Handbook on Urban Social Policies
International Perspectives on Multilevel Governance and Local Welfare

Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing
Year: 2022
Language: English

Edited By:

Yuri Kazepov, Professor of Urban Sociology, University of Vienna, Austria,

Eduardo Barberis, Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Economics, Society and Politics, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy,

Roberta Cucca, Associate Professor of Urban Sustainability Planning, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway

Elisabetta Mocca, Research Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of Vienna, Austria

The importance of subnational welfare measures, and their complex embeddedness in wider multilevel governance systems, has often been underplayed in both urban studies and social policy analysis.

This Handbook gives readers the analytical tools to understand urban social policies in context and bridges the gap in research. It provides a novel perspective of social policy analysis, answering the common debates such as: what is the role of local institutions in welfare provisions? Do they exert an influence beyond their jurisdiction? What difference can we trace among different types of locales (e.g. urban vs. rural)? How does the role of cities change in different national regulatory systems? Chapters disentangle the interplay between jurisdictions, politics, policy instruments and contexts in the spatial construction of social policies. Thanks to the impressive selection of contributors, the volume discusses urban social policies with broad geographical coverage including cases from Europe, North America, South America and Asia, and provides cursory references to the COVID-19 pandemic in different policy fields.

This book will be of interest to a broad range of students in different fields from welfare to urban studies, as well as those interested in multilevel governance and policy analysis. Scholars interested in comparative social policy, but also in social innovation, public administration and political science, will also find this book a good companion.

Book Review

The handbook is a valuable tool bringing together authors from various disciplines addressing the territorial dimensions of social policies and the role of cities as building blocks of social inclusion. It is impossible to separate the spatial dimension from the social since social phenomena inevitably take place in space and time. As such, it is imperative for social policy to incorporate the urban or local context and the broader issues of spatiality. This diverse collection of authors tackle these issues from different perspectives, creating a handbook relevant to urban studies, governance, and policy analysis. The book includes sections on risk and vulnerability, targeted social policies, and the more practical implications of local social policies, including examples from around the world. The Handbook on Urban Social Policies is an important resource for students, researchers, and policymakers alike.

Other Notable Editorial Reviews

‘Urban contexts have been major sites for the emergence of new social risks and the reconfiguration of welfare in terms of actors, governance and modes of provision. This impressive Handbook elucidates ongoing transformations, through a collection of up-to-date analyses and a path breaking dialogue between different disciplinary perspectives.’
– Maurizio Ferrera, University of Milan, Italy

‘The rich contributions of this book offer a complex view of the dynamics which shape local social policies, in the interaction between context specificity, diversity ad multiplicity of actors, national and international regulations. The multidisciplinary approach and its implementation on an ample range of context and time specific cases integrates and goes beyond literatures that have developed in isolation from each other, opening new avenues for research.’
– Chiara Saraceno, Collegio Carlo Alberto, Turin, Italy

‘Emphasizing the territorial nature of social policy and the key role of cities for social inclusion, this Handbook contributes directly to the field of comparative social policy studies. Gathering excellent contributors, it is an indispensable reference volume for students of multilevel governance and local social policy.’
– Daniel Béland, McGill University, Canada

‘It has long been assumed that social welfare is, and should be, a matter for the centralized nation-state. Yet, as this collection shows, the restructuring of welfare and rescaling of social, economic and political life have created both new forms of inequality and new policies to address them. Problems have been redefined, power dynamics have shifted and policy-making systems transformed to create place-specific welfare compromises. The book charts the broad trends to centralisation and decentralisation in social policies while providing contextual analysis of their varied impact in different places.’
– Michael Keating, Emeritus Professor of Politics, University of Aberdeen, UK

‘This terrific volume gives voice to leading European thinkers in conversation with peers from the U.S., Southern Africa, Brazil, China, and Japan about building on the crucial insight that social welfare policies vary as much within national systems as across them. Even in centralized systems, urban delivery practices put a strong stamp on the deployment of social policy instruments and their impact on place-based constituencies. The authors show that the centralization–decentralization dynamic is central to understanding how welfare states function and that transcending its discontents will be central to protecting the vulnerable from new social risks. The product of years of collaboration, this Handbook sets the agenda for future thinking about social policy in our precarious urban worlds.’
– John Mollenkopf, City University of New York, US

Purchase online

The eBook version is priced from £20/$26 from eBook vendors while in print the book can be ordered from the Edward Elgar Publishing website.


1 Introduction to Urban Social Policies: International Perspectives on Multilevel Governance and Local Welfare 2
Yuri Kazepov, Eduardo Barberis, Roberta Cucca and Elisabetta Mocca


2 Localizing New Social Risks 24
Costanzo Ranci and Lara Maestripieri

3 Territorial Welfare Governance Changes: Concepts and Explanatory Factors 39
Eloísa del Pino, Luis Moreno and Jorge Hernández-Moreno

4 The Territorial Dimension of Social Investment in Europe 55
Yuri Kazepov and Ruggero Cefalo

5 Urban Social Innovation and the European City: Assessing the Changing Urban Welfare Mix and Its Scalar Articulation 72
Stijn Oosterlynck and Tatiana Saruis

6 Citizenship Practices and Co-Production of Local Social Policies in Southern Europe 85
Ana Belén Cano-Hila, Marc Pradel-Miquel and Marisol García

7 The Transformation of the Local Welfare System in European Cities 101
Alberta Andreotti, Enzo Mingione and Emanuele Polizzi


8 Care as Multi-Scalar Policy: ECEC and LTC Services across Europe 117
Marco Arlotti and Stefania Sabatinelli

9 Poverty and Multi-Layered Social Assistance in Europe 134
Sarah Marchal and Bea Cantillon

10 Institutional Logics of Service Provision: The National and Urban Governance of Activation Policies in Three European Countries 152
Vanesa Fuertes, Martin Heidenreich and Ronald McQuaid

11 The Local Dimension of Housing Policies 170
Christoph Reinprecht

12 Migration Policies at the Local Level: Constraints and Windows of Opportunities in a Contentious Field 187
Eduardo Barberis and Alba Angelucci

13 Segregation, Neighbourhood Effects and Social Mix Policies 204
Sako Musterd

14 Local segregation patterns and multilevel education policies 219
Willem Boterman and Isabel Ramos Lobato


15 Local Governance and Street-Level Bureaucracy: The Ground Floor of Social Policy 235
Peter Hupe and Trui Steen

16 National-Regional-Local Shifting Games in Multi-Tiered Welfare States 250
Giuliano Bonoli and Philipp Trein

17 Social Work and Community Work 266
Stefan Köngeter and Christian Reutlinger

18 New Public Management-Inspired Public Sector Reforms and Evaluation: Long-Term Care Provisions in European Countries 281
Hellmut Wollmann

19 Public Participation and Social Policies in Contemporary Cities 296
Roberta Cucca

20 Territorial Effects of EU Policies: Which Social Outcomes at the Local Level? 308
Iván Tosics and Laura Colini


21 Soziale Stadt (Social City) 325
Simon Güntner

22 The Rescaling of Social Policies in the Post-Yugoslav Space: Welfare Parallelism and Local State Capture 337
Paul Stubbs and Siniša Zrinščak

23 States of Welfare: Decentralization and Its Consequences in US Social Policy 352
Sarah K. Bruch and Colin Gordon

24 Urban Social Protection in Southern Africa 369
Jeremy Seekings

25 Social Policies and Security in Favelas and Urban Peripheries of Brazilian Cities 384
Eduardo Marques and Marta Arretche

26 Innovative (Local) Social Policies in China 399
Daniel R. Hammond

27 Urban and Local Social Policies in the Nordic Countries 415
Håkan Johansson

28 The Challenges of Activation Policies in Japan and Their Local Dimension 430
Miki Tsutsui and Shuhei Naka

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