Emergency Governance for Cities and Regions

The institutional dimension of rapid and radical action in response to global emergencies

Jointly with UCLG and Metropolis, LSE Cities is identifying implications for urban governance for addressing global emergencies at the city and regional level. This initiative aims to gather insights on how to build institutional capacities for more effective urban and territorial responses to complex emergencies and the governance of grand challenges.

The current COVID-19 epidemic has become the strongest indication so far that governance capacities at various levels of government fall short of delivering adequate responses to complex, global emergencies. This includes approaches to urban and regional governance which will have to change rapidly to adapt to the challenges of the 21st century. Place-based governance reforms are critical to accelerate the responses from subnational governments to the global health and climate crises, natural disasters, extreme and growing inequalities, unrest, socio-economic and political shocks, and a more fragile global economy.

Global Climate Strike, New York, 24 May 2019 | © Pacific Press/Getty Images

The Emergency Governance Initiative aims to provide city and regional governments with actionable information, suitable frameworks, knowledge and resources to navigate the new demands of leading emergency responses. In that respect, its goal is also to inform the governance of grand challenges which are increasingly framed as complex emergencies, above all climate change. The initiative has three main components:

1.       A three-month Pilot Project establishing critical priorities based on stakeholder engagement, testing different modes of collecting and analysing data, and experimenting with relevant formats of reporting back to the target audiences.

2.       An Emergency Transitions Monitor collecting and analysing data from cities and regions on how they are transitioning into and out of emergency modes. This monitor will initially focus on COVID-19 urban governance and actions while centrally considering interventions beyond the immediate crisis responses. In particular, it will monitor to what extent crisis response experiments may become new fixtures of post-crisis governance.

3.       A UCLG Special Report on ‘Emergency Governance for Cities and Regions’ summarising the most relevant insights emerging from the Emergency Transitions Monitor alongside broader frameworks, knowledge and evidence on emergency governance. It will present findings on how cities and regions are reframing grand challenges as emergencies and how they are addressing related emergency responses. The report will also make suggestions for governance innovations addressing emergency modes.

Across these three components and in addition to specific outputs, the aim is to establish processes that enable collaboration, the sharing of knowledge and tools, and to inform parallel initiatives currently being developed by UCLG and Metropolis.

Project Team

Management Group
Philipp Rode, Project Co-Lead, LSE Cities
Edgardo Bilsky,
Project Lead, UCLG
Oscar Chamat,
Project Lead, Metropolis
Nuno F da Cruz,
Project Co-Lead, LSE Cities
Ainara Fernández Tortosa
, Researcher, UCLG
Anna Calvete Moreno, Researcher, UCLG

Research and Coordination
Rebecca Flynn, Project Coordinator, LSE Cities
Nuno F da Cruz, Project Co-Lead, LSE Cities
Catarina Heeckt,
Researcher, LSE Cities
Bethany Mickleburgh,
Researcher, LSE Cities
Alex Gomes, Researcher, LSE Cities                                                                                        Mirjam Sagi, Researcher, LSE Cities
Ainara Fernández Tortosa,
Researcher, UCLG
Anna Calvete Moreno,
Researcher, UCLG
José Álvarez, Researcher, UCLG
Jolie Guzman
Researcher, UCLG
Emilie Huet,
Researcher, UCLG
Oscar Chamat, Project Lead, Metropolis
Lia Brum,
Resarcher, Metropolis

Governing Board
Edgardo Bilsky, UCLG
Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General
Jo Beall, Distinguished Policy Fellow, LSE Cities
Octavi de la Varga, Metropolis Secretary General
Oscar Chamat, Research and Policy Officer
Philipp Rode, Executive Director, LSE Cities
Ramatouka Saw, Chief Deputy of Cabinet of the Mayor of Dakar
Ricky Burdett, Director, LSE Cities
Sithole Mbanga, Deputy Secretary General of UCLGA


Policy Briefs

Policy Brief #01. Emergency Governance Initiative for Cities and Regions. (July 2020). LSE Cities, UCLG, Metropolis.

Analytics Notes

Analytics Note #02: The COVID-19 Response: Governance Challenges and Innovations by Cities and Regions. Emergency Governance Initiative for Cities and Regions. (July 2020). LSE Cities, UCLG, Metropolis.

Analytics Note #01: COVID-19 Monitors of Relevance to Urban and Regional Governance. Emergency Governance Initiative for Cities and Regions. (June 2020). LSE Cities, UCLG, Metropolis.

Management Group
Philipp Rode; Edgardo Blisky; Oscar Chamat; Nuno F da Cruz; Ainara Fernández Tortosa; Anna Calvete Moreno

Research and Coordination
Rebecca Flynn; Nuno F da Cruz; Catarina Heeckt; Bethany Mickleburgh; Mirjam Sagi; Ainara Fernández Tortosa; Anna Calvete Moreno; José Álvarez; Jolie Guzman; Emilie Huet; Oscar Chamat; Lia Brum

Governing Board
Emilia Saiz, Sithole Mbanga, Edgardo Bilsky, Octavi de la Varga, Ramatouka Sow, Oscar Chamat, Jo Beall, Ricky Burdett, Philipp Rode

Project Partners
United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and Metropolis 

Research Strand
Urban Governance

May 2020 – April 2022