Interrogating Urban Crisis

In today’s post, Professor Jonathan Davies explains the arguments developed in the introductory piece to a special issue of Urban Studies on the governance, contestation and critique of urban crises. The paper, co-authored by Jonathan, Mustafa Bayırbağ  and Sybille Münch, is open access until 25th August 2017.  

The central problematic addressed in our framing paper, is that the meaning and application of “urban crisis” is far too nebulous and imprecise.  The paper seeks to address this problem by opening up the concept of urban crisis to critical scrutiny.  We start by exploring how urban ‘crisis-talk’ tends to over-extend the concept in ways that can render it shallow or even meaningless. We then look at different ways in which the terminology of urban crisis is employed in the literature and throughout our collection of essays. We thereby disclose six framings of urban crisis, tabulated on page 2026. These framings are structure, alienation, politics, construction, boundaries and indeterminacy.  We suggest that each framing is linked to a specific set of analytical and political problematics. We hope researchers find these framings and the problematics to which we think they give rise useful in developing refined approaches to urban crisis, particularly in studies of the governance and contestation of austerity urbanism.

The Interrogating Urban Crisis conference was funded through the Urban Studies/Urban Studies Foundation Seminar Series /Competition. http://www.urbanstudiesfoundation.org. We are very grateful for their invaluable support.

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