Interim Chair; Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy; Warmington Chair in Peace and International Cooperation
Ph.D. University of North Carolina, AICP
226B Social Ecology 1
Urban Planning and Public Policy
politically divided cities, ethnic/group disparities and urban planning, urban and intergovernmental growth policy
Prof. Bollens studies ethnicity and urban policy, development strategies, and regional and intergovernmental approaches to planning. Here are questions that guide my research and teaching: (1) what is the role and influence of urban planning and policy amidst deep inter-group conflict, (2) can bottom-up urbanism contribute to top-down peacemaking and efforts to democratize a multinational society, (3) what is the relationship between how governance is structured in metropolitan areas and the equality/inequality of opportunity across individuals and localities?
Over the past 21 years, Bollens has interviewed over 360 urban professionals and community advocates in Jerusalem, Belfast, Johannesburg, Nicosia (Cyprus), Sarajevo and Mostar (Bosnia), Barcelona and Basque cities (Spain), and Beirut about the role of urban policy and city building amidst nationalistic ethnic conflict and political transitions. Recent books include City and Soul in Divided Societies (2012, Routledge Press), Cities, Nationalism, and Democratization (2007, Routledge), On Narrow Ground (2000, State University of New York Press) and Urban Peace-Building in Divided Societies (1999, Westview Press).
In 2015-2016, Bollens spent 7 months in Jerusalem and Belfast working on his current project, Trajectories of Urban Conflict: Jerusalem and Belfast 1994-2016 which examines the intersection over time of national political peacemaking and urban spatial peacebuilding. Anticipated publication date for this current book project is late 2017.
Prof. Bollens has written four books, more than 35 journal articles and book chapters in leading venues over the past 20 years, and has presented at numerous public forums in the U.S. and throughout the world. He has consulted, given invited presentations, and done commissioned work for the following in the field of peace and international cooperation:
Rand Corporation/ U.S. Department of State (ethnic enclaves in post-war Baghdad)
GIZ Afghanistan (German NGO), Country Risk Management Office, Kabul (urban conflict analysis)
United States Embassy, Vienna
United Nations Development Programme, Bi-Communal Development Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science, Crisis States Research Centre
Canada Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Canadian Consortium on Human Security
Comparative Urban Studies Project, Wilson International Center for Scholars
Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center
Sarajevo Canton Institute for Development Planning
Jerusalem Institute of Israel Studies
Palestinian International Peace and Cooperation Center
Swedish Institute and the Olof Palme International Center
Aula Barcelona (Fundacio CIDOB), Barcelona
Organization of Arab Architects (Lebanon)
American University of Beirut
Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem
Prof. Bollens’ City and Soul in Divided Societies (published September 2011 by Routledge Press) is available through Amazon and Routledge Press
(Use code ERJ78 for 20 percent discount)
This book focuses on the historical, theoretical, and practical issues of urban divisions, but also uniquely provides a first-person account of conducting interview-based ethnography in these places of ethnic and nationalist polarization. The book puts forth facts, opinions, photographs, and observations in ways that bring to life the substantial challenges of living in, and governing, polarized and unsettled cities.
The book is written for both general readers and for academic specialists, combining ethnographic and first-person material with more scholarly research. It is more loosely written and essay in format than traditional scholarly books, but more rigorous and documented than a purely journalistic treatment. I wrote this book because secondary data collection and recounting of interview material can present solid portrayals of these cities, yet ones marred still by certain superficiality in treatment. Explaining what it was like living and working in these cities—going inside the head of the researcher—extends the reader’s understanding and connects more intimately with lived experiences.
Web links to research on divided cities:
Bollens research webpage