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Thursday, March 17 • 7:15am - 8:00am
TH7.15.05 Change the City Without Taking Power (or Really Changing)? A Discussion on Questions of Localism and Regionalism

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The hyper-local scales of “corridors,” neighborhoods, and even yards have become central loci of nominally progressive urban politics. Fueled, in part, by the in-migration of younger residents with access to certain forms of capital and social networks, some areas of the city become the focus of intense reinvestment in “quality of life” issues like bicycle infrastructure and green space. But the region as a whole rarely benefits. Given the legacy of regional planning as a tool that fueled segregation, displacement, and uneven development, many progressive activists, planners, and long-term urban residents are suspicious of large-scale policies. At the same time, recalcitrant homeowners and businesses in wealthy areas still very much embrace a post-1960s fear of programs that might redistribute wealth and opportunity away from their communities across a region. For example, in the San Francisco Bay Area, a new regional jobs, housing, and transportation plan draws ire from left (as gentrification) and right (as “social engineering”). At last year's UAA meeting, we ended our papers with a provocation—what would a regional politics of place look like? Given the above realities, have new forms of progressive politics emerged that can address socio-economic and ecological problems at the regional scale? Is it possible to move from enthusiasm for localist “urbanism” toward alliances across race, class, and place lines to build something like regional equity? Do these politics multiply to remake entire regions? Or are they, as we fear, furthering the uneven spatial distribution of resources and amenities in urban areas? We invite participants to discuss the implications of the above for a regional politics of place, and what alternative regionally-minded progressive politics might already exist. We are particularly interested in city-suburb alliances, land trusts and other decommodification schemes, and new translocal political groupings, but welcome discussion of all ideas and interventions.

avatar for John Stehlin

John Stehlin

University of California, Berkeley
avatar for Alex Tarr

Alex Tarr

Andrew W Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Spatial Humanities, Rice University

Thursday March 17, 2016 7:15am - 8:00am PDT
Indigo Ballroom C/D