DOI: 10.19830/j.upi.2020.172
Urbanization, Institutional Change, and Institutionalization: Urban Transitions as Compound Critical Junctures

André Sorensen

Keywords: Urbanization; Institutions; Developmental Pathways; Urban Property System; Comparison


This essay develops an institutionalist approach to comparative research on urbanization, planning, and the production of urban space, focusing on three interrelated claims: First is that the urban transition is a process not just of economic and social change and the construction of new urban spaces and infrastructures, but also involves processes of institutional transformation, institution-creation, and institutionalization of space associated with the creation of new urban property systems. Second is that the choices made during urban transitions tend to have long lasting consequences in each place, as cities are complex socio-technical systems with high degrees of complexity and interdependence, and urban property systems have multiple self-reinforcing qualities that support path dependence. This is reinforced by the fact that in many jurisdictions soon after peak urbanization population starts to decline, removing the engine of urban population growth that was propelling urban institutional dynamism. Third is the suggestion that institutional theory provides a valuable lens to study these transitions and generates important new research questions.


Brief Info of Author(s):

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