New forms of urban segregation and exclusion have emerged in the contemporary globalised world. Processes of globalisation, especially those cloaked as free international trade and state withdrawal from economics, have led to increasing inequalities between and within cities. In response, the state, private sector and civil society in many countries have taken a stance and formulated their responses to urban segregation under the banner of 'urban governance'. Current manifestations of and evolving debates surrounding contemporary urban segregation will be discussed and then the focus will shift to exploring ideas about countering the trend in various countries around the globe; these include mixing strategies, escapist strategies and strategies that aim to legalise the 'informal'. This provides the rationale for this Special Issue, which includes contributions from all around the globe. © 2008 Urban Studies Journal Limited.