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Call for Papers - Inclusive Provision of Local Public Goods and Services

Find the recent Call for Papers and other relevant information, when you are interested to contribute to the journal through publishing an article.

2023-1 Call for Papers

Theme: Inclusive Provision of Local Public Goods and Services

Across the globe, governments exert decisive influence over the living conditions and quality of life of people. Equal opportunities for democratic participation, access to civic dialogue and to public goods and services play a crucial role in that regard, as prominently highlighted by current global policy frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development or the UN HABITAT III New Urban Agenda. These global policy frameworks reaffirm the role of the local level for sustainable development and emphasize the need to foster accessible public infrastructure in cities and municipalities. Over the past decades, decentralization and the principle of subsidiarity have been highlighted as a development goal and a key aspect of state modernisation. Allowing closer contact to the citizens, it is widely recognized as an approach to making governance more responsive to local needs and preferences. Due to local governments’ proximity to the citizens and their realities, decentralization is often regarded as a means to solving social, spatial and economic inequalities and enhancing social cohesion. In fact, local governments can be considered as the principal democratically legitimised agent of local development processes.

From a socio-spatial perspective, the local level is where the sites for people’s housing are, where education, health care, social services, daily convenience shopping, and all the other activities take place that sustain people physically, emotionally, socially, and psychologically (De Filippis & Saegert, 2012). It is the places where people create their life courses and where change processes manifest even though they are decided and designed at higher governance levels. It is places of reciprocal relations of people with equal or partly unequal rights, and with similar but also different interests and ways of life. From such perspective, the local level describes “shared places where the co-existence of people has to be managed” (Healey, 2006). The development and maintenance of accessible, affordable, and adequate local infrastructure is a common interest of all inhabitants. Such infrastructure includes a couple of public services responsive to local needs and preferences that are managed by local governments charged to act in public interest. This applies, amongst others, to basic education, health services, social welfare-services, mobility, housing, security, disaster risk management, water supply, and waste disposal.

In most of the world’s countries, today, many of these public-sector goods and services are provided by regional and local governments and authorities, or with their involvement. The quality of such service provision strongly influences the quality of life a city or municipality can offer. The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges the crucial importance of the local level with a separate Sustainable Development Goal (SDG): ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ (SDG 11). When taking a closer look at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it becomes evident that ‘most underlying policies and investments are a shared responsibility across levels of governments. It is estimated, that 65% of the 169 targets underlying the 17 SDGs will not be reached without proper engagement of, and coordination with, local and regional governments (Cities Alliance, 2015; UN SDSN, 2016). In 2015, subnational governments were responsible for 59,3 % of total public investment throughout the OECD area and for almost 40% worldwide (OECD, 2018). The New Urban Agenda, adopted in 2016 at the United Nations' Habitat III Conference, reaffirms the role of the local level for sustainable development and provides an additional framework for the implementation of the SDGs in cities and municipalities.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) frames disability as an evolving concept and arising from the interaction of physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments with environmental, social, and cultural barriers. The fact that disability arises from the interaction between a person and her/his physical and social environment moves the latter aspect into focus, especially when looking at disability from the perspective of local governments and public goods and services. It suggests that it is a person´s physical and social environment in the local communities they live in where barriers take concrete shape and where the implementation of inclusive structures based on the CRPD have to be managed as a local governance task.

Against this background, issue 2023-1 of the Journal “Disability and International Development” is intended to review the role of local governments and public goods and services. It aims to take a closer look at the following aspects:

  • The role of local governments for the implementation of provisions made by the CRPD;
  • Inclusive local governance, participation in local planning and decision-making (e.g., structural aspects of political representation and participation, cultural dimensions of participation, self-representation, awareness raising and empowerment in local governance contexts);
  • Inclusive local policy making, inclusion strategies, action plans, etc.; 
  • Inclusive local planning (planning for inclusion vs. making local planning inclusive);
  • Accessibility and Universal Design as guiding frameworks for local public infrastructure development;
  • Disability mainstreaming in local public service provision in specific areas (e.g., public spaces, mobility, transport, local health services, child care, education, social protection and care services, housing, disaster risk management, other);
  • Disability specific services (roles and perceptions from a twin-track perspective).

Contributions should explicitly reflect the context of the local public goods and services framework.

Before you send us your suggestion, please read the “Information for Authors” first and then contact the coordinating editor via e-mail then:

Judith Langensiepen (

Deadline for submission of papers: January 15, 2023