Abstract: As the Pacific Islands continue to urbanise, existing models of governance and planning are coming under greater pressure and scrutiny. Both the city council approach and the ‘good’ urban governance agenda of donors have weaknesses in the region, especially in dealing with peri-urban settlements where the most rapid urban population growth is occurring. This is resulting in increased social discontent and conflict. This paper critiques the ways in which Pacific Island towns and cities are governed and calls for an approach which is more inclusive (and less hierarchical) and informed by concepts of citizenship and social justice. Indeed, policy makers will need to broaden their concepts and practices of governance if many Pacific cities are to be socially, politically, and envir-onmentally sustainable. However, the political-economy of urban development in the region is not proving conducive to consensus, with conflict a more likely outcome in the foreseeable future.