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December 02 , 2009

Resilience & the City

Change, (Dis)Order and Disaster


Following the turbulent events of the first few years of the 21st century, the growth of new security and disaster measures have led to significant changes to urban design and the management of urban space. This book blends the genealogical method of Foucault with the theory of rhythms by Lefebvre to examine these changes. The spatial history of urban disaster is linked to the rhythms of everyday urban experience to offer a revised understanding of the regulation of order and disorder in the city.

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In the last few decades, many European and American cities and towns experienced economic, social and spatial structural change. Strategies for urban regeneration include investments in infrastructures for production, consumption and communication, as well as marketing and branding measures, and urban design schemes. Bringing together leading…

In doing so, the book highlights issues of ‘hardening’ space, the drift from civil defence to civil protection to civil contingencies and resilience; this assessment realigns the potential impact of tightening security practices and resilient ways of thinking, doing and acting on societal security. This also links to growing concerns about quality of life over the use and potential abuse of security and disaster legislation for managing social unrest. Examples studied include the increased exclusion of minorities (such as young people) from democracy and public life; security oriented interventions in the ethnic minority communities, the use of automated technologies in policing civil and minor offences (e.g. digital plate recognition and speeding) and the interplay of diverse social groups in more commercially aligned and increasingly ‘securitised’ public spaces of the ‘entrepreneurial’ city.

This book highlights many significant problems with the direction of British democracy and suggests there may be both positive and negative results from becoming more resilient. While providing a critical appraisal of the realignment of neoliberal democracy at large, it also links discussion on ‘gentrification’, ‘revanchism’ and ‘urban security’ to a forward looking agenda for further research.

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