Cities and Communities

Our publishing on key issues around urbanisation - including housing, inadequate and overburdened services, pollution, overcrowded or inaccessible public transport - addresses many of the challenges posed in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

We acknowledge that, with Asia and Africa set to have the largest and fastest increase in urbanisation by 2050, the Global South is a critical area for study accompanying and informing work on the Global North. 

The Urban Policy, Planning and the Built Environment series looks in particular at the contested nature of government intervention in the urban land and housing market, and how urban governance, planning and design processes respond to increasing social complexity, socio-spatial diversity and the goal of democratic renewal. 

Bristol University Press and Policy Press are signed up to the UN SDG Publishers Compact. In Cities and communities, we aim to address the following goal: 

Cities and Communities

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Timescapes, Power and Democracy
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A deep exploration on how questions of time and its organisation affect planning practice, this book is aimed at public and private planning practitioners, national and local politicians and policymakers involved in planning, academics and students studying planning and related disciplines.

It presents time as a pervasive form of power that is used to shape democratic practices, and questions ‘project speed’: where time to think, deliberate and plan has been squeezed. The authors demonstrate the many benefits of slow planning for the key participants, multiple interests and planning system overall.

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Temporality and the Making of Global Urban Worlds

Whether waiting for the train or planning the future city, infrastructure orders–and depends on–multiple urban temporalities.

This agenda-setting volume disrupts conventional notions of time through a robust examination of the relations between temporality, infrastructure, and urban society. Conceptually rich and empirically detailed, its interdisciplinary dialogue encompasses infrastructural systems including transportation, energy, and water to bridge often-siloed technical, political-economic and lived perspectives.

With global coverage of diverse cities and regions from Berlin to Jayapura, this book is an essential provocation to re-evaluate urban theory, politics, and practice and better account for the temporal complexities that shape our infrastructured worlds.

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All international agreements recognise that sustainable development, equity and poverty alleviation are preconditions for the substantial societal and technological transformations required to limit global warming to 1.5°C. A growing body of literature indicates that while climate change undermines the progress of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate actions also pose several trade-offs with them. Climate adaptation has a largely synergistic relationship with SDGs across various socio-economic contexts. However, climate mitigation’s relationship with SDGs is far more complex. While the need to decarbonise is universal, the pathways to deliver deep decarbonisation vary across contexts and scales and are located within the local socio-economic realities besides local environmental factors. This paper argues that (1) climate mitigation measures in countries like India – with rising income inequality and high social diversity in caste, religion and region – need a tailored assessment approach, (2) carefully mediating climate mitigation measures – like deep decarbonisation – at the local level is crucial to enable transformative change required to meet the Paris Agreement and the UN Agenda 2030, (3) enabling ‘just’ deep decarbonisation or SDG-enabled decarbonisation at the local level requires addressing unmet needs of the vulnerable population even at the cost of increased emissions, and (4) sector-specific decarbonisation strategies at the national level must be translated into the local area’s social, economic, environmental and institutional realities. This paper grounds this approach using the example of the transport sector and applies it in a mid-sized city of India, Udaipur, to illustrate the argument.

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Generation, Rent and Reproducing Relationships in London

In a time of increasing social and economic inequality, this book illustrates the precarity experienced by millennials facing both rising rents and wage stagnation. Featuring the voices of those with lived experience of precarity in north-east London, MacNeil Taylor focuses on intimacy, reproduction and emotional labour.

The book widens readers’ understanding of a middle-class ‘generation rent’ beyond those locked out of anticipated home ownership by considering both social and private renters. Situated in a feminist and queer theoretical framework, the book reveals the crucial role of British policy-making on housing, welfare, and immigration on deepening inter- and intra-generational inequality.

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Theory into Practice

Written by community workers from diverse contexts, this highly accessible guide equips practitioners and students working in a range of community settings to make the best use of theory in their work. The book focuses on the hope, excitement and possibilities that contemporary theory brings to practice and is essential reading for all those concerned with social justice, inclusion and equality.

Drawing on voices from across the world, influential thinking, both old and new, is applied to the practice that underpins work with individuals, groups and communities. The book will inform and enhance practice for a wide range of students and professionals working in community contexts such as community development, adult education, youth work, community health and social work.

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Contemporary Perspectives from Italy

From earthquakes to oil spills, Italy is recurrently affected by different kinds of disasters. This book brings a critical perspective to post-disaster reconstruction and recovery, which can impact in both the short- and long- term upon society, politics and organisations.

It is often assumed that disaster-hit areas return to normality or even ‘build back better’ thanks to the interventions of experts. Giuseppe Forino considers the complexities of disaster recovery and the sometimes radical changes in individual and collective behaviours that persist following such events. Bringing together the impacts of natural hazards (including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic), this edited book will stimulate debate on policy and practice in disaster recovery.

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Inspiring, Critical and Plural Perspectives

The subdiscipline of economic geography has a long and varied history, and recent work has pushed the field to diversify even further. This collection takes this agenda forward by showcasing inspiring, critical and plural perspectives for contemporary economic geographies.

Highlighting the contributions of global scholars, the thirty chapters showcase fresh ways of approaching economic geography in research, teaching and praxis. With sections on thought leaders, contemporary critical debates and future research agendas, this collection calls for greater openness and inclusivity.

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This panel discussion session explores some of the central dimensions of the Crisis in the Anthropocene that constitute global social challenges in the context of development studies. The conference theme highlighted the profound human impact on our blue-green-brown planet, that is already breaching planetary boundaries and pushing us beyond the roughly 1.5°C tipping point. This threatens liveability and sustainability in many localities and regions and may well rapidly be ‘off the scale’ of imaginability and survivability. Inevitably, as mounting empirical evidence and increasingly clear projections by the IPCC and other authoritative bodies show, these impacts are unevenly spread, both socially and spatially, both now and over the coming decades. The urgency of appropriate action is undeniable and we already know many dimensions of the required adaptations and transformations. Yet progress mostly remains too slow. These challenges are vital to the development studies community – heterogenous as it is – with our concerns for tackling poverty, inequality, deprivation and environmental degradation globally and locally.

Hence this symposium asks what the crisis means for development theory, policy and practice and what development studies can and should be contributing to – and, indeed, whether it is capable of – addressing some key dimensions that warrant greater attention.

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This study examines how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be leveraged to facilitate strategic change towards sustainability involving multiple stakeholders in a pluralistic city environment. By drawing on an exemplary case study of the localisation of the SDGs in Bristol, a medium-sized UK city, we show how the goals can operate as a boundary object. In particular, we identify a pattern in which the discursive localisation of the SDGs moved from problematisation and visioning through strategising and structuring towards embedding and performing. In addition, we elaborate on the three tensions that the SDGs help participants to understand and use productively, that is, across scale, time and different ways of valuing. Our study contributes to research on strategic change in pluralistic settings, such as cities, by offering a nuanced account of the discursive use of the SDGs by organisations involved in a city’s sustainable development. Furthermore, by proposing a framework based on the specific tensions that play an important role in the discursive localisation, our study advances research on the role of city strategising and practice more generally.

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In early 2022, over 30 years after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its first report on the challenges posed by climate change and four subsequent Assessment Reports later, the word ‘colonialism’ finally entered its official lexicon. The sixth report on ‘Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’  references colonialism, not only as a historical driver of the climate crisis, but also as something that continues to exacerbate the vulnerabilities of communities to it (IPCC, 2022). As Funes (2022) argues, this comes in the wake of long-standing arguments made by Indigenous groups and others on the frontline of climate change about the centrality of colonialism to comprehending and responding to the crisis. The last decade has also seen a significant increase in scholarly literature that draws explicit links between colonialism and climate change – much of which is referenced in the latest IPCC report. While formal acknowledgement of this relationship is long overdue, in this article we argue for caution and precision in the invocation of colonialism within these debates. Following Tuck and Yang’s (2012) classic article setting out why ‘decolonization is not a metaphor’, we argue relatedly that colonialism needs to be understood as more than a metaphor in climate change debates.

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