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Urban Theory: A critical introduction to power, cities and urbanism in the 21st century Hardcover – 16 May 2014

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Just when we need it most, urban theory seems to be failing us. This book explains why we need it.

(Jamie Peck)

Harding and Blokland address the vaunted “crisis” in urban theory with a thoughtful assessment of extant theories in terms of performance, commensurability, and critical engagement. In a conversational and lively tone, they view theories of inequality, public space, identity, power, agency, and culture through the lens of “relaxed urban theory.” Excellent overview for scholars and engaging classroom material.

(Susan E. Clarke)

Inspired by Peter Saunders’s non-spatial urban thinking, Harding and Blokland’s book provides a provocative, wide-ranging and comprehensive treatment of concepts geared to understand cities, and is a compulsory addition to any urban student’s intellectual arsenal in a period of renewed interest in urban theory. (Roger Keil)

Urban theory is said to be in a mess. Proceeding with great analytical clarity, this book introduces a relaxed definition of urban theory that enables the reader to make sense of the non-linear, variegated world of urban theory as it has developed over time and through the application of different disciplines, methods and epistemologies. In reviewing all the major conceptualisations of urban theory, Harding and Blokland provide clear insights into recent developments and the controversies and critiques they have provoked. The book is a pedagogical tour de force for students and scholars alike. (Patrick Le Galès)

About the Author

Alan Harding is Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice at the University of Liverpool Management School in the UK. Previously, he held posts at Manchester, Salford and Liverpool John Moores universities. His research interests are in urban and regional development, governance and policy and he has acted as an advisor on these issues for a wide range of leading agencies with interests in this field.

Talja Blokland (1971) is an urban sociologist who has worked at Yale University, the University of Manchester and various Dutch universities. Since  2009, she has held the chair of Urban and Regional Sociology at Humboldt University in Berlin. Her publications include Urban Bonds (Polity 2003), Networked Urbanism (edited with Mike Savage, Ashgate 2008) and various articles on race and ethnicity in the city, poor neighbourhoods, urban violence, gentrification, urban middle classes and neighbourhood relations and everyday interactions.

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