Environment and Urbanization Issue on the New Urban Agenda

To coincide with an event at the IIED today focussing on the likely outcomes of the Habitat III process, and assessing the so-called ‘new urban agenda’, all of the papers in the April 2016 issue of Environment and Urbanization are freely available between the 5th and 12th May (including the previously advertised paper by myself and Sue Parnell on the place of urban theory in current global urban policy debates). The issue includes a series of papers on the theme From the MDGs to the SDGs and Habitat III. Further details and reflections on the event will be posted on the IIED website in due course. 

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Bite Size Theory

“One of the founding insights of feminist criticism has been to point out that the idealized, beloved woman is often described as an object, a thing, rather than a subject. But perhaps the problem with being used arises from an inequality of power rather than from something inherently unhealthy about willingly playing the role of thing. Indeed, what if the capacity to become a subject were something that could best be learned from an object?”

Barbara Johnson, 2008, Persons and Things.

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Bite Size Theory

“It was not Marxism that made Lenin a revolutionary but Lenin who made Marxism revolutionary.”

Orlando Figes, 2014, Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991.

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A selective résumé

SB

I picked up this great story about a Princeton professor, Johannes Haushofer from Facebook (thanks Sue), who has posted his CV of Failures. It’s an idea prompted by Melanie Stefan. I have to admit that I have been thinking along these lines recently, not because I’m overcome by a great sense of failure, or an urge to ‘fail better’ even, but just because I have got to that stage of life where it occurs to me that the things I work on, research, and publish about don’t quite ‘scan’ directly from a linear set of projects funded, grants awarded, previous books written,. They only really make sense in relation also to the shadow world of failed bids, rejected papers, cancelled courses. I’ve reflected on this sort of thing before, provoked by Ivan Vladislavic’s lovely idea of a loss library. As for a CV of my own failures, well, that would be too long.

 

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Bite Size LBJ

“Strong as was Lyndon Johnson’s compassion for the poor, particularly poor people of color, his deep, genuine desire to help them had always been subordinate to his ambition; whenever they had been in conflict, it had been compassion that went to the wall. When they had both been pointing in the same direction, however – when the compassion had been unleashed from ambition’s checkrein – then not only Lyndon Johnson but the cause of social justice in America had moved forward under the direction of this master of transmuting sympathy into governmental action.”

Robert Caro, 2012, The Years of London Johnson, Volume 4: The Passage of Power.

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Bite Size LBJ

“Throughout LBJ’s life, in every institution of which he had been a part, a similar pattern had emerged: as he rose to power within the institution, and then, as he consolidated that power, he was humble – deferential, obsequious, in fact. And then, as the power was consolidated, solid, when he was in power and confident of staying there, he became, with dramatic speed and contrast, overbearing, domineering.”

Robert Caro, 2002, The Years of London Johnson, Volume 3: Master of the Senate.

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Bite Size LBJ

“Understanding political power in a democracy requires understanding elections.’

Robert Caro, 1990, The Years of London Johnson, Volume 2: Means of Ascent.

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Bite Size LBJ

“The grass had grown not over a season but over centuries. It wouldn’t have grown at all had it not been for fire – prairie fires set by lightning and driven by wind across tens of thousands of acres, and fires set by Indians to stampede game into their ambushes or over cliffs – for fire clears the land of underbrush, relentless enemy of grass. […] Even with the aid of fire, the grass had grown slowly – agonizingly slowly. […] It had grown slowly because the soil beneath it was so thin.”

Robert Caro, 1982, The Years of London Johnson, Volume 1: The Path to Power.

 

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Externalizing Migration Management: New book in Routledge Research in Place, Space and Politics Series

RZThe latest book in the Routledge Research in Place, Space and Politics series has been published – Externalizing Migration Management: Europe, North America and the spread of ‘remote control’ practices, edited by Ruben Zaiotti. Further details are available here.

Further details on the series, including guidelines for submitting proposals, can be found here and here.

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Urban Theory in the New Urban Agenda

eanduThe latest issue of Environment and Urbanization contains a collection of papers examining different aspects of the emergence of the so-called ‘new urban agenda’ in global development policy, titled From the MDGs to the SDGs and Habitat III. It includes the paper by myself and Sue Parnell, ‘Ideas, implementation and indicators: epistemologies of the post-2015 urban agenda‘ which tracks some of the intellectual influences circulating around these worlds of policy-making and agenda-setting (Sue also has another piece tracing the longer history of global urban development agendas in World Development).

To repeat a previous invitation, if you would like a copy of our paper, do let me know and I will forward it along. Once more, here is the abstract for the paper:

“The success of the campaign for a dedicated urban Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) reflected a consensus on the importance of “cities” in sustainable development. The relevance accorded to cities in the SDGs is twofold, reflected both in the specific place-based content of the Urban Goal and the more general concern with the multiple scales at which the SDGs will be monitored will be institutionalized. Divergent views of the city and urban processes, suppressed within the Urban Goal, are, however, likely to become more explicit as attention shifts to implementation. Acknowledging the different theoretical traditions used to legitimize the new urban agenda is an overdue task. As this agenda develops post-2015, the adequacy of these forms of urban theory will become more contested around, among other concerns, the possibilities and limits of place-based policy, advocacy and activism; and ways of monitoring and evaluating processes of urban transformation along multiple axes of development.”

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