The City Austerity and its Discontents

Welcome to the blog page for our new De Montfort University Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA) – the UK’s only centre dedicated to urban austerity research.  We launch the blog, and the Centre, at a critical juncture.  After the bubble economies of the 2000s, and the great crash of 2008, austerity has become such a deeply embedded principle of mainstream politics, that it seems unquestionable.  With variations in tone and intensity, austerity remains the governing orthodoxy in the EU and here in the UK.  At the same time, spearheaded by Greece and Spain, we have seen huge anti-austerity movements explode into life, fade from view, and explode onto the stage once again.  Most critically for our Centre, the city is the fulcrum of the global austerity conjuncture: it is where austerity bites and where austerity battles unfold.  And with the rise of “localist” ideologies, it is once more the object of serious political attention from national and international elites, heralded as the dynamo of “resilience”, and post-crash cultural and economic renaissance.

The task of CURA is to study and make sense of the austerian conjuncture, its contradictions and limitations. The blog is a space for information about our projects at De Montfort University, opinion pieces on cities and austerity, and contributions from academics, practitioners, commentators and activists/insurgents with an interest in austerity, broadly conceived. CURA is part of the Leicester Urban Observatory, a collaboration between urban practitioners at Leicester City Council and academics at  De Montfort University, the University of Leicester, and Loughborough University that aims to establish and develop a combined centre of excellence in urban studies and planning for Leicester.

See this article in the Times Higher Education supplement for more information on the Centre’s aims and activities.

It is managed by Dr Adrian Bua, who can be contacted at We welcome contributions from far and wide.  If you would like to write a piece, please email Adrian explaining briefly what you would like to say.

Jonathan Davies                                                                                                           Director – Centre for Urban Research on Austerity