Logo UAB

Public Management and Urban Politics

Code: 104541 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503743 Management of Smart and Sustainable Cities OB 3 1


Júlia Miralles-De-Imperial Pujol

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


The student should be interested in the political approach to local government, which brings together key issues of political science such as democracy, public policy analysis or public management, focused on the local perspective.

You should also have an interest on following the information about local government and local political issues that appear in the media. It is assumed that the student regularly read generalist newspapers.

The student should be able to read and understand academic documents in English.

It is assumed that the student knows, at least, the concepts and theories worked on in the subject Introduction to the Contemporary City of the 1st year, specially the urban governance issues.

Objectives and Contextualisation

This subject intends to address the new dynamics and urban challenges from a public policy approach that guarantees the quality of life, sustainability and equal opportunities and with the application of ICT as tools for facilitating the government of the cities.

The objectives of the subject are to know the basic elements of local governments: normative principles, structures, actors and policy agenda in order to achieve the ability to analyze with a critical and well-founded vision the reality of local government specially in Catalonia, but also studying cases from other citie of Spain or from other European Union countries.

Beyond analyzing trajectories of the past and present situations, we will also try to consider and analyze future alternatives based on the current discussions on municipalism.

The fact that local governments are the first step in the political and administrative structure and, at the same time, a near reality within the reach of each student, gives them a great specific weight. Apart from a study object of undoubted interest, local governments are also one of the most promising spaces for professional practice. For this reason, the course aims to articulate theoretical reflections on local governments with the study and debate of local practices, which will play a central role in the practical activities of the students focusing on the analysis of cases of sectorial public policies implemented in several cities.


  • Generate innovative and competitive proposals in professional activity.
  • Identify and analyse government and management policies for cities in the different fields of urban development, particularly methods of public participation.
  • Prevent and solve problems, adapt to unforeseen situations and take decisions.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the functioning and organisation of public institutional structures related to governing cities.
  2. Design a basic process of citizen participation in relation to the problems of intelligent cities.
  3. Generate innovative and competitive proposals in professional activity.
  4. Prevent and solve problems, adapt to unforeseen situations and take decisions.
  5. Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.


BLOCK 1. Introduction to local government

Topic 1. Introduction to public management

• Bureaucratic model: characteristics, virtues and problems.

• Model and criticism of the New Public Management.

• New approaches: Deliberative Public Administration and Common Management.

Topic 2. Cities in the multilevel government

• Introduction to the multilevel government: EU, State, Autonomous Communities and local entities, relationships and competencies.

• The principle of subsidiarity: cities as an actor in the EU.

• The principle of local autonomy: definition and implications.

Topic 3. The welfare state and local government

• Origins and evolution.

• Compared models.

• Local governments within the framework of the Welfare State.

• The Welfare State in Spain and the impact of the economic crisis.

BLOCK 2. Politics and local government

Topic 4. The reasons of the Local Government: territory, autonomy and democracy in comparative perspective

• Theoretical foundations of local government.

• Local government models in Europe in comparative perspective.

• Cities and territories in a global-local context. The right to the city.

• The rural-urban dichotomy and metropolitan governance.

Topic 5. The local entities in Catalonia

• Local Administration in Catalonia: "Diputacions", "Consells Comarcals" and City councils.

• The rules of the game of local democracy: Electoral system of government formation.

• Attributions andcompetences of municipalities.

• Financing, preparation and execution of the budget.

• Internal and external control systems.

Topic 6. Innovation inlocal government

• Administrative transparency and open government.

• Management of networks in the public sector. Collaborative management

• Participatory Democracy at the local level.

• Social Innovation and Management of common goods.

• Evolution of electronic administration.

• Conflicts of interest, ethics and public administration.

• Digitisation and Artificial Intelligence in public administrations.

BLOCK 3. Local public policies

Topic 7. Wellbeing and social inclusion

• Social services.

• Dependency.

• Health.

• Functional diversity.

• Children and youth.

• Seniors.

Topic 8. Economy and work

• Treasury.

• Tourism.

• Commerce.

• Social economy.

• Local development and consumption.

• Companies and economic promotion.

Topic 9. Housing and public space

• Housing.

• Public space and urban planning.

• Rehabilitation of neighborhoods.

Topic 10. Ecology and mobility

• Ecology.

• Mobility.

• Water and energy.

Topic 11. Education and culture

• Education.

• Culture.

Topic 12. Rights of citizenship

• Feminism.


• Immigration and interculturality.


The course "Public Management and Urban Policies" of 3rd year of the Grade has 6 ECTS credits, that is, a total of 150 hours of student dedication (25 hours per credit). These are structured in the different types of training activities and teaching methodologies described below with the aim of combining a well-founded theoretical approach with practical exercises that allow a direct approach to the reality of local government.

The theoretical foundations will be exposed in the theoretical classes, that will be opened at all times to the participation of students for clarification and debate.

The fundamentals of the theory will be settled on the reading of texts and the autonomous study, both of the material exposed in the classes and other materials that will be indicated in class or through the Virtual Campus.

The study work will be complemented with individual exercises related to the seminar readings and cases, from which a debate will be held between the students and the students led by the teacher. During the course there will be a total of 10 seminars that will be worked orally in class and that may require some previous preparation work by the students. All seminars will be evaluated in relation to oral contributions to class. It will be communicated through the Virtual Campus sufficiently in advance in which concrete activities each seminar will consist and the necessary preparation on the part of the students.

The study work will be complemented with individual exercises related to the seminar readings and cases, from which a debate will be held between the students led by the lecturer. During the course, a total of 10 seminars will take place, 5 of which will include a written assignment and 5 more that will just be treated orally in class. All seminars will be evaluated both in terms of oral contributions in class and, where appropriate, written assignments. The specific activities in which each seminar will consist will be communicated through the Virtual Campus with enough time for the necessary preparation by students.

The practical paper will consist of an applied research paper on a local public policy chosen by the students from among the proposals made by the lecturer. The work will be carried out in teams of 3 to 4 people, with the exceptions that can be considered for working or other kinds of reasons duly justified.

On the days of oral presentations of papers, a round of questions will be made by the lecturer and the students. Finally, a debate will be opened on the set of topics addressed in the oral presentation.

During the course, individual and group tutorials will be carried out for the accomplishment of the practical paper and on the follow-up of the course in the hours that will be previously fixed through the electronic mail at the request of the students as well as by indication of the lecturer.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Public presentation of a paper: group presentations and round of assessments. 10 0.4 2, 3, 4
Seminars for the discussion of texts and cases. 20 0.8 1, 3, 4, 5
Theoretical lectures: explanations by the teacher with ICT support and debate in a large group. 20 0.8 1, 5
Type: Supervised      
Tutorial: individual and group tutorials for support for the accomplishment of the work and monitoring of the work done in the subject. 20 0.8 2, 3, 4
Type: Autonomous      
Elaboration of the course paper. 25 1 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Study: Carrying out diagrams and summaries of theoretical contents. 25 1 1, 5
Texts reading: individual exercice of comprehensive text reading. 25 1 1, 5


The evaluation of this subject is composed of the following evaluation activities:

- Final exam: 30% of the final grade.

- Oral participation in the seminars: 35% of the final grade.

  • Only the 8 best grades will be considered.

- Course work: 35% of the final grade.

  • 10% of the final grade the oral presentation and 25% the written paper.

Important considerations

• It is a necessary condition, but not enough, to pass the exam in order to pass the subject.

• To pass the subject it is necessary to pass the seminars, such as the course work, such as the exam.

• The dates of the seminars as well as the oral presentations of the course papers will be specified within the framework of the course programme through the Virtual Campus.

• It is required to assist to the seminar sessions. Any absence due to labour or medical issue appropriately documented will not have any effect on the final mark. It is permitted to have two non-justified absences to the seminar session.

• The exam will be at the end of the semester on the day and schedule set by the Faculty, which will be made public with enough time and that students will have to confirm through the Faculty website.

• Students must notify the composition of the group and the subject chosen for the course paper through the teacher's email during the first two weeks of the semester. Otherwise, they will not be allowed to deliver it.

• The fact of doing the exam, or presenting the course paper or participating in at least 4 seminars exempts the student from the "Not Presented" qualification.

• Students who have not passed the seminars or the course paper or both may submit a new individual written work, determined by the lecturer, to obtain the necessary grade to pass the assessment activities that they had failed. The lecturer will specify to the students in this situation the characteristics and date of delivery of the corresponding work.

• Students who have not passed the exam will have the opportunity to take part in the compensation activities, that is to say, they will be able to re-test the failed exam on the day the Faculty determines, after the end of the second semester.

• Any student who, due to justified work or health reasons or because he is performing an exchange programme, can not attend the course normally, must notify this situation to the lecturer during the first two weeks of the semester in order to agree the corresponding compensatory activities. In case this notification occurs later without a justification, the student can not pass the subject.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Course paper 35% of the final grade 0.5 0.02 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Final exam 30% of the final grade 4 0.16 1, 5
Oral participation in seminars 35% of the final grade 0.5 0.02 1, 3, 4


During the course, the obligatory and complementary readings will be specified through the Virtual Campus for the preparation and realization of the various training activities.

These are references that will facilitate the students to follow the subject and carry out the course work:

Blanco, I., Gomà, R. (2002). Gobiernos locales y redes participatives. Barcelona: Ariel.

Blanco, I., Gomà, R. (2016). El municipalisme del bé comú. Barcelona: Icària.

Blanco, I., Gomà, R., Subirats, J. (2018). “El nuevo municipalismo. Derecho a la ciudad y comunes urbanos”, Gestión y Análisis de Políticas Públicas, 20: 14-28.

Blanco, I., Nel·lo, O. (Eds.) (2018). Barrios y Crisis. Crisis económica, segregación urbana e innovación social en Cataluña. València: Ed. Tirant.

Blanco, I., Salazar, Y, Bianchi, I. (2019). “Urban governance and political change under a radical left government. The case of Barcelona”, Journal of Urban Affairs. Published online.

Bonet, J., Ubasart, G. (2010). Guia de Govern Local. Barcelona: Icaria Editorial, Biblioteca de recursos veïnals. Disponible a: http://auditoriabdn.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/guia-de-govern-local-catalc3a0.pdf

Bonet, J., Ubasart, G. (2010). 1. El marc legislatiu de l'administració local, a Bonet, J., Ubasart, G. Guia de Govern Local, pp. 25-29. Barcelona: Icaria Editorial.

Brugué, Q.; Blanco, I.; Boada, J. (2014). “Entornes y motores para la innovación en las políticas públicas”. Revista del CLAD Reforma y Democracia. 59. pp. 7-34.

Brugué, Q., Gomà, R. (Coord.) (1998) Gobiernos Locales y Políticas Públicas. Barcelona: Ariel. pp. 15-35.

Brugué, Q., Vallès, J.M. (2005): "New-Style Councils, New-Style Councillors: From Local Government to Local Governance"; Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions , Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 197-226. (Versió en castellà també disponible).

Canal, R. (2013). Ciudades y pueblos que puedan durar. Políticas locales para una nueva época. Icaria Editorial, Barcelona. Blocs I a IV.

Chandler, J.: (2010): "A Rationale for Local Government"; Local Government Studies, 36:1, pp. 5-20.

Davies, J., Blanco, I. (2017). “Austerity Urbanism: Patterns of Neoliberalisation and Resistance in Six Cities of Spain and the UK”. Environment and Planning A. 49(7): 1517-1536.

Del Pino, E., Rubio, M. J. (Dir.). Los Estados del Bienestar en la encrucijada. Políticas sociales en perspectiva comparada. Madrid: Tecnos. Cap. 1.

Donat, C. (2017) "Els set reptes dels nous plans i polítiques locals d'habitatge",a DDAA, Repensar la metropoli: noves claus per a un projecte col·lectiu. Barcelona: IERMB-AMB.

Font, J. i Blanco, I. (2003) Polis, la ciutat participativa. Participar en els municipis: qui, com i perquè. Barcelona: Diputació de Barcelona. Pp. 47-73. Disponible a:


Griggs, S., Sullivan, H., Blanco, I. (Guest Editors) (2014). “Explaining local governance through neoliberalism”. Urban Studies, Special Edition, 51(15).

IERMB (2017) Repensar la metròpoli: noves claus per a un projecte col.lectiu. Anuari metropolità de Barcelona 2016. Barcelona: IERMB-AMB.

IERMB (2018). El dret a la metròpoli. Anuari metropolità de Barcelona 2017. Barcelona: IERMB-AMB.

Iglesias, M., Martí-Costa, M., Subirats, J., Tomàs, M. (2011): Políticas Urbanas en España: Grandes Ciudades, Actores y Gobiernos Locales. Barcelona: Icària. Disponible online.

Kerley, R. J., Liddle, J. Dunning, P. (Eds.) The Routledge Handbook of International Local Government. London: Routledge.

Longo, F., Ysa T. (Eds.) (2007). Els Escenaris de la Gestió Pública del Segle XXI. Barcelona: EAPC.

Mir Bagó, J. (2011). Ajuntament Fàcil. Barcelona: Federació de Municipis de Catalunya. Disponible a: http://www.fmc.cat/IMAGES_2/AjuntamentFacil2011.pdf

Nel·lo, O. (2011) "The five challenges of urban rehabilitation: The Catalan experience", Urban Research and Practice, Disponible a http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17535069.2011.616748

Nel·lo, O., Blanco, I. (2015). La segregació urbana a la regió metropolitana de Barcelona. Paper de Treball del PEMB, Gener. Disponible a: http://www.pemb.cat/ca/publicacions/la_segregacio_urbana_a_la_regio_metropolitana_de_barcelona/41/

Observatorio Metropolitano (2014). La apuesta municipalista. La democracia empieza por lo cercano. Madrid: Traficantes de sueños. Cap. 3.

Pradel, M. i García, M. (Coord.) (2018). El momento de la ciudadanía. Innovación social y gobernanza urbana.Barcelona: Catarata.

Ramió, C. (2019). Inteligencia artificial y Administración pública. Robots y humanos compartiendo el servicio público. Barcelona: Catarata.

Sorando, D., Ardura, A. (2016). First we take manhattan: la destruccion creativa de las ciudades. Barcelona: Catarata.

Subirats, J. (2016). El poder de lo próximo. Las virtudes del municipalismo. Barcelona: Catarata.

Subirats, J., García-Bernardos, A. (2015). Innovación social y políticas urbanas en España. Experiencias significativas en las grandes ciudades. Barcelona: Icària.

Subirats, J., Martí-Costa, M. (Eds.) (2015). Ciudades y cambio de época: discursos sobre políticas urbanas y crisis en España. Bilbao: Universidad del País Vasco. Disponible online.

Tomàs, M., Martí-Costa, M. (2011): "La reconfiguración de la agenda urbana: El debate europeo"; a: Iglesias et al,. Políticas urbanas en España. Grances ciudades, actores y gobiernos locales, pp. 23-41. Barcelona: Icària.

Ubasart-González, Gemma (2017): "¿Feminización de la política local? Nuevo municipalismo e igualdad", en Boletin ECOS – FUHEM ECOSOCIAL, núm. 38, mayo.

Wollmann, H. (2004): "Local Government Reforms in Great Britain, Sweden, Germany and France: Between Multi-Function and Single-Purpose Organisations"; Local Government Studies, Vol.30, No.4, pp. 639-665.


This subject does not include the use of any specific software.