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Post-Democratic Cities For Whom and for What?

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Post-Democratic Cities For Whom and for What?

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... A new set of urban planning practices and policies based on a disciplining managerialism (Harvey 2005) and a consensual style of governance (Swyngedouw 2010), often based on public-private partnerships, has assisted the free market economy to achieve a dominant position within cities. Even when enacted for erasing some causes of urban decay, or for the sake of sustainability and social inclusion, planning practices and policies, such as strategic plans and urban regeneration policies, have slowly injected the neoliberal ideology (Gunder 2010) which has produced the systematic deregulation (Peck 2013) and radical de-politicization (Swyngedouw 2010) of urban space. ...
... A new set of urban planning practices and policies based on a disciplining managerialism (Harvey 2005) and a consensual style of governance (Swyngedouw 2010), often based on public-private partnerships, has assisted the free market economy to achieve a dominant position within cities. Even when enacted for erasing some causes of urban decay, or for the sake of sustainability and social inclusion, planning practices and policies, such as strategic plans and urban regeneration policies, have slowly injected the neoliberal ideology (Gunder 2010) which has produced the systematic deregulation (Peck 2013) and radical de-politicization (Swyngedouw 2010) of urban space. In the contemporary city, no longer seen as a contested space, the primary force shaping urban transformations is the law of supply and demand (Fezer 2010). ...
... Moving beyond such disputes, in this paper I focus on activism as the radical margin of the twenty-first century urbanity requiring attention, nurturing, recognition, and valorisation (Swyngedouw 2010). My concern is identifying its contribution to the construction of different urban politics for a different city and urbanity. ...
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The economic and political changes characterising contemporary urbanisation have generated unjust conceptions and configurations of urban space that, in turn, have sparked off unusual forms of activism. All over the world, heterogeneous groups of citizens have imagined and experimented with new collective actions to counter urban transformations producing social segregation, expulsions, erasure of public spaces and environmental destruction. However, the impact of these experiments on the production of more just forms of urbanisation is a contested issue. Following a line of thinking that grasps the sense of such experiences, rather than their greater or lesser capacity to change the course of events, this paper compares and debates two cases of urban activism occurred in the Apulia Region (Italy). The case studies are analysed with a focus on the narratives concerning the sense and feeling of injustice circulating within them and with the goal to highlight their contribution to urban politics to come. In spite of their differences, the analysis discloses a common concern: the need to free urban space from ‘acceptable injustice’ considered as a pillar of the architecture of contemporary urbanisation.
... The literature provides insight into new policies and practices that induced the contemporary urban movements: the state's increasing interest in urban regulation and the commodification of urban land in order to finance economic growth (Peck et al., 2009); the increasing influence of state entrepreneurialism on urban management (MacLeod 2002); the engagement of the governance regime in making policy, controlling, and articulating the requirements of a global neoliberal market economy (Brenner et al., 2010;Hilgers 2012;Peck et al., 2009;Wacquant 2012). This literature also emphasises the strong involvement of the economic, political, and cultural elites in governance arrangements (Swyngedouw 2010), excluding others from the configuration of state-market-citizen relations (MacLeod 2002;van Eijk 2010;Wacquant 2012). Although there are various studies on the new roles of the state that aim to pacify opponents to neoliberal urban management with authoritarian and entrepreneurial state interventions (Piffero 2009;Swyngedouw 2010;Zunino 2006) or the ambidextrous relationships between the authoritarian and the assistential wings of the state (Peck 2010), two issues do not receive enough attention. ...
... This literature also emphasises the strong involvement of the economic, political, and cultural elites in governance arrangements (Swyngedouw 2010), excluding others from the configuration of state-market-citizen relations (MacLeod 2002;van Eijk 2010;Wacquant 2012). Although there are various studies on the new roles of the state that aim to pacify opponents to neoliberal urban management with authoritarian and entrepreneurial state interventions (Piffero 2009;Swyngedouw 2010;Zunino 2006) or the ambidextrous relationships between the authoritarian and the assistential wings of the state (Peck 2010), two issues do not receive enough attention. The first is urban policy and practice as a means of transforming the socio-political characteristics of society. ...
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This paper grapples with the state's response to contemporary urban movements. In light of recent debates on the changing nature of urban movements, it presents an overview of the responses of states in different modes of regulation, ranging from a Keynesian regime to sequential stages of neoliberalisation. Examples of authoritarianism and the entrepreneurial roles of the state are drawn from the Turkish experience to show how economic liberalism can be combined with increasing social control, restrictions, penalisation and exclusion. Reviewing Turkish urban policies and practice, the urban mobilisations against them, and the varying positions of the state will shed light not only on what is happening in Turkey but also on the transformative nature of neoliberalisation. © 2013 The Author Antipode© 2013 Antipode Foundation Ltd.
... Not only has the right to the city become more and more of a bourgeois prerogative, 74 but new forms of neoliberal governmentality are also "narrowing, if not suspending, the space of the properly political." 75 Thus, following objections expressed by critical urbanists, one might say the search for the interstitial and the communal (rather than the public stage) is also often a retreat from (or at least symptomatic of) the eroding public arena. This type of action, absent a broader view of undemocratic politics, renders dissenting movements or acts even more vulnerable to corruption by the constantly regenerated neoliberal forms of governance and operation. ...
... With the development of new 'spatial imaginaries' ( Jessop, 2016a) at the city-region scale but with a whole mixture of different LAs and institutional setups in the UK, there opens up the Regional StudieS, Regional Science possibility for an accountability gap to develop between the local state and civil society (Purcell, 2007). On this, Swyngedouw (2009Swyngedouw ( , 2010aSwyngedouw ( , 2010bSwyngedouw ( , 2011 has suggested that contemporary city governances have moved towards a 'post-political' condition. This is with regards to the ability to challenge conventional democratic forms of decision-making. ...
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This paper provides an overview and synthesis of debates pertaining to the development of city-regions and their applicability to the UK space economy. The purpose is to make links to advance both interna- tional academic debates and realpolitik policy knowledge concerns. The paper, firstly, traces the multifari- ous and at times disconnected academic discussions around the concepts of regionalism, city-regionalism and localism in the UK. Secondly, it considers the contemporary academic debates on the city-region, focusing in particular on those applicable to the current UK policy context. Given that city-regions are increasingly seen as the principal (and often unquestioned) consolidating spatial scale for economic and social development, the paper, thirdly, probes on the silent and missing aspects of the prescribed city-re- gion approach, connecting and contributing in turn to concerns with building inclusive-growth.
... This means that all actions, including landscape planning practices, become rational entrepreneurial actions, seen in terms of the logic of supply and demand. For numerous academics (Watson 2006;Swyngedouw 2010;Brenner, Marcuse and Mayer 2012), this represents a deep conflict with citizenry values, including individual liberties, freedom of expression, collaborative power sharing, political participation, economic and social equity and a concern for the natural environment. Landscape becomes a resource to be exploited rather than an essential component of everyday life. ...
Conference Paper
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Participatory approaches have gained recognition through the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe 2000), yet still remain questionable within landscape planning. Practitioners struggle to operationalise landscape as dynamic, holistic and democratic as defined in the ELC. This is due to: 1) weakness of substantive theory in landscape planning, with practice engaging with an impoverished understanding of landscape; and 2) a focus on normative ideals of how participation ought to be as opposed to the realpolitik of these practices. As such, practitioners fail to handle the diverse, dynamic values experienced in landscape, and the conflicts and power relations of participatory processes. By forwarding an understanding of the dynamics of landscape planning, and the differences, conflicts and power relations that are present in participatory processes, the paper develops a theorisation of landscape as a democratic entity.
... At the national and subnational scales, second-order governance was the domain of actual policy implementation, where new networks of civil society groups and private actors were encouraged to actively enter the frame of governing, empowered with the autonomy to self-manage specific public policy matters which had hitherto been the responsibility of the state (Jessop, Brenner, & Jones, 2008). Seen from a governmentality perspective, Swyngedouw (2010) asserts that governance can therefore be viewed as a form of institutionalized social management involving policing and bureaucratic rule which foregrounds pragmatic political consensus and collective problem-solving in order to a priori establish neo-liberal rationalities within social cognition, rewarding preferred behaviours and variously disrupting unwanted behaviours. As further discussed by Haughton et al. (2013), this analysis suggests a conceptual link between governmentality and the increasing academic interest in the depoliticization of the public sphere, which highlights the coercive intentionality of techno-managerial governance to elide fundamental ideological conflict and foreclose agonistic debate which might otherwise interrupt pro-development and competitive market logics. ...
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This paper argues that the role of the planning system in the overproduction of development during Ireland’s Celtic Tiger needs to be analysed as instructive of contemporary neo-liberal transformations of strategic spatial planning. Leaning on a Foucauldian governmentality perspective, the genealogy of modern Irish planning practice is explored to elucidate how neo-liberal rationalities became embedded in institutional norms through consensus-driven partnership governance. The central premise is that the turn to ‘strategic spatial planning’, particularly with the publication of the National Spatial Strategy in 2002, was usefully exploited to mask the spatial politics of the ever-increasing need for the state to facilitate capital switching into built environment formation in order to maintain conditions of high economic growth. Using the empirical case study of housing development in the ‘Upper Shannon’ region and large-scale commercial development in County Meath, it is argued that this contributed to a destabilization of the planning system and an abandonment of basic planning principles. The paper concludes that, in the context of the new and deeply uneven economic geography of post-crisis Ireland, there is an urgent need for a repoliticized critique of normative interpretations of strategic spatial planning practice in order for more progressive practices to emerge.
... Designed to redefine the city through branding, with a view to attracting future capital, Rio's mega-events provide massive opportunity for infrastructure investment and real estate speculation by circumnavigating normal political processes to manufacture a 'city of exception' [37] for powerful amalgamations of public/private interest groups. These coalitions of corporations and politicians, along with representatives of international capital, drive public policy decisions without public accountability [38]. ...
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This paper outlines how Brazil’s latest public security initiative—its highly controversial Police Pacification Campaign (UPP)—is an integral component of a neoliberal political framework that is enacting rapid urbanization projects in and around strategically located favelas (informal settlements or slums) of Rio de Janeiro. Specifically, it evaluates what kinds of economic development initiatives are moving forward, how they are facilitated by the UPP, how they connect to the city’s mega-events, and who is profiting from them. The article also examines how the pacification has affected residents in three favelas over a seven-year period from the inauguration of the UPP in 2008 through to mid-2015.
... This is certainly not the place to venture upon a lengthy discussion of governance 18 other than to signal that, in the context of urban studies, it is customarily associated with a growing propensity for non-and quasigovernmental agencies and classically public–private partnerships, to orchestrate and deliver a range of functions which oftentimes had previously been sponsored and delivered by the state vis-a `-vis local and city government: a process defined by Jessop (2002) as 'de-statisation' (and often closely intertwined with 'decentralisation'). As outlined by Swyngedouw (2005Swyngedouw ( , 2010aSwyngedouw ( , 2010b , contemporary urban governing is undertaken by a wide variety of organisations and institutions, operating at a range of geographical scales and mobilising a diversity of actors, including privatesector free-thinkers, designers, planners, architects, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), corporations and civil society groups, alongside the more traditional modes of local, regional or national government: a new regime of policing the city as governance-beyond-the-state. On a superficial level, this might appear to entail a form of pluralism, perhaps not quite in the image of Dahl's (1961) New Haven, but a power dispersed nonetheless. ...
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Macleod, G., Jones, M. (2011). Renewing Urban Politics. Urban Studies, 48 (12), 2443-2472.
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This article examines conflicts concerning urban space, focusing on relationships between autonomous space and neoliberal urbanism through the empirical example of the cultural centre AKC Metelkova Mesto in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Through a thematic discourse analysis of activist interviews and collective statements by activist groups connected to Metelkova, research questions concern how urban conflict is constructed from the vantage point of autonomous space; what role autonomous space is assigned in relation to such conflict; and how tensions and antagonisms within the autonomous space can be understood. Theoretically we engage in a reinterpretation of the notion of heterotopia in conjunction with critical urban theory, analysing Metelkova as an autonomous heterotopia. Further, we argue that theoretisations of autonomous spaces need to consider experiences from Central and Eastern Europe, in which the conditions are shaped and constructed in conjunction with particular configurations of abruptly implemented neoliberal governance and the rise of the new authoritarianism.
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This book examines the power relations that emerge from the convergence of the universe in which the sporting spectacle is produced and the universe in which a city is produced. The book adopts Bourdieu’s concept of field to explore the interests and disputes involved in the production of sports mega-events across different times and spaces, and the role of host cities in these processes. It aims to identify the bases that give these spectacles the power to produce disruptions in the social fabric of the host cities and countries and to enable the production of authoritarian forms of exercising power. By observing the historical constitution of the field of production of sport spectacle as an autonomous field, this book explores how sport mega-events create both an arena and a context for radical expressions of authoritarianism of neoliberal planning models. The book will be of interest to students, scholars, and professionals in architecture and urban studies, urban planning, municipal governance, sport and leisure studies as well as those interested in the relationship between state and capital in the production of urban space.
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In der post-politischen Stadt werden gesell-schaftliche Fragen nicht mehr politisch und da-mit potenziell kontrovers verhandelt. Politische Entscheidungsfindung wird zunehmend durch ökonomische Zwänge und technokratisches Wissen legitimiert. Dadurch werden Machtfragen ausgeklammert.
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This paper focuses on the fifth dimension of social innovation—i.e. political governance. Although largely neglected in the mainstream 'innovation' literature, innovative governance arrangements are increasingly recognised as potentially significant terrains for fostering inclusive development processes. International organisations like the EU and the World Bank, as well as leading grass-roots movements, have pioneered new and more participatory governance arrangements as a pathway towards greater inclusiveness. Indeed, over the past two decades or so, a range of new and often innovative institutional arrangements has emerged, at a variety of geographical scales. These new institutional 'fixes' have begun to challenge traditional state-centred forms of policy-making and have generated new forms of governance-beyond-the-state. Drawing on Foucault's notion of governmentality, the paper argues that the emerging innovative horizontal and networked arrangements of governance-beyond-the-state are decidedly Janus-faced. While enabling new forms of participation and articulating the state – civil society relationships in potentially democratising ways, there is also a flip side to the process. To the extent that new governance arrangements rearticulate the state-civil society relationship, they also redefine and reposition the meaning of (political) citizenship and, consequently, the nature of democracy itself. The first part of the paper outlines the contours of governance-beyond-the-state. The second part addresses the thorny issues of the state –civil society relationship in the context of the emergence of the new governmentality associated with governance-beyond-the-state. The third part teases out the contradictory way in which new arrangements of governance have created new institutions and empowered new actors, while disempowering others. It is argued that this shift from 'government' to 'governance' is associated with the consolidation of new technologies of government, on the one hand, and with profound restructuring of the parameters of political democracy on the other, leading to a substantial democratic deficit. The paper concludes by suggesting that socially innovative arrangements of governance-beyond-the-state are fundamentally Janus-faced, particularly under conditions in which the democratic character of the political sphere is increasingly eroded by the encroaching imposition of market forces that set the 'rules of the game'.
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This paper summarizes the theoretical insights drawn from a study of thirteen large–scale urban development projects (UDPs) in twelve European Union countries. The project focused on the way in which globalization and liberalization articulate with the emergence of new forms of governance, on the formation of a new scalar gestalt of governing and on the relationship between large–scale urban development and political, social and economic power relations in the city. Among the most important conclusions, we found that:•Large–scale UDPs have increasingly been used as a vehicle to establish exceptionality measures in planning and policy procedures. This is part of a neoliberal “New Urban Policy” approach and its selective “middle — and upper–class” democracy. It is associated with new forms of “governing” urban interventions, characterized by less democratic and more elite–driven priorities.•Local democratic participation mechanisms are not respected or are applied in a very “formalist” way, resulting in a new choreography of elite power. However, grassroots movements occasionally manage to turn the course of events in favor of local participation and of modest social returns for deprived social groups.•The UDPs are poorly integrated at best into the wider urban process and planning system. As a consequence, their impact on a city as a whole and on the areas where the projects are located remains ambiguous.•Most UDPs accentuate socioeconomic polarization through the working of real–estate markets (price rises and displacement of social or low–income housing), changes in the priorities of public budgets that are increasingly redirected from social objectives to investments in the built environment and the restructuring of the labor market.•The UDPs reflect and embody a series of processes that are associated with changing spatial scales of governance; these changes, in turn, reflect a shifting geometry of power in the governing of urbanization.
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How should policy analysis respond to the changing context of policy making? This article examines three aspects of policy analysis in this changing context: polity, knowledge and intervention. It argues that policy making now often takes place in an institutional void where there are no generally accepted rules and norms according to which politics is to be conducted and policy measures are to be agreed upon. More than before, solutions for pressing problems transgress the sovereignty of specific polities. Furthermore, the role of knowledge changes as the relationship between science and society has changed: scientific expertise is now negotiated rather than simply accepted. And, with the weakening of the state, it is far less obvious that the government is the sole actor to intervene in policy making. This article calls for a reconsideration of the analysis of policy making in the light of this changing context. Based on a contextual perspective it calls for a revitalization of the commitments of Harold Lasswell toward a policy science of democracy by proposing a new deliberative policy analysis.
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In postwar Western democracies the ‘traditional’ image of urban government is as the direct provider of welfare and other services. The image of ‘modern’ urban government is as an enabler, a catalytic agent facilitating provision and action by and through others. In the words of Osborne and Gaebler (1992) this ‘reinvented’ form of government is more about steering and less about rowing. The focus on Public-Private partnerships in this volume reflects a concern with this shift in the working of urban government. Partnerships were always an element in the activities of postwar urban governments. Yet the increased use of partnership appears to be part of a broader shift in the process of governing.
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The relationship between space and politics is explored through a study of French urban policy. Drawing upon the political thought of Jacques Rancière, this book proposes a new agenda for analyses of urban policy, and provides the first comprehensive account of French urban policy in English. Essential resource for contextualizing and understanding the revolts occurring in the French 'badland' neighbourhoods in autumn 2005. Challenges overarching generalizations about urban policy and contributes new research data to the wider body of urban policy literature. Identifies a strong urban and spatial dimension within the shift towards more nationalistic and authoritarian policy governing French citizenship and immigration.
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This article focuses on Jacques Ranciére ‘s opposition between the two facets of the political: the ‘police’ (maintaining social order) and politiciza‐tion proper (in which an excluded element—demos, ‘le troisiéme état, a dissident Forum—asserts itself as the immediate embodiment of the Whole of Society). After analysing different modalities of the ‘repression’ of this gesture of politicization (from arch‐politics to today's postmodern post‐political ‘identity‐politics ‘), the article proposes a reading of the disintegration of Eastern European Socialism as a moment of authentic politicization, and then proceeds to oppose globalization and universalization: universalization is the key moment of the political ‘short‐circuit’ between the Whole and its excluded Part, while globalization (the newly emerging ‘post‐political’ global order) presents perhaps the strongest threat to politics proper yet.
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Drawing on evidence from the city of Brussels, it will be argued that much of today's urban governance discourses and practices contributes to anti-urban 'clichés of urban doom' and betrays middle-class, ethnocentric, sexist and racist prejudices about urban societies. Mainstream conceptions of urban problems and policies are modernist, white, patriarchal, heterosexual, nuclear family-minded, middle-class and suburban. Mainstream urban planning metaphors contribute to, instead of help to eliminate, sexist and racist urban politics. The uncritical use of concepts such as 'polarization', 'exclusion' or 'poverty' accords with the quest for urban purification by dominant groups in society, who seek to minimalize the urban experience of heterogeneity, otherness, diversity and urban unpredictability. The main contribution of this paper will be in trying to make clear how some key metaphors in contemporary urban planning disempower the already disempowered and in fact contribute to conservative urban politics, even when they are not intended to. Copyright Joint Editors and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001.
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Populism, understood as an appeal to ‘the people’ against both the established structure of power and the dominant ideas and values, should not be dismissed as a pathological form of politics of no interest to the political theorist, for its democratic pretensions raise important issues. Adapting Michael Oakeshott's distinction between ‘the politics of faith’ and ‘the politics of scepticism’, the paper offers an analysis of democracy in terms of two opposing faces, one ‘pragmatic’ and the other ‘redemptive’, and argues that it is the inescapable tension between them that makes populism a perennial possibility.
The Globalized City -Economic Restructuring and Social Polarization in European Cities
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