Politics of Urban Knowledge : Historical Perspectives on the Shaping and Governing of Cities book cover
1st Edition

Politics of Urban Knowledge
Historical Perspectives on the Shaping and Governing of Cities

  • Available for pre-order on March 2, 2023. Item will ship after March 23, 2023
ISBN 9781032320533
March 23, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
296 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book uses 'politics of urban knowledge' as a lens to understand how professionals, administrations, scholars, and social movements have surveyed, evaluated and theorized the city, identified problems, and shaped and legitimized practical interventions in planning and administration.

Urbanization has been accompanied, and partly shaped by, the formation of the city as a distinct domain of knowledge. This volume uses 'politics of urban knowledge' as a lens to develop a new perspective on urban history and urban planning history. Through case studies of mainly 19th and 20th century examples, the book demonstrates that urban knowledge is not simply a neutral means to represent cities as pre-existing entities, but rather the outcome of historically contingent processes and practices of urban actors addressing urban issues and the power relations in which they are embedded. It shows how urban knowledge-making has reshaped the categories, rationales, and techniques through which urban spaces were produced, governed and contested, and how the knowledge concerned became performative of newly emerging urban orders.

The volume will be of interest to scholars and students in the field of urban history and urban studies, as well as the history of technology, science and knowledge and of science studies.

Table of Contents


2. The emergence of cartographic reasoning in a long-term perspective: Urban knowledge, craft corporations and body politics

Jasna Seršić & Bert De Munck

3. The epistemological fields of urban intervention: Urban reform, surveys and historic centres, in the late 19t and early 20th century

Pieter Uyttenhove & Wouter Van Acker

4. From the 'scientized' to the 'sociocratic' city: The politics of knowledge and norm change in post-war urban planning in the Netherlands

Tim Verlaan & Stefan Couperus


5. Urban populations and urban problems in Quetelet's population statistics of the mid 19th century

Kaat Loukx

6. Knowledge appropriation in Belo Horizonte: Intertwining the urban, the suburban and the rural

Patricia Capanema Alvares Fernandes & Viviana d’Auria

7. Decoding zoning: Categorisation and commonality in land-use planning knowledge

Julio Paulos & Marko Marskamp

8. Between straight lines and winding alleys: Streets as boundary objects in the transnational modernization of urban planning in Iran

Pouya Sepehr & Erik Aarden

9. Counting and caring for urban trees: Street surveys and citizen protest in 20th- century West-Berlin

Sonja Dümpelmann

10. Knowledge-making and the quest for a sustainable city: Promoting community food growing in London

Jens Lachmund

11. Smart cities, knowledge generation and the enduring pursuit of urban innovation

Andrew Karvonen

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Bert De Munck is full Professor at the History Department at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, teaching ‘Early Modern History’, ‘Theory of Historical Knowledge’, and ‘History of Science and Society’. He is the Director of the interdisciplinary Urban Studies Institute and the international Scientific Research Community (WOG) ‘Urban Agency: The Historical Fabrication of the City as an Object of Study’.

Jens Lachmund is a sociologist and senior lecturer in science and technology studies at Maastricht University, Netherlands. He has conducted research on the historical sociology of medicine, and on the politics of (urban) environmental knowledge. His publications include Greening Berlin. The Co-Production of Science, Politics, and Urban Nature (Boston, 2013).