Hello in the New Year

My name is Jason Luger and I am a human geographer and lecturer in urban studies at the University of San Francisco and UC Berkeley. My research and academic interests lie at the intersection of urban space, politics and policy; specifically, I have been exploring the linkage between art, activism, politics, and the city.

San Francisco, my adopted hometown, has always been a place with an intimate relationship between art and urban space, from the art/music/activism of the 1960s to the political street art that now adorns the walls of the Mission district, telling stories of gentrification, police violence, inequality and injustice (see below). In a city where economic divides increasingly define the everyday experience, where homeless encampments drape the sidewalks beneath exclusive towers, and where digital data pulses through the city’s arteries and veins just like the precious drinking water, art remains a crucial medium through which to consider identity, power, justice, and truth.

I am happy to join Urban Cultural Studies as assistant editor for 2017-2018, and hope that I can help stimulate conversations and debates about the difficult, complex, and uncharted waters that cities now find themselves in, as socio-cultural and political hurricanes ravage – and challenge – the status quo around the world. This represents a crucial opening for provocative, enriching, diverse and intersectional conversations about urban culture – and I eagerly invite such conversations.

mission_gentrification

Street Art in the Mission neighborhood, San Francisco, 2016 (Author’s Photo)

 

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