Conference: Borders and Boundaries in an Age of Global Urbanization

UTS Urban Forum

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Please have a look at the Annual Meeting of the Urban Affairs Association, San Antonio, TX, USA, March 19-22, 2014.

Urban areas have grown at an unprecedented rate in the last decade. More of the world’s population now lives in cities than in any other context. International trade, capital investment and divestment, migration, and porous economic, social and political boundaries fuel this global urbanization. Enormous governance challenges result for megacities and fast‐growing urban centers due to in‐migration and other trends, particularly in the global south. Ethnic, racial and economic disparities across the globe create new tensions and vehicles for exclusion, while also creating interesting possibilities for cooperation and collaboration. Economic, political, and environmental crises further burden governance and demand innovative solutions to problems unique to global urbanization. All of this raises old and new civic and policy questions about boundaries and borders of global urbanization. Consequently, the 2014 conference theme…

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Szczecin – the scarred city

Urban Space Critics

A one day walk through Szczecin was enough to confront the google reality with a walking perspective on the city. Szczecin can be read through the attempts to healing of wounds inflicted by the 1945 carpet bombing. Some of them have been mitigated by planted greenery, some missing parts have been reconstructed, some vast parts of the city have been entirely replaced by new urban tissue.

Rondo Jerzego Giedroycia

Postwar development was led by diverse priorities with the reconstruction of prewar order as the last one due to the almost entire exchange of inhabitants and transformation into the Communist regime. Introduction of large scale traffic solutions was in line with functionalist thinking prevailing at that time in Europe but against the urban tissue which had no community to identify with it and to stand for it. At Rondo Giedroycia there is no winner within the current solution: neither the urban block is properly enclosed, nor the…

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Somewhere At The End Of A River

mapped musings

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In a way, a river’s estuary is its final definitive feature. It is a reflection of the past; its contents are a symbol of its erosive and depositional powers. Metaphorically speaking, I find myself at the end of a river – for I am a Hougang boy, and have been so for all my life.

Considering the etymology of ‘Hougang’ (which is Teochew for ‘river’s end’), I figuratively find myself at a river’s estuary because spending my most formative years in Hougang has certainly had an arguably noticeable impact on my perceptions and thoughts regarding certain issues.

Having fancied politicking for a good number of years now, life in Hougang not only involved being aware of municipal issues of the day but also the broader political significance of the area. In and by itself, Hougang is a geographically small area but due to the past actions of the Electoral Boundaries…

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Deleuze & Guattari: Democrats

Path to the Possible

Sorry for the delay in posting new things.  I have just returned from the Lisbon and the Deleuze Studies Conference, and Dublin and the AESOP/ACSP planning conference.  Here is the text of my talk at the Deleuze Studies conference, arguing that D&G are basically democrats (understood the way I understand democracy), but that Lefebvre is an essential addition to D&G if we want to think space well.

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For Urban Democracy

Introduction

Deleuze and Guattari rarely use the word democracy. So it may seem strange at first that this paper argues that it is both possible and fruitful to read in their work a deep desire for democracy. When I say democracy, I don’t mean the liberal-democratic State with its elected representatives, parties, and laws. Rather I mean radical democracy, a democracy in which people directly manage their own affairs for themselves. Democracy as a form of life in which the…

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Tahrir Squared

geographical imaginations

I’ve been putting the finishing touches to the extended version of my essay on Tahrir Square and the Egyptian uprisings, which focuses on performance, performativity and space through an engagement with Judith Butler‘s ‘Bodies in alliance and the politics of the street’ essay/lecture (originally delivered in Venice in 2011).

Tahrir Square (Mohamed Elshahed)Much of the existing discussion of Tahrir treats performance in conventional dramaturgical terms, and owes much more to Erving Goffman‘s classic work than to Judith’s recent contributions, so that spatiality is more or less reduced to a stage: see, for example, Charles Tripp, ‘Performing the public: theatres of power in the Middle East’, Constellations (2013) doi: 10.1111/cons.12030 (early view).  Others have preferred to  analyse the spatialities of Tahrir through the work of Henri Lefebvre: I’m thinking of Ahmed Kanna, ‘Urban praxis and the Arab Spring’, City 16 (3) (2012) 360-8; Hussam Hussein Salama, ‘Tahrir Square:…

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Hans van der Meer’s not so empty realms

Xenotopia

Cardiff gallery ‘Other Spaces’(a name I thoroughly approve of, for soundly xenotopic reasons) are currently hosting an exhibition of Dutch photographer Hans van der Meer.  The show is called ‘Off the Shelf’ and consists of  images of strange suburban spaces that are both utterly banal and strangely distinctive.  At first sight they could be anywhere, but the closer you look you realise that they are very particular indeed – distinctively Dutch, as van der Meer himself claims.  I was asked to write an essay to accompany the exhibition which you can read here:  other spaces writing 1-2 Van Der Meer Angus Cameron.

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