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City Futures

City Futures

Doctor Edgar Pieterse


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Book Details


Cities are the future. In the past two decades, a global urban revolution has taken place, mainly in the South. The 'mega-cities' of the developing world are home to over 10 million people each and even smaller cities are experiencing unprecedented population surges. The problems surrounding this influx of people - slums, poverty, unemployment and lack of governance - have been well-documented. This book is a powerful indictment of the current consensus on how to deal with these challenges. Pieterse argues that the current 'shelter for all' and 'urban good governance' policies treat only the symptoms, not the causes of the problem. Instead, he claims, there is an urgent need to reinvigorate civil society in these cities, to encourage radical democracy, economic resilience, social resistance and environmental sustainability folded into the everyday concerns of marginalised people. Providing a dynamic picture of a cosmopolitan urban citizenship, this book is an essential guide to one of the new century's greatest challenges.
Edgar Pieterse is Director of the African Centre for Cities and Professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, both at the University of Cape Town. He is also a founding director of Isandla Institute; an urban policy think-tank where he continues advocacy oriented research work. His publications include: Voices of the Transition: The Politics, Poetics and Practices of Social Change in South Africa (2004), Democratising Local Government: The South African Experiment (2002) and Consolidating Developmental Local Government: Lessons from the South Africa Experience (2007).
'This is an important and hopeful work that does not shy away from the inequalities and power asymmetries that confront cities of the South, but still manages to show that the politics of the ‘wretched’, if sustained and integrated into a wider institutional arena, can bring about change for the good of the many. It rejects the depressing readings of such urbanism that have come to dominate without resorting to a naïve or false utopianism. Edgar Pieterse has written a book that is a must for urban thinkers and practitioners interested in the virtues of the everyday' Ash Amin, Durham University 'Pieterse is adept at steering us through disparate ways of being in the city - multiple times, different speeds and relays, inclusions and exclusions. Much is said about the need to make cities more effective and more just but there is seldom a language for doing this. Pieterse has made an enormous contribution to elaborating such a needed language, and for this has done a great service to advance a creative process of urban change.' AbdouMaliq Simone, Goldsmiths, University of London 'A trenchant deconstruction of the main thinking underlying urban development in the Global South. Pieterse illuminates an alternative urban political agenda and provides a roadmap on how to get there. This should be required reading for urbanists and activists alike.' Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Contents v
Boxes, figures and tables vi
Table 1.1 Dimensions of governance 13
Table 2.1 The declining time needed for 1 billion additional urban dwellers 19
Table 2.2 Urban population by region, 1950–2000 19
Table 2.3 Geodemographic segmentation of Cape Town 28
Table 2.4 Regional distribution of the world’s urban slum dwellers 31
Table 2.5 Cost of water in Accra, Ghana 34
Figure 2.1 Scale of informal economic activity in developing countries 30
Figure 2.2 Slum population projections, 1990–2020 32
Box 3.1 Tenure systems and their characteristics 46
Figure 4.1 Municipal priorities and trade-offs 82
Figure 5.1 Domains of political engagement in the relational city 89
Box 6.1 Urban Think Tank: Caracas Case 119
Figure 7.1 Institutional dimensions of sustainable urban development 133
Figure 7.2 Overlapping dimensions of urban planning 152
Box 8.1 Typology of poverty reduction domains 165
Figure 8.1 Developmental linkages at the micro scale 171
Acknowledgements vii
1 Introduction: deciphering city futures 1
Power and complexity 4
Radical incrementalism 6
Recursive political empowerment 7
Framing propositions 8
Outline of the book 13
2 Urbanization trends and implications 16
Dimensions of the second wave of urbanization 18
Splintered network infrastructures 24
The rise and rise of slums 30
What is to be done about urbanization? 35
Conclusion 37
3 Mainstream agenda 1: shelter for all 39
Context of the shelter for all campaign 41
Tenets of the global campaign for secure tenure 43
Secure tenure, slum upgrading and participation 54
Infrastructure and environmental dimensions 58
4 Mainstream agenda II: good governance 62
Origins and context 63
Global Campaign on Urban Governance 65
City Development Strategy 70
5 Reconceptualizing the political in cities 84
Conceptual premisses 85
Sketches of a conceptual model of urban politics 89
Domain one: representative politics 90
Domain two: neo-corporatist stakeholder forums 92
Domain three: direct action 95
Domain four: grassroots development practice 97
Domain five: symbolic politics 100
Interfaces 103
Public sphere + political sphere = vibrant democracy? 105
Conclusion 106
6 Informal everyday urbanism 108
Conceptual inversion 109
Insurgent urbanism: encroachment of the ordinary 112
Tenacious insurgent activism: Shack/Slum Dwellers International 115
Popular culture and the negotiation of everyday violence 120
Public culture and the word: Sarai and Chimurenga 125
Conclusion 128
7 Counterpoint: alternative urban development 130
Alternative urban development perspective 132
Political economy of urban transformation 143
Unravelling political opportunity 146
Driving urban transformation: epistemic communities/strategic networks 148
Strategic entry points 151
Conclusion 160
8 Making a start towards alternative city futures 161
Redux: the core argument 162
Multidimensional urban poverty reduction agenda 163
Micro anti-poverty actions 169
Tipping points of urban transformation 171
Notes 177
Chapter 1 177
Chapter 2 178
Chapter 3 180
Chapter 4 181
Chapter 5 182
Chapter 6 184
Chapter 7 186
Chapter 8 187
References 189
Index 200