Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development

Voorkant
Psychology Press, 2006 - 204 pagina's
1 Reviewen

With the urbanization of the world's population proceeding apace and the equally rapid urbanization of poverty, urban theory has an urgent challenge to meet if it is to remain relevant to the majority of cities and their populations, many of which are outside the West.

This groundbreaking book establishes a new framework for urban development. It makes the argument that all cities are best understood as 'ordinary', and crosses the longstanding divide in urban scholarship and urban policy between Western and other cities (especially those labelled 'Third World'). It considers the two framing axes of urban modernity and development, and argues that if cities are to be imagined in equitable and creative ways, urban theory must overcome these axes with their Western bias†and that resources must become at least as cosmopolitan as cities themselves.

Tracking paths across previously separate literatures and debates, this innovative book -†a postcolonial critique of urban studies -†traces the outlines of a cosmopolitan approach to cities, drawing on evidence from Rio, Johannesburg, Lusaka and Kuala Lumpur. Key urban scholars and debates, from Simmel, Benjamin and the Chicago School to Global and World Cities theories are explored, together with anthropological and developmentalist accounts of poorer cities. Offering an alternative approach, Ordinary Cities skilfully brings together theories of urban development for students and researchers of urban studies, geography and development.

 

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Inhoudsopgave

Dislocating modernity
13
towards a cosmopolitan urban studies
65
World cities or a world of ordinary cities?
94
beyond developmentalism
116
urban policy for ordinary cities
141
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Over de auteur (2006)

Current research builds on my book, Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development (Routledge, 2006) which develops a postcolonial critique of urban studies, presenting resources for cutting across the thinking which has divided understandings of Western and Third World Cities. I argue against perspectives which categorize cities as Global, Third World, Mega, African etc. and suggest instead an attentiveness to the diverse trajectories of 'ordinary cities'. This work has strong implications for the practices of urban studies internationally, and invites a regrounding of comparative urbanism in rigorous practices able to encompass both wealthier and poorer cities so as to generate approaches to understanding cities which are properly international. Future plans include an empirical project to exemplify comparative methods incorporating wealthier and poorer cities, taking as the object of study the ubiquitous technology of developing city strategies and visions. This will also enable an investigation of the international circulation of urban policy to understand how policy arrives in and is adopted or adapted in different localities. The research will press an engagement with analyses of neoliberalism in urban studies to incorporate perspectives from cities in poorer contexts. It contributes to conceptualisations of the spatialities of circulation, reflecting my wider interests in general theoretical accounts of space. Previous research has centred on the relationship between power and space, specifically in cities and mostly in relation to South African politics. For example, I have written on the 1936 Empire Exhibition in Johannesburg to explore spaces of racial interaction in South African cities. I have also written on issues in feminist politics, including questions of difference and methodology, and more recently on the implications of Julia Kristeva's psychoanalytic writing for feminist theorizations of space. More broadly, I have explored ways of postcolonializing the theoretical and empirical practices of Geography.

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