussels, Montreal, and, sustainability does not
necessarily connote stability of institutions and arrangements.
Many of the fragile cases will likely need to undergo significant restructuring and
experimentation regarding local governance structures.
The Beirut case dramatically highlights the need for power sharing
arrangements to appropriately adapt and evolve in response to changing
Experimentation possible with local and metropolitan government power sharing.
Possibly more than at national level.
Local governance more a power-dividing approach that “begins at the
bottom” and creates diverse, numerous, and non-overlapping political
bodies able to foster multiple and cross-cutting constituencies.
Cities as key anchors or flashpoints in national reconciliation
All the combustible and many of the fragile cities can be major roadblocks and obstacles to
larger national peace agreements and constitutional arrangements.
If cities are left unprotected and unmanaged, ethnic antagonists who recognize
the power of the city will likely submerge and fragment the peace-constitutive
potential of the city in pursuit of their own group aspirations. Mostar, Jerusalem,
Baghdad?, Mitrovica?
Shared urban policies and institutions can set important precedents that
positively shape long-term urban and political development. Brussels,
Montreal, Johannesburg
City governance during national political transitions
International agreements that stop war must be cognizant of the new ethnic geographies of
local and substate governments
Rush toward democratization at local level will probably not bring to power leadership
needed to move a city toward stability and mutual co-existence.
Two-tier governance utilizing metropolitan and local levels can be particularly useful
during political transitions. Metropolitanism can be an effective mechanism not only during
times of major political transitions, but also in more stable arrangements.
Paradox of local government reform amid inter-group tensions
Fragile local governance arrangements must be able in the short term to produce
tangible positive outcomes (jobs, services, safety) for there to be public acceptance of
shared local governance.
Only with such public acceptance can we be assured that these precarious city
institutions survive and become key agents of inter-group coexistence and local
anchors to national stability over the longer term future.
However, in the short term, constraints on local democracy in terms of minority
guarantees and shared power may make local government less effective in
producing tangible changes in the city.
Democracy at the possible expense of effectiveness / impact.

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