Planning in the Global South: new publication

The Companion to Planning in the Global South, edited by Gautam Bhan, Smita Srinivas, and Vanessa Watson, is newly published by Routledge, and available for libraries to order (the cost is otherwise quite steep, although there is a lower cost edition for South Asia due to be published shortly). The collection is another contribution to ongoing debates about ‘southern urbanism’ and related topics, as the blurb makes clear:

“The Routledge Companion to Planning in the Global South offers an edited collection on planning in parts of the world which, more often than not, are unrecognised or unmarked in mainstream planning texts. In doing so, its intention is not to fill a ‘gap’ that leaves this ‘mainstream’ unquestioned but to re-theorise planning from a deep understanding of ‘place’ as well as a commitment to recognise the diverse modes of practice that come within it.

The chapters thus take the form not of generalised, ‘universal’ analyses and prescriptions, but instead are critical and located reflections in thinking about how to plan, act and intervene in highly complex city, regional and national contexts. Chapter authors in this Companion are not all planners, or are planners of very different kinds, and this diversity ensures a rich variety of insights, primarily based on cases, to emphasise the complexity of the world in which planning is expected to happen.”

Sue Parnell and I have a chapter in the collection, reflecting on the significance of SDG 11 (the ‘urban SDG’) and the so-called ‘new urban agenda’, extending the argument of our earlier piece on these issues. You can get the Introduction to the whole collection here.

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Alternative Urbanisms: Call for Papers

Do please circulate the Call for Papers below for a session at the Annual Meeting of the AAG next April, in New Orlean, on the theme of Alternative Urbanisms to anyone who might be interested:

Call for Papers

 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers,

New Orleans, 10th-14th April, 2018.

 

ALTERNATIVE URBANISMS

Organizers: Clive Barnett and Jon Cinnamon (University of Exeter)

Cities are increasingly characterized as important sites of political, economic, cultural and environmental transformation, yet the proliferating attention to ‘the urban’ from policymakers threatens a narrowing of the boundaries of urban imaginaries around certain favored models. This session thus seeks to bring together papers that address one or more aspects of a growing contemporary concern with developing ‘alternative urbanisms’ in theory, policy and practice (e.g. Derickson 2015, Buckley and Strauss 2016, Parnell and Robinson 2012). We conceive of ‘alternative urbanisms’ along three dimensions. Firstly, alternative urbanisms might describe a focus on counter-hegemonic forms of urban living and practice that are alternative in relation to mainstream models and trends. Secondly, it can refer to a focus on how urban spaces are configured as experimental fields for the development of new practices in response to imperatives to restructure and reconfigure economic, social and technological infrastructures. Thirdly, alternative urbanisms might refer to a concern to broaden the scope of intellectual reference points through which urban practices can be conceptualised and investigated methodologically. Across these dimensions, it is agreed that more effort is needed to extend the canon of contemporary urban studies, urban and regional science, planning, and human geography to include insights from the humanities, natural sciences, or engineering, and also to draw on empirical and theoretical resources from beyond the Global North.

We welcome theoretical and empirical papers that push up against the boundaries of urban thought, policy and practice – papers that aim to critique the urban mainstream as well identify new possibilities for understanding and acting on urban challenges. The following is a sample of questions germane to this session, although we welcome papers on all topics that fit the broad scope.

  • What marginalized or emerging theoretical and methodological traditions demand the attention of urban scholars?
  • Why do ‘mainstream’ urban ideas and policies not take root in certain jurisdictions? What localisms prevent the successful uptake of mainstream, globally circulating urbanisms?
  • What epistemological or political work can alternative urbanisms do?
  • What are the temporalities and spatialities of alternative urban thought and practice, and how is this reflected in or distinct from local and global political, economic or cultural hegemonies?

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words by 13th October to: Clive Barnett (c.barnett@exeter.ac.uk) and Jon Cinnamon (j.cinnamon@exeter.ac.uk). 

References

Barnett, C. and Bridge, G. (2016) The situations of urban inquiry: thinking problematically about the city. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 40, 1186-1204.

Buckley, M. & Strauss, K. (2016) With, against and beyond Lefebvre: Planetary urbanization and epistemic plurality. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 34, 617-636.

Derickson, K. D. (2015) Urban geography I: Locating urban theory in the ‘urban age’. Progress in Human Geography, 39, 647-657.

Parnell, S. & Robinson, J. (2012) (Re)theorizing Cities from the Global South: Looking Beyond Neoliberalism. Urban Geography, 33, 593-617.

Alternative Urbanisms

SWSome colleagues and I (Gary Bridge, Graham Brown, and Paul Milbourne) have been awarded some seed-fund money, from the GW4 research consortium for a little project on the theme of Alternative Urbanisms. GW4 is an initiative across the ‘regional’ cluster of Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter (everything around these parts gets branded ‘GW’, from research alliances to pubs). The Alternative Urbanisms project is one of a bunch awarded under the Building Communities initiative – basically, funding to enable people across the four institutions to make friends with each other and develop shared research programmes and ambitions. Our project starts from the established fields of expertise across these institutions in fields such as geography, urban and regional studies, and development studies, and is going to provide some space to think about the myriad ways in which, as the title suggests, alternative models of urban life are currently proliferating: from obvious ‘technical’ examples such as smart cities initiatives, to more ‘moralistic’ versions such as innumerable climate change experiments, and in particular, some more ‘political’ and/or contentious attempts to enact just, equitable and democratic forms of practice through urban spaces (whatever those might be – pipes and wires, municipal bureaucracies, suburbs, squatter settlements, etc, etc). In the spirit of the overall initiative, we will of course be making lots of train journeys.