Dystopian dynamics at work

The creative validation of urban space

Authored by: Ulf Strohmayer

The Routledge Handbook on Spaces of Urban Politics

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138890329
eBook ISBN: 9781315712468
Adobe ISBN:


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Urban politics do not take place within a vacuum. Rather, their ambitions, instruments and practices are shaped by, and in turn shape, past articulations of politics. The result is a layering of sorts, where past expressions of social, economic and cultural processes rub shoulders with current materializations, processes and customs, a layering that is often referred to as forming a “palimpsest” comprising urban forms, morphologies and urban politics (Swyngedouw and Heynen 2010: 79). Describing an iterative, cumulative process that sees urban discourses and related practices interact in a stratified manner, palimpsests also account for the co-existence of erasure and survival of such articulations in urban landscapes everywhere. Engaging with such landscapes becomes the work of memory (Huyssen 2003) and invites the recognition of different materialities contributing to past, present and future urban politics and identity construction (Crang 1996; Cupers 2005; Graham 2009).

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