Overlooked Cities : Power, Politics and Knowledge Beyond the Urban South book cover
1st Edition

Overlooked Cities
Power, Politics and Knowledge Beyond the Urban South

ISBN 9780367640767
Published December 29, 2020 by Routledge
190 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Overlooked Cities reflects and impacts the changing landscape of urban studies and geography from the perspective of smaller and more regional cities in the urban South. It critically examines the ways in which cities are uniquely positioned within different urban and knowledge hierarchies.

The book unpacks the dynamics of “overlooked-ness” in these cities, identifies emerging trends and processes that characterise such cities and provides alternative sites for comparative urban theory. It is organised into two themes: firstly, politics and power and secondly, production and negotiation of knowledge. The authors share a commitment to challenging the unevenness of urban knowledge production by approaching these cities on their own terms. Only then can we harness the insights emanating from these overlooked cities, and contribute to a deeper and richer understanding of the urban itself. This collection of essays, focusing on 13 cities in nine countries and across three continents (Luzhou, China; Bharatpur, Nepal; Bloemfontein/Mangaung and Pretoria/Tshwane, South Africa; Zarqa, Jordan; Santa Fe, Argentina; Manizales, Colombia; Arequipa and Trujillo, Peru; Dili, Timor-Leste; Bandar Lampung, Semarang and Bontang, Indonesia) makes a timely contribution to urban scholarship.

The volume will be of interest to scholars from the disciplines of urban studies, geography, development and anthropology, as well as postgraduate students researching the global South and third year undergraduate students studying cities and urban studies, development and critical thinking.

Table of Contents


David Satterthwaite


Hanna A. Ruszczyk, Erwin Nugraha, Isolde de Villiers, Martin Price

Part 1: Politics and Power in Overlooked Cities                                                                                      

1. Sanxian: Re-/un-thinking Chinese urban hierarchy with a medium-sized city

Yi Jin, Yimin Zhao                                                                                                                              

2. The changing logic of urban planning in Nepal: From informal to incremental    

Hanna A. Ruszczyk

3. The marginalised centre: overlooked cities in South Africa’s interior                  

Isolde de Villiers

4. Debt and developmental impasse in the secondary city: Geographies of municipal finance in Zarqa, Jordan                                    

Martin Price

Part 2: Production and Negotiation of Knowledge in Overlooked Cities                       

5. Intermediate cities as urban innovators: An analysis of disaster risk management in Santa Fe, Argentina, and Manizales, Colombia

Julia Wesely, María Evangelina Filippi, Cassidy Johnson

6.  Comparing secondary cities: Holistic evaluation of urban development in Arequipa and Trujillo, Peru.                                                                                                                                           

Christian Rosen

7. Post-conflict Dili: An overlooked urbanscape reaching out for development        

Joana de Mesquita Lima, João Pedro Costa

8. Middle cities: The politics of intermediary of Bandar Lampung, Semarang, and Bontang city in Indonesia under climate crisis                                                                                                       

Erwin Nugraha


Erwin Nugraha, Isolde de Villiers, Hanna A Ruszczyk, João Pedro Costa, Joana de Mesquita Lima, María Evangelina Filippi, Yi Jin, Cassidy Johnson, Martin Price, Christian Rosen, Julia Wesely and Yimin Zhao

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Hanna A. Ruszczyk is an urban geographer in the Department of Geography, Durham University. She is interested in the everyday lived experience of the world’s invisible majority in academically overlooked smaller cities. She utilises a feminist and postcolonial lens to consider how gendered aspects of cities intersect with risk and resilience.

Erwin Nugraha is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Twente and a senior research fellow at the Resilience Development Initiative. His research focuses on climate adaptation, cultures of risk and resilience, and urban decoloniality. He was one of the recipients of the Allianz Climate Risk Research Award in 2017.

Isolde de Villiers is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Free State Centre for Human Rights. She works mainly with questions of spatial (in)justice and the role of law in time and space. She looks at law and cities from a critical and feminist perspective.