Rapid urbanisation is placing cities of the global South at the core of the developmental agenda for the twenty first century. This intense transformation process presents both challenges and opportunities for thinking and acting out city futures. The extraordinary diversity in cities in the global South has led to a (re)surgence of identity politics and the mobilization of potentially new constituencies for development planning. This is matched by the diversification of spatial forms of organization at the city level, resulting from the splintering of urban space and the creation of "islands of wealth in oceans of poverty" (The State of African Cities 2010, UN-Habitat). Informality is a defining characteristic of cities of the South today. These differentiated processes stem from, and compound, broader structural developments, including: cities' economic restructuring in the face of globalization pressures; pressing global environmental crises; restructuring states and governance relations under the pervasive influence of neo-liberal discourses and practices. These developments articulate with local histories, cultures and social relations to produce highly differentiated, locally-specific patterns of urban development and change across the globe.
In this context, what can design and planning contribute to collective initiatives that seek to bring about social and spatial justice in cities of the global South? The overall project of this cluster is to tease out these multiplex urban transformation processes and to explicitly increase the room for manoeuvre for a variety of city actors to harness key levers of transformatory change. The cluster focuses on the following arenas:
- Local governance and democracy
- Social mobilization, resistance and collective action
- Design and planning for the just city
To find out more about this cluster, please contact Barbara Lipietz