1st Edition

The Urban Politics of Policy Failure

Edited By John Lauermann, Cristina Temenos Copyright 2023
    150 Pages
    by Routledge

    150 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book contributes to debates in geography and urban studies by analysing the spatial dimensions and politics of urban policy failure. Attention is most often paid to successful urban policies. Policymakers go to great lengths to emulate success by importing policy 'models', implementing best practices, or pursuing 'silver bullet' solutions. Yet, stories of failure are at least as common as those of success. Some policies fail to launch in the first place. Others struggle to deliver their goals. Many collapse under the weight of poor administration, insufficient funding, or political opposition.

    This book establishes a vocabulary and set of analytical approaches for researching the spatial dynamics and impacts of urban policy failure. With a geographically diverse set of cases, the authors explore topics including policy (im)mobility, urban policy experiments, and governance initiatives ranging from sustainability to housing to public health, across Europe, North America, and Asia.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal Urban Geography.

    Introduction: the urban politics of policy failure

    Cristina Temenos and John Lauermann

    1. Going bust two ways? Epistemic communities and the study of urban policy failure

    Mark Davidson

    2. Policy- failing: a repealed right to shelter

    Katie J. Wells

    3. Urban policy (im)mobilities and refractory policy lessons: experimenting with the sustainability fix

    Aida Nciri and Anthony Levenda

    4. Beyond failure: the generative effects of unsuccessful proposals for Supervised Drug Consumption Sites (SCS) in Melbourne, Australia

    Tom Baker and Eugene McCann

    5. Playing with time in Moore Street, Dublin: urban redevelopment, temporal politics and the governance of space- time

    Niamh Moore- Cherry and Christine Bonnin

    6. The relational co- production of “success” and “failure,” or the politics of anxiety of exporting urban “models” elsewhere

    Rachel Bok


    John Lauermann and Cristina Temenos


    John Lauermann is Assistant Professor of Geography at Medgar Evers College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is an urban geographer interested in the planning and socio- spatial impacts of large real estate developments.

    Cristina Temenos is Senior Lecturer in Urban Geography and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow in Urban Crisis at the University of Manchester. She is an urban geographer interested in the politics and social processes of making and moving urban policy.