Our theme for this conference has been war and the challenge it presents to communities. One of the key challenges is to secure the peace after the violence has ended - to mend war-torn societies; to deepen the post-conflict processes of conflict transformation; to prevent further violent or destructive conflicts; to build utopia where there has been dystopia.
In our era, new actors are now involved in conflict resolution and management at the global level. Before, under traditional diplomacy, the state was so pre-eminent that it appeared that there was only the state: Track I or maybe informal Track II dialogue among states were the norm. Now, however, regional organizations, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), ad hoc coalitions, business organizations, transnational corporations (TNCs), religious groups, professional conflict resolution associations, global civil society networks, worthy personages, are all involved in a full range of peace keeping, peace making, and peace building.1
Nowhere, however, is there talk about cities or about networks of cities linked into city-systems and what their contribution might be. The urban scale, as a site for or actor in the resolution of international social conflicts, ethnonational conflicts or inter-state war, is not considered. This black hole in the new conflict resolution field is a problem - it is a problem for four reasons. The first is that the urban/city scale is and long has been, the ontological heart of conflict. City wars and wars among cities is a 5,000 year history, dwarfing the 300 years clocked up by the modern territorial state. As analysts we cannot ignore the dynamics of war that surrounds the city. Urban warfare pervades our understanding of human history, our conceptualisations of the city, our military practices, and even our cultural representations of war.
A second reason to re-centre the city in our discussions of war and peace is that the city and "military operations in urban terrain" (MOUT) has re-emerged into strategic doctrine; and this centrality of cities to 21st century war fighting (from Grozney to Baghdad and Monrovia) cannot be ignored. Thus, just as we privilege MOUT, we should rethink the centrality of cities to peace making as well.
Thirdly, the city/urban scale, in the form of the "global city" of Saskia Sassen and John Friedmann, is re-emerging into political economy and onto the international relations agenda.2 Under globalisation, cities are part of what Susan Strange termed the "leaking away" of power from the territorial state, both above and below. Spatial political economy points our attention to the emergence of C² (command and control) over global capital within global cities, and the dramatic reorganization of power and the strategic territories that articulate it. We live in an urban world, with 1997 being a critical date when the world passed over the 50% urban mark. Urbanism sets the global cultural and ideological agenda; to ignore the urban scale is to miss much of the primary restructuring occurring in the global order.
Finally, we haven't done too well in dealing with conflict resolution globally. States have proved limited in their ability to move beyond conflict mitigation or conflict management, and are focused more on managing behaviour than in transforming the fundamentals or of adopting what John Burton termed a proventive paradigm. Conflict is endemic; zones of conflict like the Middle East have set into conflict systems; 30 million refugees worldwide flee violence while millions as internally displaced; structural violence is a daily occurrence for most of the world's urban population. States are not able to handle peace building alone, and they often seem to be part of the problem and not part of the solution.
Therefore, we cannot afford to ignore any scale or actor that may offer help in conflict resolution and anti-war. Kofi Anan recently called for a major study of the role of NGO's in conflict resolution as partners/contributors along with states to preventing war.3 It is in the same spirit that I make the case for (re)integrating the urban into our theory, analysis and praxis of peace making. When compared to the potentiality of global civil society, who knows what might be accomplished by cities, embedded in city systems, with their significantly greater wealth, power and legitimacy?
2. CITY WARS: THE URBAN IN CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE
A. Across the Longue Durée
City Wars dominate our thinking about conflict and of its trajectory throughout history. For over five thousand years, the urban has been a crucial component of war, and central to human conflict. The first written records come from Mesopotamia, emerging from the first developing city-system based around Ur, Uruk and Nippur, and refer to economic and diplomatic exchanges among these cities at the head of the Persian Gulf.4 The very pictorial representation of the word "city" in Sumerian is a wall, symbolizing protection from attack. For the ancient Iraqis, cities equalled society; the founding of the first city by the gods as recorded in the "Epic of Gilgamesh" was the "beginning of history".5 The first large scale organized violence was among cities of between 10,000 and 50,000 inhabitants, little more than 20 miles distant from each other, locked into a Mesopotamian city-system. Sargon the Great, the founder of the first territorial empire in 2,300 BC boasts of how he captured cities, the symbolic centres of the world order, and destroyed their walls.
Western civilization's narrative of itself tragically moves through city conflicts: Memphis vs. Assur; Babylon vs. Persepolis; Sparta vs. Athens; Rome vs. Carthage; Constantinople vs. Bursa; Samarkand vs. Moscow; Venice vs. Genoa; Amsterdam vs. London; London vs. Paris; London and Paris vs. Berlin; Moscow, London and Washington vs. Berlin, Tokyo and Rome; Washington vs. Moscow. Conflict and great cities shape our sense of crucial turning points in human history: the sacking of Troy (subject of a recent television movie); the trumpets at Jericho; the destruction of Jerusalem; the fall of Rome; the saving of Vienna; the rape of Nanking; the retreat from Moscow; the battle for Stalingrad; firebombing Dresden; the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the fall of Saigon; humiliation in Mogadishu; the tragedy of 9/11; the capture of Baghdad.
It is true not just for the West, but across the globe: the fall of Zimbabwe; the capture of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City); the capture of Beijing by the Mongols; the fall of Angkor Wat; the battle for Hue; the fall of Saigon; the battle of Algiers; the massacre at Amritsar; Gordon's defeat at Khartoum; the fall of Constantinople. Iranians remember the "war of the cities" between Baghdad and Tehran; artists draw murals of the destruction of cities and they get hung in the UN (and then covered up when a Sec. of State might be embarrassed by the reference). Time begins with the taking of cities: Year Zero starts with the capture of Phnom Penh or the hijrah to Medina; the establishment of capitals marks imperial beginnings.
The conquerors who dominate our history books are those who captured cities, built skulls of the bones of their defenders, allowed the women to be raped, exiled the artisans and destroyed the very foundations of community: Alexander; Julius Caesar; Genghis Khan; Tamerlane; Pizzaro; Napoleon. City-systems are the focus of our plays, tragedies and operas: the Greek city-states; the Philistine cities; the Hanseatic League; the Phoenicians; the Italian city-states. In 2003, the most popular on-line gaming is wars among fictitious cities.
I don't need to belabour the point: human history is dominated by conflict among cities and systems of cities: This makes fundamental sense: cities are the natural sites of control; the nexus for networks of exchange, transport and communications that create wealth and power; cities are by their very nature excess-creating machines. They are symbolic of power. The very word for city comes from the recognition of the power of citizens to come together to create a community. The city IS civilization, is structure, and is opulence in the human imagination, the centre and source of authority and legitimacy. They have served as the sites for religious identity, the sites for bureaucracy and the division of labour, the place for the production and accumulation of luxury and wealth, the centre of culture and creativity, the locus for collective identity and community; the site for security and insecurity.6 Thus the cities of the "other" must be destroyed to symbolically and practically dominate them. Controlling city-systems are the key to winning a conflict and the demonstration that power has changed. Monrovia changed hands three times in 20 days of fighting for control of Liberia during the summer of 2003. As one US military advisor said recently, cities are important because "that's where they keep the people."7 Millennia earlier, Sun Tzu, in the Art of War, stressed the centrality of cities while valorising diplomacy, when he said:
B. Renewed Centrality to Strategic Doctrine
But it is not just the fundamentals of the longue durée of Braudel8 that drive this argument, but current developments of the post 1970's world order. Our world is not just historically fixated on cities: the urban has re-emerged as a crucial level of analysis for understanding conflict in our current world order as well. There are numerous indications of this centrality. One of the most significant is that the US military now strategically envisions the future of war as "military operations in urbanized terrain (MOUT)"9. Over the last few years a whole Urban Operations Doctrine has been developed, and it received a good test in the Baghdad-centred city-system. The Marine Corp has conducted numerous simulations and experiments in urban terrain, and has developed projects over the last 10 years to evolve appropriate night fighting and communication technologies for conducting urban warfare. The case studies that drive this shift in strategic doctrine include Mogadishu, Belfast, East Timor, Stalingrad, Berlin, Beirut, Grozney, Saigon and Hue; Los Angeles Riots; Bogotá. At a recent conference on "Preparing for Urban Operations in the 21st Century", Dr. Jim Miller, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for the US, argued "the historical record is clear. Built-up areas have been central to conflict since the time cities were created. The control of cities has been central to success in conflict."10
Likewise, a range of new technologies has been developed to win conflicts in urban terrain. For example, there was substantial discussion about a new type of weapon that could have been tested in the Iraq conflict, called electronic pulse munitions or "directed energy weapons" (DEW) which are intended to destroy electronic command circuits and computers throughout cities. The US/UK did test new technologies and tactics for urban conflict in Basra, al-Nasiriyah, Karbala and Baghdad.
Significantly, the link between cities, terrorism and resistance has become clearer since 11 September. Cities are vulnerable, and the risk profile complex.11 Moscow is as vulnerable as Tel Aviv or Casablanca. Cities are the sites of attack; sites for organizing attacks; the points of defence and protection; and the place to mobilize support for ideological positions. In response to 11 September, the US has employed basic urban strategies: remove urban sites for organizing; and organize defence within US cities through the Homeland Security structure. As a result, for the first time since the height of the Cold War, "issues surrounding international, military and geopolitical security now penetrate utterly into practices surrounding the governance, design and planning of cities and urban regions."12
Crucially, numerous issues come together in cities when considering the interconnectedness of urban violence with war. When assessing its evolving mission in relation to cities, for example, the US military has developed, from their case list, a set of responsibilities that is broader than just a combat role:
Certainly the coalition soldiers on duty guarding the Baghdad Museum would have something to say about the multiplicity of roles they have taken on in the city environment.14
C. New Centrality in International Relations and Political Economy
Beyond war, it is important to realize that the global political economy and the development of the world system are pushing us to reintegrate the urban into our understanding of the full range of global processes, including conflict. In 1997 the world past the 50% urbanization mark, becoming an "urban world" and making urbanisation a key feature of global transformation.15 The dynamics of urbanization are clearly derived from the forces of globalisation and the evolution of global capital, and future global development depends on understanding the interconnectedness of the economics of urbanization, urban growth and the globalized urban economy.16 The issues of development, of resistance to globalisation, questions of justice and the international division of labour also take place in cities and depend on city-systems, and cities are sites for these developments, as well as actors with agency embedded in networks of exchange. Cities embedded in networks have always been the backcloth or armature for regional and global economic development: what is different today is the "intensity, complexity and global span of these networks...and the number of cities that are part of cross-border networks operating at vast geographic scales."17 Cities and city-systems are back on the global political economy agenda, and are central to reimagining the dynamics of the emergent world system.
D. The City-centric Logic of the Third Gulf War
The US-led attack on Iraq can perhaps be best understood not as a war among states, but as a war among city-systems: a battle between Washington/London (and their city-systems in a "coalition of the willing") and Baghdad's system of cities. The war was fought to change how Baghdad's city-system was controlled; how the economic resources it accessed were distributed; and to manage the imagined political risk this specific city-system represented for the region and for the world. The future of the Persian Gulf city-system, with the Baghdad city-system as a key sub-element, was central to the calculation.
Wherever we look, the city-level aspects of the war against the regime in Baghdad are clear:
Certainly the recent history of conflict in the Persian Gulf should lead us to the conclusion that cities are at the centre of regional struggle: the first Gulf War (1980 - 1988) between Iraq and Iran began with the battle for Abadan, Ahvaz and Khorramshahr. These cities continue to be scarred by the destruction of twenty years ago. In its later trajectory, the first Gulf War expanded into another version of the "war of the cities" with missile strikes and air raids on each other's population centres. In the second Gulf War (1991), Saddam attempted to expand the war by striking at Israeli cities, and Kuwait City was looted during the Iraqi withdrawal.
In the broader Middle East, the Israelis are reassessing their strategic doctrine in light of the April 2002 events in Jenin23. Israelis now say that the lessons they have learned in the second intifada, for example in how to deal with suicide bombings, suggest that they must now place increased reliance on "special forces, sniper squads, pre-emptive assassinations (what the Israeli military calls pin-point preventive acts) and enhanced intelligence tactics."24 They also foresee an expanded role for military engineers in mine clearing and bulldozing within urban terrain. Other Middle East battles and conflicts that are being studied by Palestinians and Israelis alike include the Siege of Beirut during 1982; the taking of Jerusalem in 1967 or the fighting for the city in 1948; street-to-street fighting in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War; the house-to-house fighting in Gaza that occurred in early 2003; or the fight for Mogadishu.25 Such examples remain in the popular imagination and prominent in the thinking of military planners.26
In sum, human history tells us that cities must be taken, controlled, dominated, as the key sites of "the other's" identity and power. This is the core of conflict, where spatially-grounded networks meets human will. When Tamerlane took Baghdad 600 years ago, he massacred 20,000 of the city's defenders and piled their skulls outside the city, allowed the city's women to be raped, and exiled the artisan community to Samarkand. The city still bears the scars of this destruction in its built environment and historical narrative. City wars are not new for the Baghdad'i city system; and the destruction of cities in the Persian Gulf is a 5,000-year-old human activity. City wars are fundamental to human conflict, creating a dystopia of chaos and disorder.
3. CREATING CITIES OF PEACE (CURRENT GLOBAL PRACTICE)
Despite 5,000 years of centrality to conflict, however, cities have virtually been ignored in the academic literature on conflict resolution or anti-war.27 Conventional wisdom holds that cities lack agency, are not autonomous, are not linked into networks crucial for transformation, are "off the map." Over the last 20 years, as the sub-field of conflict resolution has evolved, no focused discussion has occurred about the urban level, and the contribution or role it plays in the process.28 Likewise, in the discussions about the future of the Persian Gulf, little has been said about the role of the urban scale in creating a new order.
This lack of direct attention, however, does not mean that cities are neither sites for conflict resolution nor agents themselves at scales beyond their walls. In fact, under close examination, there are a range of issues and praxis where conflict resolution dynamics can be identified. In the war against the Baghdadi city-system, for example, we see that cities and city-systems were deeply involved in attempts at peacemaking and peace building. Two examples are illustrative:
Beyond examples linked to the recent war, it is crucial to understand that cities and city systems have long been involved as sites or agents for resolving conflict and peace building. A sample of recent praxis suggests the range of projects and activity:
As the examples above illustrate, agency at the community and city-based scale does exist, and it is not just directed at so-called local conflicts: there is awareness by local communities that the urban is a crucial contributor to transnational/global conflict transformation as well. City-networks are struggling to overcome division and separation in cross-border contexts; both between states and within broader geographic regions.
Municipal foreign policy across a range of issues central to conflict resolution is not new. Four themes or issue areas where cities have expressed dissident foreign policy during the last twenty five years are in promoting peaceful relations among peoples; in creating the conditions for peace building through sustainable development for all; in standing for environmental protection; and in affirming human rights and global protection. The municipal "nuclear free-zone" movement which began in Japan during the 1950's and culminated in the 1980's with 3,000 authorities in 17 countries declaring their territories off-limits to the manufacture, storage or transport of nuclear weapons, is an example of the desire of municipal leaders to deny the descent into nuclear terror as the preferred strategy for settling human conflicts.57 The "sanctuary movement", which linked 29 sanctuary cities in the US into a resistance city-network exchanging ideas, techniques and support, affirmed the human rights of refugees to protection during conditions of conflict and repression as well as had much to say about the right to economic development for all.58 And the move to "healthy cities", as represented by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, the intermunicipal Stratospheric Protection Accord and the 1990 World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, all affirmed a strong responsibility felt by municipal leaders to act globally to protect local environmental conditions under conditions where national governments were abrogating their responsibilities.59
Our knowledge of the full range of actions taken by municipalities and actors on conflict transformation is limited, since our lack of understanding and awareness of this scale has blinded us to collecting data about ongoing praxis and interventions. We just do not really know the full extent of agency taking place globally by cities, either unilaterally or multilaterally, to deal with such issues. But the limited number of examples citied above remind us that: city elites do understand the links between the global and the local; they are willing to act; and that they may be able to carve out a niche for themselves in terms of policy and praxis. Certainly the full range of issues subsumed under a broad construction of conflict resolution60 are considered to be within their remit: healing cross-cultural divisions; building civitas and democracy; peace building through sustainable development; halting destructive environmental policies which sow the seeds for future conflict; denying the use of social resources for destructive confrontational strategies; building bridges of dialogue where they do not exist; creating the political space for dialogue and creative contestation; empowering disadvantaged communities within the political space; empowering the rule of law.
4. WHAT DOES CONFLICT RESOLUTION SAY NEEDS TO BE DONE?
There is a black hole in the peacemaking literature when it comes to cities and to the urban scale. Search any of the major types of literature concerning conflict resolution: textbooks; the extensive websites; the electronic journals; the training workbooks used by the INGOs; curriculum packages developed to teach peace building; or the conflict analysis frameworks for mapping and strategic intervention. No matter where you look, you will not find the word "cities" or "urban" employed. There is a wealth of state-centric material, some references to community-based approaches, nascent work on corporations, a growing reference to the contributions of non-governmental organizations61, and a few references to the contribution of regional organizations, but nothing about cities or city-systems.
However, no matter where you look, the substantive arguments about what is required for conflict resolution, about the dynamics of conflict transformation, about the praxis of peace making, all actually link very clearly to the urban scale, and cry out for agency at the urban level. Take for example the work of The Carnegie Commission on Preventing Conflict. Their major 1999 report recommended numerous ways to prevent conflict. At one point, the authors argue that:
As a practical manifestation of this recommendation, the Commission suggested empowering the OSCE to take on the role of social monitoring. Yet the OSCE is a collection of states, not communities as sites where people live. It would appear more appropriate to the spirit of the recommendation to enhance the city-system arm of regional organizations. There are already numerous transnational municipal organizations at the regional and global level.63 Some of the most interesting are Metropolis (World Association of the Major Metropolises), WACLAC (World Associations of Cities and Local Authorities Coordination), Eurocities, SUMMIT (Summit Conference of Major Cities of the World), CEMR (Council of European Municipalities and Regions), and Sister Cities International. Such municipal networks have moved a range of issues onto the international, regional or national agenda; a number of them have intentionally taken on peace issues.
The Carnegie Commission on Preventing Conflict also suggested that conflict transformation requires a balance of coercion and reassurance, carrots and sticks, to move actors toward transformation. Although they were talking about states and IGOs, city-systems should be considered here as well. Certainly city-systems cannot currently provide the violence aspect of the coercion component, although they have played this role numerous times over the past 5,000 years. However, it is in the arena of the reassurance aspects, establishing positive remedial action and opportunities for early awareness, useable early warning, and early action, that city-systems might make an important contribution.
In its conclusion, the Carnegie Commission argued for a realization that traditional diplomacy is no longer enough in the 21st century world order; we need a change of paradigm, one that places strategic emphasis on early warning and early response64. I would argue that part of that paradigmatic shift, taking on more of Burton's provention concept65, or that of Luc Reychler and his ideas of field diplomacy66, gets us away from seeing the state as the only legitimate actor in conflict resolution. Developed as another part of the toolbox available to us, city system intervention may be able to make key contributions to conflict resolution at the regional level.
In a recent well-received textbook in the field, Miall, Ramsbotham and Woodhouse present an overview of contemporary conflict resolution.67 Fundamental to their argument is that the range of organizations and individuals that are involved in conflict resolution, particularly since the "fixed structures of sovereignty and governance" are breaking down, is expanding.68 The stress in the book is on the "three main types of agent(s) (which) now play an enhanced role in the resolution of contemporary conflict: the UN, regional organizations and NGOs." 69 Cities or city systems are never mentioned.
One message of the book is that "the practice of conflict resolution has expanded and evolved...(and it now is clear that) the developing discipline of conflict resolution has something to contribute" across all arenas of conflict. 70 Miall et. al. suggest that the practice of conflict resolution works to prevent "violent conflict before it has broken out"; to act in "war zones to mitigate and limit violent conflict while it is raging"; and to bring "violent conflict to a sustainable end with a view to long-term reconciliation and peace building."
Prevention, they argue, involves intervention soon after conflict situations have appeared, hopefully before attitudes and behaviour become embedded or locked into spirals or escalation. It also involves what Kenneth Boulding termed early warning conflict "data stations". In both these roles, cities formed into a network of regional cities might work both on the deeper or long term aspects of prevention through a focus on latent or emergent conflicts that are just beginning to enter the radar screen. States are either too slow to sense the appearance of conflict, or are too fast to categorize and polarize a conflict into zero-sum terms. Cities tasked with reading the local issues, with watching in a city-centric collective security arrangement for changes which could threaten the collective social welfare, for reacting quickly, may be more efficient and have an earlier time frame for highlighting issues and dealing with them creatively. Socially, city-systems might be more sensitive to a wider range of conflicts which were emergent; secondly, they could be better at "monitoring and appraising" progress; finally, they may have a chance to be listened to at more macro scales in ways that might elude NGOs.71
John Paul Lederach, in a 1995 article entitled "Conflict Transformation in Protracted Internal Conflicts: the Case for a Comprehensive Framework" concludes that, among other requirements for conflict transformation, it is crucial to build a peace constituency. In order to do this, he says, "indigenous empowerment" is central.72 Although he does not mention it, the urban scale appears to offer a privileged level on which to do this, and an "appropriate" scale for indigenous empowerment. Likewise, when Lederach suggests that conflict transformation requires the establishment of an infrastructure for peace, the potential of a city network, committed to regional, transboundary action on peacemaking, comes to mind.
The Searching for Peace project of the European Centre for Conflict Prevention has published their findings as they seek to understand conflict prevention and peace building initiatives that are actually occurring in Asia and the Pacific. The goal of the project is to "facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experience between organizations and to identify the main actors, experts, publications and events" actually occurring regionally. There is no mention of the urban scale in the most recent product of the project.73 In one study on the Ferghana Valley in Central Asia, however, every recommendation points to the need for work at the urban scale. In his chapter, the author says that the three states which come together in the Ferghana Valley have a poor track record of official conflict management, since they have little trust of each other, and a strong state-sovereignty paradigm to the limits of state-centric conflict resolution. However, outside donors have begun projects that appear to promise long-term conflict prevention in the valley. The UNDP Ferghana Valley Development Program, for example, is built around a regional program "focusing on issues dealing with growth and sustainable development." The five programmatic themes, such as job creation and income generation, or revival of a common cultural heritage in the region, all depended on building cross-border partnerships in the valley among NGOs and other civil-society organizations. Linking the cities in the valley into a city-system in addition, or as a component of the program never appears to have been considered. Yet it is via cities as sites and agents that all the recommendations will be realized.
Mary Anderson, in the significant book "Do No Harm", suggests that the links between the international and the local, when it comes to aid, distribution, agency and conflict are significant: there is a link between the "micro level of warfare (and peacefare)...and the macro level" she argues.74 Crucial links are those "connectors" which bridge gaps between warring factions; and the sites where "people maintain overt contact and connections across fighting lines... [or where] people stay connected in less obvious ways."75Aid has an impact on warfare, but it is possible to limit that impact: through thoughtful choices of scale, cases, change in attitude and building awareness.76 A city-aware strategy to build such connections and to distribute aid, would fit well with Anderson's suggestions.
M. Stiefel, in reporting on the War-torn Societies Project (1999), stressed the developmental challenges that emerge from the special circumstances of war-torn societies. In particular, they need long-term peace building through development of "local solutions and responses" that delegate authority and thus promote local ownership. They also need to build collaboration between the state, civil society and the market through capacity building.77 Western development agencies often advocate external institutions to carry out this process; or they suggest building local NGOs. From a developmental perspective, this may actually be an opportunity for local municipal authority, which meshes local linkages with authority and market components, thus providing greater institutional power for social transformation than NGOs.
A similar finding emerges from the "Brahimi Report", the report of the UN Secretary-General's Panel on UN Peace Operations convened in March 2000. Given the report's stress on the development of a new mindset, one focused on the prevention of conflict through local development cooperation, a key role for cities in conflict resolution, although not mentioned, can be postulated. The report stresses the need for greater help to local partners; flexible economic development; early warning on the ground; and effective disarmament demobilization and reintegration of former combatants (DDR). Such tasks for conflict resolution require "constructing a strategy to prevent conflict" through building a healthy governance system, assuring a degree of political and economic equity, environmental sustainability, respect of cultures, and free participation in the political space.78
As exemplified by this small sample, the conflict resolution literature is replete with suggestions and recommendations for ways of transforming conflict - what they lack is a city-level scale as part of the mix of sites and actors. The key messages contained across this literature -- local participation; new institutional arrangements outside the state-centric approach; early warning; peace building through sustainable development; empowerment of marginalized populations; greater legitimacy locally, regionally and internationally; new networking links globally--are all possible roles for cities and city-systems.
5. WHAT CAN CITIES AND CITY-SYSTEMS OFFER CONFLICT RESOLUTION?
What can city systems offer, for example, in zones of conflict like the Persian Gulf, for example? Eastern Europe? West Africa? The Levant? Central Asia? How can cities carve out municipal foreign policies to link their communities with the transnational or translocal dynamics of peacemaking? Cities and city-systems certainly appear to be crucial for underpinning the success of the new regionalism and to building democratic peace. What about as a tool for economic development regionally? What about early warning? What about post conflict peace building?
The potential of cities and city-systems is heightened by the following characteristics of cities and city-systems:
6. (RE)INTEGRATING THE URBAN INTO CONFLICT RESOLUTION
In sum, we need as many actors/agents/scales working on peace making as possible. Conflicts abound in the 21st century world disorder, and our skills and tools remain underdeveloped. Thus why ignore a valuable and proven set of actors and sites that could be employed in our search for a better future? The urban has always been part of our conflicts and violence: the pragmatic argument means we cannot afford to leave it out of our conflict resolution attempts.
Even more forcefully, if we are concerned with sustainable peace, positive rather than negative peace, conflict transformation rather than conflict management, we should proactively seek to "bring the urban back in". The urban scale offers a number of alternative norms, principles and values that contrast sharply with those offered by the state in conflict resolution. If we truly seek to structure a new paradigm for social relations for the 21st century, then cities MUST be part of our arsenal.
The techniques for such inclusion are clear: gradually empowering city-systems within regional institutions; build sub-regional city networks where none exist; enhance city-to-city decentralized cooperation globally, link such praxis in with the U.N, and allow its contribution to be valued. Just as with the call to link NGOs in to global conflict resolution, we must empower city-systems in this regard as part of a broader strategy. Galtung talks about systems that are "peace carriers" as opposed to those which "carriers of violence": a city-system offers great potential as a peace carrier. There may be a staged process to enhancing their relevance and role: perhaps through a graduated expansion, where city networks expand slowly across boundaries with sports, infrastructures, mutual vulnerabilities, movement of peoples, policies of complementarities and then more substantial involvements. If we gather more city-level data, organize city networks across regions, empower city linkages for economic development, enhance city-level conflict resolution capacity (Galtung's Peace Councillors for each municipality), attempt a wider range of municipal foreign policy, we may create a new political space within which their substantial contributions may flourish.
States will not give up power easily, although to some degree cities are taking power on their own anyway. National elites will feel threatened by such aggressive policies and actions. Interlinking scales is not easy; and devolving power is very hard for states. But states may also see communal benefits in shifting some authority, agency or governance to new city-systems. We do have some examples, such as the EU, where states are shifting power down to the city level to gain community benefit. It may be a good way to enhance regional efficacy in peace making; as a level perceived as "off the map" by states, decentralized coordination may not initially be as threatening as other alternatives. Certainly shifting power to the urban scale may actually be perceived as more controllable than NGOs or civil society.
The situation of conflict in the world is such that we must think beyond the state-centric paradigms of the past and the boxes states have put us in. One way is to rethink political space and agency, and return to an older notion of citizenship, agency and praxis that possibly has new relevance for the 21st century.
The author is grateful to the Department of Politics, University of Exeter for financial support in order to participate in this conference.
1. Louise Diamond and John McDonald, Multi-Track Diplomacy: A Systems Approach to Peace (Washington, D.C.: Kumarian Press, 1996).
2. See the following for a flavour of the new scholarship: Saskia Sassen, The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001). John Friedmann, The Prospect of Cities (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2002). Allen J. Scott, ed. Global City-Regions: Trends, Theory, Policy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). Resat Kasaba, ed. Cities in the World-System (New York: Greenwood Press, 1991).
3. Prevention of Armed Conflict: Report of the UN Secretary General (June 2001) A/55/985-S/2001/574.
4. As George Modelski puts it, "It is a matter of some interest to students of international relations that the invention of writing as recorded in Sumerian literature arises in the context of inter-state relations." George Modelski, "Ancient World Cities 4000-1000 BC: Centre/Hinterland in the World System," Global Society 13/4 (1999): 388, Footnote #15. I would suggest that the thrust of his article implies that it was more appropriately "in the context of an evolving city-system" rather than that of "inter-state relations."
5. Such themes carried on through the mythology of the region. 2000 years later, Nimrud, the capital of Ashur-Nasirpal II (883 BC), was protected by reliefs of the apkallū, eagle-headed beings with human bodies endowed by the gods to build the great cities and to ensure the well-being of the city's inhabitants.
6. See Lewis Mumford, The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and its Prospects (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1961) or Peter Hall, Cities in Civilization (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1998) for a general view. A recent book, by James Bamford, Body of Secrets (New York: Anchor, 2002), reports that in the 1960's, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff considered a plan called "Operation Northwoods" which involved committing acts of terrorism within US cities in order to create public support for a war against Cuba.
8. See Fernand Braudel's discussion of towns and cities in Civilization and Capitalism, Vol. I The Structures of Everyday Life (New York: Harper and Row, 1979).
9. See Stephen Graham, "Special Collection: Reflections on Cities, September 11th and the 'War on Terrorism'- One Year On," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 26:3 (2002): 589-625 or Russell W. Glenn, "The City's Many Faces: Proceedings of the Arroyo-MCWL-J8 UWG Urban Operations Conference", Rand Corporation, (20 November 2002). <www.rand.org/publications/CF/CF148/ >.
11. See Saskia Sassen, "Iraq War Blowback," Nation 276/4 (2 March 2003). See also Edward Glaeser and Jesse Shapiro, "Cities and Warfare: The Impact of Terrorism on Urban Form," Discussion Paper #1942 (Harvard: Harvard Institute of Economic Research) (March 2003) <http://post.economics.harvard.edu/hier/2001papers/2001list.html>.
12. Graham, 589. See also Colin Flint, "Political Geography II: terrorism, modernity, governance and governmentality," Progress in Human Geography 27/1 (2003).
14. Michael Desch, ed. "Soldiers in cities: military operations in urban terrain," Strategic Studies Institute (Carlisle, PA: US Army War College, 2001). (23 January 2003) <http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usassi/ssipubs/pubs2001/cities/cities.pdf>.
15. David Clark, Urban World/Global City (London: Routledge, 1996), 3.
16. Balchin, Paul et al., Urban Economics: A Global Perspective (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2000), 532.
17. Saskia Sassen, ed., Global Networks: Linked Cities (New York: Routledge, 2002), 26.
18. "US Refines Plan for War in Cities," NY Times, 22 October 2002.
19. "Iraq Said to Plan Strategy of Delay and Urban Battle," NY Times, 16 February 2003, sec. A, p. 1.
20. In a speech to the citizens of Mosul during May 2003, US Maj. General David Petraeus stated "I am feeling like a Mosulwi". See <http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/3124408.stm> or <www.rnw.nl/realradio/features/html/mosul030714.html> for further reports about Petraeus's activities in Mosul.
21. "The Cost of War with Iraq for Selected Cities in Massachusetts," National Priorities Project <www.nationalpriorities.org/Issues/military/Iraq/costofwar.html>. (03/03).
22. "Prepare Our Cities for War with Iraq," The Washington Times, 31 December 2002.
23. "Israel Redefines Tactics: Doctrine Highlights Limited, Urban Combat," DefenseNews, 10-16 June 2002, 24.
24. "Israel Redefines Tactics: Doctrine Highlights Limited, Urban Combat," DefenseNews, 10-16 June 2002, 24.
27. Over 5,000 years, cities have been both sites for conflict resolution among antagonists as well as actors in the process. Most of this involvement and intervention has been forgotten, though occasionally there remain glimpses in Shakespearean plays or the Thousand and One Nights.
28. There is one interesting short article by Johan Galtung entitled "Local Authorities as Peace Factors/Actors/Workers". Journal of World-Systems Research VI, 3, (Fall/Winter 2000) [electronic journal], (March 2003), <http://csf.colorado.edu/jwsr>. This article is confused and rambling, but contains a number of important points that support the arguments made here.
34. See <www.ngroups.com/Stockholm/> (03/03) for WSCC and a world cities organizations list, or see Metropolis links page at www.metropolis.org/metropolis/home.nsf/headingpagesdisplay/links (03/03).
38. Neal Peirce, "Cities as Peacemakers", Seattle Times, 4 April 2000.
39. Colin Knox, "Conflict Resolution at the Microlevel: Community Relations in Northern Ireland," The Journal of Conflict Resolution 38/4 (1994).
44. "Community Policing: After a good beginning, more progress ahead," Telegram and Gazette; Worcester, MA, 20 Aug. 1996.
49. "Report of a Workshop on City-to-City Cooperation and the Interaction between Municipal Governments and Civil Society," First Forum of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty, 1998, 3. <www.undp.org/hiv/mayors/worldalliance/Part3_3_1.htm> (10 September 2000).
50. 4, "Report of a Workshop on City-to-City Cooperation and the Interaction between Municipal Governments and Civil Society."
52. <http://perso.wanadoo.fr/fmcu/composan/compmult/cadprinc/mp7c2c.html> (18 June 2003).
53. UN Habitat report, "City-to-City Cooperation: Issues Arising from Experience: An Interim Report" Rio de Janeiro, May 2001, <http://perso.wanadoo.fr/fmcu/download/c2c/c2c-ang.doc> (18 June 2003).
54. <http://perso.wanadoo.fr/fmcu/accueil/index3-a.html> (18 June 2003).
55. <http://perso.wanadoo.fr/fmcu/composan/compmult/cadprinc/mp5palet.html> (18 June 2003).
56. Monseñor Leonardo Gomez Serna, "Mogotes Municipal Constituent Assembly: activating 'popular sovereignty'at a local level," Accord Magazine [electronic magazine]. <www.c-r.org/accord/peace/accord13/mog.htm> (18 June 2003).
57. Warren Magnusson, The Search for Political Space (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), 265.
58. Ibid, 264.
59. Ibid, 273.
60. Miall, Hugh et al., Contemporary Conflict Resolution (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 1999), 4.
61. Prevention of Armed Conflict: Report of the UN Secretary General (June 2001) A/55/985-S/2001/574.
63. See the links sites for the South African Cities Network at <www.sacities.net/left/links.stm> (20 August 2003) or the Metropolis links site at <www.metropolis.org/metropolis/home.nsf/headingpagesdisplay/links> (11 August 2003) for a portal into these types of organizations.
64. Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict.
65. John Burton, Conflict: Resolution and Provention (London: Macmillan, 1990).
67. Miall, Hugh et al., Contemporary Conflict Resolution (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 1999).
68. Ibid, 4.
69. Ibid, 35.
70. Ibid, 218.
71. Ibid, 102.
72. John Paul Lederach, "Conflict Transformation in Protracted Internal Conflicts: The Case for a Comprehensive Framework," in Conflict Transformation, ed. Kumar Rupesinghe (London: St. Martin's Press, 1995), 205.
73. Mekenkamp, Monique et al., eds. Searching for Peace in Central and South Asia (London: Lynne Rienner, 2002), 3.
74. Mary B. Anderson, Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace-Or War (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1999), 145.
75. Ibid, 71.
76. Ibid, 147.
77. Sultan Barakat and Margaret Chard, "Theories, rhetoric and practice: recovering the capacities of war-torn societies," Third World Quarterly 23/5 (2002).
78. J.Brian Atwood, "The Development Imperative: Creating the Preconditions for Peace," Journal of International Affairs 55/2 (2002).
79. Galtung, 872.
80. Vasquez, John et al., eds. Beyond Confrontation: Learning Conflict Resolution in the Post-Cold War Era (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1995).
81. 5,000 years of human experience in cities should have much to teach us, as should global experiences beyond the European/American context.
82. Richard Salem, "The Alternative Dispute Resolution Movement: An Overview, " The Arbitration Journal 40:3 (1985).
83. See the special issue: "Cities and Citizenship in a Global Age" of Citizenship Studies 3/2 (1999).
85. Ibid, 861.
86. Magnusson, 260.
87. Amin Maalouf, On Identity (London: Harvill Press, 2000).
88. John Friedmann, The Prospect of Cities (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2002).
89. Galtung, 861.
90. Ashutosh Varshney, Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India (Yale: Yale University Press, ).
91. Magnusson, 277.
92. Ibid, 277.
93. Galtung, 862.
94. Gene Sharp, The Politics of Non-violent Action (Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973).
95. Chris Backwesegha, "The Role of the OAU in Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution in the Context of the Political Evolution of Africa," Africa Journal of Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution 1/1 (1997).
96. Adane Ghebremeskel, "Regional Approach to Conflict Management Revisited: The Somali Experience," OJPCR: The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution 4:2 (2002):9-29 <www.trinstitute.org/ojpcr/4_2gheb.pdf>.
97. Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift, Cities: Reimagining the Urban (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002), 55.
98. Magnusson, 277.
Edited and posted on the web on 27th October 2003