Toward a contingent urban neoliberalism

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Neoliberal governance has recently come to dominate U.S. and U.K. cities. This discussion explores an important idea that British and American urban geographers now grapple with: contingent urban neoliberalism. Four new understandings about these formations in U.S. and U.K. cities are discussed: they exist in historically and geographically specific forms, they are always complex cultural projects, they are enabled by production and use of space, and they are not end states but evolving processes. I suggest that this political project is anything but a "top-down" brute and desensitized imposition on cities. I believe it is best conceptualized as a series of differentiated, keenly negotiating, processural, and space-mobilizing constructions in new political and economic times. These governances, in general principal, are outgrowths of new economic times and circumstances. But they are constituted and reconstituted through the vagaries of the situated social hierarchies, political cultures, economic bases, and cultural understandings that create a patchwork of wildly varying governances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)771-783
Number of pages13
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004


  • Neoliberalism
  • Urban governance
  • Urban politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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