The City at Stake: "Stakeholder Mapping" The City 


  • Sophie Esmann Andersen Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Anne Ellerup Nielsen Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University, Denmark



Stakeholder theory, concepts of the city, relationship, and climate change


Studies of the city have been addressed from many different approaches such as law, political science, art history and public administration, in which the economic, political and legal status of the city have played a major role. However, a new agenda for conceptualizing the city has emerged, in which the city assumes new roles. By using stakeholder theory as a framework for conceptualizing the city, we argue that the city assumes a political-economic agenda-setting role as well as providing a stage for identity constructions and relational performances for consumers, organizations, the media, politicians and other stakeholders. Stakeholder theory allows us to conceptualize the city as being constituted by stakes and relationships between stakeholders which are approached from three analytical positions (modern, postmodern and hypermodern, respectively), thereby allowing us to grasp different stakes and types of relationships, ranging from functional and contractual relationships to individualized and emotionally driven or more non-committal and fluid forms of relationships. In order to support and illustrate the analytical potentials of our framework for conceptualizing urban living, we introduce a project which aims to turn the city of Aarhus into a CO2-neutral city by the year 2030, entitled Aarhus CO2030. We conclude that applying stakeholder theory to a hyper-complex organization such as a city opens up for a reconceptualization of the city as a web of stakes and stakeholder relations. Stakeholder theory contributes to a nuanced and elaborate understanding of the urban complexity and web of both enforced and voluntary relationships as well as the different types of relationships that characterize urban life.


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How to Cite

Esmann Andersen, S. and Ellerup Nielsen, A. (2009) “The City at Stake: ‘Stakeholder Mapping’ The City ”, Culture Unbound, 1(2), pp. 305–329. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.09119305.



Theme: City of Signs/Signs of the City