International Development Planning Review

After the revolution: from insurgencies to social projects to recover the public city in East and Southeast Asia

International Development Planning Review (2014), 36, (1), 15–32.


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Popular insurgencies are appearing in every quarter of the globe today, showing that networked civil society can achieve political reform in even the most repressive contexts. While discourses on social discontents underlying these insurgencies have tended to focus on state-civil society relations, the discussion here directs attention to contemporary global-urban economic dynamics that are appropriating the urban space for the construction of privately managed corporate cities that are eroding the spatial foundations for associational life and democratic governance. Social mobilisations against these trends are ultimately ephemeral if they do not spread beyond protest movements to generate social projects to create an inclusive public sphere in which residents can directly participate in the social and political life of the city. The discussion draws from experiences in East and Southeast Asia to illustrate the ways in which people are mobilising to reclaim the public city for social and cultural life.

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Author details

Douglass, Mike