1. Kevin Lynch. The Image of the City (MIT Press, 1960)
  2. Imageability: Based on the argument that the city exists not only physically but also in the mind of citizens. Each citizen creates its unique image and “imageability” is the quality of the city that makes it easier for it to be reconstructed in the mind. The city must be efficient, interesting, and aesthetically pleasing.

“To heighten the imageability of the urban environment is to facilitate its visual identification and structuring.” (Lynch 1960, 95)

  1. Legibility Definition: “…the ease with which its parrs can be recognized and can be organized into a coherent pattern.”
  2. Aim of book: “…will consider the visual quality of the American city by studying the mental image of that city which is held by its citizens.” (Lynch 1960, 2)
  3. Purpose of study: “…to consider the need for identity and structure in our perceptual world, and to illustrate the special relevance of this quality to the particular case of the complex, shifting urban environment.” (Lynch 1960, 10)
  4. Continuous change: “While it may be stable in general outlines for some time, it is ever changing in detail. Only partial control can be exercised over its growth and form. There is no final result, only a continuous succession of phases.” (Lynch 1960, 2)
  5. Environmental image (p.8). The vividness and coherence of the environmental image was singled out as being a crucial condition for the enjoyment and use of the city.” (Lynch 1960, 118)
    1. Identity: First step in identification of object. Meaning of individuality.
    1. Structure: Spatial pattern of object to observer and other objects
    1. Meaning: Practical or emotional for the observer.
  6. Sociological field research in the US (Chapter 2) Lynch asked questions on ways of observing and interacting with the city as well as emotional and practical connections.
  7. Los Angeles: Contemporary and had recent growth (intentional city but still not memorable or navigable). Proofs planners failed to consider landmarks, pathways, and districts.

The image seemed to lack much of the recognizable character, stability, and pleasant meaning of central Boston.” (Lynch 1960, 43)

  • Boston: Selected for historical value (among oldest cities in the US). Proof old cities can be maintained with revitalization.
  • Jersey City: appear to not have structure or form (lacked unique landmarks and districts). Proofs residents lacked pride and without defining characteristics serves more as buffer zone.

The lack of character is apparent from a glance when the consensus of elements thought distinctive by Jersey City people is compared with the same diagram for Boston.” (Lynch 1960, 26)

  • Five interrelated features (Chapter 3) conducive to navigable and interesting cities (p.41):
  • Paths: transportation routes. Most common for citizens to experience city. Should have well defined origins and destinations along with landmarks for reference.
  • Edges: Waterfront or park, tree livings. Helps define cities but Careful to ensure they are connective (penetrable) and not divisive.
  • Districts: Large enough areas to be names. Set apart through thematical/visual markers. Can be introverted (sharp boundaries) or extroverted (interwoven with rest of city)
  • Nodes: typically, junctions along paths/transit stations. Caution to limit these. Can be enhanced by landmarks.
  • Landmarks: Outstanding urban feature. Serving as orientation marker for people. Memorability important to make connection with people.
    • Spatial prominence: “…can establish elements as landmarks in either making element visible from many viewpoints or by setting local contrast with nearby elements (p. 80).
    • Singularity: “The essential characteristic of a viable landmark, on the other hand, is its singularity.” (Lynch 1960, 100)
  • Functional and pleasing cities (p.105-108)
  • 10 attributes of well-designed cities: Singularity, form simplicity, continuity, dominance, clarity of joint, directional differentiation, visual scope, motion awareness, time series, and names and meanings.
  • Importance of simplicity and symmetry
  • Poetry: “…we need an environment which is not simply well organized, but poetic and symbolic as well.” (Lynch 1960, 119)
  • Sense of motion and sense of time critical in navigability. Can also provide charm.
  • Warning to planners: city must be considered as whole unit.
  • Artistic qualities of city planning are important to create unique pleasing and practical cities. Otherwise, cities are just places on a map instead of communities. (Lynch 1960)
  • Jane Jacobs. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Random House, 1961)
  • Functionality of cities: Jacobs’ goal is to illuminate what makes cities function well and how they can be improved. Against orthodox city planners and attacks Garden City, Radiant City and City Beautiful. Research based on inductive reasoning: The way to get at what goes on in the seemingly mysterious and perverse behavior of cities is, I think, to look closely, and with little previous expectation as possible, at the most ordinary scenes and events, and attempt to see what they mean and whether any threads of principle emerge among them.(Jacobs 1961, 13)
  • Eyes on the Street: Informal surveillance mechanisms of street environments such as the spontaneous protection by pedestrians in lively streets or dwellers of houses looking onto the sidewalks…is what makes sidewalks safer than parks for children. Describes neighborhoods as “organs of self-government”. Qualities of safe streets:
  • Clear demarcation between public and private space
  • Eyes on the street: “there must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street” (Jacobs 1961, 35)
  • Sidewalk with continuous users: Different users at different schedules
  • Four generators of Diversity (part 2):(Jacobs 1961, 156). Core Belief in social and spatial diversity. Makes recommendations based on observation of Boston’s North End, New York’s Upper East Side and San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill.
  • Mixed Use: The district must serve at least two primary functions and “these must insure the presence of people who go outdoors on different schedules and are in the place for different purposes, but who are able to use many facilities in common” (Jacobs 1961, 156)
  • Short blocks: Most blocks must be short with frequent turns on corners
  • Building Age Diversity: Buildings must be varied in age and this economic yield they produce. Districts must mingle buildings that vary in age and condition.
  • High-Density: There must be sufficient concentration of people, including residents
  • Forces of Decline and Regeneration (Part 3):
  • Gentrification: The self-destruction of successful cities. “Self-destruction of diversity is caused by success, not failure” (Jacobs 1961, 251)
  • The curse of the border vacuums
  • Unslumming and slumming: early symptom of unslumming is a drop in population while constant number of dwellings. Inhabitants can afford to increase living space. Incumbent upgrading should be fostered by planning instead of destroying whole neighborhoods.
  • Gradual money and cataclysmic money
  • Remedies for Self-Destructing Diversity (Jacobs 1961, 252)
  • Zoning for Diversity: The goal of this remedy is not to freeze conditions and uses, but to ensure that changes and replacements happen gradually. Advised planners to enable people to work where they live. “Working places and commerce”…”must be mingled with residences” (Jacobs 1961, 253)
  • Staunchness of public buildings: Public and quasi-public bodies should staunchly establish buildings in places where they will add to diversity, rather than duplicate neighboring structures.
  • Competitive Diversion
  • Oscar Newman. Defensible Space: Crime Prevention through Urban Design (The Macmillan Company, 1972)
  • Environmental influence (not determinism!) on crime. Crime can be controlled and mitigated through environmental design. Positive reception: novel approach to reduce crime. Negative reception: architectural determinism. Newman points to loss of shared values in communities resulting in inability to “come together in joint action” and suggests design can help people act together. He does acknowledge crime will not be eliminated by design alone and can migrate to other areas.
  • Five factors of defensible space:
  • Assignment of specific environments to different residential groups to enhance usage and thus control (determined by ages, life-styles, socializing proclivities, backgrounds, incomes and family structures)
  • Territorial definition of space in residential buildings to reflect zone of influence of specific residents. Residential developments should be subdivided to facilitate proprietary attitudes.
  • Juxtaposition of dwelling interiors with exterior spaces and placing windows so residents can naturally survey exterior and interior public areas (natural surveillance). Unobstructed sightline between and area’s physical characteristics and resident’s visual scope.
  • Juxtaposition of dwellings: entries and amenities with city streets to integrate street within sphere of influence of dwellings.
  • Building topology and Image: The adoption of building forms and idioms that avoids the stigma of peculiarity that projects vulnerability and isolation. Residential areas subdivided for enhanced control, feeling of ownership and territoriality is increased.
  • St. Louis Case Study
  • Pruitt_Igoe: 3,000 public housing 11 story high-rise development occupied by single-parent families. Project never achieved more than 60% occupancy and demolished 10 years after occupation.
  • Carr Square Village: contrast across the street with older, smaller, row-house complex occupied by identical population. Landings shared by two families evoked more territoriality, control and identity than corridors shared by 20 families and stairs shared by 150 families.
  • Dayton, Ohio Case Study
  • Five oaks community between suburbs and downtown plagued by disinvestment, heavy through traffic, prostitution, rising crime and declining property owner income.
  • Restructured into 10 mini neighborhoods. Streets and alleys closed with gates and most internal streets converted to cul-de-sacs.
  • 25 streets and 25 alleys were closed. Newman claims 11 months following the closings, 55% housing values increased.
  • Warning mini-neighborhoods is not cookie cutter approach and must meet: a minimal percentage of home owners (40%), predominance of single-family units, high-quality schools, reflecting people’s perceptions, working with local institutions and race and attitude toward mini-neighborhoods.
  • Clason Point Gardens Experiment
  • South Bronx Border in New York composed of 3-6 units blocks of 2 story houses. Space around dwellings was all public and project plagued with high crime.
  • Placing of 6-foot feces enclosing areas behind each row-house block. Further subdividing each back yard to each tenant.
  • Building facades were painted and textures to make each distinct.
  • Ample street lighting and “street furniture”. At the end, converted 80% of previously public ground into spaces clearly demarcated for private use and control.
  • Overall crime rate dropped 50% and burglary rate by more than 25%.
  • Henri Lefebvre. The production of space (Oxford, 1991) (1974 French)
    • French Marxist thinker (1901-1991)
      • 1930 The critique of everyday life
      • 1968 The right to the city. Notion of city as purely mechanical process that is non-ideological.
      • 1970 The urban revolution. Developed this critique further through a reading of the history of urbanism. The city is an oeuvre and not a product; it is a work and not a mere conglomeration of economic or political structures and in this oeuvre al inhabitants participate.  Argues that urbanization is a site for surplus accumulation and so is key to the survival of capitalism. Cities are not only to be seen in terms of exchange value, but also their use value. Site for revolution is the city (as opposed to factory floor).
      • 1974 The production of space
      • 1992 Time and Everyday life
    • Circuits of capital
      • Primary. Investment of money (by capitalists) into men, material, and machines. This produces a product which is then sold to the market and produces profit which is then reinvested.
      • Secondary. Real estate. Investment in land which produces a profit which is then reinvested.
      • Both circuits are necessary of stability, rejuvenation or even decline of city.
      • Hegemony tool. Space acts as a hegemonic tool. Capital acts as dominant agent in space.

Hegemony implies more than an influence, more even than the permanent use of repressive violence. It is exercised over society as a whole, culture and knowledge included, and generally via human mediation: policies, political leaders, parties, as also a good many intellectuals and expert.” “The ruling class seeks to maintain its hegemony by all available means, and knowledge is one such means.” (Lefebvre 1991, 10)

  • Urbanism and the Survival of Capitalism: “Not that the production of space is solely responsible for the survival of capitalism; it is in no sense independent of the extension of capitalism to pre-existing space. Rather it is the overall situation – spatial practice in its entirety – that has saved capital from extinction.” (Lefebvre 1991, 346)
  • Role of GovernmentOwns predominance of space and thus attracts capitalists.
  • Reproduction of social relations in space: concerned with relationship between production of space and social relations of production (fill in gap between mental spaces and physical spaces).

Production = how humans create space in which they make their lives (Space is produced and reproduced through human intentions). Production also implies it can be an economic good (can be bought and sold).

  • Not neutral. Against space as a mere container, NOT neutral setting in which life transpires! NOT neutral container, it’s a social construct. “The illusion of a transparent, ‘pure’ and neutral space – which though philosophical in origin, has permeated Western culture – is being dispelled only very slowly.” “Social space embodies distinct and distinctive ‘traits’ which attach to the ‘pure’ mental form of space, without, however, achieving a separate existence as its external superadded content.” (Lefebvre 1991, 292)
    • Space is a composition of geography, built environment, symbolic meanings and life routines.
    • Space is a product. “Though a product to be used, to be consumed, it is also a means of production; networks of exchange and flows of raw materials and energy fashion space and are determined by it.” (Lefebvre 1991, 85)

Focus on the produced space as both condition for action as well as a product of action.

  • Social space (composed of physical, mental, and social relations). We produced it and it is in turn molding us.
    • Production of space. Space is produced by people and is fundamentally social. How people produce space is contingent on when they are producing it.
  • Trial by space: Globalization creates a worldwide confrontation of diverse values, ideas and preferred arrangement in which all undergo “trial by space”…different interests seek to inscribe their own social vision on territory as a vehicle to sustain and build a culture. “nothing and no one can avoid trial by space” “…groups, classes or fractions of classes cannot constitute themselves, or recognize one another, as ‘subjects’ unless they generate (or produce) a space. Ideas, representations or values which do not succeed in making their mark on space, and thus generating (or producing) an appropriate morphology, will loose all pith and become mere signs, resolve themselves into abstract descriptions, or mutate into fantasies”(Lefebvre 1991, 416–17)
  • The Spatial Triad. It is the space as physical, mental, and social (P.38):

In spatial practice, the reproduction of social relations is predominant. The representation of space, in thrall to both knowledge and power, leaves only the narrowest leeway to representational spaces, which are limited to works, images and memories whose content, whether sensory, sensual or sexual, is so far displaced that it barely achieves symbolic force.” (Lefebvre 1991, 50)

  1. The Spatial Practice (The Perceived Space) This is society’s space which it produces slowly, the physical space. It is space directly perceptible through the senses, through being in the world.

Empirical analysis: “The specific spatial competence and performance of every society member can only be evaluated empirically.” (Lefebvre 1991, 38)

  • Representation of Space (The Conceived Space). COGNITIVE/MENTAL SPACE. This is conceived by scientists, architects, planners, urbanists, technocratic subdividers, and social engineers. It’s the dominant space in any society. They are rational, intellectualized, and official conceptions of urban areas for administrative, analytical and property development purposes. Often ignores perceive space (space of popular perception and action).

Within the spatial practice of modern society, the architect ensconces himself in his own space. He has a representation of this space, one which is bound to graphic elements – to sheets of paper, plans, elevations, sections, perspective views of facades, modules, and so on. This conceived space is thought by those who make use of it to be true, despite the fact – or perhaps because of the fact – that it is geometrical: because its is a medium for objects, an object itself, and a locus of the objectification of plans.” (Lefebvre 1991, 361)

  • The Representational Space (The Lived Space). ACTUAL SPACE. Space as lived and experienced through its associated images and symbols. Composed of (1) urban everyday space as lived by people informed by associated cultural memories, images and symbols imbued with cultural meaning and (2) emotional, artistic interpretations of city space by artists (poets, writers and painters)-lived and imaginative space. In modern society, suppressed and controlled by structures of capitalism and state yet it lives on in works of art, literature and fantasy. “This is the dominant – and hence passively experienced- space which the imagination seeks to change and appropriate.” (Lefebvre 1991, 39)
  • Dialectical tension.
  • Types of Space. Master distinction between those who produce a space for domination versus those who produce space as an appropriation to serve human need.
  • Absolute Space (Use Value): People secure livelihoods, social gratification, etc. and molding intuitively compatible environments. Sometimes, the result can be a space that harmonizes with the body. Instead of a “product” it is a crafted “work” emerging out of the felt needs and urges of daily life (gemeinschaft). Points to superiority of absolute space as organic to human need. Contradiction in urban space between pursuit of use and exchange value….this contradiction within capitalist space creates contestation, occasionally yielding open rebellion but more pervasively reflected in the thrust for innovation, for responsive arrangements, and for a break with imposed homogeneity. “Absolute space, religious and political in character, was a product of the bonds of consanguinity, soil and language, but out of it evolved a space which was relativized and historical. Not that absolute space disappeared in the process; rather it survived as the bedrock of historical space and the basis of representational space.” (Lefebvre 1991, 48)
  • Abstract Space (Exchange value):(Lefebvre 1991, 49–53) Space is put into service of some abstract purpose to facilitate power or for the reproduction of capital. Resultant space is a “product” and represents “triumph of homogeneity”(Lefebvre 1991, 337). Against official city planning: as it represents the mobilization of expertise on behalf of such abstract space, one that “pulverizes” the body, the spirit, the social urge, and like any tool of abstraction, “is inherently violent”. Adds that “State management of space implies a logic of stability that is both destructive and self-destructive” (Lefebvre 1991, 387). Points to Jacobs examining capitalist “self-destruction” Pp. 364 and showing how destructive abstract space can be.
  • Differential space: Abstract space has inherent contradictions “between the social and the political, between power and knowledge”  (Lefebvre 1991, 408) and this has the seeds of differential space. This is the space of ‘the right to difference’, in contrast to the usual idea that:

What is different is, to begin with, what is excluded: the edges of the city, shanty towns, the spaces of forbidden games, of guerrilla war, of war. Sooner or later, however, the existing centre and the forces of homogenization must seek to absorb all such differences, and they will succeed if these retain a defensive posture and no counterattack is mounted from, their side.” (Lefebvre 1991, 373)

Privileges inclusiveness and use value rather than the exchange value of abstract space. It is often transitory space which can arise from inherent vulnerabilities of abstract space. He is ambivalent about differential space, associating it with a utopian post-capitalist world “on the horizon” produced by social revolution that will result in a planet-wide space of “transformed everyday life open to myriad possibilities” (Lefebvre 1991, 423)

  • Call for action against the state:Pressure from below must therefore also confront the state in its role as organizer of space, as the power that controls urbanization, the construction of buildings and spatial planning in general. This state defends class interests while simultaneously setting itself above society as a whole, and its ability to intervene in space can and must be turned back against it, by grass-roots opposition, in the form of counter-plans and counter-projects designed to thwart strategies, plans and programmes imposed from above.” (Lefebvre 1991, 383)
  • Jacobs, p.346
  • Mustafa Dikeç. “Justice and the Spatial Imagination.” Environment and Planning A 33, no.10 (2001): 1785-1805
  • Role of spatialization in the production and reproduction of domination and repression
  • Bleddyn Davies: first coined term “territorial justice” in 1968
  • David Harvey in his Social Justice and the city (1973) arrived at “territorial social justice” pushing John Rawl’s (1971) liberal formulations to it limit.
  • Harvey engaged with justice again (1992) this time building on Young’s Justice and the Politics of Difference. Hic concerns are now “uneven geographical development as an intrinsic feature of the capitalist mode of production” (Dikeç 2001)
  • Issue with Rawls: tendency to reduce social justice to distribution….” I try to reconcile this tension through a notion of spatial dialectics of injustice, in an attempt neither to overvalorize nor to devalorize distributional matters. The attempt here, it should be noted, is not one aimed at refining Rawls’s arguments. It is rather to evoke the spatial dimension of justice via a notion of spatial justice informed by the charges leveled against Rawls” (Dikeç 2001)
  • Triad to inform such politics:
  • Spatial dialectics of injustice. The spatiality of injustice and the injustice of spatiality.
  • The Right to the City. “The right to the city implies not only the participation of the urban citizen in urban social life, but, more importantly, his or her active participation in the political life, management, and administration of the city” (Dikeç 2001)
  • The Right to Difference. “The right to difference is complementary to the right of the city. Lefebvre was very clear on this notion, although it somehow ended up with an exclusive focus on difference as particularity.” (Dikeç 2001)
  • Spatial justice as theoretical underpinning. Three cases:
  • Harvey’s account of the Imperial Foods plants fire in Hamlet
  • Grand strike of Turin in 1961 (Novelli)
  • Injustice of spatialization: Bus Rider’s Union (BRU) in Los Angeles (Soja)
  • Case study: French Urban Policy, implications of the way in which urban policy is conceived in France:
  • State has reorganized that the mode of spatial organization deprives certain individuals and groups of their rights to the city. Discusses the 1989 Urban Social Development in France and the Urban Development Act of 13 July 1991 (anti-ghetto law) idea was to “integrate” or “insert” the ‘excluded’ into the city through urban policies.
  • With the “territorialization of social policies on the terrain of the city” (Bertho, 1996, 107), French urban policymakers, implicitly or explicitly “accepted certain cause and effect relationships between city and forms of “social disorder” (Lelevrier, 1999, page 35), with a hope, perhaps, of “changing life through changing the city” (Lege, 1995, 34).
  • The production of space, in this sense, has to be at the core of any examination of injustice for it plays an essential role not only in distribution but also in production and reproduction. Thus, in the French case, it was a certain form of spatialization that contributed largely to the production of the socially excluded. It was, moreover, this form of spatialization that kept them excluded, reproducing the exclusionary processes” (Dikeç 2001)
  • Notion of egaliberte is introduced as moral ground. “Egaliberte¨ signifies the unconditional `differential’ push in the collective process of struggle for the suppression of discrimination and repression.” (Dikeç 2001). Two implications of the notion of spatial justice:
  • Could be provided conceptual apparatus with normative content to guide actual production of urban space.
  • Discursive aspect could inform emancipatory politics willing to confront spatial dynamics of injustice.
  • Ananya Roy. “The 21st century metropolis: new geographies of theory.” Regional Studies 43, no.6 (2009): 819–830
  • Alternatives to dominant EuroAmerican theories: “attempts to articulate relational study of space and place” (Roy 2009). Argues “urban future” is already in the global south (Cairo, Mumbai, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro) and asks if experiences can form new “theoretical heartland of urban and metropolitan analysis?” ((Roy 2009). “It is argued that the entre of theory-making must move to the global Soth; that there has to be a recalibration of the geographies of authoritative knowledge” (Roy 2009). Wants to go a step further and not just study or “make visible” the cities of the global south but to use the global south as a lens from which to view “all cities”: “It is instead necessary to view all cities from this particular place on the map” (Roy 2009)
  • Regional Perspectives
  • Latin America. Concerned primarily with condition of urban citizenship. Claims of space and livelihood by urban poor. Dependency theory asserts persistence of core-periphery.
  • South Asia. Stronger focus on agrarian rather than urban question. Shaped by traditions of postcolonial theory. Subaltern identities.
  • East Asia. Concerned with “arbitrage” (negotiation and mediation of economic globalization and cultural cosmopolitanism).
  • Middle East. It is perhaps the only ‘area’ in ‘area studies’ that is not a geographical territory but rather a social construct.” (Roy 2009)
  • Africa. Circulations of racialized bodies, migrant bodies, of value, of commodities, of superstitions, linked to African modernities.
  • Concepts to develop “dynamic theory of the 21st century metropolis
  • Worlding of Cities. Centered on circuits of finance and information capital dropping all other cities off the map. Towards a mapping from ‘world cities’ to historicized analysis of ‘world systems.’ Also need to rethink model of ‘core-periphery’
  • Production of Space. Stems from Lefebvre’s conception of property capital and how it has become a ‘primary’ circuit of capital. Exposes state as ‘agent’ rather than ‘regulator’ of the market. Today a landscape of inequality whereby “the crisis of over-accumulation is remedied through investments in new sites of value” (Roy 2009). Presents “informality” as an alternative production of space: “…informality is a fully capitalized domain of property and is often a highly effective ‘spatial fix’ in the production of value and profits” (Roy 2009). Latin American informality can “tell something profound about political regimes and politics in all cities” (Roy 2009)
  • Exurbanity and extraterritoriality. Explosion and implosion of metropolitan formations (Los Angeles school, Soja). ‘post-border cities’ and ‘extraterritotial space’. “Standard geographies of core and periphery are disrupted and dislocated.” (Roy 2009)
  • Three variations to counter the notion of ‘modernism of underdevelopment’ (Berman, 1982)
  • Modernity is everywhere.
  • ‘Alternative modernities’
  • ‘Dislocation’ of production of modernity: “…calls into question the Western origins of modernity, arguing instead that it is important to take seriously the emergence of the modern outside the geography of the West and in the circuits of production and exchange that encircled the world” (Roy 2009)
  • Risks of this theoretical reconfiguration: Could enforce territorial borders and geopolitical stereotypes. Cautions that regions should be approached as ‘processes’ rather than ‘trait geographies.
  • David Harvey & Cuz Potter. “The right to the just city.” In Searching for the just city: debates in urban theory and practice, edited by Peter Marcuse et al., 40–51 (Routledge, 2009)
  • Harvey Works1973 Social Justice and the City. Apply Marxist geography to understand urban systems.
    • Moves from a reformist appeal for territorial appeal for territorial urban justice to calling for complete urban revolution. In remaking the city, man has remade himself.
    • Right to city is not only right of inhabitation but right to shape the world we live in and thus ourselves. Not an individual right but has to be achieved through collective exercise. Urbanization becomes site to absorb surplus capital.
    • Spatial fix urbanization has always been a class phenomenon. New credit institutions enable bourgeoisie to strengthen their hold on the city and facilitate the free movement of capital. Exchange value has taken over use value.
    • Accumulation by dispossession.
  • Presents ‘Just City’ as an alternative to the repositioning of ‘elite’ class power through three decades of “neoliberal policies based on a discourse of individual rights and freedoms” (Harvey and Potter 2009). Points to centrality of ‘urban transformations’ in this alternative. Equates ‘urban transformations’ with reconfiguration of social processes. Equates dominance of social process (like capitalism or collective action) to dominant conception of right and of social justice (what about corruption or hypocricy….when the dominant conception is preached but not acted on?).
  • Critical of Rawl’s abstract universal and calls for a shift towards: “towards the relation of concepts of rights and of justice to social processes.” (Harvey and Potter 2009)
  • Spatial Fix. When there is surplus of capital or labor, people start to take it and spread it elsewhere. Imperial activities can take 2 forms. Capital has to be about expansion and growth (endless). Compound growth.
  • Relational terms. Argues for an understanding of space in relational terms. Opposed to looking at space as absolute (Newton or Descartes) or even relative (Einstein) – we need to conceptualize space-time as a relation.
  • Defines two dominant logics of power:
  • Territorial State. Human rights but contingent on citizenship and territorialized power. Requires protection of the state apparatus. Precarious situation since: “…if political powers are not willing, then notions of rights remain empty” (Harvey and Potter 2009). Rights are also contingent on citizenship and territorialized power (what happens to immigrants?). Urban rights and citizenship are embedded in systems of governance dominated by urban politics, urban bureaucracy, and administration. Here theoretical is different than practical: “While the rights in this case may be theoretically equal, the force exercised to determine outcomes is invariably lop-sided”
  • Capitalistic logic of power. Rests on private property and ownership rights (codified in the UN Declaration of 1948). State needs money so often at mercy of “capitalist logic of power” and “reciprocally, capital needs to the state to protect the rights to private property and the profit rate” (Harvey and Potter 2009)
  • State and Capital Co-dependence: “We live, therefore, in a society in which the inalienable right of individuals to private property and the profit rate trump any other conception of inalienable rights you can think of.” (Harvey and Potter 2009)
  • Objects to capitalist regime of rights:My objection to this regime of rights is quite simple: to accept it is to accept that we have no alternative except to live under a regime of endless capital accumulation and economic growth no matter what the social, ecological, or political consequences.” (Harvey and Potter 2009)
  • Calls for a reconstruction of “universal conception of rights and freedoms” since what we have today: “produce cities marked and marred by inequality, alienation and injustice.”
  • Critical of Fainstein’s conception of justice because it acts within existing “capitalist regime of rights and freedoms” ignoring the very nature of the conflict. Too idealistic and not grounded on actual social processes.
  • Utopias of social process: Assumption that a change in social process will lead to positive overall change (ie. utopia that market freedoms will bring wealth, security, and happiness) and at the core of this problem is the absence of spatial structures: “…the problem is that such schemas abstract entirely from the problems that arise when spatial structures get created on the ground” “Such frameworks of thought ignore what happens when walls, bridges, and doors become frameworks for social action and bases for discriminations” (Harvey and Potter 2009)
  • Utopianism of Spatio-temporal process. Instead of social process utopia, calls for dialectical utopia. Is positive about certain instances of decentralization of power that are more akin to “decentralized socialism” but claims the “problem is how to bring them all together to construct a viable alternative to free-market neoliberalism” (Harvey and Potter 2009)
  • New Urban Commons. Is proposed as an antidote of privatization derived from ‘destructive neoliberalism’ and defined as “a public sphere of active democratic participation” (Harvey and Potter 2009) ”By claiming space in public, by creating public spaces, social groups themselves become public” (Mitchell 2003)
  • Marxist Theory of Value. Value creation and Production. Anti-value. Struggle between value creation and destruction. Form of anti-value is credit and debt.
  • Compounding of growth. How to organize an economy which is not solely dedicated to growth? (Ecuador: “Buen vivir” / turned out to be rhetoric). How to reorganize and reorchestrate world’s resources? Growth is about creating opportunities for investment not a decent urban life. We are not creating cities to live in but cities to invest in.
  • Peter Marcuse. “From Critical Urban Theory to the Right to the City,” City 13, No.2-3 (Routledge, 2009)
  • Expose, propose and politicize key issues can move us closer to implementing right to the city. It is ultimate purpose of right to the city. Critical is presented as an “evaluative attitude towards reality, a questioning rather than an acceptance of the world as it is.” (Marcuse 2009). Defines terms “critical, urban, theory, and practice”
  • Contexts shaping Urban problems:
  • Contemporary. 2 context shaping events are Obama election as president of USA and deepening economic crisis globally. The underlying structure of society, neither politically or economically, has changed. US with 6 million households facing mortgage foreclosure and unemployment post 2008 crisis. Problem is not specific to unregulated commercial real estate market but deeply rooted and systemic: “The problem is not in unregulated credit default swaps or out of control hedge funds; the problem is ins exploitation, domination, repression system-wide” (Marcuse 2009)
  • Historical. 5 crises of 20th 21st century are crisis after the end of 1917 WW1, 1929 great depression, 1968 civil rights movement (new left/student protests/Vietnam war), 1990 crisis socialism Eastern Europe and Soviet Union and 2008 financial crisis.
  • Analysis in terms of interest:
  • Material interest groups: The excluded, the working class, the small business people, the gentry, the capitalists, the establishment intelligentsia, the politically powerful.
  • Cultural term groups: Directly oppresses, alienated, insecure, hapless lackeys, underwriters and beneficiaries.
  • Three step approach to action
  • Exposing. The sense of analyzing the roots of the problem and communicate clearly to those that need and will use it. “One key function of critical theory may well be to expose and evaluate both the strengths and weaknesses of the existing system and the ultimate nature of its crisis.” (Marcuse 2009). List of social groups involved in the “right to the city”:
  • Proposing. Work with the affected to conceive of proposals, programs, targets, strategies, to achieve goals. Aligns with Lefebvre and Harvey in terms of “mobilization” . “The right to the city is a claim and a banner under which to mobilize one side in the conflict over who should have the benefit of the city and what kind of city it should be. It is a moral claim, founded on fundamental principles of justice, of ethics, of morality, of virtue, of the good.” (Marcuse 2009)
  • Politicizing. Clarify the political action implications of what was exposed and proposed. Support proposals by informing action. Attention both to organization strategy and say-to-say politics. Supporting organization directly with interventions in the media and academics.
  • Large-scale and enduring social change. Calls for a democratic society and a “fundamental rejection of the prevailing capitalist system” (Marcuse 2009). Processes to get there must be democratic not pre-planned entirely. “…the direction for actions in the future should not be preempted, but left to the democratic experience of those in fact implementing the vision.” (Marcuse 2009)
  • Spatial is only partial: Cautions that “…spatial focus has its dangers too: most problems have a spatial aspect, but their origins lie in economic, social, political arenas, the spatial being a partial cause and an aggravation, but only partial.” (Marcuse 2009).
  • Radical, unlike Soja’s incremental approach to change, he calls for radical change: “…the slogan CITIES FOR PEOPLE NOT FOR PROFIT, resonates. Let that be the political cry that embodies the nature of the city to which the right is being claimed. Let it be the cry that forms the noose about one part of the capitalist system after another.”
  • Edward Soja. Seeking spatial justice (University of Minnesota Press 2010)
  • Social production of space and consequential geographies. Aims to change unjust geographies by offering new ways of thinking and practice. Argument in book is threefold:
  • Inform about uneven global development schemes product of neoliberal urbanization and local effects of social justice in cities. Critical of the neoliberal notion of seeking freedom which mainly echoes neoconservative free market economy logics. Wants to foster “collective political consciousness” through the ‘symbolic force’ of ‘Seeking justice’
  • ‘Spatial Justice’ as term is introduced and promoted. Highlights the ‘spatial turn’ in human geography and related fields highlighting socio-spatial dialectic…adopts the view that spatiality of injustice: “affects society and social life just as much as social processes shape the spatiality or specific geography of (in)justice’ (Soja 2010, 5)
  • Academic and activist relationship is illuminated with empirical references to UCLS and Los Angeles (i.e. Justice Riots 199)
  • Three overlapping areas of social action:
  • Exogenous geographies. Tops down perspective of microspatial imperatives of political power and property rights. Soja highly critical of human rights subordinated to property rights. However, like Fainstein (2010) supports incrementalist path to “reforming the capitalist production of space”. Does not want to attach property rights or call for revolutionary transformation (unlike Lefebvre and Harvey).
  • Endogenous geographies. Bottom-up perspective and reproduction of discriminatory geographies (not given but socially (re) constructed).
  • Mesogeographies of uneven development. Regional scales between local and global (ie. Metropolitan, subnational, national, supranational such as regional trading blocks NAFTA, MERCOSUR, OEACD, BRIC). Soja seems to be most comfortable at regional scale viewed as most relevant for contemporary spatial developments. Calls for “democratic regionalism (regionalization of the right to the city). (Soja 2010, 66)
  • Ontological triad/ triple dialectic.My argument, following earlier ideas of Foucault and Lefebvre, is that there are three rather than two fundamental or ontological qualities of human existence, from which all knowledge follows: the social/societal, the temporal/historical, and the spatial/geographical.” (Soja 2010, 70). Relies on work of Lefebre (1991, 1996), Harvey (1973) and Young (1990).
  • Social/Societal.
  • Temporal/Historical
  • Spatial/Geographical
  • His “literature review”
  • History of theories of justice: Greek polis, American and French revolutions to promote liberty and freedom.
  • Critique of Rawl’s conception of justice as “fundamentally aspatial and ahistorical notion of justice” (Soja 2010, 76). Claims Rawls is only seeking to negotiate static forms of social inequality and their outcomes rather than deep structural processes that produce them.
  • Aligns to Lefebvre’s idea that survival of Capitalism depends on production of (mainly) urban space. Strong assertion of social spatiality: “Moving closer towards a strategic spatial consciousness and thus spatial theory of justice, it becomes evident and challenging that these socially produced geographies…can be changed or transformed through human agency…Human geographies are not merely external containers, given and immutable. Their changeability is crucial” (Soja 2010, 104)
  • Empirical research in Los Angeles
  • Focus on post-Fordist urban restructuring informer epicenters of US industrial mass production.
  • Emphasis on community organization, social movement mobilization and urban riots (Watts riots 1965 and Justice riots 1992). Also, disruptive events post 9/11 in LA. Of this city, Doja states: “…the restructuring process has built into a powerful tendency toward increasing economic inequality and social polarization” (Soja 2010, 118)
  • Soja careful not to associate social and spatial transformation as ‘inevitable-by-product’ of global economic development. Focuses instead on local production processes and attached worker’s lives. Points to rise of Latino majority and decline of White working class.
  • Academics + Activists in LA
  • In praise of UCLA critical academics who have strong “commitment to participatory democracy” (Soja 2010, 161)
  • Points to rent control activism, stimulated discourses on spatial feminism and environmental justice and setting up first national meeting of US right to city alliance in LA by through academic resources and research.
  • Describes academic engagement that “revolved not around paid consultancy with governments and large funding agencies but on voluntary assistance to and educational emphasis on constituencies usually given little attention by university researchers and professors” (Soja 2010, 157)
  • Some issues with term ‘spatial justice’
  • PRO: “Soja is successful in making strong argument for local inhabitants producing space and fighting for the right to use it.”
  • CON: Should be “urban” not spatial justice since it could alleviate market pressure from the rural. Also, overemphasizing abstract spatialization of justice can lead to perspective problems. In term “spatial justice” social is implied but not clarified…for whom is justice served? For a vegan spatial justice could mean planet liberated from humans.
  1. Sonia Lehman-Frisch. “Segregation, Spatial (In)Justice, and the City.” Berkeley Planning Journal 24, no.1 (January 2011): 70-85.
  2. Segregation. Is questioned through lens of spatial justice: “…to identify in what ways segregation can be considered a spatial injustice”
  3. Literature review
  4. Rawl’s principle of difference. Fair society recognizes rights and opportunities in very person and maximizes the benefits of less advantaged members of society. Problem: principle of difference legitimizes certain inequalities.
  5. Young’s critique of Rawls: instead of individualism, people belong to affinity based groups. She contests purely distributive nature of justice and points to 5 forms of oppression: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. “…whereas for John Rawls social divisions should aim to cancel each other out in a fair society, for Marion Young, society should instead guarantee the respect of individuals’ differences ad ensure their representation.” (Lehman-Frisch 2011)
  6. Lefebre demonstrated social differentiations are “fundamentally interwoven in space” and Soja advocated for the “need for subtle and contextual analysis of the phenomena of segregation
  7. Thomas Schelling (1980) presents 3 processes of segregation: intentional acts, structural economic forces and consequence of individual decisions.
  8. Types of segregation:
  9. Ethno-Racial Processes of Discrimination. Organized action of certain groups whether they are “weaker” groups (often racial) isolated from rest of society to avoid “contamination” or institutionalized processes where “weakest” groups are isolated FROM the maltreatment by the rest of society (Dominican Las Casas favoring physical separation of the Indians and Spanish) (Bernard 1991).
  10. Structural Socio-Economic Processes. Results “…simply from unequal resources and social position of the inhabitants.” (Lehman-Frisch 2011). For Harvey, Castells, Lipietz…segregation is a structural element of the capitalist production of space. “In other words, segregation – being simultaneously the consequence and the condition of exploitation of workers by bourgeois capitalists – is unjust.” (Lehman-Frisch 2011)
  11. Processes resulting from individual decisions. Segregation can be chosen and can “demonstrate a desire for territorial grouping based on affinities” or “voluntary aggregation” (Algerians of the Belzunce neighborhood of Marseille or the Tunisian Jews in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris). This also includes middle and upper classes escaping working classes. These movements cannot “a priori” be considered unjust unlike the prior 2 (since prior 2 results from unjust processes “which contravene the intrinsic principles of freedom and equality)
  12. Unjust segregation in territory (poor neighborhoods):
  13. Employment. Spatial mismatch: “inhabitants of poorer neighborhoods are condemned to unemployment by the very socio-spatial isolation in which they find themselves” (Lehman-Frisch 2011)
  14. Schooling. In US, taxation proportionate of value of property is directly proportional to schooling quality. In France, priority education zones (ZEP) grant greater resources to schools with more disadvantages children. Funding from additional sources (communes, conseils generaux, conseils regionaux) however cancels out this intent in practice. Pressure on poorer housing estate inhabitants also reflects on educational outcomes. Conclusion: “We can say, therefore, that educational injustice does not solely result from the concentration of poorer children, but rather from a set of social factors that heavily influence the schooling outcome of children from segregated neighborhoods.”
  15. Identity. Social stigma used as prejudice depriving access to fundamental services of everyday life “Injustice does not only appear in the form of a lack of material possessions or low income. Confinement to poorer neighborhoods deprives people of their ability to build their own self-representation and collective identity.” (Lehman-Frisch 2011). Forces reconsiderations of individual’s self-esteem. Sense of justice “with emotions” (departure from Rawl’s dry distributive theory of justice). Provokes “profound sense of injustice and ‘resentment’ among the disadvantaged.’ (Dupuy, 2005 in: (Lehman-Frisch 2011))
  16. The Question of Diversity:
  17. In context of marginalization, diversity is viewed as a way to insert poor into diverse neighborhoods in the city or by attracting middle class to lower class neighborhoods (actually the later often ends in gentrification).
  18. Diversity as priority in US is only recent and follows WW2 and deep economic crisis of American cities highlighting environmental, economic and social limits of the “efficient city”
  19. Forms of diversity concealing types of oppression. Dispersing socially cohesive groups is not always in best interest as homogeneous residential situations can create more integrates social groups with a sense of attachment to their neighborhoods (as in young people from most marginalized estates compensating for ‘social dispossession’)
  20. Diversity in public space can result in privatization under the guide of urban ‘revitalization’
  21. Can the “Just City” be equated with diversity at neighborhood scale? Three proposals:
  22. Marion Young’s city of “social differentiation without exclusion” where diverse groups intermingle, and orders are not defined.
  23. Susan Fainstein presents Amsterdam as ideal city where there are no large social housing developments and neighborhoods are not completely homogeneous. “Temperate diversity”
  24. Nancy Fraser cautions against reducing city to form and points to the “establishment of a democratic political system which allows free and respected representation for different city dwelling groups.” (Lehman-Frisch 2011)
  1. Alvaro Sevillla-Buitrago. “Toward a Reappropriation of Planning,” Against the Commons: A Radical History of Urban Planning (University of Minnesota Press, 2022).
  2. Commons framed against capitalism. Defined common as “…collective capacity to appropriate, forge and manage shared resources and social spaces through collaborative practices that increase popular autonomy from markets and states by intertwining dynamic of production and self-reproduction.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022). Sevilla-Buitrago used a historical approach to illuminate engendered commonality.
  3. Planning facilitates capitalism through development: “The greater the pressure for development, the sharper this contradiction between planning and the commons becomes.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022)
  4. COULD THIS BE SEDATU’S MEGAPROJECTS?: “Our exploration suggests that planning approaches, concepts, and instruments are flexible and adopt different and increasingly sophisticated modalities to dismantle, restrain, or subsume the commons and self-reproduction regimes.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022)
  5. Collision of planning and commons through urban reform: “The evolution and collision of these forces – on the one hand popular communing and on the other hand planning attempts to disorganize, supplant, and eventually commodify the commons – would subsequently influence the trajectories of twentieth -century urbanization in the West.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022)
  6. Can planning, instead of supporting the survival and expansion of capital, become a form of commoning? Some tentative explorations:
  7. Planetary Decollectivization: Clash between commons and elite spatial strategies. Colonial history of commons repression: “European powers pushed the boundaries of capitalist markets against native, commons-based reproduction cultures.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022). This imperialist system of resource dispossession and domination has been replaced by extended urbanization. Exclusionary urbanisms. The peripheralization of subaltern spaces was “expanded and fractured from the 1980s onward by the intensely polarized geographies of neoliberal urban and industrial restructuring.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022).
  8. Insurgent radical perspectives: Call to action: “we need to frame the commons as cooperative spaces that encourage radical egalitarian emancipation from alienating division of labor, wage dependence, market reproduction, state oppression, and sterile individualism.” Amanda Huron: optimism that “commons and the state” “can work together”. Similar to David Harvey in “Rebel Cities”. “Informal urbanism is an unassimilable peripheral creature that emerges outside state control to demand recognition as a legitimate urban reality.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022). Holston aligned with Gouverneur: “Holston recognized the need to combine insurgent urbanisms with forms of large-scale planning that would ensure the ”project of state-directed, (transformative) futures” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022). Friedman, like Lefebvre, believes “the initiative for social change comes neither from the planner nor from the state but from within the community.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022)
  9. Towards a commonist urbanization. Advocates for grassroots planning (bottom up planning).
    1. First step is for “bulk of population to regain access to land and create new structures of communal spatial governance to control material and environmental resources and provisioning systems at various scales.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022). Then, “reintroduction of agrarian commons in hybrid urbanization process.”
    1. Second, popular classes should be allowed to forge a new, expansive demarcation of collective, central space. “Public space and public exchange must become the bedrock of the new commune.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022)
    1. Third, “…the circulation of communal dynamics at larger scales will facilitate popular control of land-use distribution and governance structures, rebalancing the relationship between core urban areas and their various hinterlands.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022)
    1. Fourth, “…these processes are stimulated by a revitalized, unrelenting thrust of collective creativity that struggles to extricate itself from capitalist logics, cutting the ties that bind imagination and urban life to exchange value, and liberating space from the grip of state control and corporate strategies.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022)
  10. Commoning is not opposite of planning. Should not be. “Commoning is not the antithesis of planning but an alternative grassroots planning praxis that may redefine the discipline, both on the streets and within state apparatuses.” (Sevilla-Buitrago 2022)


Dikeç, M. 2001. “Justice and the Spatial Imagination.” Environment and Planning A 33 (10): 1785–1805. https://doi.org/10.1068/a3467.

Harvey, David, and Cuz Potter. 2009. “The Right to the Just City.” In Searching for the Just City: Debates in Urban Theory and Practice, 40–50. Routledge.

Jacobs, Jane. 1961. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Random House. https://doi.org/10.1177/003591577506801231.

Lefebvre, Henri. 1991. The Production of Space. Oxford. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315565125-7.

Lehman-Frisch, Sonia. 2011. “Segregation, Spatial (in)Justice, and the City.” Berkeley Planning Journal 24 (1): 70–90. https://doi.org/10.5070/bp324111866.

Lynch, Kevin. 1960. The Image of The City. Lynch K. MIT Press. http://www.academia.edu/download/36841750/kevin_lynch_the_image_of_the_city.pdf%0Ahttps://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=_phRPWsSpAgC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=kevin+lynch+image+of+the+city&ots=jHD46g4ylj&sig=EmklPRW0l8o5h5hbLbL11LOEc9U#v=onepage&q=kevin lync.

Marcuse, Peter. 2009. “From Critical Urban Theory to the RighMarcuse, Peter. ‘From Critical Urban Theory to the Right to the City.’ City 13, No. 2–3 (2009): 185–97. Https://Doi.Org/10.1080/13604810902982177.t to the City.” City 13 (2–3): 185–97. https://doi.org/10.1080/13604810902982177.

Roy, Ananya. 2009. “The 21st-Century Metropolis: New Geographies of Theory.” Regional Studies 43 (6): 819–30. https://doi.org/10.1080/00343400701809665.

Sevilla-Buitrago, Alvaro. 2022. “Toward a Reappropriation of Planning.” In Against the Commons: A Radical History of Urban Planning. University of Minnesota Press.

Soja, Edward W. 2010. Seeking Spatial Justice. University of Minnesota Press. Routledge.

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