Next Generation Urban Governance in Colombia's vanguard intermediary Cities

A research project exploring how youth actors engage in urban governance with a specific focus on the role and impact of digital technology in shaping their involvement.

Next Generation Urban Governance in Colombia’s vanguard intermediary Cities (NextGenC) will investigate the way youth actors engage in urban governance in intermediary cities, how digital technology and datafication changes this engagement, and how both relate to the momentous shifts in democratic practices.

In cities across Colombia, youth movements recently spearheaded political change, centrally supported by new digital platforms, data and social media. The degree to which next generation urban governance is utilised in intermediary cities, however, is not clear. Neither do we know whether young people benefit from increased use of digital technology in urban governance.

This collaborative project aims to understand the contributions of empowered youth actors to governing intermediary cities, to assess digitally enabled youth participation and digital era governance, and to strengthen progressive urban governance. Against this backdrop, three research objectives underpin the proposed project: 

  • Understand the contributions of more empowered youth actors to local democracy and multilevel urban governance in decentralised city systems.
  • Assess the successes and failures of digitally enabled youth participation and digital era governance in middle-income intermediary cities. 
  • Identify opportunities to strengthen progressive and democratic urban governance through enabling youth actors. 

Focusing on three vanguard intermediate cities, the research investigates the spheres of youth actors, city government and city-level private/civic actors, alongside their interactions. The project’s targeted impact is to strengthen youth participation in intermediary cities as part of next generation urban governance. This is achieved through academic, local and international actors, and public engagement. 

This project brings together three distinguished academic institutions; ICESI University, Los Andes University and the London School of Economics; and two praxis partners; Despacio and UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) for an internationally embedded, comparative TYPCities project focusing on Colombia. 


Project Team

London School of Economics and Political Science
Philipp Rode
(Principal Investigator) Executive Director, LSE Cities and Associate Professor (Education) at the School of Public Policy
Nuno Ferreira Da Cruz (Co-investigator) Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE Cities
Catalina Duarte, Policy Officer, LSE Cities

ICESI University
Lina Maria Martinez (Principal Investigator) Director of observatory of Public Policy – POLIS

Juana Leal (Project Lead), Healthy Cities Lead
Freddie Bossa, Communications Coordinator, 
Alejandra Ramirez, Educational Coordinator 
Sergio Gomez, Healthy Cities Coordinator

Los Andes University
Friederike Fleischer (Principal Investigator), Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
Maria Cecilia Dedios (Co-investigator) Associate Professor, School of Government

Cécile Roth (Project Lead), Research and Partnerships
Anna Calvete, Research Officer
Ainara Fernandez, Research Officer

Independent Consultants
Diana Ramirez (Local and National Government engagement)
Karen Naundorf (Media correspondent LAC)
Maria Andrea Garcia (Psychologist)

Advisory Group
Alcinda Honwana
Austin Zeiderman
Gareth Jones
Andres Lombana
Diana Rodriguez Franco

Photo © Delaney Turner on Unsplash
LSE Cities
Philipp Rode (Principal Investigator), Nuno Ferreira Da Cruz (Co-investigator), Catalina Duarte (Policy Officer)
ICESI University
Lina Maria Martinez (Principal Investigator)
Juana Leal (Project Lead), Freddie Bossa, Alejandra Ramirez, Sergio Gomez
Los Andes University
Friederike Fleischer (Principal Investigator), Maria Cecilia Dedios (Co-investigator)
Cécile Roth (Project Lead), Anna Calvete, Ainara Fernandez
Independent Consultants
Diana Ramirez, Karen Naundorf, Maria Andrea Garcia
Advisory Group
Alcinda Honwana
Austin Zeiderman
Gareth Jones
Andres Lombana
Diana Rodriguez Franco
Project Partners
Universidad de los Andes, Universidad ICESI, Despacio, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
Project Funder
Fondation Botnar
Research Strand
Urban Governance
July 2023 – Dec 2026