Dec 10 2021

Unwinding Privatization: (Re)municipalism and the Public Interest

December 10, 2021

8:55 AM - 4:00 PM


Chicago, IL 60612

The purpose of the conference is to examine responses to failures of privatization in cities, especially in the United States and Europe, and what to make of those responses. Since the 1970s municipalities have sold public assets such as water, electricity, gas, waste systems, and transport, to private companies or else transferred the management or delivery of city services to private actors. The results have been at best mixed. Of late, municipalities have been cancelling contracts, letting them expire or repurchasing the resource systems, sometimes as mandated by public referendums. On other occasions, private firms proved either unwilling to bid for a contract or canceled contracts early. This state of affairs has been variously characterized as “re-municipalization,” “new municipalism,” “in-sourcing,” “de-privatization,” and “reverse privatization.”

The conference examines: Which actors, institutions, and forms of finance, enable cities to take ownership of an asset or service previously outsourced or privatized?  How sustainable are these controversial activities and what are their  wider consequences? What explanations best account for these policy directions? What outcomes are missed by posing a private-public divide? What are the levels of power in the political system that facilitate the local “capacity to act”? What do (re)municipalizations portend for the future?

Organized by Alba Alexander (UIC, Political Science), Larry Bennett (DePaul University, Political Science), Evan McKenzie (UIC, Political Science) and Michael Pagano (UIC, Public Administration).

Cosponsored by UIC Department of Political Science, Great Cities Institute, Institute for the Humanities, and College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.


This is a FREE event, but registration is required. Learn more and register for the conference here.



Corie Anderson

Date posted

Nov 15, 2021

Date updated

Nov 15, 2021