IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Urban Politics Reconsidered


  • Gordon MacLeod



Over the past three decades, research in urban politics or increasingly urban governance reveals a landscape powerfully reflecting what might now be defined as a post-political consensus. Following a waning of the community power, urban managerialist and collective consumption debates, this ‘new urban politics’ has appeared conspicuously absorbed with analysing a purported consensus around economic growth alongside a proliferation of entrepreneurially oriented governing regimes. More recent contributions, acknowledging the role of the state and governmentalities of criminal justice, uncover how downtown renaissance is inscribed through significant land privatisations and associated institutionalised expressions like Business Improvement Districts and other ‘primary definers’ of ‘public benefit’: all choreographed around an implicit consensus to ‘police’ the circumspect city, while presenting as ultra-politics anything that might disturb the strict ethics of consumerist citizenship. Beyond downtown, a range of shadow governments, secessionary place-makings and privatisms are remaking the political landscape of post-suburbia. It is contended that the cumulative effect of such metropolitan splintering may well be overextending our established interpretations of urban landscapes and city politics, prompting non-trivial questions about the precise manner in which political representation, democracy and substantive citizenship are being negotiated across metropolitan regions, from downtown streetscape to suburban doorstep. This paper suggests that recent theorisations on post-democracy and the post-political may help to decode the contemporary landscape of urban politics beyond governance, perhaps in turn facilitating a better investigation of crucial questions over distributional justice and metropolitan integrity.

Suggested Citation

  • Gordon MacLeod, 2011. "Urban Politics Reconsidered," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 48(12), pages 2629-2660, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:48:y:2011:i:12:p:2629-2660

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Nicolas Raimbault & Françoise Bahoken, 2014. "Quelles places pour les activités logistiques dans la métropole parisienne ?," Post-Print hal-01073057, HAL.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:48:y:2011:i:12:p:2629-2660. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.