City Leadership

From climate change to health pandemics, inequality to migration, cities are increasingly becoming the sites of some of today’s most pressing global challenges. However, at the same time, they are also becoming active participants in proposing solutions to the major challenges they face.

This two-week Summer Intensive Subject is designed to tackle the ‘international’ aspects of city governance and planning, with a focus on city leadership, the institutions and trends that underpin it, and the sets of strategic skills needed to deliver effective urban governance in the wake of these international challenges.

The business of managing ‘who gets what, when and how’ in cities is becoming an increasingly complex and international job that goes beyond the purview of locally-oriented urban managers. Instead, it is intertwined with the agendas and influence of private sector, academia and community groups. The politics and governance of cities is changing the world over: from a leadership and brokering role played by private actors, the emergence of entrepreneurial and global cities, to different dynamics in emerging regions in the South, and the importance of international agendas and geopolitics in influencing the future of cities. The course offers students a space to engage with these changes, learn practical leadership skills, and do so in collaboration with a ‘resident’ international organisation (e.g. a UN agency) and other key international policy actors collaborating with University lecturers in the delivery of the course content.

This City Leadership subject stimulates students to engage with these themes by offering practical, hands-on, tool for ‘new’ urban management for students pursuing both public and private sector careers. It puts an emphasis on responsibility and collective leadership as key skills for today’s urban practitioners, whilst encouraging sound academic research in urban governance.

The course is designed to build capacity with students to take up leadership as a ‘strategic’ activity in urban governance with an explicit international focus to support the development of a globally oriented practice of city leadership. The subject intends to develop general understanding and practical skills as to what role ‘leadership’ plays in cities, targeting graduate students who intend to pursue a career in cities of Australia as well as for those keen on working internationally.

The two weeks are structured with content sessions, discussion with planning professionals, and hands-on exercise sessions on strategic leadership and negotiation techniques.

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City Leadership course team