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Planetary Urbanization and the Right to the City

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In 1989, Henri Lefebvre voiced the hypothesis that the right to the city was nothing more than a “new revolutionary concept of citizenship.” He implied revolutionary citizenship is not a right: it has to be taken, recreated anew, struggled for—not rubber-stamped. Today’s revolutionary citizens are citizens without rights, disenfranchised urban citizens the world over. Revolutionary citizens carry SHADOW PASSPORTS . Our shadow passports express a citizenship waiting in the wings, a solidarity haunting the mainstream, floating through frontiers, across designated checkpoints, sometimes even straying between academic disciplines. For holders of shadow passports, homeland securities and border control agencies know nothing about our true identities; and official maps rarely tell us where to go: they’re useless in helping us re-orientate ourselves, in helping us find ourselves, in helping us discover one another. This paper investigates, and tries to put a fresh spin on Lefebvre right to the city thesis and on the possibilities for participatory democracy.

This talk is part of the Department of Geography - main Departmental seminar series series.

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