4 Representation

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter you will be able to:

  • Articulate the types of decisions that are made on the local level
  • Describe the unique opportunities and challenges that urban governments face given the role that cities play in the larger political economy
  • Recognize how powerful individuals and interests may shape urban policy making
  • Explain the concept of the right to the city
  • Understand the relationship between public space access and representation in urban environments

In this chapter, we examine how the diverse communities within a city achieve recognition and gain the right to participate in decisions that impact urban life. We begin by defining exactly which types of decisions are made on the urban level. Then, we focus on citizen participation and examine the various populations that influence the local decision-making process. Next, we address the concept of the right to the city. Does such a right exist? And finally, we look at the role public spaces play in incubating representation and bridging differences.

What decisions get made on an urban level?

Before you can consider how effectively urban governments represent their constituents, you must first identify the specific decision-making responsibilities that fall under the purview of local governments. Early urban theorists did not identify the unique political powers that cities had: instead, they sought to distinguish how urban communities differed from traditional rural settlements and to articulate the ways in which cities produced new social relationships. The field of urban studies arose in reaction to the wave of urbanization and industrialization that swept Europe and North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this era, the city was politically subordinate to the nation-state, which made many of the major decisions that impacted urban economies, legal structures, public revenue streams, and trading relationships.

Cities have not always been governed by a larger national body. Some of the earliest urban settlements were city-states, or sovereign territories that encompassed a city and its agricultural hinterlands. City-states existed in the Middle East, Mediterranean, Europe, Asia, Central America, and Africa.[1] The Sumerian city-states of Ur, Uruk, and Lagash flourished 5,000 years ago, and the city-states of the Niger Delta region remained self-governing until Europeans colonized the area in the 1890s. City-states were politically and economically autonomous units, but they did not always remain independent entities. For example, dating as far back as 900 A.D., more than 100 city-states of varying populations and geographic sizes were established in the Mixteca region of southern Mexico. These city-states retained much of their political sovereignty even after they were conquered by the Aztecs but lost their independence when the Spanish colonized Mexico.

While many city-states were monarchies or oligarchies, ruled by a small group of property owners, the ancient Greek city-states were the first democracies. The Greek term polis referred to a city-state and all of the territories and public spaces within it.[2] The term polis was also used to describe a process of popular rule that was used in these independent communities.[3] Greek poleis were governed by citizen assemblies. Participation in these assemblies was limited to men who were citizens and were not enslaved. Although these assemblies disregarded the voices of large portions of the city-state population – women, children, slaves, and immigrants – the polis represented the first system of democratic rule in the ancient world.[4]

The polis fostered a culture of political participation where all male citizens were equal regardless of their wealth or standing. In poleis, assemblies of varying sizes and age groups passed criminal laws, administered justice, created currencies, collected taxes and solicited loans for public projects, purchased property, made foreign policy decisions, went to war, negotiated treaties, organized festivals and religious ceremonies, determined procedures and rules for governing, and made decisions about the economic, political, and social life of all of those who lived in the polis. Each city-state was like an autonomous country, which might join in confederation with other poleis or, occasionally, go to war with them.

During the Renaissance in Europe, city-states like Venice and Genoa flourished due to their role as long-distance trading centers.[5] These mercantile cities issued their own currencies, maintained transportation infrastructure, and provided capital and finance to merchants, roles that are now under the purview of national political or economic institutions. Charles Tilly, a sociologist and historian, observed that cities during this time period were places where capital and wealth was produced and concentrated and where decisions were made about how to circulate excess profits.[6] Tilly argued that the nation-state primarily gains its power through coercive means, largely by maintaining and deploying a significant military force, rather than by using economic influence like the self-governing mercantile city-states did. From the Middle Ages up through the 18th century, European monarchs began to concentrate military and economic power into their own hands. Instead of relying on decentralized militia forces in times of war and collecting taxes and tributes from city-states and wealthy merchants, ruling families absorbed these formerly independent financial and military apparatuses into national political, military, and economic institutions that subsumed many of the duties and decisions that had once occurred at the city level. As the monarchs consolidated control over city-states, these smaller political entities lost their autonomy, and decisions regarding foreign and economic policy were instead made by the crown.

Beginning in the 19th century, industrialization and rapid urbanization posed new challenges for city dwellers, sparking reform movements that won increased regulatory powers for local governments. As manufacturing drove urbanization, rapidly built tenement neighborhoods emerged to house factory workers. Tenement buildings were overcrowded, had no plumbing or sanitary facilities, and lacked light, ventilation, and safety features. The squalid living and dangerous working conditions in industrial cities resulted in low life expectancies for the urban working class.[7] In 1860, the average life expectancy in Liverpool was just 25 years.  While urban workers had higher wages than their rural counterparts, poor living and working conditions led to disease and malnourishment. Height can be an indicator of malnutrition. In the early to mid-19th century, urban English men were shorter than those living in rural areas, due in part to nutritional deprivation.

As workers organized for better pay, reasonable hours, and safe working conditions, an array of urban reformers pushed for improved housing and neighborhood conditions. The emerging medical and public health fields documented the links between diseases like cholera and poor environmental conditions. In 1842, British lawyer and reformer Sir Edwin Chadwick led a team of researchers who produced a detailed social survey called the Sanitary Conditions of the Laboring Populations of Great Britain.[8]  Social surveys document a community’s living or working conditions by collecting detailed statistics like the number of people residing on a particular block or the amount of rent they paid, the numbers of windows in a dwelling unit, the hours they worked and so on. Chadwick’s survey led to the first housing codes, which stipulated basic requirements for ventilation and sanitation and to the establishment of local health inspectors who were charged with enforcing these building codes. The emerging sanitary movement spread to the United States. Starting in the 1860s and 1870s, New York City adopted a series of Tenement House Laws that required fire escapes and ventilation in all multi-family dwellings.[9] By 1910, nearly every large city in the United States had enacted building codes.

Tenement Laws and the Limits of City Government Authority

The Tenement Laws that New York City began passing in the late 1800s demonstrate how the city’s authority to improve housing for the poor was limited. Tenements are multi-family apartment buildings that were constructed in the mid to late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were built quickly to house working-class immigrant families. Tenements built before the passage of the initial laws took up most of their lots, and their side walls abutted the building next door. They only had windows in the front and rear side of building, leaving the interior rooms with no source of natural light or ventilation. The early Tenement Laws passed in the 1860s and 1870s mandated that all new apartment buildings had to include fire escapes and windows. This gave rise to the Old Law Tenements or dumbbell tenements. Developers continued to construct buildings that were adjacent to one another and got around the new regulations by making dumbbell-shaped buildings that had interior air shafts that the windows looked out on, which only provided minimal light and ventilation. In 1901, the city passed additional regulations, which required minimal setbacks meaning that the building could no longer take up the entire lot. The law also mandated indoor bathrooms, additional fire protection, and stricter ventilation requirements and eliminated the air shafts that characterized the Old Law tenements. New Law Tenements were often built on corners or had an H, C, or L shape, which accommodated more outward facing windows. These buildings were taller than the four to five story pre-law or Old Law tenements. Allowing developers to increase the number of stories incentivized the ongoing construction of multi-family housing units.

Since millions of New Yorkers lived in tenements, the passage of construction regulations did not eliminate substandard housing conditions. The pre-law buildings constructed prior to the 1860s and the Old Law tenements continued to house families for decades after the passage of stricter 1901 law. Poor families couldn’t afford to move into newer improved housing. Some of these buildings still stand today, although they have been renovated up to modern standards.

The Tenement House Act of 1901 established an inspector’s office, which had the authority to fine building owners who violated housing codes. However, the code enforcement office was subject to political pressure, since the director served at the behest of the mayor and elected officials controlled its funding. Real estate developers and landlords could pressure City Hall to fire directors that were too enthusiastic about enforcing building codes. Even without the political pressure the office faced, fining violators could be an ineffective tool to improve housing for the poor. Landlords who were forced to make improvements might pass the cost on to their tenants, resulting in a lack of affordable housing.

While regulation created standards for new construction, it didn’t solve the issue of housing the poor. Since the new regulations made it more expensive to build, landlords charged higher rents, leaving the lowest-income New Yorkers confined to the substandard pre-law and Old Law tenements. It wasn’t until the 1930s when the federal government authorized public housing construction that New York City was able to play a more active role in improving housing conditions for the poor.

Henderson, A. Scott. Housing and the Democratic Ideal, New York Chichester, West Sussex: Columbia University Press, 2015.

Sarah Bean Appman, “Tenement House Act of 1901,” Off the Grid, Village Preservation Blog, April 11, 2016, https://www.villagepreservation.org/2016/04/11/tenement-house-act-of-1901/.


The late 19th and early 20th centuries became known as the Progressive Era in the United States, and it was characterized by labor, social welfare, and housing reforms. While many of the new regulations were passed at the federal level, local governments began to play a more active role in ensuring that their residents had access to safe living conditions and basic services. Many of the services that are taken for granted in contemporary cities started as grassroots efforts to improve the living and working conditions of impoverished urban residents. For example, Hull House, a settlement house in Chicago, was established in 1889.[10] Settlement houses were community centers in inner city neighborhoods that were staffed by volunteer residents. Volunteers were usually middle class reformers, and many were women. They worked with neighborhood residents to identify community needs and provide collective solutions to them. Hull House provided services such as English classes for recent immigrants, child care, and summer camp programs. There was meeting space for clubs and labor unions. Eventually, Hull House grew into a complex of buildings that included a library, labor museum, theater, book bindery, gymnasium, kindergarten, and housing for single, working women. Settlement houses were precursors to the social work profession, and many of the services and spaces they established, like playgrounds and summer camps, eventually were absorbed and managed by local government authorities.

The urban planning profession was created during the Progressive Era. City governments established planning departments that were charged with relieving some of the worst impacts of industrialization and rapid growth.[11] Planners laid out long-term visions that articulated how and where the city should develop paying careful attention to the need to provide adequate sewage systems, roads, and open space. As the planning profession emerged, designers from a variety of backgrounds wrote popular books that contained grand schemes and ideas about how to improve cities. The City Beautiful movement consisted of landscape designers, planners and architects who laid out visions for enhancing city life by creating great monuments and civic structures that would uplift urban residents with the grandeur of their designs. In England, Ebenezer Howard published a book that outlined his vision for the establishment of Garden Cities – small, cooperatively owned towns that combined the best of urban and rural living. The Garden Cities concept influenced generations of planners who adopted the design, but not the social elements of Howard’s vision. The concept influenced the development of suburban communities in the U.S. and garden villages in the U.K.

The organizing efforts of labor activists and social reformers greatly expanded the decision-making powers of local governments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While national political institutions continued to determine economic, trade, and foreign policy decisions that had been under the purview of ancient city-states, local governments gained the authority to regulate the built environment and development within their boundaries and to manage various social welfare programs designed to benefit urban residents.

City governments and the global economy

Manuel Castells used the term “collective consumption” to describe the types of political responsibilities like maintaining infrastructure, regulating housing, and delivering social services that fall under a city’s purview.[12] In the early 1970s, Castells sought to illuminate the role that the city played in the overall political and economic systems. Using a Marxist analysis, he theorized that cities were responsible for the reproduction of the labor force or supplying all of the essentials that were necessary for a household to survive so its members could participate in the workforce. While employers paid wages that enabled workers to purchase transportation or housing, the city took on the responsibility for building networks of roads, creating and running a public transit system, providing water and sewer service to households, and facilitating the construction of privately sold and publicly operated housing. The city also provided an array of services from public safety, fire protection, health, recreation, and education. Local governments collectivized the costs of creating and distributing these necessary services to the general public. Castells argued that the collective consumption responsibilities of cities were critical to the functioning of the overall economy and potential sites of struggle and conflict among urban dwellers.

David Harvey, an urban geographer, analyzed how the built environment of cities enabled the functioning of the broader capitalist economic system. He noted that pre-industrial cities emerged in resource-rich areas that were capable of producing surpluses that were distributed among the people living within that area. There were regional variances in resource availability, which led to dissimilar production and consumption patterns. In industrial society, many of these regional differences were smoothed over, because mass production and efficient transportation networks allowed for a wide-ranging distribution of consumer goods. [13] Harvey did not see the city as simply a site of production or reproduction of labor, as Castells did. Instead he recognized that cities are also places where consumers can access a huge variety of goods and services that are not necessarily dependent upon local resources.

In addition to outlining the role the city plays in producing and distributing goods and services, Harvey viewed cities as important investment sites for capital. He identified a “secondary circuit of capital” that consists of urban real estate and infrastructure.[14] When business owners have more revenue than can be reinvested into their companies in the form of new machinery, buildings, equipment, or higher wages – what Harvey refers to as the “primary circuit of capital” –  they seek out other profit-making ventures to invest in. Urban property markets and infrastructure become attractive investment opportunities. The flood of money into these markets helps spur urbanization, but also leaves areas ripe for speculation and a subsequent real estate crash. In Harvey’s view, the urban built environment itself is critical to profit-making and the functioning of capitalism; therefore, decisions about growth, development, and redevelopment become vital functions of local governments that can have a significant impact on the wider political economy. One example of this was the Great Recession in 2008. Home lending practices and real estate speculation created a housing bubble and contributed to the foreclosure crisis and stock market crash. City governments played a critical role in facilitating the overheating of the housing market by fast-tracking building permits, loosening land use laws, allowing condominium conversions, and up-zoning land for denser residential development.

Harvey also notes that decision-making about where to locate advantageous and disadvantageous public and private goods are also sites of potential political conflict in cities, as well as avenues for economic redistribution. For example, decisions about where to construct a park can have tangible health and economic benefits for those who live near the site, while locating a sewage treatment plant near a residential area can lead to poor air quality, negative health impacts, and depressed property values to those who live nearby.

A decade later, Paul Peterson noted that the redistributive, allocative, and developmental impacts of urban policies are limited by the role cities play in the larger national and global political economy.[15] Cities face the simultaneous challenges of having to attract and maintain businesses and jobs, while meeting their residents’ needs. The collective consumption responsibilities Castells highlighted cost money to implement. While federal or state funds may defray some of the costs of providing for urban residents’ needs, city budgets are largely funded through local tax revenues. Yet, businesses and property owners may be driven away by high local tax rates, which creates political tensions for city officials. Given this conundrum, Peterson concluded that a city’s most effective tool for controlling development and mitigating inequality is to invest in infrastructure and enact land use regulations. By controlling land uses, city officials can attract the types and amounts of businesses and investments that they believe are necessary to meet the community’s economic and social needs.

Peterson’s observations revealed an essential contradiction in the role that cities play in the global capitalist economy. Urbanization is the most efficient spatial form for organizing systems of production and consumption.[16] But the population density and heterogeneous nature of cities also facilitates community organizing, coalition-building, and protest actions. The very geography that produces networks of power enables the powerless to organize, demand change, and threaten the status quo.

While the contradictions inherent in urbanization have been present since the dawn of capitalism, the common responsibilities that urban governments assume and the strategies they use to maintain political stability have shifted over time. Scholars from a variety of perspectives from Marxist political theorists to capitalist macro-economists have identified overarching trends in how the global economy and political institutions, including urban governments, are structured during distinct historical time periods.[17] The need to periodically adopt new arrangements for structuring economic production and to create new governing strategies stems from the inherent contradictions within the capitalist system. A completely laissez-faire or unregulated economy will eventually result in crisis. For example, during the Gilded Age of the late 1800s, owners of industries within certain economic sectors began acquiring their competitors and creating large monopolies. With minimal state regulation, huge wealth disparities emerged. Had this trend been allowed to continue unabated, it could have led to a situation of lost profitability, since the vast majority of workers had minimal buying power.

As urbanization and industrialization accelerated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and workers began to organize to demand better pay and conditions, new governing structures emerged to maintain stability in the global economic system. Labor unrest coupled with a worldwide Great Depression in the 1930s produced a new political/economic order that scholars call Fordism.[18] The term Fordism refers to the dominant mass production and mass consumption economic model that emerged in North America and Europe after World War II. It is named after the automaker Henry Ford, whose business model was characterized by assembly-line production where workers would repeat the same task over and over again throughout the workday. Ford’s workers were paid enough to be able to purchase the low-cost vehicles he produced. The Fordist mode of mass production of goods designed for mass consumption was supported by governing arrangements that stabilized and facilitated the system. The dominant political and economic arrangements also fostered distinct social relationships and cultural practices.

Unlike the laissez faire attitudes of the mid-19th century, Fordism was characterized by government regulation, labor/management cooperation, and social welfare provision.[19] Federal governments played an active role in fiscal policy and in ensuring the availability of credit to both producers and consumers. Facilitated by strong labor movements and political rules and regulations that encouraged labor/management cooperation, the middle class flourished. Federal, state, and local governments worked together to provide a social safety net, to invest in large- scale public works projects, and to create financial and regulatory systems that supported a middle class consumerist lifestyle. The social welfare system helped prevent destabilization when economic downturns occurred by maintaining at least a minimal standard of living and level of consumer demand.

Urban administrations had a critical function under this governing arrangement. With funding assistance from federal and state governments, cities administered social welfare programs and played a key role in developing and carrying out infrastructure projects. For example, local public housing authorities managed services, maintained buildings, and planned for new developments. Urban planning agencies and other quasi-governmental regional planning authorities took responsibility for designing and managing large-scale public construction projects such as highway systems, airport expansions, and ports, rail and road systems. Decisions made on a local level and carried out by city bureaucrats both reinforced and reshaped the system of mass production and consumption.

In the United States, the predominant geography of Fordism was suburbanization. Suburban expansion was enabled by transportation networks that connected residents to their jobs downtown. The suburban boom fed consumer demand for appliances, cars, furniture, and other household items, which fueled production in the factory complexes that remained in the urban core and provided employment for city residents.

The working and living arrangements that emerged under a Fordist economy supported the formation of nuclear families and reinforced patriarchal relations. Middle class families could survive with just one male wage earner, which enabled women to be stay-at-home mothers while their children were young. It also allowed middle class children to complete a high school education. While the heterosexual, male-headed, single earner household was characteristic of the Fordist era, this family type was not necessarily the norm everywhere. Communities of color, new immigrants, and female-headed households could not always afford to support their families on one income and did not reap the full benefits of a Fordist economy.

In the 1970s, profitability under the Fordist political and economic arrangements began to decline. The oil crisis coupled with the problems of low growth, rising inflation and high unemployment that emerged simultaneously created economic challenges that the existing political institutions were unable to solve.[20] At the urban level, the crisis became particularly acute in New York City. In 1975, the city was on the verge of bankruptcy due to the increasing cost of social welfare programs and the declining property tax revenues due to white middle class flight. The city nearly defaulted on its loans, and the federal government was initially unwilling to bail it out.

In midst of the crisis of Fordism, a new economic paradigm was emerging.[21] New technologies created opportunities to reorganize systems of production and consumption. The resulting post-Fordist society is characterized by flexible or just-in-time production. Rather than mass production, companies are able to customize their products to cater to niche markets and rapidly changing tastes. The mass consumerism of the Fordist era is replaced by more targeted advertising to different segments of the population enabled by the rise of the information economy. Instead of large-scale factories, production is spread out among multiple sites across the world, and work may be subcontracted to temporary vendors. Workers no longer maintain the same job over a lifetime. They may end up switching careers multiple times and vacillating between secure employment and more precarious forms of work like temporary or gig economy jobs.

The new economic order gave rise to new governing strategies. Footloose capital defied Fordist political structures, and global networks of production led to the hollowing out of the nation-state and the concomitant rise of global economic structures like the World Trade Organization alongside the elevation of local governments in their quest to attract and retain investment in a competitive new world. “Glocalization,” or the growing importance of both global and local institutions, not only means that power has shifted, but the ways in which all governments relate to businesses and citizens has also changed.[22]

Fordism Post-Fordism
Mass production of goods Flexible production methods able to meet just-in-time deadlines and to switch to different products
Mass consumption and homogenization of products Consumption tied to lifestyle groups and specific population segments who consume different goods and services
Age of advertising and mass marketing Targeted marketing to niche groups based on extensive use of consumer data collection and analysis
Job security and benefits Precarious employment
High unionization rates Declining unionization, challenges in organizing contingent workforces, workers no longer characterized as employees, but as independent contractors
Large middle class Economic inequality
Government ensures minimal standard of living through social welfare programs Cuts to social welfare, “workfare” rules make benefits harder to attain, social welfare distributed by non-governmental organizations with various rules and regulations
Public infrastructure projects and services Privatization of public goods like education, parks, security services
Collective ties to place, nation, workplace, neighborhood, and community  emphasized Culture based on individualism and self-marketization


The dominant mode of governing that emerged in the post-Fordist era is called neoliberalism. The neoliberal ideology has its roots in the philosophy of Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek, who believed that the free market was the only avenue for maximizing individual liberty; political institutions were incapable of doing so.[23] A neoliberal governing strategy orients public institutions toward serving the needs of private enterprise. It runs government like a business and can entail the privatization of public services, the retraction of government from social service provision and the outsourcing of these tasks to nonprofit or for-profit organizations, and shifts the focus of government from providing for residents’ collective consumption needs to facilitating private investment and entrepreneurship. Early post-Fordist governing strategies were dominated by roll-back neoliberal policies, which slashed public services, eliminated welfare programs, curtailed regulations, and privatized some public agencies.[24] As the post-Fordist system matured, roll-out neoliberal policies like the use of public/private partnerships, charter schools, and contracting with non-governmental organizations for social welfare provision developed.

Post-Fordism has redefined urban governments’ role in the global economy and their relationship to their residents.[25] Local governments engage in urban entrepreneurialism as they compete with other cities to attract businesses. This can include smokestack chasing – offering subsidies or tax breaks to incentivize industries to move – or investing in urban development projects such as stadiums or art museums in order to make the city more appealing to business owners. The social welfare provisions that had characterized urban policy under Fordism have been deeply cut or contracted out to nonprofit agencies. The primary role of the post-Fordist city government is to attract and facilitate investment and to create spaces for consumption. These goals are sometimes achieved through heavy-handed policing tactics that sweep homeless camps, ticket street vendors, or target low-income youth and communities of color.

Who participates in urban decision-making?

Although the role that urban governments play in the larger political economy has shifted over time, there is still a need for local decision-making bodies that will keep the city functioning. Who makes those decisions? Who do those decision-makers represent? Are all city residents represented equally in decision-making that directly affects their lives? Who serves on the many non-elected boards that help shape the decision-making process?

When city governments began to take on greater regulatory responsibilities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they were ruled by political machines. Political machines developed in the mid-1800s in cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia that experienced exponential population growth due to large waves of immigration. Machine politics emerged as a way to incorporate working-class immigrant communities into the political system.[26] Political machines were systems that traditional political parties used to gain the votes and loyalties of particular neighborhoods or communities. A local boss, or influential community member, would deliver votes to the party in exchange for promises of jobs or services to neighborhood. This hierarchical patronage system, while corrupt, provided an avenue for poverty-stricken and newly arrived immigrant communities to gain tangible, collective consumption benefits that local governments had not systematically provided prior to the Progressive Era.[27] Middle-class reformers pushed back against the anti-democratic aspects of the political machines and were able to successfully enact reforms such as hiring professional city managers to oversee local government bureaus, creating a professional civil servant class that stayed in their jobs regardless of who was in office, and electing representatives city-wide rather than by neighborhood or district. While machine politics were anti-democratic, they were still somewhat effective at providing services to their constituents. In the early 20th century when cities were expanding the types of services they provided and developing new infrastructure, U.S. cities, many of which were governed by political machines, were able to more quickly and effectively provide services than their European counterparts whose governments were more democratic. Machine politics are not common in U.S. cities today, but similar patronage systems continue to dominate city governments in many parts of the world.

The demise of machine politics did not necessarily mean that city governments became more representative. In many cities, large property holders and those with economic power have a greater influence on local government decisions than the average city resident does. In the 1950s, political scientists began to examine how city governments functioned and who influenced local politics.

The first theories of who held decision-making power in cities emerged from broader community studies, which are detailed, ethnographic accounts of a neighborhood, subculture, or small town. Community studies were one of the primary research methods early U.S. urban sociologists employed. They are similar to the social surveys that reformers used to draw attention to problems in industrial cities. A community study of Muncie, Indiana, revealed that a small business elite and one powerful family dominated political decision-making in the town.[28]  In 1953, Floyd Hunter investigated political influence in the city of Atlanta and discovered that a power elite comprised of influential business and investment firm leaders drove policy making.  A few years later, Robert Dahl examined decision-making in the city of New Haven, Connecticut, and found that rather than being governed by a small elite, the city’s political landscape was shaped by shifting coalitions who held sway over particular policy areas such as education, transportation, or urban development. Dahl described a pluralistic form of urban politics, where multiple groups exert influence.

John Logan and Harvey Molotch developed the concept of the “growth machine” to describe the coalition of powerful people and interests that influence urban policy.[29] By tracing the history of urban boosterism, or place promotion, Logan and Molotch demonstrated how urban policy is oriented toward continual development and expansion. Rather than simply being driven by a small business elite, growth policies are embraced by a wide variety of local institutions within the city. Universities, local media, utility companies, arts organizations and professional sports teams, all of which rely upon popular support and benefit from population expansion, are often key backers of growth-oriented policies alongside small-and large-scale businesses. Logan and Molotch argued that while this business and institutional coalition might benefit from growth policies, they do not necessarily provide clear benefits to local residents, like access to jobs or higher wages. The addition of new businesses into a city can provide increased opportunities for locals, but depending upon the types of economic activities that are added, they may also attract workers from outside the region, resulting in increased housing costs and development pressures.

As local government functions like planning, housing and transportation became housed in professional bureaus, ordinary residents often had little voice in how urban development decisions were made. During the 1960s, the federally funded War on Poverty created Community Action Agencies that were designed to address problems in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods. [30] These decentralized, neighborhood-based agencies were mandated to encourage “maximum feasible participation” in identifying areas of community concern, designing grassroots solutions, and allocating resources. While the citizen participation requirements of the War on Poverty programs were ultimately short-lived, the notion that marginalized communities should have a say in the decisions that affect their lives and neighborhoods continued to resonate with urban residents. The 1970s ushered in a widespread expansion of citizen participation efforts. Some were instituted by public agencies, but many were initiated at the grassroots level. In the early 1970s, neighborhood activists in Southeast Portland mobilized to stop a freeway from being constructed along Powell Boulevard.[31] With the support of a progressive City Council, the neighborhood groups forced a vote on the issue, and Portlanders rejected the proposal to construct the Mount Hood freeway.

In 1969, Sherry Arnstein used the metaphor of a ladder to describe citizen participation programs as a continuum of efforts that could involve at the bottom rung, a manipulation of participants by powerful actors, or at the top, complete citizen control.[32] Arnstein’s ladder provides a powerful visual tool that can be used to evaluate the quality and sincerity of citizen participation efforts. She argued that citizen participation processes should allow those without power to have a real say in the decisions that affect their lives.

Ladder of Citizen Participation

Source: Sherry Arnstein, “A Ladder of Citizen Participation,” Journal of the American Institute of Planners 35, no. 4 (July 1969): 216-224.

Forms of Citizen Control
8 Citizen Control
7 Delegation
6 Partnership
5 Placation
4 Consultation
3 Informing
2 Therapy
1 Manipulation


While U.S. cities provide some opportunities for citizens to get involved in planning decisions or other local policies, most efforts fall along the lower rungs of Arnstein’s ladder. However, in other parts of the world, city governments provide greater participation opportunities. In Brazil, a National Constituent Assembly convened in 1988 to write a new constitution after two decades of repressive military rule.[33] The post-dictatorship Constitution was written by hundreds of elected representatives, but Brazilian citizens were allowed to contribute bills for consideration, and more than one hundred amendments written by ordinary Brazilians were included in the final document. The new Constitution mandates that all urban development and public property must fulfill a social function.[34] In Brazilian cities, residents must have an opportunity to participate in designing health, housing, and educational policies and in urban planning efforts. The city of Porto Alegre pioneered a process called participatory budgeting in 1989.[35] The process begins at the neighborhood level, where the budgets from the previous year are reviewed and new priorities are established. Ideas from the neighborhoods are shared at regional assemblies where priorities are discussed and voted upon by representatives, then passed along to a citywide assembly, where representatives of the regional councils deliberate and vote upon the final budget.

Fung and Wright call grassroots processes like these “empowered deliberative democracy.”[36] This form of decision-making is characterized by empowering ordinary people to define and describe the problems that affect their lives and to determine solutions to them. Empowered deliberative democratic processes engage directly with people on the local level and ensure that there is communication and accountability between local resident decision-makers and the government agencies that implement their solutions and policies. Cities are the perfect sites for this type of direct democratic rule. Their governments are small enough to allow for meaningful popular engagement and the decisions they are responsible for have a direct impact on their residents’ lives.

The Right to the City

The concept of rights is not often associated with local politics. Rights tend to be enshrined in national constitutions and in international documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Rights guarantee access to resources and/or opportunities and protect certain behaviors. Rights are codified by governments and are backed up by the power of the state.[37] Given their political nature, rights are also reflective of the social relationships and historical realities of specific eras and places.

The concept of having a right to the city was conceived by Henri Lefebvre, a French sociologist and philosopher in a treatise published in 1967.[38]  The notion was embraced by students and workers during the May 1968 Paris uprising and popularized around the world. The right to the city has since been adopted by the activist groups and academics and has been enshrined in charters that outline rights for particular cities and in international documents supported by the United Nations.[39] However, many of these current incarnations of the right to the city diverge from its more elusive theoretical formulation and instead interpret this concept as a practical list of material and political rights that should be guaranteed on the urban level.[40]

Mexico City’s Urban Movements and the Right to the City Charter

Mexico City is one of the most populous cities in the world. It’s a place of contrasts with large visible divides between the neighborhoods of the wealthy and those of the poor. In 1985, a massive earthquake struck the city, and the government failed to provide aid or relief to residents. Community groups launched a grassroots response to rescue those trapped under rubble and to help people rebuild their homes.

The city’s vibrant urban social movements that coalesced around earthquake relief efforts continued to push for housing reforms and support for the poor throughout the 1980s and 1990s. A coalition of community-based groups called the Movimiento Urbano Popular (MUP – Popular Urban Movement) embraced the notion of the Right to the City as a way to unify the diverse demands of the city’s grassroots.

In 2008, the MUP launched an effort to draft a comprehensive Right to the City charter. The document describes six broad categories of the Right to the City: the right to exercise basic human rights, the right to use land and property for the common good, the right to democratic management of the city and participation in decision-making, the right to create an economy that works for all, the right to an environmentally sustainable city, and the right to enjoy the city and its cultural offerings.

While some of the sentiments of the Right to the City Charter were written into the city’s legally binding constitution a few years later, the charter is primarily an aspirational document. Some of the rights enshrined in the document were already outdated by the time it was adopted, since the city is ever-evolving. While the document produced no tangible policy outcomes, it did help frame the MUP and other grassroots’ organizations struggles. They were able to win money to improve housing for the poor and to develop libraries, parks, and community centers in low-income neighborhoods.

The Right to the City charter raises the question about the utility of trying to translate this rallying cry into a cohesive set of demands. Since the city is work in progress, can the right to the city ever be achieved?

Gerlofs, Ben. “Dreaming Dialectically: The Death and Life of the Mexico City Charter for the Right to the City.” Urban Studies, 57, no. 10 (2020): 2064-079.


Lefebvre’s original outline of the right to the city was more abstract and was not conceptualized as an entitlement to any particular resource or as a form of political expression guaranteed by the state.[41] Instead, Lefebvre envisioned the right to the city as the ability of all urban dwellers to access the social possibilities that living in a densely settled, diverse community offers. Lefebvre argued that city is a “place of encounter, priority of use value” and that it has the capacity to be an “inscription in space of a time promoted to the rank of supreme resource among all resources.”[42]  What he means is that the right to the city is the right to interact with strangers, to create spaces that reflect the needs and desires of their users, and to collectively make a city that allows its inhabitants to have control over all aspects of their daily lives.

Lefebvre repeatedly refers to the city as an oeuvre, or a work of art that should be constructed collectively by those who inhabit it. [43] His vision was a utopian one that celebrates the possibilities that urban society offers. The city in its current formulation emphasizes property ownership and profit-making over the material and social needs of its residents. It is designed by rational experts, like planners or architects, who impose their own visions of what urban life should be like. A recurring theme in Lefebvre’s work is the complex relationships between urban space, or the physical city, and social relations. The right to the city is quintessentially the right for its inhabitants to create physical spaces that facilitate daily life not as it currently is, but as they would like to lead it.

After participating in the urban uprisings that swept across the world in 1968, Lefebvre turned his attention to how urbanization produced alienation and social inequality and how cities and the unique social relationships they produced were a potential source of liberation.[44] Lefebvre argued that urbanization was not simply an outgrowth of capitalism and industrialization; it was an all-encompassing social process, an end in itself, rather than simply a means of organizing industrial production and consumption patterns. He saw urbanization as a totalizing force that reshaped life in both the city and the countryside. Lefebvre envisioned a city where its inhabitants could create a built environment that would suit their individual and collective needs and desires, instead of one designed by bureaucratic staff to benefit business interests. While other urban theorists like Castells and Harvey identified the specific roles the city played in the larger political economy, Lefebvre believed that social relations were a product of urbanization and that these relationships could only be altered if urban residents were able to imagine and produce spaces that served their needs.

In recent years, the right to the city concept has been used by academics and activists to demand specific improvements to city life. In all of its current iterations, the right to the city is always conceived of as something that all urban dwellers should have.[45] It is not just a benefit for those who are registered to vote or have citizenship or residency status. In his original text, Lefebvre was quite clear that this right belong to all who “inhabit” the city, although he specifically excluded the ruling elite whose daily activities are not closely tied to place, but rather “transcend everyday life.”[46]

In Caracas, Venezuela, expansion of the public transit system can be seen as an expression of the right to the city.[47] The construction of cable car and subway lines that serve far-flung informal settlements gave low-income residents affordable and efficient access to the central city. In this case, the right to the city wasn’t a right to transportation per se, but rather a right to access the urban spaces in the center of the city that facilitate the types of social relationships that Lefebvre identified as one of the potentially liberating aspects of city life.

The right to the city is also a right to participate in decision-making and city-building activities.  It is the right for all urban inhabitants to shape the place they live in so it serves their needs and desires. The right to participation is closely tied to the right to access information. Lefebvre acknowledged that residents needed access to information, but in the 50 years since this right was originally conceived, information has become a critical factor in every aspect of human life.  Data and information play a key role in the production of urban spaces.[48] For inhabitants to truly create a city that satisfies their individual and collective needs, they need to have full control over and access to information and data. A right to information could encompass a wide range of scenarios from knowing what types of toxins or contaminants are contained on a piece of property to being notified about potential development decisions to having municipal ownership over wireless or fiber-optic networks.

Public Spaces–Incubators of Representation

One thing that sets a city apart from rural areas or small towns is its abundance of public space. Lyn Lofland describes the public realm as the physical locations in a city where strangers mingle with one another.[49] The public realm includes streets, sidewalks, parks, plazas, shops, restaurants, public and government buildings, community centers, and so on. It is basically any space where entry is not controlled. Lofland argues that the public realm is social territory. It facilitates the full spectrum of human connection. In public spaces, one can simply sit back and people watch, or have an intimate conversation with a close friend. The public realm also plays an important role in facilitating what Lofland describes as cosmopolitanism—the ability to interact with others across differences.  In the public realm, we learn to behave cooperatively with strangers, which provides a basis for breaking down barriers of difference.

Gender Identity, Public Space, and the Right to the City

The notion of the Right to the City fails to take into account the fundamentally different experiences of urban space that people have based upon their gender, sexuality, gender identity, race, ethnicity, disability status, religion, and other social identities. Thinking about the ways in which women, transgendered, and gender non-conforming people experience the city can reveal aspects of the right to the city that may not be apparent when it’s considered a universal right.

Patriarchy, or a male-dominated social system, makes a distinction between private and public spaces. Traditionally, women have been associated with and in some societies, confined to the private sphere, while men controlled public spaces and dominate public life. Despite being thought of as women’s space, the private sphere is not always a safe place. Gendered violence and abuse can make private spaces unsafe, and women might feel like they have very little control over how the spaces of their home are organized or how they spend their time there.

For transgendered or gender non-conforming people, private space may be the only space where they feel comfortable being who they are. People often first express their true gender identity within the confines of their home, before they are ready to come out in public spaces. However, the private sphere may also not be safe space for transgender or non-binary people.

In patriarchal societies, public spaces are places where rigid definitions of gender are enforced through ridicule, harassment, or violence. Women, transgendered, and non-binary people may experience gender-based harassment or violence in public space or fear experiencing it, which can prevent them from using all of the spaces of the city. Some women feel a strong sense of belonging and safety in their neighborhoods and may also appreciate the anonymity they can experience in spaces that aren’t familiar to them.

Transgendered and non-binary people might adapt their gender expression in public space in order to keep themselves safe. For example, a transgendered woman might avoid speaking to strangers on transit or a non-binary person may dress in gender-specific clothing when going to the mall to protect themselves from harassment. Some gender non-conforming people may find public spaces to be more supportive than private spaces, especially if other transgender and non-binary people are visible and welcomed in those spaces.

Enacting the right the city may involve different strategies for people from different backgrounds and identities. For a right to the city to be realized, the ways in which all communities interact with public space must be considered.

Fenster, T. “The Right to the Gendered City: Different Formations of Belonging in Everyday Life.” Journal of Gender Studies. 14, no. 3, 217-31.

Doan, Petra L. “The Tyranny of Gendered Spaces – Reflections from beyond the Gender Dichotomy.” Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography 17, no. 5 (2010): 635-54.


Despite Lofland’s celebration of the positive potentials of public spaces in the city, they may not always be experienced as safe or tolerant places. Don Mitchell surveyed some of the major struggles over the use of public space in the United States.[50] Protest movements, homelessness and unconventional uses of public space incite conflicts over who should be allowed to access this shared realm and how they can behave there. To control public spaces, cities have enacted laws banning sleeping, sitting on sidewalks, or marching in the street without a protest permit.   Mitchell argues that laws that prohibit some groups from using public spaces pose a threat to the rights of all urban residents. “When all is controlled, there can simply be no right to the city.”[51]

Another trend is the increasing securitization and privatization of the public realm. Los Angeles has been described as a fortress city full of gated communities, heavily policed housing projects and a network of surveillance cameras along the streets.[52] In many U.S. cities, neighborhood businesses band together to pay for private security forces and public space improvements.  While the quality and maintenance of these spaces may improve, these private improvement districts gain control over how space is used and who has access to it. In London, there has been a proliferation of POPs, or privately-owned public spaces that are governed and managed by building owners or associations.[53] While these plazas, gardens and parks are indistinguishable from their publicly controlled counterparts, the unstated rules within them guard against any behavior deemed deviant or unorthodox. Unlike a traditional park or plaza, POPs do not permit demonstrations or political gatherings and often criminalize homeless people who try to sleep or spend significant amounts of time there.


Cities have unique functions and play critical roles in the larger economic system. Cities are responsible for the collective consumption needs of their residents and provide transportation, health, housing, education, and other services. As the global economy shifted from a Fordist model of production to a post-Fordist system, local governments have focused on attracting investment and developing urban spaces for consumption. Cities are also investment sites and business elites may dominate governing coalitions, although more pluralistic forms of leadership are possible too. Cities are often geared toward growth and this agenda may dominate policies, although they may not benefit the resident population.

Multiple groups use and access the city from its residents to global-oriented businesspeople.   These competing groups may come in conflict with one another over the use of public spaces.  Cities allow residents to participate in varying degrees in political decision-making, but the quality and scope of that participation can vary from simple consultation to full community control.

The right to the city is a concept that embraces the liberatory potential of urban social relations. In its original formulation, Lefebvre called for all urban dwellers to have the right to create spaces that reflected their own needs and desires. The right to the city has come to be understood as a right to basic collective consumption needs, to participation in decision-making and to access to opportunities.  The right to the city is realized in urban public spaces where heterogeneous groups mingle and coexist.  Limiting access to public space curtails the ability of urban residents to assert their right to representation.

Test your Urban Literacy:

Think about how the concepts in this chapter apply to your own city
  1. What aspects of daily life do urban governments make decisions about? Name three departments or bureaus in your city government that are responsible for providing key services.
  2. Compare and contrast the Fordist and post-Fordist political and economic systems. Provide an example of a neoliberal or post-Fordist governing arrangement in your city.
  3. How can ordinary citizens influence the key decision-makers in your city? What opportunities are there for citizen participation in the meetings of your city’s governing body? Using the concepts presented in this chapter (i.e machine politics, deliberative democracy), which decision-making model best describes decision-making at the local council level?
  4. What does the right to the city mean?
  5. Is it possible to achieve a “right to city?” How useful is this idea for creating a more inclusive city?
  6. Describe the relationship between the right to the city and access to public space. Use a specific example from your city to explain this relationship.

Learn to read the city around you:

Apply what you’ve learned in this chapter by completing a hands-on activity in your own city
  1. Attend a public meeting: Attend an in-person or virtual public meeting in your city. It can be a city council meeting or a meeting of a local commission or board. Read the agenda and any accompanying information that is publicly available before you go. Take notes about the types of decisions that are being made, who the decision-makers are, and which communities they represent. Pay attention to the public participation portions of the meeting. Who can sign up to speak? What topics did they address? Which perspectives did they bring? How did the decision-makers respond to their input? Also note if there are any professionals or experts who are invited to provide testimony or make presentations. What types of information did they present? Write up your observations of the meeting you attend. Consider whether the meeting provided adequate opportunities for representation.
  2. Observe how people use public space: Find a busy public space in your city. It could be a park, a plaza, a shopping area, or other place where large numbers of people hang out. Make at least two to three site visits. Try to visit on different days and times. While you are there, make notes about what you see. Who is using this space? What types of activities do they engage in? What parts of the space do they use? How long do they stay? How are they treated by other users of this space? You should also create a diagram of what the space looks like. Are there any barriers there that may prevent people from using that space? Write a reflection about what you observed. How welcoming is this space? Did the users represent a cross section of your city? Was anyone excluded from this space?
  3. Conduct an audit of your city government website: Explore your city government’s website. What departments or programs exist? What types of services is the city responsible for? What departments or programs seem to have greater priority? Where are the different departments located? Who leads these agencies? Write a report about what you find. Organize the data you collected into charts or graphs that communicate the breadth and relative importance of the services your city provides and analyze how representative the different functions of city government are.
  4. Evaluate the accessibility of your city’s public spaces: Take a walk through a neighborhood in your city to evaluate how accessible it might be for someone who has limited mobility, is hearing impaired, visually impaired, or very young. What barrier exist? Would someone with a disability or of a very young age be able to access the services in this neighborhood? Are the public spaces accessible? What improvements need to be made to make sure that everyone can use this space? Present your findings to the class.
  5. Propose a Right to the City charter amendment: Your city has decided to create a Right to the City charter. Propose at least one amendment that you believe belongs in this charter. You might want to look at examples of other Right to the City charters. Your amendment should include a rationale for why this particular right or bundle of rights belongs in this document. It should also include a description of any additional rights that fall under this category. Finally, provide an example of what this right would look like if it were realized in your city.
  6. Community Representation Analysis: Choose a community in your city that you believe may be under-represented. Collect data about how members of this community are represented in different aspects of city life. You can examine the community’s economic situation, educational experiences, relationship with the criminal justice system, health outcomes, housing conditions, and political status. You will want to compare the community’s situation with data for the overall population within your city. Present your findings to the class. Include suggestions for how the various institutions within the city might change to become inclusive.
  7. Examine representation in images of your city: Collect images from local business and real estate advertisements, official public agency publications, billboards, informational or tourist brochures. Analyze those images to understand how the city is represented to various audiences. Who is represented in these images? What aspects of the city do they show? Who is the intended audience and what is the purpose of these images? Who and what are not shown? Is this an accurate representation of your city? Why or why not? Share your analysis with the class.
  8. Representation from the ground-up: Choose an underrepresented community within your city and explore the platforms that members use to communicate with one another. These platforms may include community newspapers, local radio or television programs, social media posts from influential members or organizations, and/or organizational literature or actions. What are the main issues facing this community? How do they articulate these issues? What changes would they like to see? How is the community organizing to make those changes happen? Write about what you learned. As much as possible, try to convey the community’s perspectives about their under-representation within the city.







  1. Mogens Herman Hansen, “A Survey of the 37 Identified City-State Cultures,” accessed December 16, 2018, http://www.teachtext.net/bn/cpc/.
  2. H.D.F. Kitto, “The Polis,” in The City Reader, eds. Richard LeGates and Frederic Stout (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), 31-6.
  3. Mogens, Herman Hansen, Polis: An Introduction to the Ancient Greek City-State (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).
  4. Kitto
  5. Michele Frantianni and Franco Spinelli, “Italian city-states and financial evolution,” European Review of Economic History 10 (2006): 257-278. Jonathan Spence, “The Roots of Modern Capitalism.” New York Times, July 10, 1983, https://www.nytimes.com/1983/07/10/books/the-roots-of-modern-capitalism.html.
  6. Charles Tilly, “Cities and States in Europe 1000-1800,” Theory and Society 18, no. 5 (September, 1989): 563-584.
  7. “Did Living Standards Improve during the Industrial Revolution?” accessed December 26, 2018, https://www.economist.com/free-exchange/2013/09/13/did-living-standards-improve-during-the-industrial-revolution.
  8. Russell Lopez, Building American Public Health: Urban Planning, Architecture, and the Quest for Better Health in the United States, (New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2012).
  9. John Middlemist Herrick and Paul Stuart, Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America, (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2005).
  10. Ibid.
  11. Mark Hutter, Experiencing Cities, (Boston, Allyn and Bacon, 2012).
  12. Manuel Castells, The Urban Question- A Marxist Approach, trans. Alan Shendan, (Cambridge, MIT Press: 1977).  
  13. David Harvey, Social Justice and the City, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1973).
  14. Ibid.
  15. Paul Peterson, City Limits, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981).
  16. Paul Knox and Steven Pinch, Urban Social Geography: An Introduction. 6th ed. (London, England; New York, New York: Routledge, 2013.)
  17. Amin, Ash, Post Fordism: A Reader, (Oxford, Cambridge: Blackwell, 2008).
  18. Ibid.
  19. Joe Painter, “Regulation Theory, Post-Fordism and Urban Politics,” in Readings in Urban Theory Third Edition, eds. Susan S. Fainstein and Scott Campbell (Chinchester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 23-41.
  20. Alejandro Reuss, “That 70s Crisis,” Dollars and Sense, November/December 2009.
  21. Amin, Post-Fordism.
  22. Eric Swyngedouw, “Neither global nor local: 'glocalization' and the politics of scale,” in Spaces of Globalization, ed. Kevin Cox (New York: Guilford Press, 1997), pgs.137-166.
  23. Christelle Mourel Journell and Gilles Pinson, Debating the Neoliberal City, (New York: Routledge, 2017), and Margit Mayer, “Post-Fordist City Politics,” in The City Reader, eds. Richard LeGates and Frederic Stout (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), 229-239.
  24. Jamie Peck and Adam Tickell, “Neoliberalizing space,” Antipode, 34, no. 3 (2002): 380 - 404.
  25. Knox and Pinch, Urban Social Geography.
  26. James J. Connolly, An Elusive Unity: Urban Democracy and Machine Politics in Industrializing America, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2018).
  27. Bernard Ross and Myron Levine, Urban Politics: Power in Metropolitan America, Sixth Edition, (Itacsa, IL: F.E. Peacock Publishers, Inc., 2001).
  28. Ross and Levine, Urban Politics. Menes, Rebecca, The Effect of Patronage Politics on City Government in American Cities, 1900-1910. (Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1999).
  29. John Logan and Harvey Molotch, Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place, (Berkley: University of California Press, 1987).
  30. Ibid.
  31. “Mt. Hood Freeway,” The Oregon Encyclopedia, Oregon Historical Society, accessed December 26, 2018 https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/mt__hood_freeway/#.WkQ7vvmnHIU.
  32. Sherry Arnstein, “A Ladder of Citizen Participation,” Journal of the American Institute of Planners 35, no. 4 (July 1969): 216-224.
  33. “Under Threat, Brazil’s 1988 Constitution Celebrates 30 Years,” The Brazilian Report, accessed January 2, 2019, https://brazilian.report/power/2018/10/05/threat-brazils-constitution-30-years/ .
  34. Teresa Caldeira and James Holston, “Participatory Urban Planning in Brazil,” Urban Studies 52, no. 11(2015): 2001-2017.
  35. Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright, “Deepening Democracy: Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance,” Politics and Society 29, no. 1 (2001): 5-41.
  36. Ibid.
  37. Don Mitchell, The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space, (New York and London: The Guilford Press, 2003).
  38. Henri Lefebvre, Writings on Cities, trans. Eleonore Korfman and Elizabeth Lebas (Oxford and Cambridge MA, Blackwell, 1996).
  39. “Historic Consensus Reached on ‘Right to the City’ in New Urban Agenda,” Gregory Scruggs, accessed on December 28, 2017 http://citiscope.org/habitatIII/news/2016/09/historic-consensus-reached-right-city-new-urban-agenda.
  40. Mark Purcell, “Possible Worlds: Henri Lefebvre and the Right to the City,” Journal of Urban Affairs 36, no. 1, (2014): 141-154.
  41. Purcell, “Possible Worlds”
  42. Lefebvre, Writings on Cities, 158.
  43. Ibid.
  44. Henri Lefebvre, The Urban Revolution, trans. Robert Bononno (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003).
  45. Purcell, “Possible Worlds”
  46. Lefebvre, Writings on Cities, 159.
  47. Daniel Kingsbury, “Infrastructure and Insurrection: The Caracas Metro and the Right to the City in Venezuela,” Latin American Research Review 52, no. 5 (2017): 775-791.
  48. Joe Shaw and Mark Graham, “An informational right to the city? Code, content, control and the urbanization of information,” Antipode 49, no. 4 (2017): 907-927.
  49. Lyn H. Lofland. The Public Realm: Exploring the City’s Quintessential Social Territory, (New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 1998.)
  50. Mitchell, The Right to the City.
  51. Mitchell, The Right to the City, 229.
  52. Mike Davis, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles, (London: Verso, 1990.)
  53. Jack Shenker, “Revealed: The Insidious creep of pseudo-public space in London,” The Guardian, July 24, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jul/24/revealed-pseudo-public-space-pops-london-investigation-map.


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