Critical Analysis on the Institutional Design of Democratic Decentralization in the Public Sphere and Urban Spaces of Local Governments

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
The purpose of this paper is to conduct a critical analysis based on the institutional design of the democratic processes of the public sphere and urban spaces in the empowerment of local governments. The approach consists of a theoretical construction after reviewing some important developments in the issues of the roles of the state, economy, civil society and the media on the decentralization processes of empowerment of local governments in their public spheres and urban spaces. This critical analysis is sustained on the political ideology, macro institutional design, political leadership and authority, developed by the New Left´s theoretical approach. With this critical analysis, it is pretended to further develop the ongoing debate of the democratic decentralization and the implications of the roles of state, the economy, civil society and the media on the public sphere and urban spaces in the empowerment of local governments. Democratic deliberation analysis requires to understand the social and cultural dimensions of political contestation in new democratic spaces. New democratic spaces for political deliberation, not always rational, were more sites dedicated to manifest plural expressions of political activism and construction of alliances. Contestation is the core issue of democratic conduct that enables differences of political actors to surface rather than be suppressed. Urban democracy can be expressed as urban scale in democracy in cities through more radical democratic practices as creating a more democratic society under a neo-liberal agenda. Democratic decision-making in urban localities, as a right of the city, must contribute to the production of urban space, clearly differentiating from democratic enfranchisement in liberal democracies of the state. Local neighborhood control over local urban spaces for those that inhabit and make decisions over their future, are more democratic that the control exerted by the city authorities which may not result in democratic outcomes. Art expressions in urban spaces may contribute to make a more democratic city, as the urban places and town squares in ancient Athens used to be, where the theater and other art expressions were performed. One important difference between modernism and postmodernism urban spaces should be how to abandon antidemocratic local settings to build more democratic and social green areas where people can meet and have more freedom to express themselves and get more involved in democratic deliberation for decision making processes.
Democratic decentralization, Institutional design, Local government, Public sphere, Urban public spaces, დემოკრატიული დეცენტრალიზაცია, ინსტიტუციონალური დიზაინი, ადგილობრივი ხელისუფლება, საჯარო სივრცე, ურბანული საჯარო სივრცე