Upholding public-law values in hybrid public/private urban governance

This paper considers ways in which public law should respond to a growingly urban global order of blurred private and state power. Either in law or in practice, private entities are increasingly involved in various aspects of urban governance, ranging from essential service delivery to the governance of public health. Yet public-law accountability structures in most legal systems remain focused on state actors, thereby creating a democratic-accountability gap. This paper considers the operation of public law norms (including human rights, public participation and administrative-law principles) in relation to non-state actors embroiled in urban governance. It canvasses the shaping of urban autonomy through the devolution of state power, the legal positioning of urban decision-making fora vis public participation structures, the nature of legal instruments that implement governance decisions and the normative role of human rights law in upholding substantive ends of urban governance.