The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the City 113892878X, 9781138928787

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The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the City
 113892878X, 9781138928787

Table of contents :
Half Title
Notes on contributors
Introduction: transforming philosophy and the city
Part I Urban philosophies
Section 1 Historical philosophical engagements with cities
1 Plato’s city-soul analogy: the slow train to ordinary virtue
2 Philosophers and the city in early modern Europe
3 Pragmatic engagement in the city: philosophy as a means for catalyzing collective, creative capacity (lessons from John Dewey and Jane Addams)
4 Back to the cave
Section 2 Modern and contemporary philosophical theories of the city
5 Urban philosophy in Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project
6 Henri Lefebvre and the right to the city
7 Foucault and urban philosophy
8 Iris Marion Young’s city of difference
Part II Philosophical engagement with urban issues
Section 1 Urban aesthetics
9 Urban planning and design as an aesthetic dilemma: void versus volume in city-form
10 Architecture and philosophy of the city
11 A philosophy of urban parks
12 Political aesthetics of public art in urban spaces
13 Walking the city: flânerie and flâneurs
14 How might creative placemaking lead to more just cities?
Section 2 Urban politics
15 Beyond deliberation and civic engagement: participatory budgeting and a new philosophy of public power
16 Constructing communities in urban spaces
17 Houselessness
18 Residential segregation and rethinking the imperative of integration
19 Gentrification
20 The Occupy movement and the reappearance of the polis
Section 3 Citizenship
21 City and common space
22 The concept of public space
23 From Good to Progressive Planning
24 Hospitality in sanctuary cities
25 Black Lives Matter and the Ferguson moment: toward a philosophy of urban relegation
26 Nature where you’re not: rethinking environmental spaces and racism
27 Ghost cities: globalization, neo-capitalist speculation, and the empty cities of the Global South
Section 4 Urban environments and the creation/destruction of place
28 Metropolitan growth
29 Environmental philosophy in the city: confronting the antiurban bias to overcome the human-nature divide
30 Zoöpolis: animals in the city
31 Philosophy of the city and transportation justice
32 Returning water to urban life: governmentality of green infrastructure and the emergence of new human-water relations
33 Urban agriculture and environmental imagination
34 Paradox in the city: urban complications regarding climate change and climate justice
Section 5 Urban engagements
35 An agora grows in Brooklyn: an interview with Ian Olasov
36 Reaching out to the underrepresented: an interview with John R. Torrey
37 Blurring the boundaries between the classroom and the city: an interview with Stephen Bloch-Schulman
38 Phronesis Lab: practical wisdom in the city: an interview with Sharyn Clough
39 Doing field philosophy in the gas fields of Texas: an interview with Adam Briggle
40 Engaging cities at home and abroad: connecting our students with urban communities: an interview with Sarah Donovan

Citation preview


The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the City is an outstanding reference source to this exciting subject and the first collection of its kind. Comprising 40 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Handbook is divided into clear sections addressing the following central topics: • Historical Philosophical Engagements with Cities • Modern and Contemporary Philosophical Theories of the City • Urban Aesthetics • Urban Politics • Citizenship • Urban Environments and the Creation/Destruction of Place. The concluding section, Urban Engagements, contains interviews with philosophers discussing their engagement with students and the wider public on issues and initiatives including experiential learning, civic and community engagement, disability rights and access, environmental degradation, professional diversity, social justice, and globalization. Essential reading for students and researchers in environmental philosophy, aesthetics, and political philosophy, The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the City is also a useful resource for those in related fields, such as geography, urban studies, sociology, and political science. Sharon M. Meagher is the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Faculty, and Professor of Philosophy at Marymount Manhattan College, USA. Samantha Noll is an Assistant Professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs at Washington State University, USA, and a bioethicist with the Functional Genomics Initiative. Joseph S. Biehl is the founder and Executive Director of Gotham Philosophical Society, Inc., a federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting philosophy in New York City, USA.


Routledge Handbooks in Philosophy are state-of-the-art surveys of emerging, newly refreshed, and important fields in philosophy, providing accessible yet thorough assessments of key problems, themes, thinkers, and recent developments in research. All chapters for each volume are specially commissioned, and written by leading scholars in the field. Carefully edited and organized, Routledge Handbooks in Philosophy provide indispensable reference tools for students and researchers seeking a comprehensive overview of new and exciting topics in philosophy. They are also valuable teaching resources as accompaniments to textbooks, anthologies, and research-orientated publications. Also available: THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF LOVE IN PHILOSOPHY Edited by Adrienne M. Martin THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF THE PHILOSOPHY AND PSYCHOLOGY OF LUCK Edited by Ian M. Church and Robert J. Hartman THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF EMERGENCE Edited by Sophie Gibb, Robin Hendry, and Tom Lancaster THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF EVIL Edited by Thomas Nys and Stephen de Wijze THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF SOCIAL EPISTEMOLOGY Edited by Peter Graham, Nikolaj Jang Lee, David Henderson, and Miranda Fricker THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF PHILOSOPHY OF THE CITY Edited by Sharon M. Meagher, Samantha Noll, and Joseph S. Biehl For more information about this series, please visit:


Edited by Sharon M. Meagher, Samantha Noll, and Joseph S. Biehl

First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 selection and editorial matter, Sharon M. Meagher, Samantha Noll, and Joseph S. Biehl; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Sharon M. Meagher, Samantha Noll, and Joseph S. Biehl to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-1-138-92878-7 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-68159-7 (ebk) Typeset in Bembo by Apex CoVantage, LLC


Notes on contributors



Introduction: transforming philosophy and the city Samantha Noll, Joseph S. Biehl, and Sharon M. Meagher


Urban philosophies



Historical philosophical engagements with cities


  1 Plato’s city-soul analogy: the slow train to ordinary virtue Nathan Nicol


  2 Philosophers and the city in early modern Europe Ferenc Hörcher


  3 Pragmatic engagement in the city: philosophy as a means for catalyzing collective, creative capacity (lessons from John Dewey and Jane Addams) Danielle Lake   4 Back to the cave Joseph S. Biehl

42 51


Contents SECTION 2

Modern and contemporary philosophical theories of the city


  5 Urban philosophy in Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project65 Frank Cunningham   6 Henri Lefebvre and the right to the city Loren King


  7 Foucault and urban philosophy Kevin Scott Jobe


  8 Iris Marion Young’s city of difference Elyse Purcell



Philosophical engagement with urban issues



Urban aesthetics


  9 Urban planning and design as an aesthetic dilemma: void versus volume in city-form Abraham Akkerman


10 Architecture and philosophy of the city Saul Fisher


11 A philosophy of urban parks Amanda J. Meyer and Charles Taliaferro


12 Political aesthetics of public art in urban spaces Fred Evans


13 Walking the city: flânerie and flâneurs Kathryn Kramer and John Rennie Short


14 How might creative placemaking lead to more just cities? Sharon M. Meagher



Contents SECTION 2

Urban politics


15 Beyond deliberation and civic engagement: participatory budgeting and a new philosophy of public power Alexander Kolokotronis and Michael Menser


16 Constructing communities in urban spaces Brian Elliott


17 Houselessness Kevin Scott Jobe


18 Residential segregation and rethinking the imperative of integration Ronald R. Sundstrom


19 Gentrification Tyler Zimmer


20 The Occupy movement and the reappearance of the polis Chad Kautzer



Citizenship251 21 City and common space Paula Cristina Pereira


22 The concept of public space Brian A.Weiner


23 From Good to Progressive Planning Peter Marcuse


24 Hospitality in sanctuary cities Benjamin Boudou


25 Black Lives Matter and the Ferguson moment: toward a philosophy of urban relegation Paul C.Taylor




26 Nature where you’re not: rethinking environmental spaces and racism Esme G. Murdock


27 Ghost cities: globalization, neo-capitalist speculation, and the empty cities of the Global South Sharon M. Meagher



Urban environments and the creation/destruction of place


28 Metropolitan growth Robert Kirkman


29 Environmental philosophy in the city: confronting the antiurban bias to overcome the human-nature divide Alexandria K. Poole


30 Zoöpolis: animals in the city Cynthia Willett


31 Philosophy of the city and transportation justice Shane Epting


32 Returning water to urban life: governmentality of green infrastructure and the emergence of new human-water relations Irene J. Klaver and J. Aaron Frith 33 Urban agriculture and environmental imagination Samantha Noll 34 Paradox in the city: urban complications regarding climate change and climate justice Michael Goldsby

366 379



Urban engagements


35 An agora grows in Brooklyn: an interview with Ian Olasov


36 Reaching out to the underrepresented: an interview with John R. Torrey




37 Blurring the boundaries between the classroom and the city: an interview with Stephen Bloch-Schulman


38 Phronesis Lab: practical wisdom in the city: an interview with Sharyn Clough


39 Doing field philosophy in the gas fields of Texas: an interview with Adam Briggle


40 Engaging cities at home and abroad: connecting our students with urban communities: an interview with Sarah Donovan





Abraham Akkerman is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, and Associate Member in the Department of Philosophy, University of Saskatchewan, Canada. His research and publications focus on history and philosophy of the built environment, urban planning, and demography. His latest book is Phenomenology of the Winter City (Springer, 2015). Joseph S. Biehl holds a PhD in Philosophy from the City University of New York. He is the founder and Executive Director of Gotham Philosophical Society, Inc., a federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting philosophy in New York City, USA. Stephen Bloch-Schulman is an Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Elon University, USA. He works at the intersection of political philosophy and the scholarship of teaching and learning. He was the inaugural (2017) winner of the Prize for Excellence in Philosophy Teaching, awarded by the American Philosophical Association, the American Association of Philosophy Teachers, and the Teaching Philosophy Association. Benjamin Boudou is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany, in the department of Ethics, Law, and Politics. Adam Briggle holds a PhD in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado and is currently an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Texas, USA. He is the author of several books – most recently A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking (Liveright Publishing, 2015) and, with Robert Frodeman, Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st Century Philosophy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). He founded and served as President of the Denton Drilling Advisory Group, which led the successful Frack Free Denton campaign to ban hydraulic fracturing in the city limits of Denton, Texas, in 2014. He would later be arrested in an act of civil disobedience after the ban was overturned by the Texas state legislature. Sharyn Clough is a Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University, USA. She examines the complex relationship between science and politics, especially the importance of basic peace x

Notes on contributors

skills for deliberation about science policy. She is the Director of Phronesis Lab and the Curriculum Coordinator for the Peace Literacy Project. Frank Cunningham is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Toronto and Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies at Simon Fraser University, Canada. The concluding chapter of his recent The Political Thought of C.B. Macpherson: Contemporary Challenges (Palgrave, 2019) applies Macpherson’s theories to urban issues and problems. Sarah Donovan is a Professor of Philosophy at Wagner College in New York City, USA. Her research interests include feminist and social philosophy; community-engaged philosophy; and equity, diversity, and inclusion in the classroom. She regularly teaches in innovative programs that include interdisciplinary co-teaching and community-based projects. Brian Elliott works at the intersection of political, social, and cultural theory. He has published six books, most recently Natural Catastrophe: Climate Change and Neoliberal Governance (Edinburgh University Press, 2016). Shane Epting is a founding member and the current President of the Philosophy of the City Research Group. He is also an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA. Fred Evans is a Professor of Philosophy, Duquesne University, USA. He is the author of Public Art and the Fragility of Democracy: An Essay in Political Aesthetics (Columbia University Press, 2018), The Multivoiced Body: Society and Communication in the Age of Diversity (Columbia University Press, 2008, 2011), and Psychology and Nihilism: A Genealogical Critique of the Computational Model of Mind (SUNY Press, 1993). Saul Fisher is a Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy and Associate Provost for Research, Grants, and Academic Initiatives at Mercy College, New York, USA. His work in philosophical aesthetics is centered on architecture, for which he was awarded a Graham Foundation grant (2009). J. Aaron Frith is a postdoctoral researcher for the Philosophy of Water Project. His current work brings together the environmental, urban, and political histories of North Texas. Michael Goldsby is a philosopher of science, whose main interests involve the use of scientific models (e.g., climate models) in the production of knowledge as well as how they are used in policy decisions. He also works on a project to provide greater food-energy-water security in the face of a changing climate. Ferenc Hörcher is a political philosopher and philosopher of art. He studied in Budapest, Oxford, and Brussels-Leuven. He is a Professor of Philosophy at Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Hungary, and director of the Institute of Philosophy of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. His research interests include the intellectual history of the city, early modern history of political thought, early modern aesthetic thought, and conservative political thought. Kevin Scott Jobe is an Assistant Professor and Program Head of Philosophy at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, USA. Jobe specializes in 20th-century continental philosophy, critical social theory, and philosophy of the city. He is currently working on a manuscript titled “The Coloniality of Homelessness.” xi

Notes on contributors

Chad Kautzer is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Lehigh University, USA. He is the author of Radical Philosophy: An Introduction (Routledge, 2016) and coeditor of Pragmatism, Nation, and Race: Community in the Age of Empire (Indiana, 2009). Loren King is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada. He is a political philosopher and social scientist who studies water, justice, and democratic legitimacy in cities.​ Robert Kirkman is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA. His research centers on practical ethics and related issues. He has a substantive focus in environmental ethics and policy, especially ethics of the built environment. Irene J. Klaver is a Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Philosophy & Religion, University of North Texas, USA, and Director of the Philosophy of Water Project. She works at the interface of social-political and cultural dimensions of water, with a special interest in urban rivers. Alexander Kolokotronis is a PhD student in political science at Yale University, USA. His research broadly touches on anarchism, participatory democracy, and workers’ self-management. His current research focus is on the general strike, as well as participatory democracy in public schools. Alexander has also written on issues related to municipalism, worker cooperatives, and union democracy for popular publications such as ROAR Magazine, New Politics, and In These Times. Kathryn Kramer is a Professor of Art History in the Art and Art History Department at SUNY College at Cortland, USA. Her scholarship on Paul Klee’s late work has appeared in journal articles, book chapters, and exhibition catalogue essays. She and John Rennie Short have copublished their work on flânerie and globalization since 2011. Her current research focuses on biennialization and the Global South. She has published exhibition reviews of contemporary art in Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism since 2012. Danielle Lake is the Director of Design Thinking and Associate Professor at Elon University, USA. Her scholarship explores the potential for meliorating wicked problems through philosophic activism and collaborative engagement. Recent publications can be found at http:// Peter Marcuse, F.A.I.C.P., has taught urban planning at Columbia University in New York City, USA, for more than 30 years. He is past President of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, is former chair of Community Board 9’s Housing Committee in Manhattan, and has long been active in Planners Network. He has written widely on housing, planning, professional ethics, globalization, and policy issues, with a focus on affordable housing and social justice issues. He retired in 2017. Sharon M. Meagher began her career as a philosophy faculty member at the University of Scranton, USA, where she became active in city life and was the founding president of the Mulberry Central Neighborhood Development Corporation. She is the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Marymount Manhattan College, USA, where she is also a Professor of Philosophy. She was formerly Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Widener University, where she also cofacilitated and developed a creative placemaking project called Building Bridges as part of the Chester Made initiative. She was the cofounder of the xii

Notes on contributors

Public Philosophy Network, where she launched the affinity group on philosophy of the city. She has published on philosophy of the city, contemporary social and political philosophy, and university social responsibility. Michael Menser is an Assistant Professor who teaches Philosophy and Urban Sustainability Studies at Brooklyn College, USA, and Earth and Environmental Sciences and Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center, USA. He is the author of We Decide! Theories and Cases in Participatory Democracy (Temple, 2018) and is a contributor to Prospects for Resilience: Insights from New York City’s Jamaica Bay (Island, 2016). He is the cofounder and President of the Board of the Participatory Budgeting Project, and his research and publications are on participatory democracy and public participation, particularly as they pertain to socio-ecological resilience, technology, food, and environmental justice with respect to governance. Amanda J. Meyer is a graduate student in the Natural Resources Science and Management Program at the University of Minnesota, USA. She is an environmental sociologist with a focus on urban ecosystems, including urban parks and urban natural resources. Esme G. Murdock is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at San Diego State University, USA. Her research explores the intersections of social-political relations and environmental health, integrity, and agency. She has work appearing in Environmental Values and the Journal of Global Ethics. Nathan Nicol is a Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs and in the Honors College at Washington State University, USA. His main interests are in Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. Samantha Noll is an Assistant Professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs (PPPA) at Washington State University, USA. She is also the bioethicist affiliated with the Functional Genomics Initiative, which marshals genome editing to control disease in livestock and feed a growing population. Her research and teaching focuses on ethical and philosophical topics in food and agriculture. In particular, she publishes widely on topics such as how values impact consumer uptake of agricultural products, local food movements, and the application of genomics technology. She contributes to the fields of bioethics (ethics of biotechnology), philosophy of food, and environmental philosophy. Ian Olasov is a graduate student in philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center, USA. He is the founder and organizer of Brooklyn Public Philosophers and Secretary of the Public Philosophy Network. His writing for a general audience has appeared in Vox, Slate, and Public Seminar. Paula Cristina Pereira is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Porto (Portugal) and she teaches Philosophical Anthropology; Public Space: Themes and Problems; Ethics and Politics, Philosophical Education, and Social Development. In addition she is Director of the Doctoral Program in Philosophy and she is Principal Researcher of the Philosophy and Public Space Research Group of the Institute of Philosophy (R&D Unit). She has been a visiting professor in some European universities, as well as in Brazilian and Mozambican universities. Her current research focuses on the human and urban condition; on the philosophy of the city and public space; and on the contemporary meanings of commons. She has published eight books, book chapters, and multiple papers in national and international journals. xiii

Notes on contributors

Alexandria K. Poole is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Legal Studies at Elizabethtown College, USA. Her research focuses on urban sustainability and environmental ethics to develop avenues for social and environmental justice within education, development, and policy. Elyse Purcell is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta, USA, and the Secretary-Treasurer of the American Philosophical Association Central Division. Her research focuses on how various forms of disability present challenges for identity, moral personhood, virtue, and social justice. John Rennie Short is a Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, USA. He is author of 48 books and many academic articles. Recent books include Hosting the Olympic Games (Routledge, 2018) and The Unequal City (Routledge, 2018). His work has been translated into Chinese, Czech, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. His writing also appears throughout the popular press in Associated Press, Business Insider, Citiscope, City Metric, Market Watch, Newsweek, Quartz, Salon, Slate, Time, US News and World Report, The Washington Post, and The World Economic Forum. Ronald R. Sundstrom is a Professor and former Chair of Philosophy and member of the African-American Studies and Critical Diversity Studies programs at the University of San Francisco. In addition, he is the Vice Director of the Philosophy of the City Research Group and coproducer of the San Francisco Urban Film Fest. His areas of research include philosophy of race, political and social philosophy, and African-American philosophy. He has published several essays and a book in these areas, including The Browning of America and The Evasion of Social Justice (SUNY, 2008). His current book project is on gentrification, integration, and racial equality. Charles Taliaferro is a Professor of Philosophy and a member of Environmental Studies, St. Olaf College, USA. He is the author or editor of 30 books. He writes on environmental ethics and agrarianism. Paul C. Taylor is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, USA. He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Morehouse College, a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, and a PhD in philosophy from Rutgers University. His research focuses primarily on aesthetics, social and political philosophy, critical race theory, and Africana philosophy. His books include On Obama and Black is Beautiful: A Philosophy of Black Aesthetics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), which received the 2017 Monograph Prize from the American Society for Aesthetics. He has also provided commentary on four continents for print and broadcast outlets, including Xinhua News and the BBC. John R. Torrey is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Provost Doctoral Fellow at SUNY Buffalo State, USA. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Morehouse College, and a master’s degree and PhD in philosophy from the University of Memphis. Brian A. Weiner is an Associate Professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco, USA. He is the author of Sins of the Parents:The Politics of National Apologies in the United States (Temple University Press, 2005) and is currently completing a manuscript tentatively entitled “Visual Cacophony: Contemporary Public Visual Culture, Democratic Theory and Practice.”


Notes on contributors

Cynthia Willett is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy at Emory University, USA. She has a coauthored book with historian Julie Willett, A Theory of Humor: How Feminists, Animals, and Other Subversives Talk Truth, forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press. Her other authored books include Interspecies Ethics (Columbia University Press, 2014); Irony in the Age of Empire: Comic Perspectives on Freedom and Democracy (Indiana University Press, 2008); The Soul of Justice: Racial Hubris and Social Bonds (Cornell University Press, 2001); and Maternal Ethics and Other Slave Moralities (Routledge, 1995). She edited Theorizing Multiculturalism (WileyBlackwell, 1998). Current projects are on music and disaster ethics. Tyler Zimmer teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Northeastern Illinois University, USA. His research focuses on inequality, with special emphasis on race, class, and gender. He also frequently writes for nonacademic publications such as Slate, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Jacobin. He lives in Chicago, where he is involved in a variety of activist initiatives relating to housing, policing, and public schooling.


INTRODUCTION Transforming philosophy and the city Samantha Noll, Joseph S. Biehl, and Sharon M. Meagher

Part I: why philosophy? why cities? Since the 1960s, the field of urban studies has blossomed in the United States and the United Kingdom, but philosophers participated very little until recently. We are now seeing Western philosophy both return to its urban roots and develop in new directions that ancient Greek philosophers based in Athens never could have imagined. Of all the disciplines, philosophy is one of the most ancient, and it is rooted in ancient cities; indeed, we could argue that philosophy was demanded by the new political form of the city that developed in Athens. Ancient Athenian philosophers were called to reflect on the meaning of the good city, the good life, and good citizenship. “When urban riots erupted around the world in 1968, scholars turned their attention to the cities. . . . Now many colleges and universities also house urban outreach centers that connect academics and community members . . . [these] programs are emblematic of an academic recommitment to cities, to public scholarship, and to civic engagement” (Meagher 2008: 1). Philosophers were slow to embrace the return to the city, but that has now changed. This volume is the product of philosophy’s recommitment to cities, as scholars rediscover and embrace the classical dedication to public philosophy and to serving the wider community. This introductory chapter provides an overview of both the content of the urban questions that contemporary philosophers of the city are addressing and the new philosophical methodologies and practices that are being developed, in real time, as philosophers reengage with these questions. If Western philosophy was born in the city, why did the discipline retreat from it for so many years? This question is worthy of its own book-length treatise. But we might briefly say that with the rise of the nation-state and the development of modern science, public problems became the purview of a new field of knowledge called social science. Depending on who is telling the story, either philosophers lost some of their turf to social scientists or they conceded it. It seems likely to be a bit of both. Machiavelli is more often read as the founder of political science rather than as a philosopher because of his insistence on attention to the problems of power and the shift of politics from the city-state to the nation-state. Given that philosophers increasingly focused on thinking about universal concepts (Mendieta 2001: 203), Machiavelli was seen as breaking from philosophy.


Samantha Noll et al.

With a long tradition that dates back to various forms of Platonic idealism, many philosophers have understood their task as one that makes universal claims divorced from particulars of time and place, and philosophy as such, seemingly “located nowhere, causes us to often to dismiss philosophy that explicitly and consciously locates itself in the city” (Meagher 2007: 8). The changing understandings of the task of the philosopher and what constituted appropriate subject matter for philosophy has made it difficult for most to recognize urban philosophical thinking as philosophy. There is an entire urban philosophical canon from the 19th and 20th centuries that remains unknown to most philosophers but that was rediscovered by social scientists seeking theoretical frameworks for their research. Philosophers such as Henri Lefebvre play central roles in urban geography, and yet Lefebvre receives little or no attention from philosophers in traditional surveys of Western philosophy. Other philosophers such as Iris Marion Young and Hannah Arendt are well known to political philosophers, but most readers pay scant attention to their works on the city. Definitions of what is and is not philosophy have influenced both philosophers’ relationship to the city, but also the way in which both philosophers and the public read the engaged intellectual. Often these works are classified as social science rather than philosophy. But philosophy of the city is now becoming a recognizable and fast-growing subfield of philosophy. Critiques of various forms of philosophical idealism and “ivory tower” philosophy have caused many philosophers to rethink the discipline and ground it in everyday life and in specific political forms. The city has reemerged as a key political form, given that recent trends in globalization have caused the urbanization of life for the majority of the world’s population and the creation of megacities with economies and knowledge networks that dwarf most nation-states (Magnussen 2012; Meagher 2013; Mendieta 2007). In several key subfields of philosophy, there have been turning points that have opened up new directions for philosophy, allowing philosophers to participate in an articulation of urban values and ideals and to engage in philosophical reflection on urban issues and problems (Epting 2016; Meagher 2008; Cunningham 2005). The new developments in philosophy of the city bring traditionally recognized subdisciplines of philosophy to bear while also raising new questions about the discipline and its engagement with public life. In political philosophy, for example, the (re)turn to the city became most visible in Iris Marion Young’s last chapter of Justice and the Politics of Difference (1990), where Young asks whether the city might not hold the promise for a situated political ideal that recognizes and negotiates difference in positive ways. Interceding in the debate between liberals and communitarians, Young argued that our experiences of the best that city life promised offered a third option. But Young’s chapter has taken on a life that Young could not have anticipated, as it has served as “the” contemporary philosophical essay on cities at a time when political philosophers were being pressed to address cities as a reemerging central political form and social scientists needed new theories to frame their work. We have included a chapter by Elyse Purcell to highlight Young’s importance and influence. Environmental philosophers have argued in recent years that it was an error of early environmental philosophy to bracket out the city from its purview. According to Epting, “environmental philosophers have been emphasizing this point for years, urging their fellows to pay attention to urban issues” (2016: 101). Philosophers including Gunn (1998: 341), King (2000: 115–131), Light (2001: 7), and Kirkman (2004: 202) initiated the critique that the city is missing from discussions in environmental philosophy, arguing that many environmental philosophers wrongly conceive of urban areas as separate from the ecological world that make these settlements possible.The chapters in this volume by Alexandria K. Poole, Cynthia Willett, Michael Goldsby, and Samantha Noll frame their engagement with the city through an environmental lens. Alexandria 2


K. Poole discusses the rich history of environmental movements and environmental philosophy in urban areas. Michael Goldsby turns the philosophical lens on climate change mitigation and Samantha Noll explores the value-laden project of rekindling agricultural production and foodways in the city. But environmental philosophy is not the only subfield of philosophy that has taken an urban turn. As readers will see in this volume, there are philosophers who are making meaningful contributions in many other areas where philosophers historically have failed to attend to cities and urban life, examining urban architecture and planning, transportation, citizenship, housing policy, migration policy, social justice, and democratic ideals.

What is philosophy of the city? In order to understand what philosophy of the city encompasses and why it is important today, we might first ask what we mean by “city.” As philosophical investigation grew out of the polis, this discipline was one of the first fields to grapple with metaphysical questions concerning the nature of the city, what separates a good one from a bad one, and what capabilities separate urban from rural areas. As the study of the city has splintered into different disciplines and the city itself has taken different forms over time and across cultures, we now see that there are vastly different conceptions and definitions of urban areas. For example, cities can be defined by measuring the extent of built up or developed areas, impervious surfaces, number and type of architectural structures, or population density (see Potere et al. 2009: 6532; Bagan & Yamagata 2012: 210; Kirkman in this volume). Urban ecology often separates urban areas from other spaces in qualitative terms or as areas under intensive human control (McIntyre, KnowlesYánez, Hope 2008; Marcotullio & Solecki 2013). In contrast, social scientists often prioritize high population density over human influence (McIntyre et al. 2008). The lack of a common definition about the city has motivated some philosophers to try to develop a unified one and to see that task as one that is central to contemporary philosophy (Uchiyama & Mori 2014), while others have argued that such work is unnecessary. In addition to these conflicts concerning the criterion that defines “the city” or even “the urban,” there are also disparate views on the primary function of cities. Following Aristotle, one can argue that these disputes also involve metaphysics, for the nature of a thing might be understood in light of its function. Cities are commonly conceived as having a wide range of primary functions for society, such as economic areas, centers of production, political centers, cultural and social hubs, and so on (Meagher 2008; Uchiyama & Mori 2017). These disparate ways of understanding what cities do often illustrate fundamental tensions in cities themselves. For example, according to Uchiyama and Mori, contemporary cities are thought to exist to help communities benefit “from their agglomeration effects such as scale of economy, positive externality, accumulation of labor force, and spillover effects of knowledge” (2017: 345). However, cities often include slum areas along their peripheries, as the poor from rural areas migrate into urban spaces in order to pursue better opportunities (UNPF 2011). This vision of contemporary cities encapsulates the rise of economic disparity that results from the goal of intense capital accumulation. In addition, cities can be understood as main contributors to climate change (Baumgärtner & Quaas 2010) but are also conceived as spaces where long-term environmental sustainability initiatives are gaining traction (Spiekermann, Wegener, & Wegener 2003). The city has raised important questions in metaphysics at least since ancient Athens, as we raise existential questions about human nature and ourselves as social-political beings as well as questions about the one and the many. As Meagher has argued, though, “the conditions that 3

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made intellectual life in Ancient Athens possible were . . . dependent on the existence of an invisible city of women and slaves that fueled the economic engine of the city” (2007: 8; see also Meagher 2008: 4). Moreover, few philosophers still hold to an understanding of metaphysics as First Philosophy – that is, as the foundation of all things. In recent years, the metaphysical questions are also linked to questions about how we positively recognize diversity, and cities – as the social-political form that we think of as most diverse, reemerge as central to how we think about intersection of gender, race, class, and other identities. These conflicts concerning what cities are and the functions that cities perform (or should perform) provide an explanation as to why philosophy of the city is once again moving to the forefront of philosophical analysis. Such ontological and ethical questions are part and parcel of this field. Without some understanding of the many forms that a city can take and an analysis of the power dimensions of their functions, we will continue to struggle with conflicts that arise due to competing visions of urban spaces. Indeed, it appears that we are once again back in Ancient Greece, critically reflecting on the structure of settlements and what separates a “good” city from a “bad” one. The contemporary philosopher of the city is working to (a) flesh out accurate conceptions of the city and/or aspects of urban life, (b) interrogate taken-for-granted assumptions concerning its structure and functions, and (c) identify new structures and meanings that could take hold in the future (Epting 2016; Meagher 2008). These investigations in turn have raised new questions about the nature of citizenship. Although the term “citizen” is rooted in the “city,” citizenship was generally discussed in terms of the rights and responsibilities of members of nation-states during the 19th and 20th centuries. But the increased visibility of stateless persons and new trends in migration have both turned us back to Kant’s concept of cosmopolitanism and toward a radical rethinking of citizenship that might be grounded in claims to the right to the city or claims to global citizenship unbound from state membership. In aesthetics, philosophers have long weighed in on questions of urban design and architecture as well as the roles of nature and culture in cities, but these questions are taking new turns in several directions. A range of philosophers from Henri Lefebvre to Edward Casey have spurred a renewed interest in the role of place and everyday life, opening up new paths for philosophers to think about architecture, public art, public space, and green space in cities. Taken together, these directions in philosophy of the city offer both philosophers and urban social scientists new ways to connect theory and practice so that we might address some of the greatest challenges of our time. The purpose of The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the City is to gather those essays together to provide a state of the subfield so that we can open up new directions in urban studies. The multifaceted nature of urban contexts also brings unique challenges to the field – challenges that require creative developments in the discipline. In the next section we highlight some of those developments, particularly in terms of methodology.

Part II: methodology: how urban engagement challenges our understanding of philosophy and its methods As we noted in Part I of this chapter, Western philosophy was born in the city – in the polis of Athens to be exact. All of us familiar with Socrates as depicted by Plato in his dialogues (and there is other historical evidence to corroborate at least some of this depiction), know Socrates as the philosopher of the agora, or the marketplace. Socratic method, his way of engaging in dialogue with various public participants, is well known. But it has come to be used in the classroom rather than on the streets, and this retreat of philosophy to the academy may be, as we argued above, both a symptom and a cause of historical shifts in our understanding of both 4


the task of the philosopher and the methods appropriate to that task. In this section, we briefly explore those methodological shifts in philosophy so that we might better appreciate the new methodologies being employed by contemporary philosophers of the city. Classic Greek philosophers, most notably Socrates, thought that “the unexamined life – a life without philosophy – was not worth living. And the life of philosophy was nurtured within the walls of the city” (Meagher 2008: 3). The field of philosophy then, as envisioned during its birth, recognized a deep connection between urban life and the practice of doing philosophy. This critical reflection could be understood as a dialog between citizens, as they explore key questions together, such as what it means to live a good life, what form a settlement should take, and what duties fellow citizens have to one another and to the polis itself. This exploration was intensely place-based and community focused, as philosophical reflection was used for the edification of the citizens living in the polis. Socrates’s apparent refusal to commit his teachings to writing might be understood as his prioritization of living dialogue, electing to spend his days in community and civic centers, engaging in dialogs with fellow citizens (Plato 2010). It is this sort of engagement that is largely neglected today in the historical wake of philosophical discussion moving from the streets and into the ivory tower.

Conventional Western philosophical method(s) Philosophical discussions have become so highly specialized as to be esoteric, and the critical reflection on questions that guide the very shape and tenor of daily life has ceased to be a community-based practice. Today, philosophical inquiry predominantly occurs in professional journals, rarely read by those outside philosophical subdisciplines, or in college classrooms, with tuition serving as a “pay-to-play” requirement that many cannot meet. The type of Socratic dialogue portrayed in Plato’s dialogues is now often read and practiced as what Janice Moulton terms “an adversarial method” (Moulton 1993: 14–15). Here “the philosophical enterprise is seen as an unimpassioned debate between adversaries who try to defend their own views against counterexamples and produce counterexamples to opposing views” (Moulton 1993: 14). This method has become the privileged way that Western philosophers conduct themselves philosophically, while other types of philosophical engagement are understood to be “unphilosophical,” thus pushing those who utilize different methods and methodologies outside the disciplinary boundaries of philosophy as defined by mainstream academic philosophers (Dotson 2011: 201). When philosophers address contemporary issues, they often do so in what might be understood as a “top-down” approach, in the sense that the ivory tower philosopher chooses a philosophical position or text and then applies it to the given subject. For instance, applied branches of philosophy (such as business ethics and bioethics) have historically adopted a naïve understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in which philosophical theories are applied to questions that arise in the specific area being explored. Heather Douglas argues that it has become increasingly apparent that the “application of traditional theories rarely provides either the philosophical insight or the practical guidance needed” (2010: 322). She concludes that “coming into a complex context . . . with a particular theory [e.g., a Kantian approach] and attempting to simply apply that theory rarely provides much assistance or illumination” (Douglas 2010: 322). The adversarial and applied or top-down approaches to philosophy limit the questions that philosophers view as philosophical, since only some issues lend themselves to these methodologies. Moreover, these methods tend to place the philosopher in the role of critic rather than problem-solver, and they provide little ability to posit alternative frameworks for resolving complex issues. 5

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Current conventional methodologies employed by philosophers have come under fire, as scholars turn their critical eye to the methodologies that guide philosophical investigation. Robert Solomon argues that “our critical scrutiny today should be turned on the word ‘philosophy’ itself . . . to realize that what was once a liberating concept has today become constricted, oppressive, and ethnocentric” (2001: 101). Dotson’s argument builds on the critiques of Moulton and Solomon, arguing that the dominant methodologies both yield little meaningful knowledge and can be harmful to diverse practitioners in the field. As Dotson puts it, “Academic philosophy is structured in such a way that established trends in philosophical thought delimit what questions can be addressed, and this is reinforced by the dominant conception of philosophy as critique; this effectively marginalizes problems and/or concerns of diverse people that do not fit comfortably within an already set disciplinary agenda” (2011: 407). There are increasing pressures both within and outside the discipline of philosophy for the discipline to transform itself. A new generation of publicly engaged philosophers is being shaped by the concern for (and growing legitimacy of) practical and applied ethics, feminist and critical race theories, and other new subdisciplines. This is a development that has been promoted by the changing demographics of the discipline: As more women of all ethnicities and races, more men of color, and more working-class persons have entered the discipline, they have insisted that philosophy be practiced in ways that address the questions salient to their experiences and their histories. Together with the allies they have cultivated, these thinkers are transforming the discipline in multiple ways to ensure its relevance. It is becoming increasingly clear that philosophy needs new methodologies beyond the topdown theoretical application, the adversarial method, and other non-collaborative approaches (Dotson 2011; Moulton 1993). This is particularly true for philosophy of the city, as the complexity of the city and its issues demand more from us philosophers. Philosophers of the city are engaged in the development of new methods and methodologies, effectively expanding the ways that philosophers can conduct themselves philosophically beyond the adversarial method. Within this context, philosophy of the city is transformative as it pushes back against the delimitation of what questions can be asked and opens up philosophical analysis to a wider circle of impacted parties. The chapters in this volume suggest a new typology of emerging and established philosophical methodologies that have both been shaped by philosophers’ growing interest in cities and in turn opened up the subfield of philosophy of the city to address a greater range of urban questions and issues. In this way, philosophy of the city contributes to the discipline of philosophy itself, as urban areas act as a catalyst forcing the field to develop new methodological approaches.

Intradisciplinarity The complexity of cities and urban contexts demands that philosophers with interests in the city must be prepared to engage with one or more subfields of philosophy. According to Epting (2016), this type of work constitutes a new type of research in the field, as it requires the development of methodologies that have the elasticity to weigh a myriad of factors. In contrast to interdisciplinary research, or work that draws from at least two disciplines, “intra-disciplinary approaches require insights from two or more sub-fields from a single discipline. Although a philosopher can rely on interdisciplinary research to support an intra-disciplinary argument, he or she employs two or more of philosophy’s subfields to build a case” (Epting 2016: 104). This could include a fusion of any of the main branches of philosophy, such as logic, metaphysics, epistemology, social and political philosophy, ethics, and so on. This requires a different kind of scholarship than many of us have been trained to do. The chapters by Saul Fisher, Peter 6


Marcuse, Shane Epting, and Fred Evans in this volume provide examples of intradisciplinary methodologies. Fisher provides an illuminating discussion of social and political considerations of architecture. He interweaves political, ethical, and ontological philosophical approaches in their analyses. In a similar vein, Evans draws on aesthetics and social and political philosophy when discussing the multifaceted impacts of public art in the city. Epting’s entry in this volume on transportation justice likewise demonstrates how an adequate treatment of the phenomena must include insights from environmental philosophy, the philosophy of technology, and ethics, as well as work from both the “continental” and “analytic” traditions.

Inter- or multidisciplinarity Most philosophers of the city must engage in inter- or multidisciplinary work, and we also see that social scientists are turning increasingly to philosophical concepts to provide a framework for their analyses. In short, we require different types of critical dialogue and exchange between the disciplines if we are to improve our understanding of cities and move toward more just policies and practices. In Sharon M. Meagher’s chapter “Ghost Cities” in this volume, she makes a compelling case for the need for philosophers to understand social scientific evidence if philosophers are to address the important social justice issues arising in both global cities discourse and in actual globalization policies. Ronald R. Sundstrom makes a similar case for our understanding of racial segregation. Social scientific data is an important source to help us understand the urban phenomena that we are addressing. At the same time, philosophers’ engagement with social scientific data can also reveal problematic definitions and assumptions in that work. Paul C. Taylor’s chapter on Black Lives Matter places philosophical analysis in conversation with evidence grounded in social science. Tyler Zimmer’s analysis of the problem of gentrification utilizes empirical research, as he explores the tensions between equality and efficiency, occupancy and removal of tenants, and the push to commodify basic needs, such as housing. And Kevin Scott Jobe’s chapter on houselessness interrogates the ways that social scientific definitions, assumptions, and therefore policy are shaped by particular political agendas. He further argues that those definitions also affect our understandings of philosophical concepts such as autonomy and agency. Benjamin Boudou’s chapter on sanctuary cities traces the political philosophical history of the ideas of hospitality and sanctuary against the sanctuary city movement that has developed globally. In doing so, he both offers a critique of some assumptions and practices while at the same time shows how the movement can and should influence our thinking about these philosophical concepts. Paula Cristina Pereira engages in similarly methodology in her discussion of common spaces, as do Amanda J. Meyer and Charles Taliaferro in their discussion about parks and Kathryn Kramer and John Rennie Short in their chapter on urban walking. Additionally, social scientists are drawing on philosophical concepts to frame their discussions. Urban planner Peter Marcuse discusses the power and promise of designing cities from a concept of “Good Planning.” Philosophers engaged in urban environmental questions must also engage evidence from the natural sciences. Michael Goldsby’s chapter “Paradox in the City: Urban Complications Regarding Climate Change and Climate Justice” shows the importance of informed engagement with climate science and its methodology if philosophers hope to offer compelling discussion of what a morally just approach to this challenge will look like. Cynthia Willett takes a deeply interdisciplinary approach to recovering what we have lost in our understanding of animals and animal life in the city. 7

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The urban public philosopher Many philosophers of the city understand themselves as public philosophers, and public philosophy can take many forms, including (as we noted earlier) those who utilize scientific research and data to address issues of shared public concern. This work may also demand that the philosophers engage in their own field work. Ronald R. Sundstrom’s work on gentrification, for example, has involved a great deal of research on the ground; Sundstrom attended community meetings, interviewed activists, and listened to those most affected by housing policies.

Community-based research and other types of urban engagement Sometimes that field work takes the form of participant observation. In this volume, Chad Kautzer writes about the Occupy movement and draws heavily on journalism and other reports for his analysis, but also participated in Occupy Denver. Sharon M. Meagher’s chapter on creative placemaking draws heavily on her own work as a scholar-activist partnering with both other faculty and with local community-based artists to make change in the city of Chester, Pennsylvania. Meagher’s chapter on global cities draws heavily on the scholarship of others, but also on her direct experiences in Kigali, Rwanda, and Doha, Qatar. In networks composed primarily of analytic philosophers, the term “field philosopher” is gaining traction to help us understand this methodological approach. Danielle Lake’s chapter provides some very different examples of philosophical “field work,” drawing attention to the work of Andrew Light, who served as a member of President Obama’s United Nations Climate Change. This sort of “formalized” engagement in policy-making is usefully contrasted with the sort of civic activism embodied by Grace Lee Boggs. But as Lake shows in her chapter, looking to the precedent set by John Dewey and Jane Addams, philosophers can find any number of ways to multiply their impact by stepping outside of the academy. In contrast to conventional philosophical methodologies that aim to apply theory to practice, community-based or engaged philosophical investigations begin from the contexts where the questions being explored arise (Lindemann, Verkerk, & Urban 2009). The analysis is collaborative, as contextual factors play a key role in shaping epistemologies (Zagzebski 2015) and methodologies (Harding 2015) and how these are applied (Noll 2017). Epting (2016) calls this type of work “trans-disciplinary,” or work that begins by engaging with the community itself (in social, political, and cultural contexts) and uses this engagement as the basis for philosophical inquiry. Both philosophical and scientific work utilizing a transdisciplinary methodology conceptualizes theoretical work in the larger framework of “cultural ideas, subjective experiences of the researchers involved in the research process, and of imagination and the artful creation of possible new realities” (Dieleman 2017: 170). With approximately 3.6 of seven billion people on this planet living in urban areas (UN DESA 2017), the city is the natural choice for reviving community-based philosophical investigation in the tradition of the Greeks. As urban residents live in areas whose definition literally includes tensions and paradoxes, they are uniquely situated to develop community-based or bottom-up, rather than top-down, approaches to philosophical investigation. As Meagher and Feder (2010) have argued, philosophical methods that demand that we apply philosophical theories to issues or problems place philosophers in the problematic role of expert. Where the expert claims authority, the public philosopher in contrast “should understand their work as ‘public work’ (Boyte & Kari 1996) that is co-built in dialogue with various public constituents” (Meagher & Feder 2010: 10). This entails a recognition of the value of community-based knowledge. In this conception, public philosophers do not remain above or 8


outside the fray but acknowledge their stakes in the discussions (as members of various publics themselves) and their locations in it (Meagher & Feder 2010: 10). Alexander Kolokotronis and Michael Menser demonstrate the value of understanding how to navigate the political and economic topography of the particular cities with which urban philosophers attempt to engage. This kind of engagement receives especially illuminating discussion in Kolokotronis and Menser’s chapter on participatory budgeting (PB). Reflecting on how Menser’s work with various communities and organizations (including the nonprofit he co-founded, Participatory Budgeting Project) has shaped his role as “public” philosopher, Kolokotronis and Menser note: It is of various types of ethical and political import, and epistemic advantage, to tie yourself to some non-academic group within your field of inquiry whether it’s aesthetics or democratic theory. By “tie” I don’t just mean “connect,” but to join, or even better, to be enjoined. In this sense a public philosopher becomes responsive to the needs and aspirations of some constituency or audience, and maybe even interactively accountable to them. In my case with participatory budgeting, this happened with regard to my role in the design and maintenance of various participatory budgeting processes in several cities and my own university. Here it’s not just about what my view of participatory democracy wants to see in a process. Rather, the construction of the process is dialogic and deliberative; yes, there are values that guide, but communities sometimes diverge in their understandings of the core PB values of inclusion, empowerment, and equity. And part of the mission of participation is to empower, to create a sense of ownership. Here “public” means sharing power plus creative collaboration. (this volume: 189) Here Kolokotronis and Menser capture the crucial function of the civically oriented philosopher as facilitator: to seriously engage in philosophical activity with members of wider community demands that one collaborate and share rather than dispense. What philosophers “in the field” have learned is that only by working with (and refraining from lecturing to or at) can they actually provide the people they engage with the benefit of their own training, skills, and expertise. The chapters by Kolokotronis and Menser and Joseph S. Biehl, as well as the “Urban Engagements” interviews with Ian Olasov, John R. Torrey, Sarah Donovan, Sharyn Clough, Adam Briggle, and Stephen Bloch-Schulman all provide further examples of how philosophers can make the public – rather than the profession – their priority. Kolokotronis and Menser show what is involved in getting elected officials to empower their constituents by allowing the responsibility of budgeting to be a participatory endeavor. Briggle has used philosophical engagement with his students and his local community to successfully campaign for a ban on the use of hydraulic fracking in the town of Denton, Texas. Olasov provides a wonderful example of the “meet people where they are” approach when he sets up an “Ask a Philosopher” booth at crossroads and public gathering spots in New York City, and curious pedestrians are then invited to pick a topic to discuss, or to ask a question and start a discussion of their own. Biehl’s Young Philosophers of New York, Clough’s Phronesis Lab at Oregon State University, and Donovan’s experiential learning projects with students in Port Richmond, as well as the Philosophical Horizons program in Memphis that Torrey worked with, are all unique examples of the growing commitment among professional philosophers to positively impact the lives of students before they arrive at college. 9

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The turn to the city has also caused a shift in the orientation of many philosophers as more philosophers are attempting to engage the people with whom they share the city in addition to their colleagues in the academy. In the last section of this volume, we highlight interviews with philosophers who are doing this sort of work, which we might call the public or urban philosopher as facilitator. These philosophers are engaged in a return to the Socratic example of philosophizing in the agora, with philosophers going (literally as well as figuratively) where the audiences are, in the spaces where they live, work, and entertain themselves. This difference in orientation and context changes not only the dynamic of the philosophical interactions themselves but the relative positions of the participants. Socrates referred to himself as a “midwife,” someone who helped give birth to knowledge that was already within his interlocutor but struggling to come to life in a coherent form. Hence today’s urbanized philosophers increasingly present themselves to their audiences not as “professors” or “experts” dispensing their own wisdom but as “facilitators” of conversations and investigations that principally belong to the citizens themselves. Addressing general, nonacademic audiences sounds simple, and perhaps suggests to some that all that all one needs to do is to dumb down one’s presentation by limiting the amount of technical vocabulary one uses, if not eliminating it all together. Being able to communicate philosophical ideas directly to an audience that is not immersed in “the literature” and unfamiliar with professional philosophers’ terms of art is indeed important, but as those who pursue this work know well, rather than dumbing down the philosophy, general audience engagement challenges the philosophers to exercise skills that enable them to recover the connections between philosophical investigations to the thought-provoking features of our shared lived experience. Those connections are often lost in the sort of interaction that characterizes the academic scholarship and discourse, yet, as Olasov notes, it is usually the conundrums of ordinary life that generate philosophical inquiry in the first place. The Gotham Philosophical Society (GPS), for example, has sought to make those connections vivid through a series of events called “A Lawyer, a Poet, and a Philosopher Walk Into a Bar,” which is exactly that – a collaboration between a lawyer, a poet, and a philosopher who approach a topic that matters to each of us (e.g., truth, love, money, misery) and proceed to explore it from legal, artistic, and philosophical perspectives. A notable feature of these events is the predominance of the philosophical in the ensuing audience-driven discussion.This is not due to the philosopher’s contribution being more significant, but from the fact that even the artistic and legal presentations prompt reflections of an inherently philosophical character. People will philosophize if they are inspired to do so. Shifting the philosopher’s focus from presenting a tightly argued position in conceptual space to collaborating with one’s fellow citizens results not in diluted versions of academic colloquia and conference proceedings, but in community-building enterprises where people with varying backgrounds and experiences jointly attempt to gain helpful insight into the human condition. As Biehl mentions in his contribution to this volume, philosophers are also attempting to direct some of their writing to engage citizens and policy makers at a more local level, making contributions to their community’s discussions, debates, and deliberations on such workaday issues as educational, environmental, and electoral (for example) policies and practices. The Gotham Philosophical Society’s Φ on New York, an online magazine project, for example, is predicated on the refusal to see these sorts of matters as “outside” or “beneath” the scope of philosophical relevance. On the contrary, these are the issues that are of the greatest consequence for the day-to-day welfare of the city’s inhabitants. The goal of this effort, therefore, is to foster a deeper, more thoughtful, and argumentatively “sound” process through which the city comes to regulate the lives of its citizens and sets its future course.



Projects in the recuperation of the history of Western philosophy in and for the city The discussion of new methodologies requires us to ask whether and how there is room for more conventional approaches to philosophical research. And the answer is yes! Given the critiques of conventional methodologies, it is important that we expand what “counts” as philosophy, and, as we noted earlier and is evident in this volume, philosophers of the city are leaders in making these moves. Both the development of intra-, inter-, and transdisciplinary philosophical methodologies (Epting 2016) and the various engaged philosophical practices that we summarize above are important contributions to the discipline of philosophy as a whole and also allow for philosophy to make meaningful contributions to urban studies. But those moves also demand the kind of conventional close readings and interpretations of philosophical texts that have traditionally been the stock in trade of philosophers. Part I of this volume therefore feature chapters that engage in the recuperation of the history of Western philosophy in and for the city. There are also chapters throughout the volume that engage in a history of philosophical thinking about key concepts in urban planning and/or policy as a way of helping us better understand and reflect on contemporary urban policy, practices, and conditions. Abraham Akkerman’s chapter on the philosophical history of the aesthetics of urban planning and design is one such example.

Part III: content: the subject(s) of philosophy of the city Part I of this volume, “Urban Philosophies,” includes chapters that help us reorient philosophy toward the city through a reinterpretation and recuperation of philosophies in the Western tradition that provide important theoretical frameworks or lenses through which to view the city. Contemporary essays on key historical figures in the first section of the book will both help philosophers trained in varying traditions understand how they can draw on that tradition to inform urban work and orient nonphilosophers to a possible canon of works that provide theoretical lenses. It will further give background in the history of philosophy to provide an intellectual context useful to urban planners, urban geographers, and other social scientists who often lack deep background in the history of philosophy and its traditions but need urban theory to frame their own work. The chapters by Nathan Nicol, Joseph S. Biehl, Ferenc Hörcher, and Danielle Lake take up the legacies of Plato, early modern philosophers such as Machiavelli, and 19th-century philosophers such as Dewey and Addams. Addams is rarely read as a philosopher, and as we have noted earlier, a surprising number of modern and contemporary philosophers of the city remain unknown to most philosophers. In fact, most of these writers are better known by urban social scientists, as they draw on these thinkers to provide a theoretical framework for their research. But often social scientists only know these thinkers in narrow terms of what they have to say about cities, and they could benefit from an understanding of the fuller philosophical import of their work that the chapters in this section will provide. And philosophers need to understand the richness of their philosophical heritage if they are to continue to develop philosophies of the city. Section 2 of Part I of this volume features chapters on Henri Lefebvre (by Loren King), Walter Benjamin (by Frank Cunningham), and others missing from the philosophical canon to recenter philosophy on the city. While Foucault is often claimed by philosophers, we rarely read him as a philosopher of the city, but Kevin Scott Jobe’s chapter in this volume makes a case to do so. Many other contributors to this volume draw extensively on this revised canon in their chapters (see, e.g., Brian Elliott’s chapter, in which he draws on a wide range of continental philosophers – many


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of whom are more often cited by social scientists than by philosophers – to help us think more robustly about the concept of urban communities). The remaining sections of this volume in Part II, “Philosophical Engagement With Urban Issues,” are organized by varying types of philosophical engagement with urban issues. We created categories to try to highlight the major areas where philosophers are now contributing to urban studies and where there are opportunities for future research. That said, much of the richness of works by philosophers of the city is that it crosses some of the usual lines. As editors of the volume, we had to make often difficult decisions as to where to place a particular chapter, and readers will see that many chapters belong to more than one section. In other words, classification systems provide some help and organization, but they always fall short in capturing the full breadth and depth of our work.

Urban aesthetics The battle for the aesthetics of cities has been ongoing. Philosophers are capable of both understanding aesthetics in terms of principles of beauty but also linking urban aesthetics to other philosophical dimensions. Was Walter Benjamin correct in claiming that Haussmann’s plans for Paris were not merely aesthetic, but a politically motivated attempt to thwart street protestors? What sorts of assumptions about the good life and about technology are at stake in the battle of visions between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses for the soul of New York? What roles do parks and public art play in our sense of the good city and the beautiful city? The chapters in this section discuss aesthetic dimensions of cities, drawing out the philosophical theories that underscore many debates around aesthetic issues. Philosophers of architecture have never abandoned their focus on the city, and both Abraham Akkerman and Saul Fisher help us understand some key issues in those discussions. Philosophers have tended less to questions of public art, and Fred Evans’s chapter helps fill that void. Parks play roles in aesthetic, environmental, and political dimensions of cities, and Amanda J. Meyer and Charles Taliaferro trace the history of parks’ complex roles, making a case for the democratic function of them. Finally, Kathryn Kramer and John Rennie Short discuss the importance and ramifications of walking in the city, and Sharon M. Meagher draws connections between creative placemaking and justice in urban contexts.

Urban politics This section features chapters by philosophers involved in various ways with urban politics, reflecting on the ways that their urban political activity has been shaped by their philosophical educations and how their philosophical thinking has been transformed by their various urban political engagements. From city hall to participatory budgeting, from planning and policy to community organizing and protest, this section aims to place the city at the heart of political philosophy in a time when the nation-state no longer commands our singular focus. The last chapters in this section deal with policies around homelessness and surveillance and thus connect to political philosophical questions of freedom and security. Since at least George Simmel’s analysis of cities, we have defined cities as essentially diverse places. Lewis Mumford argued that cities are our repositories of cultures and cultural artifacts. In this sense, we celebrate cities. On the one hand, philosophers have drawn on aesthetics to think about the sensory diversity of cities. Other contemporary philosophers have drawn on philosophical political theory to analyze critically the politics of inclusion and exclusion, unpacking assumptions in urban policy and practice and allowing us to view the city from multiple perspectives. This work is particularly important, as philosophical branches, such as environmental 12


philosophy, have historically ignored tackling concerns that are important to communities of color, such as the placement of waste facilities in nonwhite neighborhoods. The now famous Commission for Racial Justice (1987) study brought environmental racism into the purview and formed the foundation for the new field of environmental justice, a field that wholeheartedly grapples with the unique environmental problems faced by urban communities. This work stands in sharp contrast to the historically homogenous field of environmental philosophy, critiquing its lack of diverse perspectives, and daring it to do better. In this vein, Esme G. Murdock’s chapter on rethinking environmental spaces and racism captures the importance of doing philosophy from multiple standpoints. Her contribution grapples with and highlights key justice questions, such as who is at the table when decision-making happens, and how the construction of the urban–wilderness dualism is steeped in racist, classist, and sexist systems of oppression, as certain urban communities are deemed to be disposable. Housing issues have gained considerable attention by philosophers because they also raise questions about justice and interlocking systems of oppression. Ronald R. Sundstrom’s chapter on racial segregation makes these connections, and Tyler Zimmer and Kevin Scott Jobe both raise important questions about housing policy and the displacement of people. In a similar vein, Brian Elliott discusses the nuances of constructing communities in urban spaces, Alexander Kolokotronis and Michael Menser offer an illuminating treatment of the power of civic engagement, and Chad Kautzer grapples with the ramifications of the Occupy movement.These issues are intimately connected to questions of citizenship.

Citizenship The Western concept of “citizen” was born and grew up in the ancient cities of Athens and Rome but by the 16th century, Hobbes and other philosophers were transforming the concept to fit emerging new political forms that were consolidating cities and rural territories into what became the nation-state. But recent globalization pressures and the rise of megacities, which dwarf many nation-states, give rise to new questions about citizenship. There are also a growing number of stateless persons that challenge the grounding of citizenship rights in the state. Chapters in this section explore the shifting terrain and how philosophers have and can contribute to our rethinking of citizenship. They also explore alternative models of citizen engagement developed through movements like Black Lives Matter, Occupy, and right to the city. Paul C. Taylor also helps us understand how the work of these movements can and should inform our philosophical thinking. Several chapters engage questions about cities as public spaces, or as having public spaces, or as a place to create common spaces (see, e.g., the chapters by Paula Cristina Pereira, and Brian A. Weiner). The concept of the right to the city often emerges in these discussions, as cities can be seen as places to exercise or claim rights to citizenship in a broader political sense that is not tied to the nation-state but to the urban condition in a globalized world. The influences of globalization and of neoliberalism– that is, the emergence of laissez-faire market economic theories and policies that privilege the global circulation of capital– are themes that emerge throughout the volume, but particularly in the sections on politics and citizenship. Benjamin Boudou asks us to think about migration policy in the context of the sanctuary city movement. Sharon M. Meagher’s “Ghost Cities” chapter focuses on the megacities of the Global South, asking what sorts of philosophical concepts we can bring to analyze the challenges and opportunities afforded by rapid urbanization around the globe. With a similar goal in mind, Peter Marcuse also uses the city as a touchstone for discussing philosophical questions, such as the connections between planning and what constitutes a “good” city. 13

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Urban environments and the creation/destruction of place As we discussed earlier in this introduction, many philosophers of the environment have ignored the city, as they equated the environment with wilderness, as that which escaped and remained outside the city. But in the last 15 years, philosophers of the environment began to question the dichotomous thought that separated “city” from “environment,” recognizing that cities also include nonhuman species, plants, water, and multiple types of terrain. The environmental justice movement also has exposed the ways that some cities or parts of cities have become the dumping grounds for others’ wastes and toxins. Pressures of growth place even greater strains on urban infrastructures and natural environs.This section contains chapters that outline the rich contributions that philosophers are now making on these issues. For example, Robert Kirkman discusses metropolitan growth, connecting the city to the ebbs and flows associated with the development of place, while Irene J. Klaver and J. Aaron Frith provide an illuminating account of the sociopolitical-cultural ramifications of green infrastructure. In this vein, Michael Goldsby’s chapter grapples with climate change mitigation in the city. And both Cynthia Willett and Samantha Noll challenge readers to broaden their conceptions of the modern city, so that it can be understood as a home for a wide range of animal species (beyond the human) and as a fertile space for food production. Finally, Alexandria K. Poole’s chapter provides a theoretical framework designed to confront anti-urban bias and complicate the human-nature divide.

Philosophical engagements The last section of the volume includes interviews with philosophers who report on various types of philosophical engagement with cities or urban communities, as we thought it important to provide not only notes for further research but also for other types of philosophical engagement, including teaching and community outreach. We include these as interviews rather than chapters to highlight the fact that the new content and methodologies of philosophy of the city demand that our work take different forms. The content of these interviews suggests the rich variety of place-based work in which philosophers are (and can be) engaged.

Conclusions Taken together, the chapters in this volume offer both philosophers and urban social scientists new ways to connect theory and practice so that we might address some of the greatest challenges of our time, challenges that are relevant not only to academics but to all of us, as cities affect the lives of all. Cities magnify and intensify human cultural achievements and the diversity of the human social and political project as well as social injustices and environmental crises. The purpose of a Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the City is to gather those essays together to provide a state of the subfield so that we can open up new directions in urban studies. We hope that our readers will continue to build and improve on the excellent contributions to this volume. Most chapters end with suggestions for further research and direction, and the authors do well in citing existing gaps in both specific content areas of philosophy of the city as well as in the subdiscipline overall. There are admittedly gaps in this volume; there are some urban issues that have thus far received scant attention from philosophers. One of the functions of this volume is to lay out the state of current research in philosophy of the city to spur new research and questions; understanding the contributions that philosophers of the city have been and are making is crucial, but so is highlighting the glaring gaps where there remains 14


much work to be done. Much greater attention needs to be paid to the wide-ranging issues of diversity, inclusion, and injustice in the city. This is particularly true in the Global South, where urbanization is progressing at a more rapid rate than in the Global North. Both the new philosophical methodologies and the content of the chapters featured in this Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the City should provide readers with a new sense of hope for what philosophy might contribute while also enabling us to recognize its limits. It is our hope that this transformative journey is just beginning, as philosophers of the city engage both with other academic disciplines and with urban communities across the globe to improve the quality of urban life (and thus the lives of all beings) and affirm the right to the city for all urban dwellers and a realized vision for beautiful, sustainable, and just cities.

References Bagan, H. & Yamagata, Y. (2012) “Landsat Analysis of Urban Growth: How Tokyo Became the World’s Largest Megacity during the Last 40 Years,” Remote Sensing of Environment 127 (December), pp. 210–222. Baumgärtner, S. & Quaas, M. (2010) “What Is Sustainability Economics?” Ecological Economics 69 (3), pp. 445–450. Boyte, H. & Kari, N. (1996) Building America: The Democratic Promise of Public Work, Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Commission for Racial Justice (1987) Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States, New York: United Church of Christ. Cunningham, D. (2005) “The Concept of the Metropolis,” Radical Philosophy 133, pp. 13–25. Dieleman, H. (2017) “Transdisciplinary Hermeneutics: A Symbiosis of Science, Art, Philosophy, Reflective Practice, and Subjective Experience,” Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies 35, pp. 170–199. Dotson, K. (2011) “Concrete Flowers: Contemplating the Profession of Philosophy,” Hypatia 26 (2), pp. 403–409. Douglas, H. (2010) “Engagement for Progress: Applied Philosophy of Science in Context,” Synthese 177 (3), pp. 317–335. Epting, S. (2016) “Intra-Disciplinary Research as Progress in Philosophy: Lessons from Philosophy of the City,” Philosophia 44 (1), pp. 101–111. Gunn, A. (1998) “Rethinking Communities: Environmental Ethics in an Urbanized World,” Environmental Ethics 20 (4), 341–360. Harding, S. (2015) Objectivity and Diversity: Another Logic of Scientific Research, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. King, R. (2000) “Environmental Ethics and the Built Environment,” Environmental Ethics 22 (2), pp. 115–131. Kirkman, R. (2004) “The Ethics of Metropolitan Growth: A Framework,” Philosophy and Geography 7 (2), pp. 201–218. Light, A. (2001) “The Urban Blind Spot in Environmental Ethics,” Environmental Politics 10 (1), pp. 7–35. Lindemann, H., Verkerk, M., & Urban, W. (2009) Naturalized Bioethics: Toward Responsible Knowing and Practice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Magnussen, W. (2012) The Politics of Urbanism: Seeing Like a City, London and New York: Routledge. Marcotullio, P. & Solecki, W. (2013) “What Is a City? An Essential Definition for Sustainability,” in C.G. Boone & M. Fragkias (eds.), Urbanization and Sustainability – Linking Urban Ecology, Environmental Justice and Global Environmental Change, Berlin: Springer Publishing, pp. 11–25. McIntyre, N., Knowles-Yánez, K., & Hope, D. (2008) “Urban Ecology as an Interdisciplinary Field: Differences in the Use of ‘Urban’ Between the Social and Natural Sciences,” in J. Marzluff et al. (eds.), Urban Ecology, Boston, MA: Springer, pp. 49–65. Meagher, S.M. (2007) “Philosophy in the Streets: Walking the City with Engels and de Certeau,” City 11 (1), pp. 7–20. ——— (2008) “Introduction,” Philosophy and the City: Classic to Contemporary Writings, Albany: State University of New York Press, pp. 1–10. ——— (2013) “American Pragmatism and the Global City: Engaging Saskia Sassen’s Work,” The Pluralist (Fall), pp. 83–139.


Samantha Noll et al. Meagher, S.M. & Feder, E. (2010) “Practicing Public Philosophy: Report from a Meeting Convened in San Francisco on April 2, 2010,” Public Philosophy Network. , accessed September 1, 2018. Mendieta, E. (2001) “The City and the Philosopher: On the Urbanism of Phenomenology,” Philosophy and Geography 4 (2), pp. 203–218. ——— (2007) Global Fragments: Globalization, Latinamericanizations, and Critical Theory, Albany: State University of New York Press. Moulton, J. (1993) “A Paradigm of Philosophy: The Adversary Method,” in S. Harding & M. Hingham (eds.), Discovering Reality, Hingham, MA: D. Reidel, pp. 149–164. Noll, S. (2017) “Climate Induced Migration: A Pragmatic Strategy for Wildlife Conservation on Farmland,” Pragmatism Today 8 (2), p. 17. Plato (2010) The Last Days of Socrates, London: Penguin. Potere, D., Schneider, A., Angel, S., & Civco, D. (2009) “Mapping Urban Areas on a Global Scale: Which of the Eight Maps Now Available Is More Accurate?” International Journal of Remote Sensing 30 (24), pp. 6531–6558. Solomon, R. (2001) “What Is Philosophy? The Status of World Philosophy in the Profession,” Philosophy East and West 51 (1), pp. 100–104. Spiekermann, K., Wegener, M., & Wegener, U. (2003) “Modelling Urban Sustainability,” International Journal of Urban Sciences 7 (1), pp. 47–64. Uchiyama, Y. & Mori, K. (2014) “People in Non-Urban Areas Are Richer Than Those in Urban Areas? A Comment to Ghosh et al. (2010),” The Open Geography Journal 6 (1), . ——— (2017) “Methods for Specifying Spatial Boundaries of Cities in the World: The Impacts of Delineation Methods on City Sustainability Indices,” Science of the Total Environment 592 (August), pp. 345–356. UN DESA (Department of Economic and Social Affairs) (2017) “World Population Prospects: 2017 Revision,” United Nations. UNPF (United Nations Population Fund) (2011) State of World Population 2011: People and Possibilities in a World of 7 Billion, UN. Young, I.M. (1990) Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton University Press. Zagzebski, L. (2015) Epistemic Authority: A Theory of Trust, Authority, and Autonomy in Belief, Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Urban philosophies


Historical philosophical engagements with cities

1 PLATO’S CITY-SOUL ANALOGY The slow train to ordinary virtue Nathan Nicol

Now, the members of this small group have tasted how sweet and blessed a possession philosophy is, and at the same time they’ve also seen the madness of the majority and realized, in a word, that hardly anyone acts sanely in public affairs and that there is no ally with whom they might go to the aid of justice and survive, that instead they’d perish before they could profit either their city or their friends and be useless both to themselves and to others, just like a man who has fallen among wild animals and is neither willing to join them in doing injustice nor sufficiently strong to oppose the general savagery alone.Taking all this into account, they lead a quiet life and do their own work. Thus, like someone who takes refuge under a little wall from a storm of dust or hail driven by the wind, the philosopher – seeing others filled with lawlessness – is satisfied if he can depart from it with good hope, blameless and content. Well, that’s no small thing for him to have accomplished before departing. But it isn’t the greatest either, since he didn’t chance upon a constitution that suits him. Under a suitable one, his own growth will be fuller, and he’ll save the community as well as himself. Republic (496e–497a) Without any shadow of doubt, amidst this vertigo of shows and politics, I settle myself ever the firmer in the creed, that we should not postpone and refer and wish, but do broad justice where we are, by whomsoever we deal with, accepting our actual companions and circumstances, however humble or odious, as the mystic officials to whom the universe has delegated its whole pleasure for us. If these are mean and malignant, their contentment, which is that last victory of justice, is a more satisfying echo to the heart, than the voice of poets and the casual sympathy of admirable persons. I think that however a thoughtful man may suffer from the defects and absurdities of his company, he cannot without affectation deny to any set of men and women a sensibility of extraordinary merit. R. Emerson, Experience (p. 304)

Introduction: from Socrates’s mission to Plato’s Republic At risk of pedantry, we might begin by noting that “polis” is not captured perfectly by “city” or “state” (Cartledge 2000: 17–20). That I render it by “city” in most of the rest of this chapter 21

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is a reflection partly of convenience, but also of the fact that Plato is here our main guide: and as he comes to it, the polis is the city of Athens, and especially Athens as Socrates’s stomping grounds. In his account of Socrates’s trial, Plato is at pains to emphasize that Socrates would not accept a punishment that required him to recuse himself to a quiet life: As long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, to exhort you and in my usual way to point out to any one of you whom I happen to meet: Good friend, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city [polis] with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation and honors as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth, or the best possible state of your soul?” . . . I shall treat in this way anyone I happen to meet, young and old, citizen and stranger, but more my fellow citizens – more by as much as you are closer to me in kinship. (Apology 29d–30a)1 Driving the bravado here is a conception of philosophy as essentially a public activity, as entailing a commitment to participating in the polis in such a way as to insist on the priority of goods of the soul over other more external, conventional goods; and there is also a parallel conception of the city as needing guidance from philosophy. If by the time we arrive at Plato’s Kallipolis in his Republic (politeia), the polis looks more like a state than a city, we will finesse the snag by sticking with Kallipolis. For now, “polis” as “city” will suffice. Although this chapter has to be highly selective, I try to focus on a cluster of issues that are most distinctive of philosophical thinking about the city in the ancient world, and so in particular on how Plato moves from Socrates’s mission to Athens to his own philosopher-kings in Kallipolis, where they are called “saviors” and “helpers” (463b). How does Plato pry into and redraw the boundaries of Socrates’s conception of philosophy and the city as thoroughly interdependent, and how does this lead to the conclusion that “until philosophers rule as kings . . . cities will have no rest from evils” (473c–d)? The key is Plato’s city-soul analogy, or so I suggest in what follows. In brief, my aims here are twofold. First and foremost, I try to sketch the main contours of Plato’s city-soul analogy, how this analogy grounds and shapes his overarching argument in his Republic. This analogy is where he spells out the conceptual underpinnings of Socrates’s mission and thus a conception of the city as essentially tied to the flourishing of its inhabitants: a conception of the city as what would be commensurate to our capacities for reciprocal flourishing (496c–497a, quoted above, cf. 369b–c, 420b). Second, I turn to explore several interpretations of Plato’s analogy by focusing on two prominent objections that have been raised against it. I will not here attempt to adjudicate between the interpretations, except in the more general sense of suggesting that I side with those who find Plato’s analogy more or less deeply plausible.

A sketch of Plato’s analogy of city and soul Plato has Socrates introduce the city-soul analogy in Book 2, as the first positive step forward in his response to the overarching problem of the Republic. The investigation we’re undertaking is not an easy one but requires keen eyesight. Therefore, since we aren’t clever people, we should adopt the method of investigation that we’d use if, lacking keen eyesight, we were told to read small letters from a distance and then noticed that the same letters existed elsewhere in a larger size and on a larger surface. We’d consider it a godsend, I think, to be allowed to read the 22

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larger ones first and then to examine the smaller ones, to see whether they really are the same. That’s certainly true, said Adeimantus, but how is this case similar to our investigation of justice? I’ll tell you. We say, don’t we, that there is justice of a single man and also the justice of the whole city? Certainly. And a city is larger than a single man? It is larger. Perhaps, then, there is more justice in the larger thing, and it will be easier to learn what it is. So, if you’re willing, let’s first find out what sort of thing justice is in a city and afterwards look for it in the individual, observing the ways in which the smaller is similar to the larger. (368c–369a) Let us notice three points about this introduction. First, the turn to develop the analogy is explicitly in the service of addressing the overarching ethical inquiry: the more political dimension is invoked in order to shed light on the consideration of the individual, of how and why it is always in one’s best interest to be just. In other words, since Thrasymachus’s tirade in Book 1, duly revitalized by Glaucon and Adeimantus in Book 2, the main question has been whether it is one’s interest to be just: Thrasymachus maintains that “justice is another’s good but one’s own loss,” while Socrates has much the opposite view (392b, cf. 348b, 357a–367e). Socrates is now framing the question in terms of the analogy of city and soul. Second, the terms “larger” and “smaller” seem to circumvent the more pressing difference between justice in the city and that in the soul, which is that the salient workings of the city are open to the eye, whereas those of the individual soul are invisible. The basic idea is in any case to extrapolate from the manifest case of the city to the more obscure one of the individual. Third, however, it is important to recognize that the analogy is put forward as a working hypothesis, which must yet be tested in the dialectical fires of the later developments (e.g., 434d, quoted below; Blössner 2007: 346, pace Barnes 2012: 2). In short, Socrates is not insisting on the analogy but suggesting it as a sort of heuristic which will have the effect of acting as a control on the account(s) of justice in the city and in the soul: each will have to be tested against the other. In Book 4 Socrates returns to the analogy, and enlarges its scope so that it significantly shapes the argument: Let’s complete the present inquiry. We thought that, if we first tried to observe justice in some larger thing that possessed it, this would make it easier to observe in a single individual. We agreed that this larger thing is a city, and so we established the best city we could, knowing well that justice would be in one that was good. So, let’s apply what has come to light in the city to an individual, and if it is accepted there, all will be well. But if something different is found in the individual, then we must go back and test that on the city. And if we do this, and compare them side by side, we might well make justice light up as if we were rubbing fire-sticks together. (434d–435a) Socrates moves to transpose the results of the discussion of justice in the city to an account of justice in a person. A first result is that justice in the city turns out to be a matter of each of the parts “doing its own work and not meddling with what isn’t its own” (433a–b). In sum, 23

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there are three classes in Kallipolis (rulers, auxiliaries, and workers), and justice consists in the philosopher-kings ruling, the auxiliaries keeping the peace, and the workers producing the materials for survival and the economy more generally (433a–434d). Accordingly, the bulk of the rest of Book 4 is devoted to the derivation of the “parts of the soul.” Again, in sum, it emerges that there are three parts to the soul (reason, spirit, and appetite), and justice here, too, is spelled out in terms of each doing its proper work: reason theorizes and rules, spirit provides the motivational infrastructure, and desire acquiesces in its place rather than pressing its own agenda (443d).2 The just person thus harmonizes the parts of his soul like three limiting notes in a musical scale (high, middle, low), and so cultivates and secures the “inner harmony,” which reflects the unity that is the greatest good in Kallipolis (462a–d). Hence, what began in Book 2 as a similarity in respect of being capable of being just has by the end of Book 4 been enlarged to encompass a correspondence of parts and structure, of hierarchy and harmony. In the case of the city, it is a natural intuition that the community benefits from the just behavior of its members, earlier suggested by Glaucon (358e–359b). By conceiving of the soul as itself also a community of diverse parts, Socrates plants the seeds to transfer that intuition to the soul: here, too, the whole benefits from the just behavior of its respective members, and suffers from their “civil war,” to borrow one of Plato’s favorite ways of putting it (547a, 554d, 556e, 559e). While in Books 5–7 the city-soul analogy waits in wings, in Books 8 and 9 it returns to center stage. By contrast with the “natural hierarchy” we have just seen outlined in Book 4, Socrates here works through a series of transformations from one kind of constitutional and psychological type to another. These transformations trace out one and another falling off of the natural hierarchy, and so produce injustice and conflict. The prevailing pattern is that the ascendancy of one constitutional type is of a piece with the strength of the particular aspirations of the corresponding soul part(s). As Plato conceives of them, each of the parts of the soul has its own distinctive set of aspirations, its own agenda that it would set for the whole soul: reason strives for truth and the good of the whole soul, spirit for honor and prestige, and appetite for pleasure (580d–581e). In Kallipolis, then, the “natural hierarchy” is grounded in the domination, if that is the right word, of the rational part over the others: again, this is the model of the philosopher-king. When we turn in the next section to consider the critical reception of Plato’s analogy, we will return to examine more closely how exactly reason rules, and what this entails for appetite and the workers. For now, let us review four other models that Socrates sets out: these are the next transformations of the constitutional, psychological types leading from Book 8 into 9. In the interests of space and simplicity, and since Socrates presents each type of person as the epitome of its analogous constitutional type more generally (576c, e.g.), we will focus on the persons, the epitomes of the type. 1

The Timocratic Person (547a–550b)

Socrates describes the timocratic person as dominated by his spirited part, and so as driven by “the love of victory and the love of honor” (548c). The timocrat is the first remove from the philosopher, and results from the struggle between reason, appetite, and spirit: So he’s pulled by both. His father nourishes the rational part of his soul and makes it grow; the others nourish the spirited and appetitive parts. Because he isn’t a bad man by nature but keeps bad company, when he’s pulled in these two ways, he settles in the middle and surrenders the rule over himself to the middle part – the victory-loving and spirited part – and becomes a proud and honor-loving man. (550b) 24

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The timocrat strikes a compromise between dueling parties. On the one hand, he allows spirit to prevail as the dominant force in his soul, and so adopts the values more peculiar to that part, those of victory and honor. This is a significant step removed from the ideal, where reason is in charge. On the other hand, he has not let appetite rule him. To draw on terms that Socrates will soon set out (554a, 558d–559e, 571a7–572b9), the suggestion is that the timocrat has moderated both his necessary and his unnecessary desires. In short, he is not the picture of true virtue, but he remains a far cry from fully unmoored from virtue. 2

The Oligarchic Person (550c–555a)

The next transformation is to the oligarchic person, where appetite begins to take control of the other parts of the soul, and this is manifest in the priority given to the love of money. Socrates hypothesizes that an oligarchic person emerges from the misfortunes of his timocratic father, who lost both position and property: The son sees all this, suffers from it, loses his property, and . . . immediately drives from the throne of his own soul the honor-loving and spirited part that ruled there. Humbled by poverty, he turns greedily to making money, and, little by little, saving and working, he amasses property. Don’t you think that this person would establish his appetitive and money-making part on the throne, setting it up as a great king within himself. . . . He makes the rational and spirited parts sit on the ground beneath appetite . . . reducing them to slaves. He won’t allow the first to reason about or examine anything except how a little money can be made into great wealth. And he won’t allow the second to value or admire anything but wealth and wealthy people or to have any ambition other than the acquisition of wealth or whatever might contribute to getting it. (553b–d) Socrates refers to appetite as “the money-loving” part “because such appetites are most easily satisfied by means of money” (580e), but appetite’s drive for money appears plainly to go beyond its instrumental value: part of what Socrates describes in the emergence of the oligarchic person is the rise of the desire for money for itself; this desire becomes “insatiable.” Again, however, the oligarchic person strikes his own compromise. He has given over rule of himself to his appetitive part, and thereby to an “insatiable desire . . . to become as rich as possible” (555b, cf. 442a, 554b). But then this very focus entails he does not give way to all of his desires: he takes care to satisfy only his necessary desires, and to enslave his unnecessary and lawless ones, “forcibly holding his other appetites in check by means of some decent part of himself ” (554c). 3

The Democratic Person (555b–562a)

The third transformation is to the democratic person, where appetite expands its grip on the soul, and “freedom” (eleutheria, 562b) is the watchword. Socrates suggests that the democratic person springs from the seductions of pleasures beyond the narrow scope of those of his oligarchic father: Isn’t it in some such way as this that someone who is young changes, after being brought up with necessary desires, to the liberation and release of useless and unnecessary pleasures? . . . He spends as much money, effort, and time on unnecessary pleasures as the 25

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necessary ones. . . . And so he lives, always surrendering rule over himself to whichever desire comes along, as if it were chosen by lot. And when that is satisfied, he surrenders the rule to another, not disdaining any but satisfying them all equally. (561a–b, cf. 590d) Whereas with the oligarchic person appetite was yet restrained to necessary desires, it is precisely the force of the freedom of the democratic person that his appetite is no longer so restrained but indeed further empowered by adding to the necessary desires a sort of army of unnecessary ones, and insisting that they all enjoy equal standing. To the extent that there remains any compromise in his soul, it will be on the grounds that lawless desires are restrained, and failure to give abundant freedom to all (other, nonlawless) desires is not tolerated (562d, 563d, 572c–d). It is yet a signal dimension of this stage of degeneration that “reverence,” “moderation,” and “order” are driven out by the growing masses of desires and their respective claims to the revolving door of governance of the soul (560c–561d). The democratic person is thus the more degenerate than the oligarchic one, for one thing, just as there is far less harmonious unity in his soul, and what little remains is constantly in danger of dissolving into turmoil. 4

The Tyrannical Person (562a–576e)

With the final transformation, we arrive at the tyrant, who is both the epitome of tyranny as a constitutional regime and the exemplar of the Thrasymachean view: Thrasymachus urged that “complete injustice is more profitable than complete justice” (348b), and the tyrant plays out just such a life. As Socrates explains how the tyrant arises from his democratic forerunners, the most distinctive point is the rise of lawless desires, which “contrive to plant in him a powerful erotic love, like a great winged drone to be the leader of those idle desires that spend whatever is at hand” (573e, cf. 565c, 567b). And it turns out that the actualization of the tyrant’s own impunity is then his undoing, as it continues to oppress him with its ever-increasing demands: In truth, then, and whatever some people may think, a real tyrant is really a slave, compelled to engage in the worst kind of fawning, slavery, and pandering to the worst kind of people. He’s so far from satisfying his desires in any way that is clear – if one happens to know that one must study his whole soul – that he’s in the greatest need of most things and truly poor. And, if indeed his state is like that of the city he rules, then he’s full of fear, convulsions, and pains throughout his life. (579d–e) A striking aspect here is how Socrates deploys the city-soul analogy to display the tragic folly of the tyrant. He uses it partly to penetrate the daunting exterior of the tyrant’s life, and partly to project the tyrant’s inner life onto the broad canvas of political life. Socrates emphasizes the reversal thus on display: Whereas the tyrant in all his bullying might seem to have the power to push others around, the analogy reveals that he is rather himself “forcibly driven by the stings of desire,” that the best part of himself is a slave to his worst desires, and that he has no friends nor safe harbor anywhere (580a). In short, the tyrant’s life becomes “the extreme of wretchedness” (578b), and so also Thrasymachus is roundly refuted (580c). This concludes our sketch of Plato’s city-soul analogy. I hope it is now clear how Plato has Socrates uncork the analogy to secure his more overarching conclusions. In order to fill in more detail, and to give a sense of the considerable critical reception Plato’s analogy has received, let us turn to consider two prominent objections which have been raised against it. 26

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Interpretations According to an objection vigorously defended by Karl Popper, Plato’s analogy is fatally flawed at its upper limit, for it implies “the organic theory of the state,” as Popper put it, which has untenable metaphysical and political implications (Taylor 1997: 34–35). And in fairness it must be granted that Popper’s objection is motivated in part by the very plausible insight that Plato plainly does conceive of a person as more than just the sum of her (psychic) parts. Thus, again, it is the oligarchic person who “would establish his appetitive and money-making part on the throne” (553b). Similarly, the just person “puts himself in order . . . and harmonizes the three parts of himself ” (443d). Time and again, Plato presupposes a self who might identify with the promptings of one or another part of himself, but who remains distinct from those parts and their promptings (Schofield 2006: 255). Hence, the objection extrapolates from the person on the soul end of the analogy to the organic state on the other, and proceeds to maintain that this has two dire implications: the more metaphysical one, that there exists such a thing as an Organic State over and above its parts, the citizens, and other inhabitants, but then also the most vexed political one, that the welfare of individuals might well be sacrificed for the good of this higher state: “the criterion of morality is the interest of the state” (Popper, his italics, quoted in Taylor 1997: 34). To tackle first to the metaphysical implication, we might begin by noting that Plato’s analogy cannot itself make Popper’s case for him, since on those grounds alone it is impossible to tell how hard to squeeze the similarities of the sides of the analogy. Socrates may intend simply to point to structural similarities, not to assume that city and soul have the same metaphysical status. And when we look at how Plato presents the analogy, we find that he relies only on structural similarities, and never on a stronger metaphysical claim (435a–c, 441e–442c). The metaphysical aspect of Popper’s objection is, then, not compelling. Even so, we should recognize that there does appear to be more than just a hint of the political aspect in some places. Perhaps the best passage in support of it is at the start of Book 4, when Socrates replies to Adeimantus’s concern that, in so far outlining Kallipolis, “you aren’t making these men very happy.” For here Socrates may well seem to concede that individual happiness is not a priority, especially relative to the interest of the state, which is the first priority. Socrates explains that “in establishing our city, we aren’t aiming to make any one group outstandingly happy but to make the whole city so, as far as possible” (420b). At first glance, this may well appear to elevate the interest of the city above those of the individuals. On closer inspection, the crucial contrast here is not between the interests of an abstract entity (Popper’s alleged “organic state” or the like) and the individuals therein, but between the interests of the whole city (all of the individuals) and the sectarian interests of any particular group therein (philosophers, workers, whomever: see Taylor 1997: 38). There is little wonder, then, that instead of the Organic State, some commentators have taken this passage to suggest a more aggregative interpretation of the happiness of the city, much like utilitarianism (Neu 1971). On this interpretation, Socrates’s aim is to maximize the aggregate happiness of the individuals in Kallipolis. Perhaps the most plausible interpretation is in between the Organic Theory and the aggregative approach (Scott 2011: 371). For one thing, Plato is most emphatic that unity is the primary aim of Kallipolis: “Is there any greater evil we can mention for a city than that which tears it apart and makes it many instead of one? Or any greater good than that which binds it together and makes it one?” (462a, cf. 422e–423d). Unity is here not conceived of as good as a means of achieving aggregate happiness: The suggestion seems rather to be, if anything, the other way, that happiness is good for unity. Socrates later recalls these earlier 27

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points, when he replies to Glaucon’s objection that compelling the philosophers to rule is unjust (to them): You are forgetting again that it isn’t the law’s concern to make any one class in the city outstandingly happy but to contrive to spread happiness throughout the city by bringing the citizens into harmony with each other through persuasion or compulsion and by making them share with each other the benefits that each class can confer on the community. The law produces such people in the city, not in order to allow them to turn in whatever direction they want, but to make use of them to bind the city together. (519e–520a, emphasis added) At the end of the day, Plato does appear to give priority to structural properties of the city over even the aggregate happiness of its individuals. Perhaps, then, it is hasty to conclude that because Popper’s objection is not compelling in its metaphysical claim, its more political dimension is accordingly left without a leg to stand on. Even so, it remains far from clear how much traction it might gain. When we turn next to tackle the second objection, we will return to the vexed matter of how Plato might conceive of the philosopher-kings as somehow oppressing the workers. According to another objection, given animus by a magisterial paper by Bernard Williams, the trouble with Plato’s analogy is not in its higher but its lower echelons; the trouble is with the workers and our appetite(s).3 According to Williams, Plato’s analogy is a window into fatal fractures in the foundations of Kallipolis. He cites this passage: We are surely compelled to agree that each of us has within himself the same parts and characteristics as the city? Where else would they come from? It would be ridiculous for anyone to think that spiritedness didn’t come to be in cities from such individuals as the Thracians, Scythians, and others who live to the north of us who are held to possess spirit, or that the same isn’t true of the love of learning, which is mostly associated with our part of the world, or the love of money, which one might say is conspicuously displayed by the Phoenicians and Egyptians. (435e–436a) Williams argues that Plato here commits himself to the following two points: (1) a city is F if and only if its people are F, and (2) the explanation of a city’s being F is the same as that of a person’s being F (Williams 1973: 197). The combination of these reveals the trouble: Kallipolis is the exemplar of a just city, which should entail that its citizens are just; but most of the citizens are workers, and they are ex hypothesis not themselves ruled by reason. By contrast, Plato appears to stress that the workers are ruled by their various appetites (442a, 484b, 585e–586b), and indeed to allow that “the majority cannot be philosophic” (494a). But then, if most of the people (even) in Kallipolis are not ruled by reason, then most of them do not have just souls. Hence, Williams concludes that Kallipolis both is and is not just, and that Plato has tied himself up in the knots of his own analogy. In response to Williams, commentators have suggested that his objection relies on an overly particular interpretation of Plato’s analogy. To see this, it is useful to distinguish between two possible interpretations of the analogy: (a) on a macrocosm to microcosm interpretation, the analogy outlines a similarity of structure between the city and the soul; and (b) on a whole-part interpretation, the city has a virtue only because the individuals in it have that virtue (Irwin 1979: 331n.29). Once attuned to this distinction, we can notice that Williams’s objection relies 28

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on (b), but that Plato’s text will only underwrite (a): 435a–c and 441e–442c are crucial passages. Nevertheless, the spirit of Williams’s objection may still seem to haunt the dialectical setting, not least in a persistent sense that Plato’s project in elaborating on Kallipolis is rooted in a sort of intellectual elitism. John Cooper concludes that “Plato consistently restricts justice, as a virtue of individuals, to those who possess within themselves knowledge of what it is best to do and be” (1984: 20, his emphasis). Given that Plato allows that only philosophers have such knowledge, if Cooper is correct, then workers cannot be just. Similarly, Jonathan Lear maintains that “Plato does not believe the appetitive person [i.e., a worker] has the virtue of temperance” (1992: 75, his emphasis). This leaves us with the dark question of how Plato does conceive of what virtue might be hoped for by, for lack of a better term, “ordinary people.” On reflection, we can see that Plato has, however, provided profound provisions for the cultivation and maintenance of ordinary virtue throughout his Republic. One way into these provisions is to observe that both Cooper’s and Lear’s arguably elitist assessments of Plato’s view are not true without qualification. It must be acknowledged that, according to Plato, ordinary people, and the workers in Kallipolis in particular, do not have “true virtue with wisdom” (554e, cf. Phaedo 69b3, Theaetetus 176c5, Symposium 212a). But Plato recognizes virtue of lower grade that they might yet have: ordinary/demotic virtue (demotikê aretê: literally, virtue of the dêmos), which stems from habituation without precisely philosophically reasoning (Keyt 2006: 202). Those who have acquired ordinary virtue have achieved, for one thing, a healthy measure of ordinary temperance and justice (389d–e, 431c–d), and so have at least escaped from the slavery to insatiable appetites that we have seen to be the fate of the tyrant. Again, when Socrates explains what he means by unnecessary desires, offering the example of the desire for more food and drink than is “beneficial to well-being,” he goes on to add that “most people can get rid of it, if it’s restrained and educated while they’re young” (558b). This seems a hopeful note, so long as the accordant education might be hoped for. Plato was acutely aware that the cultivation of ordinary virtue is likely to flourish only as the hard-earned harvest of seeds sown across a vast educational curriculum. We might get a sense of the breadth and depth of such a curriculum by noticing a few examples. To begin with the negative side, a good clue to how law will promote the values of Kallipolis throughout the city is its “forbidding [poets and other craftsmen] to represent – whether in pictures, buildings, or any other works – a character that is vicious, unrestrained, slavish, or graceless” (401b). As for the positive side, unfortunately Plato is very spare in details about the education of the workers (Reeve 1988: 186–190). But what is clear is that, however elitist the overall program may be, it is also thoroughly saturated with paternalism. The aim is never to rule the workers (and appetite) at any cost, let alone regardless of their regard for being ruled. By contrast, the aim is that all the classes agree that it is best that the philosophers rule the others: “all sing the same song together” (432a). That concord is the result partly of an ambient culture that “seeps imperceptibly into people’s characters and habits” (424d; see also Burnyeat 1999: 261: “norms for art in the ideal city will reshape the whole culture”), partly of having been raised on a steady diet of “simple, measured” desire satisfaction (431c). And Plato supports the whole curriculum by underscoring it with a plausible principle of motivation: In short, the strength and indeed the shape of the appetites cultivated in the direction of moderation have the result of rather starving out other appetites (especially the lawless ones), which should wither away for lack of exercise (485b). Along these lines, then, Williams’s objection to Plato’s analogy might be kept at bay, if not perhaps fully refuted. His objection freezes the frame of reference to, in effect, where Plato speculates that we begin with reason and appetite. But once we enlarge the frame to take in what harmony (inner and outer) might be gained by educational and cultural reforms, we are in 29

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position to appreciate that Plato has resources sufficient to compel the objection to widen the focus. Again, the aim is not to downgrade the many for the upkeep of the philosophers, but for all to flourish as much as possible: “and in particular each enjoys its own pleasures, the best and truest pleasures possible for it” (586e).

Conclusion I have tried to motivate and make explicit, if not fully defend, three main points. First, in Plato’s city-soul analogy, he develops Socrates’s commitment to philosophy as public engagement with the city into a model of reciprocal flourishing: The health of the whole is yoked to that of each of the parts. In Kallipolis this will entail both that a citizen will flourish more as a person, as this polis will provide an educational environment commensurate to her capacities for flourishing, and that she will contribute more to the public affairs, as this will have been the aim of her education all along. Second, the key to unlocking Plato’s analogy is to consider it more diachronically than synchronically, how in the unfolding each shapes the other: Social struggles are reflections of conflicts within each soul, and vice-versa. Third, it would be fruitful to continue to mine Plato’s city-soul analogy for insights into our project of realizing ordinary virtue.

Notes 1 Here and in what follows, translations from Plato are based on Cooper (1997), with some slight alterations. The references to Plato’s text are to the Stephanus pages (e.g., 435a), standard in most editions. 2 For fresh, lively discussions of Plato’s moral psychology, see the excellent collection of essays in Barney, Brennan, and Brittain (2012). 3 Williams (1973). The vast influence of this paper is evident in the near cottage industry that has grown up in response to it. My own response here draws from Blössner (2007), Keyt (2006), Kraut (1973), Lear (1992), Schofield (2006), and Scott (2011).

References Barnes, J. (2012) “Justice Writ Large,” in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Supplement Vol., pp. 31–49. Barney, R., Brennan, T., & Brittain, C. (eds.) (2012) Plato and the Divided Self, New York: Cambridge University Press. Blössner, N. (2007) “The City-Soul Analogy,” in G.R.F. Ferrari (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Plato’s Republic, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 345–385. Burnyeat, M. (1999) “Culture and Society in Plato’s Republic,” The Tanner Lectures on Human Values 20, pp. 215–324. Cartledge, P.A. (2000) “Greek Political Thought: The Historical Context,” in C.J. Rowe & M. Schofield (eds.), The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cooper, J. (1984) “Plato’s Theory of Human Motivation,” in History of Philosophical Quarterly 14, pp. 3–21. ——— (ed.) (1997) Plato: Complete Works, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing. Emerson, R. (1962) Emerson’s Essays, New York: Harper & Row. Irwin, T. (1979) Plato’s Moral Theory:The Early and Middle Dialogues, New York: Oxford University Press. Keyt, D. (2006) “Plato and the Ship of State,” in G. Santas (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Plato’s Republic, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 189–213. Kraut, R. (1973) “Reason and Justice in Plato’s Republic,” in E.N. Lee, A.P.D. Mourelatos, & R.M. Rorty (eds.), Exegesis and Argument: Studies in Greek Philosophy, Phronesis, Supplement 1, pp. 207–224. Lear, J. (1992) “Inside and Outside the Republic,” Phronesis 37, pp. 184–215. Neu, J. (1971) “Plato’s Analogy of State and Individual: The Republic and the Organic Theory of the State,” Philosophy 46, pp. 238–254. Reeve, C.D.C. (1988) Philosopher-Kings the Argument of Plato’s Republic, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing. Schofield, M. (2006) Plato: Political Philosophy, New York: Oxford University Press.


Plato’s city-soul analogy Scott, D. (2011) “The Republic,” in G. Fine (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Plato, New York: Oxford University Press. Taylor, C.C.W. (1997) “Plato’s Totalitarianism,” in R. Kraut (ed.), Plato’s Republic: Critical Essays, pp. 31–48. Williams, B. (1973) “The Analogy of City and Soul in Plato’s Republic,” in E.N. Lee, A.P.D. Mourelatos, & R.M. Rorty (eds.), Exegesis and Argument: Studies in Greek Philosophy, Phronesis, Supplement 1, pp. 196–206.

Further reading G.R.F. Ferrari, City and Soul in Plato’s Republic (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005) contrasts Plato’s analogy with Isocrates’s own city-soul analogy. R. Kraut, Aristotle: Political Philosophy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002) is a balanced, critical discussion of Aristotle’s own view of the polis as well as his criticisms of Plato. J. Ober, Political Dissent in Democratic Athens: Intellectual Critics of Popular Rule (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998) is a detailed account of Plato’s treatment of the possibilities of fitting Socratic values into a democratic polis. M. Schofield, Saving the City: PhilosopherKings and Other Classical Paradigms (New York: Routledge, 1999) explores Stoic developments of Plato’s political views.



Two models of the relationship between philosophy and the city Whenever a question is posed about the relationship between philosophy and the city (or town, for that matter), the first idea people with at least some background knowledge of philosophy relate to is the notion of utopia. This concept, joining authors as diverse as Plato, Thomas More, and H.G. Wells, determines a literary genre: taken to cover works with a philosophical vision of the ideal city, as it takes form in the creative mind of a philosopher or in the constructed “possible world” of a literature-minded writer. It is a recurring genre in the history both of philosophy and of literary fiction, although perhaps by now it might seem a bit outdated, due to being seriously challenged by various new forms of virtual reality. This chapter does not aim to address the issue of utopias. The main problem of this genre from our perspective is that in its framework philosophers tend to misconceive the idea of the city, which they regard as an abstract problem of order, proportion, and what the French call “rapport” – issues that can be grasped by geometrical forms or metaphysical thought processes. At the same time, however, they completely disregard the issue of politics or simply ordinary ways of life, which may well be much more important aspects of life in the city, at least in its Western incarnation.2 This chapter therefore will disregard the utopian tradition – except for a short description of it – and will instead introduce an early modern tradition, where philosophy is in more direct connection with the city. This chapter will introduce three case studies of philosophers engaged in city politics in different contexts. The choice of these key figures will be more or less arbitrary, mainly determined by the scholarly interest of the present writer. Nevertheless, there is a sound argument to defend at least one aspect in which we narrow our scope down: We shall exclusively concentrate on the early modern city, and that is because the early modern period is one with an astonishing boom of examples illustrating the interaction between philosophy and the city. In fact, this claim constitutes one of the major points the chapter makes: the early modern city was characterized by a surprisingly strong link to philosophy. A second point, not unrelated to the first one, will be that most of the philosophers whose activity was linked to the city had a much better understanding of its actual mode of being than utopian writers usually did. The way of thinking that is characteristic of this early modern link between philosophy and the city is, of


Philosophers and the city in early modern Europe

course, the political (das politische), as it was labelled by 20th-century German thinkers, referring to those who proved to have a refined sense of political judgment (Schmitt 1976). The three early modern philosophers to be presented here are Machiavelli, Montaigne, and Althusius, all of whom had direct experience in running a city. In what follows, we will be concerned with how their political philosophical ideas relate to their experiences as magistrates of their respective cities. Besides, we will argue that not only do they have an advantage over the authors of utopias in the dimension of politics, but also their philosophy was enriched by being nurtured by their authors’ practical experience.

The genre of the philosophical utopia Before putting our selected authors under scrutiny, however, we need to return to the ancient Greek paradigm, to get back to the Platonic roots of the discourse on utopias. It was Socrates who had the most provocative ideas in the first generations of urban philosophers in Athens, and as a result he invited accusations that his philosophy was harmful to the healthy state of affairs of the city. Despite these allegations, Plato, that pupil of Socrates who wrote the most important memoir of his master, did not give up challenging the city with daring philosophical ideas; but, instead of proclaiming his teachings on the agora, he chose as their format the genre of the philosophical dialogue. Furthermore, we attribute to him the first full-fledged philosophical utopia, the detailed description of an ideal city-state where justice reigns, the Republic (Politeia). Plato’s critical concept of philosophy made him less concerned with the way a city actually worked. Instead, he dealt with the conceptually well-defined conditions of a city-state, which would allow a kind of perfect public morality and help individuals live a fully flourishing life together. Rather than embarking upon a detailed analysis of Plato’s logic, let us turn straight to the conclusion and cite that insight of Plato’s which is relevant to our topic: “Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophize, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide . . . cities will have no rest from evils . . . there can be no happiness, either public or private, in any other city” (Plato 1997: 1100, Republic V, 473c–e). In other words, Plato’s Republic suggests that unless philosophers take over the city, or kings of city-states become wise philosophers, there is no hope to create the ideal city. Obviously, this is not an option for practical policy-makers, as they are usually less interested in philosophical education. This philosophical program, therefore, needs to be translated into practical politics if it is meant for real political use. Plato – most probably for both philosophical and political reasons – ensures that this translation into practicalities should not be easy. In the Theaetetus he compares the distance between the role of the philosopher and that of a political leader to a distance between the upbringing of a free man and that of a slave.3 However, we should not forget about his own political experimentations, for example when he got involved in the politics of Syracuse, where he served his former disciple, the then adviser to the tyrant, and later tyrant of Syracuse, in order to try to put his own ideas into practice. He himself admitted about his adventure, “if anyone ever was to attempt to realize these principles of law and government, now was the time to try” (Plato 1997: 1649, Seventh Letter 328bc).4 Needless to say, this was a failed attempt. No doubt Plato’s explicit failure to take part in real politics contributed to a large extent to the traditional view that philosophers are utopian dreamers who have no sense for real political strategic games. As it is known, Platonism, transmitted by humanist theorists like Ficino, proved to be one of the most important sources of inspiration for Renaissance art, including literary descriptions of the ideal city by authors as varied as the lawyer, statesman, and humanist


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Thomas More (Utopia 1516) and the Dominican friar Thomaso Campanella (La città del Sole, 1602). Philosophical constructs of an ideal city were not independent of experiments to build the ideal city by urban planners during the same period. Architects cherished plans to build the ideal city as a greenfield investment. Among the best-known examples of urban plans meant to execute theoretical ideals we find Filarete’s plan for Sforzinda as he described it in his Trattato di Architettura (c. 1465), or Alberti’s description of the ideal city in his De Re Aedificatoria (c. 1450–1472; for an overview of these efforts, see Frommel 2007). As opposed to these ideal constructions, in what follows we shall consider examples of philosophers who had direct experience of the actual working mechanisms of urban politics. The practical skill obtained by these authors during their participation in city administration – namely, Machiavelli’s in Florence, Montaigne’s in Bordeaux, and Althusius’s in Emden – contributed to their ability to work out a more elaborate political philosophy, in comparison to thinkers who considered city politics exclusively in philosophical terms, or who did not regard the topic as relevant at all.

Philosophers as real politicians 1: Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) Certainly, Machiavelli is the first name that comes to our mind when we think about philosophy and real politics in a Renaissance context. As it is well-known, between 1498 and 1512 he spent 14 years at the second chancery of the Republican government of Florence, arguably one of the most developed cities of the world in his day. Obviously, Machiavelli’s practical administrative activity was not disconnected from the humanist educational program, which he had gone through beforehand. After all, one of the intended aims of that program was to prepare students for a political career. In Renaissance Florence there was a tradition of humanist administrators, including Coluccio Salutati and Leonardo Bruni, both chancellors and both having excelled in the emerging republic of letters.The tradition went back to Cicero’s ideal of educating the young to serve the city – and the Roman rhetor was already on the reading list of Machiavelli’s father. This antique Roman tradition was still alive in Machiavelli’s day, exemplified by Marcello Adriani, who came from the university to lead the first chancery. Skinner refers to the Maxims of Paolo Giovio, who claimed that “Machiavelli ‘received the best part’ of his classical training from Marcello Adriani” (Paolo Giovio’s Maxims (1935), cited in Skinner 1981: 5). Part of a humanist education was, of course, to study the annals of historians, and Florence’s tradition was rich in this respect, too. Machiavelli himself follows this example when he sits down to write his own history of Florence. He claims that his knowledge of the theory of how to govern a city is partly based on his historical readings. But of course, his first and most important experience is the one he obtained directly at the chancery. In his dedicatory letter in The Prince he refers to “a long experience in modern affairs,” which led him to arrive at an understanding of politics “in so many years and with so many hardships and dangers” (Machiavelli 2005: 5). As someone taking part in diplomatic mission, he had the opportunity to closely scrutinize the activity of some of the best minds of the political spectrum of his day, including Cesare Borgia, Emperor Maximilian I, and Pope Julius II – none of whom were simply city magistrates, but monarchs of states and empires. Yet Machiavelli had to realize that none of them was perfect, not even approaching the ideal painted by the Ciceronian tradition of the genre of the mirror for princes. The most painful lack in their character was the trait of flexibility: They showed “a fatal inflexibility in the face of changing circumstances,” and sometimes they were not even characterized by sound judgment, either (Skinner 1981: 15). 34

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These are rather harsh judgments, on Machiavelli’s part. But they surely had their points. As with his predecessors, the humanist historians, Machiavelli, too, wanted to directly influence his intended reader about a political cause.5 In other words, this was not historical or political knowledge collected for its own sake, but rather, a collection of observations to underline a political argument. In the particular case of The Prince, Machiavelli tried to convince the Medici Party to impose on Florence his own proposed constitutional reform (Hankins 2015: 10). To achieve this aim, he used his former insights into the mechanism of politics – a clear sign that his political-administrative and his humanist-authorial self-identity were not separated from each other. As Skinner points out, Machiavelli learned, first from conversations with the cardinal of Volterra in 1503, and two years later with Pandolfo Petrucci, that one needs to accept the power of circumstances and the orders of necessity. He also recognized that one needs to be in line with one’s age in order to be successful: “The man who adapts his method of procedure to the nature of the times will prosper” (Machiavelli 2005: chap. xxv). Coming closer to the problems of city politics, as differentiated from state life (a distinction which would have been difficult to make in Machiavelli’s own day), Machiavelli claimed that internal conflicts are necessarily parts of civil life. This is because he did not trust Christian notions of virtue to help leaders become significantly better morally. He believed the lawgiver should, however, do everything he can to avoid the disadvantageous effects of these faults of human nature. In fact, such institutional safeguards are the only means we have to counteract the all-powerful push of our morally corruptible nature. And certainly, we should still demand our leaders to take good care of our common interests, of the interests of the political community they are leaders of – a demand which seems to contradict Machiavelli’s earlier point that in certain situations a leader needs to be blind and deaf to the demands of his people. This latter claim made him propose a new constitution for Florence, one which he hoped could channel the internal social tensions of Florence, which led to the rather abrupt swings of the pendulum of fortune toward a right direction. The fact that Machiavelli, after losing his office, still worked on proposals as to how to better the political situation proves that political philosophers are able to play very positive, practical roles and functions in the city. However, an important condition is that their blueprints should not be aiming to provide foundations for the best city, but only to give advice about the good of the full polity. Certainly, we should also note that his constitutional proposal could not be enacted, as after the fall of the republican regime he was never able to get back into a position which requires absolute loyalty. This is why he finally chose to rely on his humanist educational tool-kit and wrote the history of a certain period of his city-state, following Cicero’s example and using political experience to win intellectual credit.

Philosophers as real politicians 2: Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) The French nobleman Michel de Montaigne was born one year after the posthumous publication of Machiavelli’s The Prince. As we shall see, Montaigne, who confronted similar problems both as a city governor and as a player in state-level politics, learned a lot from his predecessor’s teachings, while his own solution differed remarkably from the Florentine’s method of tackling these problems. The same duality – obtaining a classical and humanist education together with practical political experience – formed Montaigne’s thinking. He, too, had a very well-ordered education, learning Latin before his native French, and studying under the Scottish humanist George Buchanan. And like Machiavelli, he also had firsthand knowledge of public administration, working as Counsellor at the Chambre des Enquêtes of the Parliament of Bordeaux for 13 years, between 1557 and 1570.This job was no doubt a rather tiresome experience for him, as in 1570 35

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he decided to sell the office and retreat from public life. His Essays were first printed in 1580, and they certainly played a role in his getting nominated just a little bit later to the position of the Mayor of Bordeaux, one of the most important urban centers in contemporary France. Montaigne seems to have had a character which enabled him to participate in hypersensitive political missions. We know about his efforts to mediate between the Catholic Henri de Guise and the Protestant Henri, king of Navarre, and the future Henry IV, king of France, in the middle of the Wars of Religion. As Machiavelli himself, who, as we have seen, was involved in the machinery of diplomacy, Montaigne was most probably fascinated by these diplomatic endeavours. He himself referred to his own role as “a tender negotiator,” emphasizing his flexibility in these dealings (Montaigne 1910: III.1).6 We also learn about his views on this affair from his correspondence with Matignon.7 There he claims that his superiority in the art of internal diplomacy led to his central role in these negotiations and that it stemmed from spontaneity combined with a detached, yet honest attitude (Desan 2017: 464). His first term as mayor seemed to have gone without much notice. However, he was reelected for a second term, of which he felt very proud, and which might be a sign that “he had gotten hooked on the play of alliances and political intrigues” (Desan 2017: 455). When “a three-way conflict” emerged “between the Catholic King Henri III, Henri de Guise, leader of the conservative Catholic League, and Henri de Navarre, Bordeaux found itself in close proximity to Navarre’s Protestant forces in southwest France” (Edelman n.d.). As mayor he remained a loyal Catholic believer and yet managed to keep Navarre out of his city. Yet, he could save good relations with him, crucial in a political crisis, and as a result secure his sensitive position even after having left the chair of the mayor – at one point in 1588 he even travelled to Paris as a secret envoy of Navarre. His activity as mayor was not disconnected from his further political ambitions: “He was planning to use his experience as mayor of Bordeaux as a political stepping stone to move” (Desan 2017: 436). One can also suspect that the new edition of the Essays, published in 1588, had the very same political mission, opening closed gates before, and securing political influence for, the author. Considering the title of his collected writings provides arguments in support of this assumption. The contemporary meaning of the term “essay” did not denote a literary genre yet; rather, it had one or more of the following senses: attempts, tests, exercises, and experiments (Edelman n.d.). If we try to grasp Montaigne by connecting his literary efforts with his political ambitions, the meanings of these terms will seem clearer. Indeed, not only are these his attempts, but they are also his tests: He uses them to exercise influence (if nothing else), and to carry out thought experiments. In other words, the essays are not simply wise or skeptical ideas packaged in wellphrased sentences, but they should be regarded as speech acts, helping their author in politics by nonpolitical means. To understand this reading of the Essays one should consult Francis Goyet’s innovative study in which he presents Montaigne as a vir prudens (Goyet 2005).8 Interpreting the title as referring to a healthy exercise of judgment, he reads Montaigne in the context of 16th-century political thought: “In the sixteenth century, prudence is the concept used to think about action and especially political action. It is omnipresent in the Essays,” and Montaigne “describes himself as a man of action” (Goyet 2005: 118). If we follow the line indicated by Goyet’s interpretation, the picture of the withdrawn, politically neutral, skeptical intellectual – as he was earlier understood – will be replaced by the vir prudens, the active citizen, who takes on political responsibility on both the local and the state level.9 “His term as mayor of Bordeaux is the most salient moment of this role, but his responsibilities did not end after his mayoralty, and they probably began before it” (Goyet 2005: 123). In Goyet’s view this is due to the fact that he had gone through the education of the political 36

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professional, a new type of political agent to appear in the 16th century.10 In this perspective he comes closer to an understanding of the role of public servants as political theorists in the German empire from the late 16th to the early 17th century (for the rise of Politica in the late 16thcentury German empire, see von Friedeburg 2013). Goyet’s radical, perhaps a bit exaggerated, position is summed up in the portrait of Montaigne as ambitious, prudent, and professional – quite the opposite of the traditional view of him. “A careerist through and through, a political man who professionally managed his acts and deeds, the foremost of which were his writings” (Goyet 2005: 123). This view builds on some recent research findings, including George Hoffmann’s Montaigne’s Career (1999), and is of particular importance to us, as it shows that the Essays can be read as acts and deeds of a political man – as the products of professional public selfmanagement, and as a successful interplay between philosophy and government (for an earlier version, see Tuck 1993: 45–64). A final note on Montaigne: As he was a professional political agent (both on the local and state level), his audience should also be supposed to belong to this social stratum. Unlike representatives of an earlier generation, like Machiavelli or Erasmus, still addressing the monarch or the prince, Montaigne turns to those who belonged to the same social standing: who were “professionals like himself.” As he himself was “born to a middle rank” (see Montaigne 1910: III.13), he also advises his readers that they, together with Montaigne, should be “making a virtue of our mediocrity” (Goyet 2005: 124). On the note of Machiavelli, we arrive at the final question of comparison: What exactly was Montaigne’s relationship to Machiavelli’s heritage? Perhaps the easiest way to make sense of it is to compare his efforts to those of Lipsius, as suggested by Tuck’s subchapter (Tuck 1993, Lipsius and Montaigne, 45–), or of Botero, who published on reason of state from an ex-Jesuit perspective (see Lipsius 2004 and Botero 2017, the two books which were originally published in the very same year, 1589). Lipsius was perhaps the greatest name in Northern humanist circles, besides Erasmus. Montaigne was a great admirer of Lipsius; he refers to him in the Essays in a tone of approval (see Montaigne 1910: I.25 and II.13), and it is known that the two were in correspondence with each other (Langer 2005: 21). Botero represented late Italian humanism, accompanied by a Jesuit or ex-Jesuit view of the world (Botero 2017). The solution Montaigne himself pursues is to combine ancient and Christian prudence – a task which had already been taken on by a number of Christian thinkers, while others kept criticizing them for the effort. Goyet labels Montaigne’s effort “dialectic reappropriation” (Goyet 2005: 124). The motivation behind his reappropriation was his conservative inclination. As Turnon pointed out, his pronounced conservatism on the final pages of the essay “Of Custom” is proto-Humean in its argumentation: “It is a defence of laws, which are based on practice and the assent of the civic body” (Turnon 2005: 101). Explain it as you wish, there was something of a tradition-driven character trait in Montaigne’s natural as well as his constructed self, most probably due to the long years he had spent in public and diplomatic service.

Philosophers as real politicians 3: Johannes Althusius (1563–1638) Our last example of a philosopher taking actual offices in civil magistracy is Johannes Althusius. After Florence and Bordeaux, this time we travel to the Holy Roman Empire, to what is now Northwest Germany. Althusius, as with Machiavelli and Montaigne, received a very good education. He studied law, philosophy, and theology. He also studied Aristotle and had such prominent foreign professors as Denis Godefroy at Geneva, from whom he learned law, and Johannes Grynaeus at Basel, who taught him theology. 37

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He started to teach at the Calvinist Academy in Herborn in Nassau County, as the first professor of law. As a professor of different academies and other Calvinist institutions of the region, he published Civilis conversationis in 1601, and his major work in politics, Politica, in 1603 (Althusius 1995). Due to the success of Politica, he immediately got invited to become a municipal trustee of the city of Emden in East Frisia, and later he became city syndic, and kept his position as virtually the top magistrate of the city of Emden until his death in 1638. Is there anything unusual in this career? I would say yes. Someone who spent so much time building up an academic career as a university professor and publishing researcher, then changed his career profile and proved to be a rather successful top city magistrate, keeping the position until the very end of his life – this is remarkable and calls for explanation. The first thing to understand is the genre of Politica, together with the wholly different function of higher education in the German realm. “His Politica was very much a teaching tool of German Schulphilosophie, designed to groom students in the moral and intellectual deportment required for the active life of the magistrate” (von Friedeburg 2013: 161–162). This might be our starting point, clarifying that higher educational institutions had the function to secure the upcoming generations of public administrators. If we take that as granted, the next question is what the role of the professor was in that system. The point is clear: Both as a teacher and as an active administrator, the professor is supposed to serve his political community. He has administrative duties himself, but as a teacher of future administrators, he has to take the same responsibility as them. The university, like the idealised Athenian Academia, is part of the public realm, and professors are key protagonists in the practices taking place in these institutions. The readers of Althusius’s Politica belonged to the same social stratum as him: active and intelligent, motivated professionals, trying to climb higher on the social ladder, and become useful members of their communities.11 Cicero’s term of “persona” explains the objective of instruction in this context: Through a whole process of character formation, the teaching aims at creating in the student the magistrate’s persona (von Friedeburg 2013: 162). As we can see from the text of his inaugural lecture at Herborn in 1603, Althusius relied on Christian teaching when he tried to convince his students to strive for civic improvement and to follow the regulations of civil magistrates just as much as those of the religious teachings (von Friedeburg 2013: 173). In other words, he combined the ancient practical philosophical tradition (as represented by Aristotle and Cicero) with the confessional teaching of his reformed church. This is also a combination of “political philosophy, legal training, and practical advice” (von Friedeburg 2013: 164). Therefore, the book was not meant to simply transfer abstract knowledge, but also to help inculcate the right attitude in the students’ mind and establish the right habitus of a potential civil officeholder. Learning and practice are both needed to acquire it, as it is not simply theoretical in its nature, but also a form of practical experience. Importantly, however, von Friedeburg distinguishes Althusius’s way of talking about the duties of civil servants from Melanchton’s: “In strong contrast to Melanchton, however, ethics is no longer moral philosophy based on divine law and natural law, but only an ars decore conversandi cum hominibus (the art of appropriate social interaction)” (von Friedeburg 2013: 171). He adds to this contrast the terminological difference between recte facere (to do the right thing) and rite facere (to do the appropriate thing). This is indeed a significant conceptual shift, a break with traditional Ciceronian-Christian morality, in the service of modern utilitarianist values. A final theme we have to touch upon concerning Althusius is the question whether he was democratic in any meaningful sense of the word. The answer is of course a definite no, but the argument is more interesting. The denial is understandable on Aristotelian grounds: He did not trust popular participation in political leadership, and like his Greek forerunner, he trusted the aristocratic regime more. He is comparable in this respect to another Aristotelian, Henning 38

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Arnisaeus, who – in spite of being a sharp critic of Bodin – had very strong views in defense of the absolute power of the magistrate (von Friedeburg 2013: 168; see especially Arnisaeus 1606). Althusius’s anti-populist inclinations also had a political context: He was chosen for the task of stopping the internal conflict between the elite of the magistracy and the rebelling faction referring to an acclaimed majority of the citizen body. While the 1590s saw the establishment of a number of participatory institutions in the city, Althusius hired mercenaries to crush all these institutional innovations in order to turn back the clock of politics to normality. On the other hand, he did not deny his own Protestant leanings. He condemned all forms of luxurious consumption and ways of living, and preferred frugality in a characteristically Protestant manner. He did not share a Weberian trust in the positive effects of frugality leading to wealth. On the contrary, he seems to have been much more sensitive to issues of moral depravity and corruption, a worry that – beside its Augustinian foundation – had a Stoic and skeptical overtone as well. On the whole, he seems to have been quite an authoritative voice in Emden, one that had a conservative, patrician leaning, but also one that was anxious to legitimize local power by stressing that all citizens have their own civic responsibilities, within their own spheres of influence.

Conclusions and perspective for further research As we have seen, philosophy and the city is not necessarily a topic concerned with abstract theoretical efforts, which prove to be practically abortive, like (ancient and Renaissance) Platonism and utopianism. The three thinkers presented here all produced philosophical work that was quite useful for practicing city magistrates, a fact that is certainly not independent of their own practical experience as magistrates. This chapter, therefore, argued for the close interaction between city administration and political and legal theory, an interaction manifesting itself in the emerging subject of Politica in a German context. Certainly, the three authors did not fully agree in everything. Machiavelli introduced a realist discourse trying to tear political reflection away from Ciceronian and Christian normative assumptions. Montaigne, Catholic, conservative, and skeptical, and Althusius, a Protestant believer, tried to keep prudence within the realm of human virtues by emphasizing the fact that prudential considerations do not per definitionem exclude moral cogitation. Also, Machiavelli’s work targets a reformation of the Florentine constitution, a target which it could not hit, while both Montaigne and Althusius are keen to keep the constitutional traditions of their respective cities. Finally, both Montaigne and Althusius tried to negotiate prudential considerations and the requirement to keep the observance of the laws intact, while for Machiavelli, prudenza can trump everything, even legal prohibitions, when necessity obliges the magistrate to follow its advice. These examples encourage further research into the relationship of political philosophy and actual political practice. First, it might be useful to find further practical examples from other historical contexts (like Rousseau’s relationship to Geneva, or de Tocqueville and local governance in America, or for that matter, Weber himself). It would be important to see whether this solid impact of practice on philosophy and vice versa was present in other contexts, too. Second, it would also be interesting to see whether there are any contemporary examples of the same type of practice-oriented political philosophy. Finally, the theoretical question might also be posed whether philosophy can indeed contribute to a renaissance of the cities in contemporary political thought.

Notes 1 This chapter is a revised and edited version of the paper I delivered at the 2017 meeting of the Philosophy of the City Research Group, which took place October 11–13 at the University of Porto in


Ferenc Hörcher Porto, Portugal. I am grateful to Andrea Robotka, who took care of its written version. We chose to leave gendered pronouns in Machiavelli and other classic texts as is. 2 Due to the limitations of the knowledge of the present author, this chapter will narrow its scope to the Western canon of urban developments. This move does not mean, however, that it is meant to suggest that other models (like city life in the Asian and Southern context on a global scale) are less appealing. 3 “Look at the man who has been knocking about in law-courts and such places ever since he was a boy; and compare him with the man brought up in philosophy, in the life of a student. It is surely like comparing the up-bringing of a slave with that of a free man” (Plato, Theaetetus 172d). There is reason, however, to suspect an ironic (and self-critical) use of language in this description, as in the case when Plato claims that “the philosopher grows up without knowing the way to the market-place,” and refers to “every sort of difficulty” that he needs to tackle as a result of “his lack of experience” (174c–175e). I rely here on Allen (2010: 79). 4 From this letter we also learn that he found himself guilty of having influenced his politician-pupil in the wrong direction in a political sense due to his effort to translate his philosophical ideas into practice. 5 James Hankins pointed out that both Bruni and Machiavelli produce “readings of the past designed to influence the actions of statesmen in their own day” (2015: 1). 6 We refer here to the open access edition at, which does not provide page numbers. 7 Jacques II de Goyon, seigneur de Matignon (1525–1598), a friend of Montaigne who followed him in the chair of the mayor of Bordeaux. The correspondence was published as Correspondance de Montaigne avec le maréchal de Matignon (1582–1588). 8 Goyet claims, “As much as the sublime prince and perhaps even more than him, he is the incarnation of the prudens” (2005: 132). 9 “His term as mayor of Bordeaux is the most salient moment of this role, but his responsibilities did not end after his mayoralty, and they probably began before it” (Goyet 2005: 123). 10 “Montaigne was one of those ‘political professionals’ who populated all the chancelleries and courts of the sixteenth century” (Goyet 2005: 123). 11 One should also note, however, the dedication of the third edition of the Politica: “Dedicated to the estates of (the Dutch provinces of) Frisia. Contains new chapters on provincial administration as well as on the right of resistance against tyranny” (quoted in Hueglin 1999: 234–235). No doubt Althusius was deeply engaged in the Dutch revolt against their Spanish oppressors, which was interpreted by many along denominational lines, and this political engagement can explain this dedication.

References Allen, D.S. (2010) Why Plato Wrote, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. Althusius, J. (1995) Politica, An Abridged Translation of Politics Methodologically Set Forth and Illustrated with Sacred and Profane Examples, F.S. Carney (ed. and trans), Carmel, IN: Liberty Fund. Arnisaeus, H. (1606) Doctrina politica in genuinam methodum, quae est Aristotelis, reducta, Francofurti (Ad Viadrum): Thieme. Botero, G. (2017) The Reason of State, trans. R. Bireley, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Desan, P. (2017) Montaigne: A Life, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. Edelman, C. (n.d.) “Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592),” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. . Frommel, C.L. (2007) The Architecture of the Italian Renaissance, London: Thames and Hudson. Giovio, P. (1935) An Italian Portrait Gallery, Being Brief Biographies of Scholars Illustrious within the Memory of Our Grand-Fathers for the Published Monument of Their Genius, F. Alden Gragg (trans), Boston: Chapman and Grimes. Goyet, F. (2005) “Montaigne and the Notion of Prudence,” in U. Langer (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Montaigne, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 118–141. Hankins,J.(2017)“Leonardo Bruni and Machiavelli on the Lessons of Florentine History,”in Le cronache volgari in Italia, Atti della VI Settimana di studi medievali (Roma, 13–15 maggio 2015), a cura di G. Francesconi – M. Miglio, Rome: ISIME, 373. . Hoffmann, G. (1999) Montaigne’s Career, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Philosophers and the city in early modern Europe Hueglin, T.O. (1999) Early Modern Concepts for a Late Modern World: Althusius on Community and Federalism, Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Langer, U. (2005) “Montaigne’s Political and Religious Context,” The Cambridge Companion to Montaigne, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 9–26. Lipsius, J. (2004) Politica. Six Books of Politics or Political Instruction, J. Waszink (ed. and trans), Assen: Royal Van Gorcum. Machiavelli, N. (2005) The Prince, trans. P. Bondanella, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Montaigne, M. de (1910) Essays of Montaigne, trans. C. Cotton, rev. W.C. Hazlitt, New York: Edwin C. Hill, available online . – I.25., Of the Education of Children – II.13., Of Judging of the Death of Another – III.1., Of Profit and Honesty – III.13., Of Experience ——— (1916) Correspondance avec le maréchal de Matignon (1582–1588), L.-H. Labande (ed.), Paris: Éduard Champion, . Plato (1997) Complete Works, J. Cooper (ed.), Indianapolis: Hackett. Schmitt, C. (1976) The Concept of the Political, trans. G. Schwab, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. Skinner, Q. (1981) Machiavelli (Past Masters), New York: Hill & Wang. Tuck, R. (1993) Philosophy and Government 1572–1651, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Turnon, A. (2005) “Justice and the Law: On the Reverse Side of the Essays,” in U. Langer (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Montaigne, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 96–117. von Friedeburg, R. (ed.) (2013) Politics, Law, Society, History and Religion in the Politica (1590s–1650s): Interdisciplinary Perspectives on an Interdisciplinary Subject, Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag.

Further reading L.B. Alberti, Ten Books on Architecture, ed. J. Rykwert, trans. C. Bartoli into Italian & J. Leoni into English (London: Alec Tiranti, 1965). J. Althusius, On Law and Power, trans. J.J. Veenstra (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Library Press Academic, 2013). T. Campanella, The City of the Sun, trans. A.M. Elliott & R. Millner (London and West Nyack: The Jouneyman Press, 1981). Filarete, Treatise on Architecture, Being the Treatise by Antonio di Piero Averlino, Known as Filarete, trans. J.R. Spencer (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1965). B. Fontana, Montaigne’s Politics: Authority and Governance in the Essais (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008). M. van Gelderen & Q. Skinner, Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, I–II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).T. More & R.M. Adams, Utopia: A Revised Translation, Backgrounds, Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition; New York: W.W. Norton, 1992). J.M. Najemy (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Machiavelli (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). J. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975). M.Viroli, Redeeming the Prince:The Meaning of Machiavelli’s Masterpiece (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014).


3 PRAGMATIC ENGAGEMENT IN THE CITY Philosophy as a means for catalyzing collective, creative capacity (lessons from John Dewey and Jane Addams) Danielle Lake Wicked city planning: Rittel and Webber (a review) Aptly enough, the term “wicked problems” emerged from the struggle to address the challenges of city life in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber’s (1973) seminal article on such problems documents how many of the issues social policy and public planning aim to address are interconnected with one another, intractable, and constantly evolving: from inner-city poverty, to crime and policing, to urban renewal and gentrification. They note that such issues are beyond complex, involving a host of unknowns, values-in-conflict, inherent tradeoffs, and high stakes. Many urban issues are multidimensional, involving a range of stakeholders and systems often fragmented from one another, yet intimately linked through interdependent pathways. As complex, multidimensional, and interconnected high-stakes issues, wicked urban challenges evolve over time, are influenced by a host of causes, and resist resolution through expert-driven, techno-scientific interventions (Watkins & Wilber 2015; Fischer 2000). The history of urban life is rife with examples. A cursory review of efforts to address sanitation, garbage disposal, and sewage challenges yield horrifying narratives of widespread suffering from contagions which frequently led to citywide epidemics. Such examples also frustrate the reader over the public/private, economic, political, and institutional power plays involved, not to mention the technological and medical challenges. In addition, dominant and oppressive city structures and processes contribute to the wicked dimension of our challenges (from human trafficking, to food access, to the “school-to-prison” pipeline). Iris Marion Young notes how a history of centralized power structures, hierarchical and private decision-making mechanisms, and an often-secretive disbursement of capital, combined with a lack of power at the regional, state, and national levels, reinforce oppressive and isolating conditions (1990: 242–47). The common approach to wrestling with these issues tends to narrowly frame them as win–lose scenarios. Given common habits of isolation and competition (in place of cooperation), standard approaches to these problems will exacerbate the situation, moving the problem from a messy and challenging situation into a full-blown crisis (the foreclosure crisis of 2007–2008 and the subsequent global recession is a prime example).


Pragmatic engagement in the city Table 3.1 The city as an effective space for engaging wicked problems Dimensions of wicked problems

Opportunities often found within cities for addressing wicked problems

Multidimensional and interconnected Values-in-conflict Evolving over time and involving many “unknowns” High stakes No ideal resolution

Social differentiation Variety Publicity Diversity Web of connectivity

AsYoung also noted, the city – through social differentiation, variety, eroticism, and publicity – provides a wealth of opportunities for recognizing the wicked dimensions of these issues, for expanding the framework under which we live, and thus for more inclusive and ethical responses to such challenges. As Table 3.1 outlines, framing the opportunities and challenges emerging from within and between cities through a wicked problems lens makes the need for public philosophic engagement visible. As a frame from which to engage, the literature on wicked problems reminds us that we must be more cognizant of how our collective decisions affect the lives of others: calling on us to more holistically consider how policy, infrastructure, and capital fail to meet the diverse needs of a complex city. And, while often a place of fragmentation, the city is at the same time an “extraordinarily powerful and barely visible . . . web of mutual dependency” (Rodgers 2000: 114). It is a space from which we are more likely to see the intersecting nature of our challenges. As we will see next, Jane Addams’s lifework – embedded in the city of Chicago and at the same time interconnected with international challenges – illustrates how collaborative, reflective action cycles can be a means for fruitful and continuous interventions designed to flexibly and more holistically respond to the particularities of each situation.

Philosopher as open-minded activist: Jane Addams and the city (a review) Given the historical dismissal and exclusion of women from both academic and political spheres, the interpretation of Addams’s lifework as philosophic activism is a more recent emergence (Whipps & Lake 2016; Seigfried 1996; Fischer 2013). However, it takes only a cursory overview of her life to illustrate the point. Indeed, as a community organizer in Chicago in the late 1800s and early 1900s she demonstrated a radical commitment to democratic engagement across urban differences: working for labor rights, immigrant rights, women’s rights, and children’s rights, and advocating for peace, food justice, and more (Knight 2010). Understanding philosophy as an active process of engagement, Addams was a women’s suffrage leader, the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and an advisor to three US presidents. According to Addams’s biographer Jean Bethke Elshtain, almost “every piece of major reform” in the early 20th century had Addams’ name “attached in one way or another” (2004: xxiv). She published hundreds of articles and over ten volumes reflecting on the social philosophical issues she was addressing. A great deal of her work focused on the challenges and opportunities within urban life, from immigrant and labor rights, to poverty and waste disposal, to industrialization and food justice (Addams 1990). Recounting her philosophic activism demonstrates how such work can change social realities, while it simultaneously illustrates the wickedness of such problems (their ongoing and intractable nature). Indeed, most of the issues Addams spent her


Danielle Lake

life working to ameliorate are still challenges we confront today. Thus, a review of Addams’s life-long philosophic activism in Chicago and abroad can provide a number of strategies for addressing wicked urban issues today. To begin, such a review highlights the need for a cyclical process of reflective coaction on wicked and complex social realities. While philosophy can and should impact one’s place, approaching urban challenges through an interactionist praxis also means place should impact one’s philosophy. Addams learned this very early on: In summarizing her early efforts to engage with the community surrounding Hull House, she recounts a series of failures and a rapidly evolving philosophy. For example, efforts to introduce “health foods” in the neighborhood were a resounding failure. The endeavor emerged from a series of assumptions about what the neighborhood needed; it was disconnected from residents’ eating habits, cultures, and desires.Through philosophic reflection and collaborative action, Addams consistently harnessed these failures to better address wicked urban challenges. When she was just 29 years old, Addams settled in Chicago, creating one of the first social settlement houses in the United States, embedding herself in place instead of philosophizing from on high. Hull House Settlement, as “the living embodiment of Jane Addams’s social philosophy” (Elshtain 2004: xxxiv), literally created a boundary-spanning space for collectively addressing wicked urban challenges.With a goal to “respond to all sides of the neighborhood life” (“Objective Value,” 32), the site was chosen in large part because it was situated among communities of Italian, German, Polish, Russian, Bohemian, Canadian-French, and Irish immigrant neighborhoods. In fact, Hull House – in occupying a space among intermingling worlds – was a critical site for addressing wicked issues in place. Opening in 1889, Hull House operated as a boundaryspanning institution for local immigrants, connecting them to various agencies, disseminating important knowledge, and facilitating transitional efforts. Illustrating Hull House’s success in operating as a bridge, over 1,000 people came to Hull House and over 35 classes were offered a week (Addams 2002: 26). In direct response to the needs of the surrounding community, it created a reading room, built public bathrooms, and ran both a nursery and a kindergarten. In addition, the settlement, by offering space for disparate city residents to meet, was an essential bridge for generating the potential for more inclusive and responsive coaction. In general, boundary organizations invite different perspectives in, hold themselves accountable to those involved in the situation, attempt to co-create context-sensitive knowledge, and leverage that knowledge into effective interventions while actively seeking alternatives (Batie 2008: 1182). In direct alignment with this description, Addams describes the settlement as “an experimental effort to aid in the solution of the social and industrial problems which are engendered by the modern conditions of life in a great city” (2002: 25). Indeed, Twenty Years at Hull House is full of examples of collaborative efforts among Hull House, its surrounding residents, various city organizations, and surrounding institutions. Such spaces are desperately needed when attempting to collaboratively address wicked urban issues. As critical breeding grounds for encountering difference, fostering relationships, and catalyzing reform, philosophers interested in engaging urban issues across diverse communities could thus seek out, inhabit, or even explore how to reimagine and recreate such spaces. In addition to creating space for collaborating across differences, Addams intentionally and consistently moved within and between spaces of difference in order to advocate for change, situating herself in immigrant neighborhoods while also entering into political, social, and academic spheres dominated by men (and hostile to women). She committed herself to fostering relationships across ideological differences. In fact, she was often able to sustain friendships across intense divisions – including with conservatives, individualists, manufacturers, and aristocrats (Linn 2000: 157–158). Her experiences led her to conclude that change, when not accompanied 44

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by honest dialogue across differences, is likely to be undermined at almost every turn (Weber 2000: 155). As a means of fostering such relationships, Addams’s consistent attention to and use of narrative recalls a fundamental aspect of collective learning endeavors sorely missing in much scholarship and activism today. She realized narratives are essential for expanding our ethical framework and providing us with opportunities for cultivating emotional intelligence and cultural awareness. In fact, her commitment to working with others across intense differences in order to address the challenges of her time led to the label of radical. If we are seeking to meliorate interconnected, emergent, intractable, and contentious problems of urban life (i.e., wicked problems), then we must open “our eyes to exploitation and industrial debasement” of others (Addams 2008: 42). In Newer Ideals of Peace, Addams notes that cities provide opportunities not found in more homogenous communities for the “commingling of many peoples” able to engage in “cosmopolitan relations through daily experience” (2008: 18). Addams’s philosophic engagement – involving both place-based local activism and global outreach – is, without a doubt, a powerful illustration of working across differences in order to address issues of the city. Even such a cursory review yields a series of recommendations for like-minded philosophic activists today, including a willingness to uncover the stories of one’s place, foster relationships across even seemingly intractable divides (and thereby expand who and what counts), and link one’s philosophic practices to cooperative and iterative co-action that subsequently modifies one’s philosophic commitments. Such efforts require epistemic humility and open-minded advocacy. In addition, the creation and evolution of Hull House highlights the need to re-imagine and/or create anew more spaces intentionally designed to span boundaries of what is too often an otherwise segregated urban space. According to Fischer, “Addams’s actions and compromises were an experiment in real time of the process of democratic, pragmatist political reconstruction. Hers was the sort of concrete experience from which pragmatist theory emerges and to which it must return for validation” (2016: 229). Indeed, as an incredibly effective boundary spanner, her philosophic activism in the city responded to the wicked dimensions of many urban issues while also embodying the possibilities Young saw in city life (generating awareness and appreciation of social difference and variety).

Philosopher as liaison: John Dewey and the city (a review) Situated with Addams in Chicago in the early 1900s, John Dewey developed a philosophy that was deeply impacted by the city. And, as one of the most important philosophers embedded within the academy in the early 20th century, Dewey was able to leverage lessons learned through his interactions with Addams into a vision of philosophy as a method for engaging with critical issues of urban life that was more readily communicable to academics (Midtgarden 2012). His philosophic activism ultimately manifested not only through an incredibly active speaking agenda and a wealth of articles focused on the complex challenges of social-political life, but also through his participation in demonstrations for women’s rights, his involvement with the NAACP, and his lifelong advocacy for teachers’ rights and educational reform. In studying the history of the time, Rucker concludes that the distinctive features of the Chicago school and the surrounding city created a uniquely collaborative and action oriented philosophic approach. In contrast to the philosophy emerging elsewhere, Dewey and his colleagues were committed to meliorating real problems, “breaking traditions,” “opening new paths, challenging intellectual and academic habits, [and] devising new ideas” for action (1969: viii). Thus, Dewey’s philosophy provides valuable insights into the difficulties of wicked urban problems by explicating the challenges presented by unreflective habits and rigid institutions. Too often, a belief in the universal applicability of the mission, values, or operations of our 45

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institutions serves to render the future of the institution more secure at the expense of a changing public and changing public needs. As the wicked problems literature makes clear, resistance to adaptation, a narrowly framed ethical and epistemological framework, and rampant self-interest exacerbate wicked problems, turning them into large scale crises (e.g., the 2007 foreclosure crisis and the subsequent global recession). Dewey’s philosophy uncovers why this is, arguing that the very agencies meant to serve our needs often “obstruct the organization of a new public” (LW 2: 254). Given the scale, complexity, and rapidly evolving nature of our urban challenges, this institutional resistance and lag is highly dangerous. In addition to illuminating these additional barriers to meliorating wicked problems, Dewey’s philosophy offers a series of strategies for engaging in urban challenges. For example, he recommends we give primacy to the situatedness of life, value pluralism, and creativity, and remain cognizant of the experimental and fallibilistic nature of our actions. In addition, as a public intellectual and social critic committed to experimental engagement, Dewey focused on not just analyzing, but also constructively addressing the wicked challenges inherent to the techno-scientific transformations of the time, the increasing inequities fostered by a history of unequal wealth, and authoritarian and outmoded educational practices, along with a host of other urban challenges (Caspary 2000). Indeed, Dewey called on institutions and individuals to intentionally and consistently reflect upon the impact of current practices: We must, he said, critically examine how our own assumptions and actions shape social challenges. We must also be willing to revise current practices and policies accordingly (LW 2: 362). This form of pragmatism “sets up an attitude of criticism, of inquiry, and makes men sensitive to the brutalities and extravagancies of customs” (MW 14: 55), while also turning these possibilities into a more effective means of being with one another in the world. The resultant sensitivity of this method provides a precaution against the escalation of urban challenges, moving individuals and institutions that are otherwise often inattentive and unresponsive to a more collaborative, reflective, and active approach to shared problems. Such an approach requires flexible and tenacious, but also self-reflexive, engagement in efforts for reform. Philosophers are primed to foster just such skill sets. Indeed, the values and skills fostered by this approach provide a bulwark against the temptation to idealism and relativism, requiring all actors take seriously the experiences of those often excluded and oppressed. Dewey’s approach thereby leverages one of the most essential values of urban life: its potential for intersecting diversity, of variety, of “social differentiation without exclusion” (Young 1990: 239).Too often a fear of interacting across difference (of how this might make suspect our own commitments) yields isolation (MW 9: 91–92). But it is through such engagement that our creative capacities are awakened. Collective engagement in urban life can move the public from passive observers and consumers to active co-creators of our shared lives. Indeed, engaging across difference spurs creativity. Isolation and expertise, without integration and communication, lead often to convenient but dangerous conclusions about how to best address shared problems. As Dewey wrote, we must move “thought out beyond the self and extends its scope.” By doing so we make “vivid the interests of others” and “give them weight” (LW 7: 270). Dewey suggested philosophers have a critical role to play in this scenario, arguing they should see themselves as “liaison officers” (LW 1: 306–307). Philosophers could, for instance, not only help interpret and analyze the best available knowledge of our time, but also facilitate the creative process of envisioning how communities might leverage these findings into iterative action (249). Philosophy-as-liaison requires boundary-spanning engagement; it is aware of and responsive to the power of individual and institutional habits; it is also action-oriented and iterative, directing philosophers to engage with the public in order to consider issues across differences, imagine possible responses to shared problems, and act upon those ideas. Such a philosophy resists separating 46

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techno-scientific innovation from the social milieu, recognizing doing so “encourages irresponsibility” and a disregard of the social consequences (LW 12: 483). It recognizes that specialization alone has led to innovations that often yield long-term devastating consequences like global climate change and industrialization. Thus, as liaisons, philosophers addressing urban issues would seek to engage others across differences, press upon unreflective habits, and expand the framework under which decisions are made. This shifts the traditional philosopher’s task from creating and judging the most persuasive argument (often for and with one another) to initiating and facilitating philosophical endeavors in a more open and inclusive space. Such an approach turns failure into fertile grounds for learning and growth (MW 14: 11), a critical dimension of efforts designed to meliorate wicked problems. This is especially critical when attempting to explicate and reimagine outmoded policies and practices through a wicked problems approach. For example, the food system has created food deserts that disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities, making access to local, healthy, and affordable foods impossible for many urban residents. As a high-stakes, complex problem interwoven with many other complex issues and systems – like racism and generational poverty, and the transportation, healthcare, and education systems – addressing food justice within urban spaces requires traversing political, institutional, and disciplinary boundaries. Philosopher-as-liaison could come alongside such efforts, helping to facilitate examination of the situation in an inclusive, participatory, and experimental manner. For instance, philosophers can partner with those working to shift the situation in one’s place, whether urban gardeners, food justice educators, local residents, or policymakers. Thus, Dewey shows us that – by working in place and with others – philosophers can stimulate creative insights and actions “deliberately adjusted in advance to cope with new forces” (MW 14: 48). And a number of philosophers are doing just this today.

Harnessing the vision now A part of the American philosophic tradition is to constantly reconstruct itself so that it can continue to foster and expand our lives. Thus, explicating Addams’s and Dewey’s situated philosophic approach to urban issues of their place and time is not a simple exercise in regurgitation; it uncovers possibilities inherent in such an approach for addressing the problems of urban life today. For example, Addams and Dewey remind philosophers to critically reflect upon the space and position from which they are philosophizing (and from which they are not). With this in mind, we can highlight how philosophers have and can engage in, with, and through various urban spaces and issues today. Following Dewey’s lead, for instance, Sharon M. Meagher concludes that philosophy can go beyond publishing critiques of the city by also generating actionable and public recommendations for resisting the injustices such a critique uncovers. But in order to do this philosophy must be taken “down to the streets” (2007: 7). This approach harnesses philosophy as a means of developing social “capacity to make interventions in the name of justice, equity, and fairness” (Meagher 2013: 87). In truth, philosophers can find an abundance of opportunities for stepping into our communities by engaging at the project level: through working with others on messy, “problem-oriented,” and collaborative projects, philosophers have the opportunity to move beyond critique to creation and implementation. Robert Frodeman labels this field “philosophy.” Dewey and Addams provide those searching for ways to engage with a wealth of examples for place- and project-based philosophic activism: One can, for instance, partner with those engaging in urban issues of racism and police brutality, and gentrification and fair housing, as well as around issues of food justice, industrialization of technological infrastructure, education, and so on. Philosophic training yields unique skill sets valuable for engaging in collaborative problem-solving endeavors: from facilitating dialogues 47

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around place-based issues of concern; to deconstructing and reconstructing various positions on complex issues; to analyzing findings and generating reports, as well as authoring news articles, blogs, and podcasts, thereby catalyzing the possibility for collective action. Opportunities for engaging in urban challenges also exist along different scales. Frodeman (2013), for instance, identifies a role for philosophers as bureaucrats. A philosopher bureaucrat works on real problems at an institutional and policy level (Frodeman, Briggle, & Holbrook 2012). While there is a plethora of philosophers in positions of administrative leadership within the academy today (certainly a form of bureaucracy), Frodeman presses on philosophers to see the merits of philosophic activism from not just within, but also outside of the academy. Illustrating the possibilities on this front, philosopher Andrew Light is a university professor, a director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, and a Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute (serving as a member of President Obama’s United Nations Climate Change negotiating team in 2015). While some philosophers are finding entry into wicked challenges by operating between the academy and other institutions (enacting Dewey’s philosopher-as-liaison), still-dominant academic frameworks often make this challenging; these barriers have led some philosophers to catalyze movements from outside academic spaces. As a lifelong activist with a PhD in philosophy operating outside of the academy, Grace Lee Boggs is an exemplary example of philosophic urban activism from outside the academy. She calls on philosophers to not only foster awareness about how we are all implicated in wicked problems, but to help generate the capacity and creativity needed to act on wicked problems and thereby catalyze “true change from the ground up” (Boggs & Kurashige 2012: 24). Deeply impacted by urban spaces, Boggs ultimately settled in Detroit, but also spent years in Chicago and was actively involved in the civil rights movement, labor movement, women’s movement, Black Power movement, Asian-American movement, and environmental justice movement (Boggs & Kurashige 2012: 4). She also explicitly acknowledges Dewey’s and Addams’s influence on her life’s work, concluding along with them that full, authentic selves develop through active involvement in community (Boggs & Kurashige 2012: 58). Reflecting on the social movements of the 20th century, Boggs agrees with Addams, noting that successful social movements are born from “critical connections,” not from “critical mass” (2012: 17). She also encourages philosophers to move from critical deconstruction to creative, generative reconstruction (2012: 27), demanding we not simply “argue for what we are against,” but also “practice what we are for” (Boggs 2009). Meagher drives the point home, noting that “slum clearance will not stop because philosophers argue that it is morally wrong; it will stop when philosophers work with others to expose the exploitative mechanisms that increase gaps between the rich and the poor” (2013: 87). Meagher, Frodeman, Light, and Boggs make it clear that there are still both a host of reasons for and opportunities to engage philosophy in wicked urban challenges.

Limitations and lingering questions (a brief note) While these philosophers provide a critical entry point for engagement on these challenges, they also highlight some of the very real constraints upon – and dangers of – philosophic engagement in wicked problems. For example, Boggs and Addams both faced extensive discrimination and criticism, and both have FBI files documenting their activism. In addition, Boggs articulates a sense of relief in being excluded from academic spheres, describing academic life as a horrible fate because it would have propelled her to be “an observer rather than an active participant in the humanity-stretching movements that have defined the last half of the twentieth century” (Boggs & Ebooks Corporation 1998: xi). In addition, Boggs’s and Addams’s separation from the academy – and the subsequent effort required to claim their legitimacy as 48

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philosophers – illuminate the mismatch between academic philosophy and the lived, complex reality of urban life. Universities too rarely co-generate or openly disseminate knowledge with the public. To this day, commitments to expert- and discipline-bound peer review still often supersede concerns about the relevance and wider impact of the knowledge being produced. This history has a direct impact on current structures and cultures, making philosophic engagement an additional burden and risk. Fortunately, the philosophers documented within these pages provide strategies for not only changing individual philosophic practice, but also for reimagining and recreating institutional structures so they open spaces and opportunities to engage in urban challenges.

Conclusion Recognizing the wicked dimensions of urban life reminds philosophers of the opportunity for impact that is foregone when their work operates from a realm of isolated theory. The wicked problems literature aptly demonstrates the need for collaborative and critical interpretation, integration, and imagination. When philosophers fail to engage in the challenges of our time and place, we forego the chance to press against unjust institutional structures. In contrast, the reframing of philosophy presented here shifts the philosopher’s task from creating and judging the most persuasive argument, to catalyzing philosophic engagement on issues of city life. This reframing demands that philosophers self-reflexively situate themselves, asking and answering two critical questions: What are the problems as defined by others? And how might our work address current challenges? And while this chapter provides only a cursory review of Addams’s and Dewey’s activist-philosophic engagement, it nevertheless makes plain that philosophic engagement on intractable urban challenges can foster relationships across sharp divides, yield a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of such problems from a variety of perspectives, and catalyze action on these challenges. By engaging in issues of urban life, philosophers have the opportunity to develop, employ, and encourage in others a unique set of values and skills, including a commitment to active listening across differences, to humility, empathy, patience, and flexibility, as well as to courage and tenacity. While traditional, academic approaches to philosophy engender some of these skills, active philosophic engagement in our intractable challenges can generate them all. Thus, key themes from this chapter clarify why philosophic engagement in urban wicked challenges is essential to meliorating these issues, while also highlighting what such engagement might like look, where and when it can unfold, and how philosophers might go about it. In the end, these philosophers show us the reciprocal transformative power of philosophic activism, where we seek to transform ourselves and, at the same time, transform our institutions and our communities.

References Addams, J. (1990 [1910]) Twenty Years at Hull House, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. ——— (2002) “The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements,” in J.B. Elshtain (ed.), The Jane Addams Reader, New York: Basic Books. ——— (2008) The Major Works of Jane Addams. Newer Ideals of Peace, Charlottesville,VA: InteLex Corporation. Batie, S. (2008) “Wicked Problems in Applied Economics,” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 90 (5), pp. 1176–1191. Boggs, G.L. (2009) “Love & (R)evolution,” Annual Conversations on Peace and Justice . Boggs, G.L. & Ebooks Corporation. (1998) Living for Change: An Autobiography, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.


Danielle Lake Boggs, G.L. & Kurashige, S. (2012) The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, Berkeley: University of California. Caspary, W.R. (2000) Dewey on Democracy, Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Dewey, J. (1980) Democracy and Education.The Middle Works, 1899–1924,Vol. 9, J.A. Boydston (ed.), Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. ——— (1983) Human Nature and Conduct. The Middle Works, 1899–1924,Vol. 14, J.A. Boydston (ed.), Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. ——— (1996a) Ethics.The Later Works, 1925–1953,Vol. 7, J.A. Boydston (ed.), Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. ——— (1996b) Experience and Nature. The Later Works, 1925–1953, Vol. 1, J.A. Boydston (ed.), Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. ——— (1996c) Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. The Later Works, 1925–1953, Vol. 12, J.A. Boydston (ed.), Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. ——— (1996d) The Public and Its Problems. The Later Works, 1925–1953, Vol. 2, J.A. Boydston (ed.), Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. Elshtain, J.B. (2004) “A Return to Hull-House: Taking the Measure of an Extraordinary Life,” in J.B. Elshtain (ed.), The Jane Addams Reader, New York: Basic Books. Fischer, F. (2000) Citizens, Experts, and the Environment: The Politics of Local Knowledge, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ——— (2013) “Reading Dewey’s Political Philosophy through Addams’s Political Compromises,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2), pp. 227–243. ——— (2016) “A Pluralist Universe in Twenty Years,” The Pluralist 11 (1), pp. 1–18. Frodeman, R. (2013) Sustainable Knowledge: A Theory of Interdisciplinarity, New York: MacMillan. Frodeman, R., Briggle, A., & Holbrook, J. (2012) “Philosophy in a Neoliberal Age,” Social Epistemology 26 (3), pp. 18–36. Knight, L.W. (2010) Jane Addams: Spirit in Action, New York: W.W. Norton & Company. Linn, J.W. (2000) Jane Addams: A Biography, Chicago: University of Illinois. Meagher, S. (2007) “Philosophy in the Streets: Walking the City with Engels and de Certeau,” City 11 (1), pp. 7–20. ——— (2013) “American Pragmatism and the Global City: Engaging Saskia Sassen’s Work,” The Pluralist 8 (3), pp. 83–89. Midtgarden, T. (2012) “Critical Pragmatism: Dewey’s Social Philosophy Revisited,” European Journal of Social Theory 15 (4), pp. 505–521. Rittel, H. & Webber, M. (1973) “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning,” Policy Sciences 4 (2), 155–169. Rodgers, D.T. (2000) Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Rucker, D. (1969) The Chicago Pragmatists, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Seigfried, C.H. (1996) Pragmatism and Feminism: Reweaving the Social Fabric, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Watkins, A. & Wilber, K. (2015) Wicked and Wise: How to Solve the World’s Toughest Problems, Urbane Publications: Great Britain. Weber, J.L. (2000) Jane Addams: A Biography, Chicago: University of Illinois. Whipps, J. & Lake, D. (2016) “Feminist Pragmatism,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, . Young, I. (1990) Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Further reading G.L. Boggs & S. Kurashige, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century (Berkeley: University of California, 2012), discusses philosophic activism in urban social movements. R. Frodeman, Sustainable Knowledge: A Theory of Interdisciplinarity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), focuses on realigning academia with current challenges. D. Lake, “Jane Addams and Wicked Problems: Putting the Pragmatic Method to Use,” The Pluralist 9 (3) (2014), pp. 77–94, documents a feminist pragmatist approach for engaging with wicked problems. J. Whipps & D. Lake, “Feminist Pragmatism,” in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2016),, summarizes history and key facets of feminist pragmatism.


4 BACK TO THE CAVE Joseph S. Biehl

For far too long we have busied ourselves with thinking about ways to change the city. It is about time we let the city change the ways that we think. D. Kishik (2015: 95)

Descent In early January 2014, I met with the vice provost of Felician College to inform her that the upcoming spring semester would be my last. Unexpectedly, my voice waivered and my eyes grew moist as I said my piece. To be sure, intentionally leaving my full-time position in philosophy, even at a school that did not grant tenure, was frightening, especially without gainful employment waiting in the wings. But the real driver of my decision, and what I realized was rendering it so dramatic, was not dissatisfaction with a particular appointment but disenchantment with my chosen profession. I no longer wanted to be an “academic philosopher.” The moment was emotionally fraught because I was severing a significant facet of my identity: I was walking away from a world that I had immersed myself over the previous 24 years – more than half my life at the time. I was leaving the academy behind. Walking away from a career as a philosophy professor is not the same as walking away from being a philosopher. That aspect of my identity was – and remains – nonnegotiable, for though very much changed by choice and chance, I continue to become the person I set out to be when deciding to major in philosophy 30 years ago. The new challenge I gave myself in the summer of 2014 was how to maintain my identity outside of academia. Living in New York City and raising three young boys (ages seven and under at the time; now all three attending New York City public schools), I thought it fitting that I attempt to be a city philosopher – in particular, a New York City philosopher – and so I created the Gotham Philosophical Society, a nonprofit corporation with the mission of using “the critical rigor and analytical imagination of philosophical thought to transform the civil, political, and educational institutions of New York City.” The need to justify this enterprise beyond satisfying my imperative to continue doing what I loved to do was easy enough. New York is continuously evolving, but the social and political discourse (such that it is) concerned with that evolution is almost wholly devoid of philosophical clarity and insight. Hence my city’s trajectory is, perhaps unsurprisingly, determined by those with the greatest appetites for money, power, and prestige, rather than by those inclined toward reasoned 51

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deliberation concerning the conditions necessary for New Yorkers to flourish.Yet this is not because those running the city have rebuffed the philosophers (though no doubt they probably would); the situation, from my perspective, is more disturbing than that: Most of the city’s philosophers appear unwilling to enter the public arena. While NewYork can boast of an exceedingly high concentration of philosophical talent as per a frequently sited metric such as the Philosophical Gourmet Report, with students traveling from all over the globe to study with them, their names remain unknown to the city at large. Too few of the city’s thinkers show much interest in crossing the notional divide separating the classroom from the city streets.1 Hence too many of New York’s philosophers are at once here and not here.They live and work in the city, but their work is neither of nor for the city. These twin difficulties – and they are indeed related – provide the Gotham Philosophical Society with its reason for being.2 The city suffers from the lack of the critical perspective philosophers can provide and as a result the conversations that shape its present and conceive its future are primarily characterized by near-sighted self-interest, conceptual shallowness, and fatalistic cynicism. The reputation of philosophy, and so the community of philosophers, suffers when a bloodlessly abstract conception of philosophical activity is permitted to prevail in the public consciousness. To maintain (if not in word then certainly in deed) that philosophy is a discipline requiring careful study under the guidance of a credentialed professional within a suitably circumscribed space perpetuates its widespread reputation as irrelevant. Whether this reputation is deserved is somewhat beside the point, but philosophers have, I believe, considerable incentive to counter it. As colleges and universities continue their transformation to a business model that engages students as consumers, the number of philosophy departments facing retrenchment is bound to grow unless a compelling case can be made for their value. Any such case, I shall argue here, should be staked to the very cities where philosophers earn their bread. Philosophical activity without regard for the needs of people in our urban communities is an intellectual activity without practical relevance, and fittingly described as “academic.”

The philosophical significance of the city When Socrates quipped that “I am a lover of knowledge, and the men who dwell in the city are my teachers, and not the trees or the country” (Plato 2006: 230d), he was doing more than telling off Phaedrus for poking fun at his reluctance to travel beyond Athens’s walls. Socrates was expressing a central tenet of his personal worldview, one that he fatefully maintained to the end when he found neither a life in the city without philosophy, nor a philosophical life in exile, as worth living. This stance is generally held up as a testament to the value of philosophy, an activity so vital and important that this man of impeachable integrity chose to die rather than live without it. To keep the focus here, however, risks missing the urban forest for the philosophical trees. Socrates certainly held philosophy up as the most profound human activity, and so the most essential, yet to be banished from the city was to be cut off from the source of its significance, that is from the very conditions that make philosophy worth doing. The importance of the city to questions of justice is obvious and familiar (see Nathan Nicol’s “Plato’s City-Soul Analogy” in this volume on how Plato used the role of the city-soul analogy in the Republic to make the case that well-ordered cities and well-ordered souls are mutually dependent). But it is philosophy itself, and not merely certain philosophical issues, that the very nature of urban life inspires. This is because “the city defines man” (Fell 1997: 26). Looking back at the beginnings of the European tradition, George S. Fell finds that for the ancients: The polis is the beginning of man both as to history and as artifice. Because in the city man first becomes conscious of himself, for it is the community which gives him his 52

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problems: his language and its myriad confusions; the images on the wall – appearance and reality, the one and the many, autonomy and heteronomy.The city awakens philosophy from slumber. Whatever man qua man is, mere exemplification of homo sapiens was looked upon by the Greeks as philosophically uninteresting. It is man under nomos, not physis, who is the proper concern of thought. (1997: 26) Man under nomos is man under laws, customs, habits, and norms, and it is in the city that the regulation of thought and action becomes – because there it is both pressing and difficult – a philosophical issue. In homogenous communities shared practices and perspectives that are rooted in a common history provide necessary order and inform group identity and membership. Critical meta-analysis of the fittingness or correctness of such practices and perspectives tends, therefore, to be muted. But given that “the soul of a city lies in its heterogeneity” (Conlon 1999; Meagher 2008: 200), the normative status of normative practices is there an open and often asked question. Philosophy is the critical reflection on inherently human practices, undertaken in the hope of understanding why they exist, how they work, and how they might be improved or superseded; the city is philosophically fertile ground because in it the greatest diversity of such practices is to be found. As Paul Tillich observed,“By its nature, the metropolis proves what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange. Since the strange leads to questions and undermines familiar tradition, it serves to elevate reason to ultimate significance” (quoted in Jacobs 1961: 238). The city incites us to philosophize because the city is where we can expect our assumptions about how to live to be countered. The city challenges us by presenting us with lives lived differently than our own. In the city we are routinely confronted by choices we have not made, beliefs we do not believe, and goals we have not set. We are, in other words, in “continuous propinquity” with the “Other,” and we come to a better understanding of ourselves – as individuals and as a species – through that opposition (Mendieta 2001 in Meagher 2008: 222). To commit to living in the city is to embrace “the being together of strangers” (Young 1990: 237), and so to accept a form of social life that often seems defined by deep disagreement about how the problems of living in a community can be effectively and efficiently alleviated (they seem rarely, if ever, resolved). Philosophy, therefore, would appear to be an invaluable tool for navigating the urban experience, both for the individual citizen and for our civic institutions. Yet as I noted at the outset, professional philosophers rarely figure in the daily life of my city (nor, I gather, in the lives of most others). Yes, things are changing, and as this volume attests there is a growing appreciation among philosophers for the importance of applying their skills in the service of the issues of urban life and in a decidedly more publicly engaged manner. It is also the case that “public philosophy” has taken off, with organizations promoting philosophical talks in public spaces and online media outlets (for example, Aeon, The Boston Review, The New York Times’ “Stone” column, The Point Magazine) publishing general audience pieces. Demand, however, still far outpaces supply. But more to the point, what is too often missing in these public efforts is what I would call an appreciation for the provincial. What I am advocating, and what I started GPS to facilitate, is for philosophers to become social-political actors in the affairs of their cities, to conceive and carry out their work as a valuable contribution of the local intellectual economy. I want us to provide space for philosophy understood as the activity by which we go about the business of reconceiving how we live, where we live. Resistance to this conception is institutionally entrenched and driven, I suspect, by the influence of a certain sort of culture that pervades the professional philosophical community. This culture can be seen in (and is prolonged by) the lack of institutional incentives to prioritize civic engagement, incentives that might counterbalance the career-dependent demands to publish 53

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within the closed-readership of professional journals and presses. Hence most philosophers remain – whether they want to or not – cloistered in the academy. Lacking a clear sense of what an urban-oriented, publicly directed philosophy might look like, they unsurprisingly prefer the comfortable familiarity of the classroom to what they consider the unsettling unpredictability of the public square. In the final section of this chapter I will briefly discuss some forms that engaged philosophy might take. Before doing so, I shall address the more problematic consequence of academic insularity: skepticism about whether such engagement should count as “serious” philosophy at all. This attitude results from a particular meta-philosophical view rooted in the very beginnings of the Western philosophical tradition, but a view that I will argue we have compelling reason to reject. We live in a time of considerable political and economic turmoil, and it is in the interest of both professional philosophers and the public at large to rethink what philosophy is for and what it can do.

The academy and the cave “Hostility to philosophy is the natural condition of man and the city.” That remark, made by Allan Bloom at the outset of his close reading of Plato’s Republic – which he recommends we study because “it is the first book which brings philosophy ‘down into the cities’; and we watch in it the foundation of political science, the only discipline which can bring the blessings of reason to the city” (1991: 310) – is worth attention. Clearly, given the context, Socrates’s fate is in the foreground, yet Bloom’s point is ahistorical: To philosophize as Socrates did, as a form of political action that invariably calls into question elements of a community’s moral identity, is necessarily to court danger. Our contemporaries George Yancy, Kate Mann, and Kathleen Stock demonstrate the point. Having ventured into public space to discuss such matters as our attitudes and behaviors with respect to race, gender, and sex, each has faced terrible verbal abuse, including threats to their lives and those of their loved ones. Not every engagement goes this way, of course; these cases are, fortunately, extreme. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the philosopher entering the public realm risks harms and reactions that the norms of academia are designed to prevent.3 Whereas to be “public” is to be an open forum for citizens to jointly plot (and contest) their future course, the space of “academia” – the classroom, the colloquium, the conference, and the college itself – exists to engage colleagues and instruct students, and functions as a relatively safe space, at a figurative distance from the hostility of the city.4 With our insistence on the putative protections of free inquiry and policies such as tenure, the point of which is to shield our thinkers from the intellectual violence that might result from feeling bound by the whims of “the mob” and the demands of the marketplace, our contemporary “academy” retains much of the fundamental significance of its namesake. The original Akademia was a sacred site containing the grove of olive trees to which Plato invited the promising thinkers of his day to discuss philosophical ideas. Located outside the city walls of Athens, it was intended as a desensitized space, one at a literal remove from the incessant distractions of life in the city. And from its dangers. Plato and his fellow thinkers had direct knowledge of the mortal risks of philosophizing in the agora, the center of civic life in the Greek city-state, and the locus of its social, political, and economic activity. To retreat from the fray, and create a private and protected domain, likely struck them as an eminently reasonable thing to do. Yet when we consider the significance of this separation of academy and agora, especially as represented in the foundational metaphor that informs the Western philosophical tradition, we might wonder whether hostility to the city isn’t a natural condition of philosophy. For on this telling, it is the philosopher who first gets wise to the fact that we unreflectively dwell in a region of shadow and illusion. This cave – the city – is a settlement overrun by self-deceit, a 54

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place where the pursuits of material gain and sensual satisfaction are paramount, and popular opinion – too often a product of lazy mental habits and suspect motivations – reigns supreme. Under these conditions, the philosopher distinguishes herself first by her self-awareness and then by her irrepressible need to ascend to the sunlit uplands to see things as they truly are.There she enters a world unspoiled by political machinations and the warping concerns for profit; in this idyllic academy, the collegiality of sympathetic truth-seekers fosters the unfettered love of learning. And it is at this point, when her victory over confusion is complete, that she is asked to make a hero’s sacrifice: rather than remain in this paradise, she must nobly assume her civic obligation and return to the cave to dispel the ethical and intellectual smog of city life. That the contemporary academic experience falls somewhat short of the Platonic ideal is perhaps the least disturbing feature of this self-aggrandizing myth. The vices of the city – the greed, the frequent elevation of personal ambition over civic-minded sacrifice, the gross inequality and exploitation – are the vices of humanity, and so it is unsurprising, even if still disappointing, that they follow us into the academy. But it is the picture of philosophical activity that I take issue with here, and in particular its application to city life. The classical conception of these was ably expressed by Bloom’s teacher, Leo Strauss: Philosophizing means to ascend the from the cave to the light of the sun, that is, to the truth. The cave is the world of opinion as opposed to knowledge. Opinion is essentially variable. Men cannot live, that is, they cannot live together, if opinions are not stabilized by social fiat. Opinion thus becomes authoritative opinion or public dogma or Weltanschauung. Philosophizing means, then, to ascend from public dogma to essentially private knowledge. The public dogma is originally an inadequate attempt to answer the question of the all-comprehensive truth of the eternal order. (1953: 11–12) According to this hyperrealist version of philosophy, it is a method – likely the only reliable method – for achieving normative clarity amidst the confusions induced by an imperfect reason. Without the private illumination that philosophy provides we are doomed to the darkness of public dogma. Nor should the corrupting power of that dogma (and the mechanisms of distortion that produce it) be underestimated. As Bas van der Vossen has recently argued, political philosophers should avoid the seductions of political activism (broadly construed to include any political activity from actively campaigning during an election to slapping a bumper sticker on your car, to “generally rooting for one side or another” (2015: 1046)) because being politically active “involves seriously exacerbating the risk of becoming biased about political issues” (2015: 1053). Given that the “task of the political philosopher is to seek the truth about politics” (2015: 1048), “activist philosophers violate their professional duties. They make seeking the truth about political issues needlessly difficult” (2015: 1053). The title of van der Vossen’s paper, “In Defense of the Ivory Tower,” isn’t a justification of the academy so much as an attempt to inoculate it from the fevers of the great unwashed who huddle just beyond the university gates. While I have no intention of underestimating the number of professional philosophers who would find this position untenable, to feature it here is not to take aim at a straw man. Its significance goes beyond the philosophers who hold it. What we also need to reckon with is the extent to which the public takes this to be the received view. This portrait of the philosopher poses both a philosophical and a public-relations problem. The former concerns the role of truth in philosophy, an interminable debate about which here I will only baldly state that I take it to have none: Philosophy doesn’t seek the truth about politics or any of the other normative 55

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domains it concerns itself with because there are no such truths to find. Normative thinking isn’t about finding the truth, it’s about finding one’s way. A political position (or an ethical one, or about what is rational, etc.) involves an orientation toward certain choices and a disposition toward certain attitudes. Some positions might make a particular person’s life go better or worse at a particular time, but there’s little sense to assessing them as true or false (see Biehl, 2005, 2008). Truth and falsity (as well as right and wrong, rational and irrational) are not independent arbiters of our normative frameworks but are their by-products. To paraphrase Donald Davidson, nothing counts as a reason for (or against) a normative judgment except another normative judgment.5 More pressing for present purposes than confronting the vacuity of this brand of inflationary meta-philosophy is stressing how bad it is for business. Recommending that philosophers limit their involvement in an irrational public discourse until they are ready to save it with new-found truths about how to live is a poorly conceived marketing strategy, one that shows that excessive exposure to sunlight can confuse a mind as effectively as any shadow on the wall. Such a proposal will likely garner all the ridicule it invites (much of it amusing, no doubt) but more’s the pity. In a climate where funding streams to STEM fields are squeezing the life out of the humanities, this isn’t the research program that philosophers should want grant-makers or legislators to believe they are pursuing. To those holding the purse strings, this hyperrealist picture is of a pseudo-scientific discipline that doesn’t deliver. And that is an assessment that is rather hard to argue with; we’d do better to deny the picture that generates it. To effectively counter it, we must encourage a very different conception of philosophy, one that is soberminded about its strengths and sensitive to the actual needs of actual people. Philosophers need to join the fray, not remain aloof from it. Central to establishing a more public-facing and urban-aware philosophy is repudiating the condescending myth of the cave. The corollary to rejecting the image of the academy as a veridical paradise is to acknowledge that our neighbors in our cities (and the nonacademic public more generally, even those on social media) are not trapped in a dystopian delusion. They, no more so than college professors, are simply living under the constraints of the human condition. Joseph Grange, who has written a book about philosophically understanding the city, offers a more sensible perspective when he suggests that “in a city, how things appear to us is almost as important as what they are in reality. In fact, urban experience ties appearance and reality so tightly together that often it is impossible and unwise to separate them in any final way” (1999: xiii). This is better, but I would argue that we can go further still; rather than viewing it as a realm where definite reality is being distorted (to whatever degree), we can approach our cities as living crucibles from which new human realities are to be forged. Cities have long been beacons to those intent on reinvention and those hoping to be more than they have been. Cities are the centers of becoming, concentrated hot spots of potential bursting into actuality. Humanity is an ongoing, open-ended project whose status at any given time is usually most perspicuous in its current urban output. Philosophers who hope to participate in that project must therefore embrace the city, not ignore or flee it. In rethinking the philosophical significance of the city, philosophers must also rethink their role in it, which must be importantly different from that which currently prevails in academia. Shane Epting’s discussion of transportation justice (TJ) found in the chapter “Philosophy of the City and Transportation Justice” in this volume makes the difference between them plain: Philosophers of the city could entertain each other through discussing the best-suited philosopher in history whose work could benefit how we understand issues in TJ – or we could examine patterns of injustice as they emerge on city streets and suburban 56

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cul-de-sacs. There is room for both. The difference here is that the former is the content that fills volumes of journals that make nary an impact on the problems that they cover. However, addressing the latter holds the possibility of reaching audiences that might benefit from a thorough investigation into a TJ issue. (Epting, this volume: 363) The notion of the philosopher as an expert on a certain literature, including the various debates and moves within a particular ongoing historical discussion, has legitimate currency in scholarly circles. Beyond them, however, being such an expert matters less than having developed expertise in the skills and capacities that are required to fulfill philosophy’s core function, which is to explore possible frameworks of thought and action, critically comparing and contrasting them for purpose of remaking the human world. From the perspective of an urban-oriented philosophy then, what makes the academy worthy of public investment is that it is a space to hone the skills that philosophers can then use to encourage, foster, and facilitate those explorations with their fellow citizens. This is not to claim that “philosophy for philosophy’s sake” is without value; the exercise of intellectual curiosity is intrinsically satisfying; indeed, so much so that we have incentive to expose as many people as possible to it. Moreover, pursuing philosophical leads out of the motivation to know rather than their potential impact people’s lives can have the unexpected consequence of having such an impact. But to think of philosophy as an exclusively “theoretical” discipline is to possess a needlessly impoverished conception.6 Consciously or unconsciously, the sorts of questions that philosophy asks frame our options, for the answers that we give them serve as the fixed points by which we navigate our lives. The actual activity of philosophy, the intentional asking of those questions and the interrogation of their possible answers, is therefore not an idle luxury but a political imperative. The world as we currently find it – and this is especially apparent in our cities (certainly so in my own) – squanders great quantities of its (human) capital. The majority of people possess neither the advantages of inherited economic privilege nor (fortunately, I prefer to think) the sort of character that posits the relentless pursuit of material gain and social influence as a virtue. Their lives, therefore, are too often marked by struggle – for adequate education, employment, and shelter, to name only three – that takes place in the shadow of extreme wealth and prosperity. Most of these people live in cities because of the opportunities (especially, though not exclusively, economic) they promise, yet that promise is routinely broken. If we hope to heed the anthropologist and urban theorist David Harvey’s call “to chart a path from an urbanism based on exploitation to an urbanism appropriate for the human species” (1973: 314, quoted in Kishik 2015: 93), then it must be philosophy, through its investigation of our current and possible normative commitments, that lights the way. To help urban communities to rethink their route to flourishing is to become what Grange calls a “master of heartfelt contrast” (1999: 224). Rejecting the Platonic caricature of the “divine being handing down universal edicts,” Grange notes that what the philosopher can offer the civic process is width of vision that encourages alternative ways of looking at problems. And what is more, because the philosopher is also expected (at least in the tradition of speculative philosophy) to provide intellectually coherent and applicable ideas, the community can expect testable hypotheses, not empty generalities. Thus, the philosopher is part of the experimental process of developing better ways to live together. . . . The intellectual contribution that the philosopher can make to contemporary city lies in the direction of providing a wider understanding of what is possible within the real constraints of the urban environment. 57

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In short, the philosopher ought to become a master of contrast as a way of providing effective modes of thinking about divisive issues. (1999: 225) To do this effectively, it helps to exchange thinking universally for thinking locally. Iris Marion Young’s insight that an “ideal can inspire action for social change only if it arises from possibilities suggested by actual experience” (Young 1990: 241) is especially pertinent here: Philosophers must meet their neighbors in the city where they are, addressing the concerns of particular people under particular conditions. Different communities often face similar problems, but the ways forward, those that they can be expected to be invested in, must be recognizably their own. To facilitate the generation of organic proposals, to be midwives to the birth of homegrown understandings, we must become embedded in the urban sphere, contributing to the public discourse rather than remain condescendingly critical of it. In the next, and final section, I discuss some of the forms those contributions might take.

Modes of engagement Throughout this chapter I have insisted on a conception of philosophy as the means by which we come to know ourselves, who we are and who we might still become; as an activity that belongs to each of us because through it our humanity is continually redetermined. This is why I believe that bringing it outside of the classroom and into the open space of the city is urgent, and it is this conception that has informed my efforts with the Gotham Philosophical Society. And the people I have met in this work share this conception as well, for they are eager to for the opportunity to participate in discussions of some of life’s profoundest questions or be invited to think through conceptual conundrums that have preoccupied philosophers for decades, centuries, and even millennia. “Thank you so much for doing this!” is a comment that I have routinely heard during the four years I have been hosting events through GPS, and the sincere enthusiasm and appreciation it expresses is deeply rewarding. These exchanges, unlike the wild swings between poles of apathy and entitlement that I frequently encountered from students, reinforce the conviction that this sort of philosophical work is vital and necessary. So, how to do it? The most obvious and natural way for philosophers to participate in the lives of their cities is to speak and write for the various communities that comprise them. Learn who they are and what matters to them. Communicate to their concerns. Broadly speaking, the topics of these efforts needn’t vary greatly from those that philosophers discuss among themselves; nonacademics are also interested in ethical, epistemological, metaphysical, aesthetic, political, and logical matters, sometimes for their own sake and other time for how they figure in the issues that pertain to the social and political disputes that so often mark urban living. Different audiences look to philosophy for different things, some wanting real solutions to real problems while others prefer to be enriched and learn new things (and very many look for both). For some, philosophical engagements can be revelatory and therapeutic (for both audience and philosopher), as in the case of the groups of currently incarcerated and court-involved youth, as well as and victims of domestic abuse who engage with Rethink, the philosophical community outreach program of Columbia University. For others, it can echo the classic conception of a symposium and function as form of entertainment where discussions of the ethical costs of upward mobility, of whether the Buddhist denial of the self is compatible with the claim that meditation increases mental freedom, or about what tattoos say about personal identity can – especially when had with a glass or two of wine – be very stimulating nights on the town.7 58

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In navigating prospective audiences in the city, the significant challenge for philosophers is less about what the content of their contributions are to be than in finding the right tone and the appropriate language. That virtually none of the target audiences have spent years immersed in the minutia that defines philosophical specialization can make some philosophers new to public engagement uncomfortable, but it is their interest to see it as an opportunity. Philosophers in the academy have frequently defended themselves from the charge of irrelevance with the claim that they are discussing the very same issues that have preoccupied philosophers for millennia, even if the levels of technical sophistication in their debates tend to obscure that (Stanley 2010). Translating their insights back into the vernacular will not only lend support to this defense of professional practice but will also render their wisdom publicly useful. For those looking to make a transformative impact in the actual course of their cities by influencing policy debates and inspiring activism that could ultimately reach into the lives of all citizens, they will need to enter the city’s political discourse. The most direct way to do this will be by running for elected office, joining community boards, and becoming actively involved in school or commercial associations. Philosophers is such positions can hopefully use their skills to facilitate more effective conversations and deliberations about which initiatives and policies to pursue and which considerations should be seen as significant to the decision. Needless to say, this degree of engagement is not for everyone. For many, political participation of an overtly philosophical sort will involve writing pieces offering analysis of the implicit assumptions underlying various proposals and positions, as well as offering proposals of their own. The obvious venue for these efforts will be the local newspapers and other publications that cater to the city’s politically active and policy-minded audiences. But I believe that these voices can be amplified if philosophers collaborate in the construction of a public-directed philosophical infrastructure of their own, one that would encourage and sustain their efforts. For example, the philosophers working with GPS are trying to do this by launching a magazine, Φ on New York, that focuses on the philosophical consideration of the issues of living in New York City.8 By providing a venue for localized philosophical output, we hope to create a (virtual) space where engaged New Yorkers will find sophisticated and thought-provoking treatment of some of the perils and possibilities facing the city. We further hope that all concerned will come to see the local professional philosophical community as vital participants in the day-to-day life of the city. Important as all these forms of engagement are, both to the city and to the philosophers living in it, I want to suggest that the most profound and consequential endeavor we can undertake is to encourage the introduction of philosophy into the precollege classroom. The fundamental nature of philosophy lends it a generality that permits its application to every other human undertaking. “The Philosophy of X” could be (and often is) the title of a course for any X, where X is another academic discipline. It is therefore understandable that so many – philosophers and nonphilosophers both – are dismayed at the growing trend of folding philosophy departments.Yet it is hard to resist the thought that this is somehow related to the even more troubling fact that philosophy is among the only major academic disciplines that is not regularly introduced to school-age children. Perhaps it is an echo of Plato’s skepticism that children possess sufficient experience to benefit from philosophy (1991: 536e-540b); in any case it is deeply misguided. The “wonder” that Socrates claimed is the origin of philosophy comes naturally to children, as anyone who spends time around them knows. They are full of “big questions” when they arrive at school but enter a system where there is rarely any forum to indulge them. The adults in the room, constrained by a curriculum that needs to be followed, and under pressure by benchmarks that need to be met, have neither the time nor patience to address their boundless curiosity. The all too obvious result is that many children move through elementary and 59

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secondary education asking philosophical questions less and less frequently, until most stop bothering to ask them at all. We should not be surprised, then, when a considerable number of students walk into an introductory philosophy college course with little understanding of what philosophy is nor with much interest in finding out. Learning their early school lessons well, they have grown impatient with wonder, and the questions that now concern them have shrunk to the small and the “practical.” This situation is lamentable for all involved. Reserving philosophy for sufficiently mature 18-year-olds, and retaining an air of mystery about the subject, does little for the discipline’s reputation, in or out of the academy. Many students resent having to take a course to satisfy requirements when they cannot see how it will make them more marketable when they graduate, and growing numbers of administrators are taking their side.9 In our age of economic and political uncertainty, students and funders alike want to invest their time and money in those things that they believe will pay off for them, and they’ve convinced themselves that philosophy doesn’t fit the bill. Philosophers, of course, think otherwise, and many others do as well. What all those who think so share is the belief that what is most salient to living a good life or to building a flourishing community is not the amount of money one earns but about the choices we make concerning our families, friends, about the ethical positions we live by, about the sorts of ideals that we allow to inform our public policies and frame our community relations, about how we – as individuals and as a society – deal with our failures and face our deaths. These are matters of meaning and identity and they are the stuff that figures most prominently in our happiness and our misery, and on which the justness and well-being of our communities depend. Their momentous nature, however, is compounded by there being no recipe for getting them right: As normative phenomena, they are necessarily open-ended endeavors where the way forward is illuminated by our ever-varying perspectives and presumptions. This is why the work of making a meaningful life and a thriving society is ongoing. It is also why it is so hard. And this is also why our neglect of the philosophical inclinations of our youth is so unfortunate and, indeed, costly. Our missed opportunity is not to have taught 4th graders the categorical imperative, or 7th graders Rawls’s “difference principle.” The method of those working in the growing field of precollege philosophy (though conspicuously lagging in the United States), and that which GPS employs in its Young Philosophers of New York program, is to allow young people to explore philosophical ideas of their own initiative and from their own perspective. The role of the philosopher in this setting is to facilitate this process, not to teach or instruct them on what great thinkers of the past or present have to say. In a collaborative, organic atmosphere that places the students at the center, they are given the space to learn how to think through the very sorts of open-ended questions mentioned above, a process that allows them to develop the critical acuity and intellectual humility that as future leaders and future parents we will wish them to have. And by introducing them to philosophy at an early age and in a welcoming and un-pressurized way, they are more likely to view its academic incarnation in favorable light. The academic version of our discipline has its place.Those drawn to keep alive the history of thought, as well as those eager to engage others in its current and future development are performing a significant service for our species. And yet a full justification of the protected space of the academy – essentially the “free lunch” Socrates proposed the Athenian assembly provide for his services – should depend on the inclusion of a public-oriented dimension to a philosophy department’s mission. Providing incentives and support for philosophical engagements in the cities their members work in should become standard practice for departments, especially those in public institutions. Cities are our most vital social settlements as the urban environment is the 60

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most productive of the invention and reinvention of the human condition. Through philosophy we become self-conscious of this process and aim to understand and direct it. Philosophy was born in the city and belongs there. It’s time for philosophers to come home again.

Notes 1 Which is not to say none. Some philosophers whom I mention later, and in the introduction on methodological practice, are doing very important and impactful work in New York. 2 So, too, to varying degrees, other public-oriented organizations and enterprises, such as Brooklyn Public Philosophers, Columbia University’s Rethink program, and the Philosophical Café hosted by the New York Society for Ethical Culture. 3 In terms of my own experience, the worst I have faced has been a very contentious and uncomfortable “conversation” during an event on the nature of money (in particular, on the propositions that we think of it as a public good and that we prohibit private financial institutions from profiting from its “creation”). 4 Changes are afoot, however, as attempts to bring the classroom out into the street are increasing. See, for example, Oxley and Ilea (2016). 5 “Nothing can count as a reason for holding a belief except another belief ” (Davidson 2001: 141, 155). Davidson was, in turn, paraphrasing Richard Rorty (and no doubt many others). See Rorty (1979: 178). 6 Case (2018) offers an especially crimped portrait of the discipline. 7 See GPS website ( I discuss these and other efforts in the methodology intro. 8 We refer to it as a magazine rather than journal since we insist that the writing be free of technical jargon as well as many of the features and practices associated with scholarly journals such as extensive notes and citations. 9 Statistics demonstrating the relatively high average/median salary of philosophy majors, or the claims of certain employers that they seek employees who are able to think, appear to have limited effect, either on students or administrators. I know first hand that neither such “evidence,” nor the fact that a number of the recent valedictorians and salutatorians were philosophy majors, could ultimately save the Felician University (née College) philosophy department from being stripped of majors and being restructured as a joint study program with Religious Studies.

References Biehl, J.S. (2005) “Ethical Instrumentalism,” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (4), pp. 353–369. ——— (2008) “The Insignificance of Choice,” in D. Chan (ed.), Moral Psychology Today: Essays on Value, Rational Choice, and the Will, New York: Springer, pp. 75–90. Bloom, A. (1991 [1968]) “Interpretive Essay,” in The Republic of Plato, 2nd ed., trans. A. Bloom, New York: Basic Books. Case, S. (2018) “Is Service-Learning a Disservice to Philosophy?” Quillette, July 18. . Conlon, J. (1999) “Cities and the Place of Philosophy,” Philosophy in the Contemporary World 6 (3/4), pp. 43–49, excerpted in Meagher (2008). Davidson, D. (2001) “A Coherence Theory of Truth and Knowledge,” in Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective, Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp. 137–157. Fell, G.S. (1997) “What Has Athens to Do with New York?” Contemporary Philosophy XIX (4–5). Grange, J. (1999) The City: An Urban Cosmology, Albany: State University of New York Press. Jacobs, J. (1992 [1961]) The Death and Life of Great American Cities, New York:Vintage Books. Kishik, D. (2015) The Manhattan Project: A Theory of a City, Stanford: Stanford University Press. Meagher, S. (2008) Philosophy and the City: Classic to Contemporary Writings, Albany: State University of New York Press. Mendieta, E. (2001) “Invisible Cities: A Phenomenology of Globalization from Below,” City 5 (1), pp. 7–26, excerpted in Meagher (2008). Oxley, J. & Ilea, R. (2016) Experiential Learning in Philosophy, New York/Oxon: Routledge. Plato (1991 [1968]) The Republic of Plato, 2nd ed., trans. A. Bloom, New York: Basic Books. ——— (2006) Phaedrus, trans. B. Jowett, Middlesex: Echo Library.


Joseph S. Biehl Rorty, R. (1979) Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Stanley, J. (2010) “The Crisis in Philosophy,” Inside Higher Ed, April 5. Strauss, L. (1953) Natural Right and History, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. van der Vossen, B. (2015) “In Defense of the Ivory Tower: Why Philosophers Should Stay Out of Politics,” Philosophical Psychology 28, pp. 1045–1063. Young, I.M. (1990) Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Further reading S. Meagher, “Philosophy in the Streets: Walking the City with Engels and de Certeau,” City 11 (1) (2007), pp. 7–20. E. Mendieta, “The City and the Philosopher: On the Urbanism of Phenomenology,” Philosophy and Geography 4 (2) (2001), pp. 203–218. “Why Philosophy? Why Now?” in Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (2016), white paper on the importance of precollege philosophy for students . “The Metropolis and Mental Life,” R. Sennett (ed.), reprinted in Classic Essays on the Culture of Cities (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1969 [1908]), pp. 47–60.



Modern and contemporary philosophical theories of the city


The Arcades Project is comprised of notes and commentaries by the Berlin-born Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) on a very wide array of writings by novelists and poets, philosophers, and political essayists as well as on works of art, photography, religion, and cultural and political movements. Written between 1927 and 1939, during most of which time Benjamin was in exile in Paris, his reflections in the Project focus on the covered passageways filled with shops, cafés, artist studios, and other amenities leading between major streets and boulevards in Paris. Writings on the Arcades Project typically depict it as an unfinished compilation of observations lacking a dominant or coherent theme. Other works by Benjamin are of literary criticism (Baudelaire, Proust, Kafka, Goethe, Hölderlin, among many others) and essays on a range of topics including tragedy, photography, film, technology, and history, and most commentators mine the Project for material that illustrates or contributes to these themes. Few see the work as a sustained contribution to philosophy in its own right. Exceptions are Susan Buck-Morss and Eli Friedlander (see “Further Readings” at the end of the chapter). This contribution shares their view that the Project is a philosophical document but differs in portraying it as primarily an exercise in political philosophy and more specifically in urban political philosophy. Benjamin saw the arcades as microcosms of what he took as the paramount city of the 19th century, Paris, and thus of European capitalism. His study of the arcades is an effort to understand the capitalist modernity of the 19th century as a prerequisite for confronting challenges of the 20th. Benjamin certainly does employ ideas developed in the areas of the arts, religion, history, and technology, but in the Arcades Project his primary interests are political. From this viewpoint, Benjamin’s overarching aim is to understand inhibitions to emancipatory collective consciousness and action on the part of the mass of people who had come to live in cities. The main inhibitors he perceived were commodification of modern life, dramatically exhibited in consumerism, and alienation of individuals from one another as well as from the fruits of collective human labor. These produced what Benjamin’s left-wing contemporaries called false consciousness and what he characterized, following Marx, as being in the grip of “phantasmagorias.” In the Paris arcades Benjamin found thrown into relief urban sources of commodification and alienation and potentials for supplanting them.


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Benjamin and philosophy The philosophical traditions on which Benjamin draws are mainly Marxism, phenomenology, and (to the extent it can be classified as philosophical) surrealism.The Arcades Project also exhibits elements of Judaic theology. Benjamin is sometimes located in the critical-theoretical Frankfurt school, but while he corresponded with Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and other members of this school, and its institute helped him financially while writing the Project, similarities are more in shared attention to principal topics – technology, false consciousness, psychoanalysis – than in Benjamin’s substantive theories, which are quite heterodox relative to this or any other philosophical school of thought.

Marxism Just as Marx understood history in economic terms, Benjamin writes: “I pursue the origin of the forms and mutations of the Paris Arcades from their beginning to their decline, and I locate this origin in economic facts” (462).1 However, in tension with Marxism (at least in its cruder formulations), he did not see these facts as causally sufficient. They become so only in conjunction with all the historically specific aspects of the arcades. The notion of inevitable historical progress often attributed to Marxism is completely rejected in Benjamin’s last writing, “On the Concept of History” (SW I [1940]: 388–400). This theme is foreshadowed in the Arcades Project, where a virtue of historical materialism (on his idiosyncratic interpretation), is that it “blasts the epoch out of the reified ‘continuity of history” ’ (474). A Marxist theme that Benjamin centrally appropriates is the fetishism of commodities. His introduction to this topic was through Georg Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness. Lukács writes: [In the commodity-structure] a relation between people takes on the character of a thing and thus acquires a “phantom objectivity,” an autonomy that seems so strictly rational and all-embracing as to conceal every trace of it its fundamental nature: the relation between people. (1968 [1922]: 83) Similarly, Benjamin criticizes a view of the accumulated riches of civilization that “minimizes the fact that such riches owe not only their existence but also their transmission to a constant effort of society” and are “manifest as phantasmagorias” (14; and see 655–670). The reification of commodities is seen by Benjamin as reflected in consumerism. The arcades, in particular, are described as “temples of commodity capital” (37) where “reside the last dinosaur of Europe, the consumer” (874). Like Baudelaire, Benjamin notes the prevalence of prostitution in the arcades and cites the prostitute – “seller and sold in one” (10) – as an extreme example.

Surrealism “The father of Surrealism,” Benjamin writes, “was Dada; its mother was an arcade” (82). He means this almost literally, since the main principles of surrealism were worked out by André Breton and Louis Aragon in a café in the Passage de l’Opéra. Aragon’s Paysan de Paris begins with a lyrical essay named after this arcade, of which Benjamin writes: “In Paysan de Paris, Aragon conducts as touching a requiem for this arcade as any man has ever conducted for the mother of his son” (883). 66

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The dimension of surrealism that attracted Benjamin is the role that dreaming plays in it, which is also what attracted him to Freud and other early psychoanalytic thinkers. Dreams provide a certain access to the past: For who would be able at one stroke to turn the lining of time to the outside? Yet to narrate dreams signifies nothing else. And in no way can one deal with the arcades – structures in which we relive, as in a dream, the life of our parents and grandparents, as the embryo in the womb relives the life of animals. Existence in these spaces flows then without accent, like the events in dreams. (881) In its alienation of human life and its thoroughgoing commodification along with its physical degradation, Benjamin saw the 19th century as rife with the raw brutality of capitalism. Just as individuals’ defeats and traumas are exposed in dreams, so is the destructiveness of that epoch, and this is what surrealism throws into relief: “It was Surrealism which first got a glimpse of the field of débris left behind by the capitalist development of the forms of production” (898). This exposure has revolutionary potentials: “No one before these visionaries and augurs perceived how destitution . . . can be suddenly transformed into revolutionary nihilism” (SW II [1929]: 210). If the strength of surrealism is in the revelations of its nightmares, its shortcoming is failing to show how one can awaken and overcome the past’s destructiveness in revolutionary action: “Whereas Aragon persists within the realm of the dream, here the concern is to find the constellation of awakening” (458). A tragic example is that even the birthplace of surrealism was not saved. Mindful of the demolition in 1925 of the Passage de l’Opéra to allow for widening the Boulevard Haussmann, Benjamin continues his remark about Aragon’s requiem: “but here one should expect no more than a physiology and, to be blunt, an autopsy of these parts of the capital city of Europe, parts that could not be more mysterious or more dead” (883).

Phenomenology The dominant strain of philosophy in Germany during Benjamin’s lifetime was phenomenology (the philosophical study of experience). Though there are few references to Martin Heidegger in the Arcades Project and none to Edmund Husserl, Max Scheler, Franz Brentano, or other leading phenomenologists, his critical attention to urban experience is typical of a certain strain of phenomenology. Theodor Adorno identifies that strain as the one associated with what Scheler called “material phenomenology.” But there remains a major difference between any form of phenomenology and Benjamin’s endeavor. Citing Benjamin’s “Epistemo-Critical Prologue” to the Origin of German Tragic Drama,Adorno describes as the traditional aim of phenomenologists to ground their accounts in theories of meaning or to “search for concealed and manifest intentions of reality” (Adorno 1977 [1931]: 126–127). In the early essay “On the Program of the Coming Philosophy,” Benjamin seems to have been sympathetic, albeit critically, to the traditional aim, provided it was open to the full range of human experiences (SW I [1918]: 105), but by the time of writing the prologue, philosophy for him does not aim to uncover hidden meanings, but to make meaningful the objects of its interpretations. Philosophy is examination of a wide range of human experiences – artistic, political, religious, and so on – by entering into and losing (Eigehen und Verschwinden) oneself in their details to emerge with a “panoramic” view of something in a constructed understanding related to it as a constellation is to its stars (1963 [1928]: 15–44). 67

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Theology Benjamin’s long-time friend and scholar of Kabbalistic theology, Gershom Scholem, wished to interpret nearly all of Benjamin’s work as inspired by Judaic religious themes, though typically expressed in secular, Marxist language (1991 [1972]). Reference to these themes is evident in Benjamin’s writings, as in his frequent employment of the notion of messianic redemption. Critics of Scholem’s interpretation take the opposite approach that Benjamin used theological language to express secular theses; so, for instance, Habermas interprets Benjamin to mean emancipatory by messianic (1991 [1972]: 109). (Relevant texts by Scholem are 1969 [1941]: 396 and 1971: 4.) The secular reading is hard to sustain in the light of some early writings of Benjamin. For example, in the essay “On the Coming Philosophy,” he prescribes reconstructing Kantian metaphysics to “tie all of experience immediately to the concept of God” (SW I [1918]: 105). But influenced by Ernst Bloch, in the later “Theological-Political Fragment,” Benjamin adopts, if not an atheistic, at least an anti-theocratic stance: Nothing that is historical can relate itself, from its own ground, to anything messianic. Therefore the Kingdom of God is not the telos of the historical dynamic; it cannot be established as a goal. . . . The secular order cannot be built on the idea of the Divine Kingdom. . . [and] to have repudiated with the utmost vehemence the political significance of theocracy is the cardinal merit of Bloch’s Spirit of Utopia. (SW III [likely, 1937]: 305) On one reading, a passage in Benjamin’s last work, “On the Concept of History,” reinforces the interpretation that for him religious language is used to express secular political views. He writes that in approaching a historical subject the historical materialist “recognizes the sign of a messianic arrest of happening or (to put it differently) a revolutionary chance in the fight for the oppressed past” (SW IV 2003 [1940]: 263, fc. emphasis). In a similarly provocative remark, Benjamin announces: “My thinking is related to theology as blotting pad is related to ink. It is saturated with it.Were one to go by the blotting, however, nothing of what is written would remain” (471). Like most allusions to religion after his early writings, this one defies confident interpretation. Less ambiguous is Benjamin’s subsequent comment (made in response to a criticism of his view of history by Max Horkheimer) that “in remembrance [Eingedenken] we have an experience that forbids us to conceive of history as fundamentally atheological” (ibid.). A possible reading is that Benjamin makes selective use of theological concepts when secular ones are impotent in the face of things he considered vital. One such thing, dramatically expressed in “On the Concept of History,” is that “like every generation that preceded us, we have been endowed with a weak messianic power on which the past has a claim” (SW IV [1940]: 390). In this work (written just before Benjamin’s death at his own hand in 1940) he made it clear that he thought a secular historical materialism lacks the ability to comprehend a strong obligation to render justice for wrongs of the past, unlike a theological concept of redemption. On his version of phenomenology, concepts for constructing constellations of meaning may, arguably, come from alternative sources, even if they are in tension with one another.

Applications Benjamin’s applications of this method of philosophizing to the arcades may be divided into three overlapping categories: time in relation to history; the individual and the collective; and characteristics of a good city, or to employ Kevin Lynch’s phrase, of “good city form” (1981). 68

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Time and history Benjamin refers to Henri Bergson’s notion of time, not to the metaphysical notion of irreducible duration Bergson shared with William James, Alfred North Whitehead, and others, but to Bergson’s view about the perception of time (205–206). Benjamin’s concern with time is similarly phenomenological. He explicitly distinguishes his approach from what he views as Heidegger’s abstract historicism (462), and it differs from Husserl’s also abstract exposition of internal time consciousness as the ground of possibility for the experience of things in time (1991 [1893–1917]). Benjamin’s phenomenological interrogation of time is through an examination of dream life, and it has political intent. In its illusions and its traumas dreaming is dominated by the past, and in order for people to escape this domination and take control of their future they must wake up, which it is the aim of dialectics to facilitate: “The realization of dream elements in the course of waking up is the paradigm of dialectical thinking. Thus, dialectical thinking is the organ of historical awakening” (13). Benjamin saw himself as a dialectical thinker for whom the arcades thus provide fruitful terrain for the interrogation of the capital of the 19th century. Paris’s arcades are “a past become space” (871) and “galleries leading into the city’s past” (874). The Arcades Project is thus a concerted effort, by close investigation of the arcades and by an exhaustive survey of pertinent literature to construct an interpretation of the alienating and commodifying dreams of the 19th century and potentials for liberation from them. The opposite of awakening is not just continuing to dream but suffering nightmares, and in particular hellish ones. Benjamin notes that Louis-Auguste Blanqui, a leader of the failed Paris Commune of 1871 and of other defeats of the left in France, anticipated Friedrich Nietzsche’s theory of the myth of eternal return – that everything repeats itself infinitely – but unlike Nietzsche’s positive interpretation, for Blanqui the myth represents the futility of human endeavors and is a feature of hell (25–26). For Benjamin hell is being stuck in the dreamworld of history, unable to awaken, and it is also manifest in the destructive features of consumerism, particularly evident in a fixation on acquiring ever newer commodities.This is “the quintessence of that false consciousness whose indefatigable agent is fashion” where the “semblance of the new is reflected, like one mirror in another, the in the semblance of the ever recurrent” (11; and see 22). The crucial moment in breaking out of a dreamworld is that of awakening, when the phantasmagorias that infuse the past are recognized for what they are and cast off: “a conception of history that has liberated itself from the schema of progression within an empty and homogenous time would finally unleash the destructive energies of historical materialism” (SW IV [1940]: 406). Such awakening, to use Gramscian language (not employed by Benjamin), is a conjunctural matter, an always present possibility rather than an historically destined achievement. At the moment of awakening “dialectics [is] at a standstill” (463), and visions of an alternative future are possible: The Copernican revolution in historical perception is as follows. Formerly it was thought that a fixed point had been found in “what has been,” and one saw the present engaged in tentatively concentrating the forces of knowledge on this ground. Now this relation is overturned, and what has been is to become the dialectical reversal – the flash of awakened consciousness. Politics attains primacy over history. (388–389)

Individual and collective The individual in the Arcade’s Project is represented by the flâneur – a figure Benjamin appropriates from the poetry of Charles Baudelaire to serve as the Everyman of the Arcades Project and a 69

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model of the modern individual. He – and it must be a man, since a flâneuse would be mistaken for a prostitute– is the consummate urban individual. Unrecognized by others, he “walks long and aimlessly” through the maze of sights, sounds, crowds, and objects of consumption in the arcades (417). Benjamin shared the view of his teacher Georg Simmel that modern individuality is a specifically urban creation, and it has the virtue that anonymous life in a city frees people from “such a narrow cohesion that the individual member has only a very slight area for the development of his own qualities and for free activity” (Simmel 2002 [1903]: 15). But also like Simmel, Benjamin perceived the negative dimensions of urban individuality. It breeds a blasé and uneasy attitude of people toward one another (ibid.; Benjamin, 447), and in a society of capitalist exchange, it makes money the medium of human interactions (Simmel 1990 [1900]; Benjamin, 661). The flâneur sees the world of the arcades as a world of commodities: “Empathy with the commodity is fundamentally empathy with exchange value itself ” (448). This makes the flâneur “a spy for the capitalists, on assignment in the realm of consumers” (427). Meanwhile, the modern city is also the progenitor of collectives (to be distinguished from rural-like communities): “Streets are the dwelling place of the collective” (423). However, in the commodified city this is a perverse collectivity, a “mass”:“For the first time in history, with the establishment of department stores [descendants of the arcades] consumers begin to consider themselves a mass” (43; and see 895). Hence, the phenomenological task of dialectical thinking is to discover those aspects of cities, as revealed in the arcades, whereby individuals might cast off consumerism and acquire collective consciousness and whereby masses can become political collectivities. In keeping with his method of philosophizing, Benjamin does not approach this task systematically instead identifying elements of a solution. For example, he notes that the boredom of consuming can undermine itself as a hellish reduplication of goods wears on the flâneur, for whom the temptation of consumer goods becomes “ever weaker” and he “wants nothing to do with the myriad possibilities offered to sate his appetite” (417). Or, unlike members of the bourgeoisie, who isolate themselves in private houses and offices, the (working-class) masses occupy the public spaces of a city together: “More than anywhere else, the street reveals itself in the arcade as the furnished and familiar interior of the masses” (879). Paramount among features of cities conducive to collectivist consciousness are engagements with the past. The arcades bring together in a single present space a multitude of relics of bygone pasts – their “colportage” aspect (the reference is to 17th-century traveling book sellers who offered heterogeneous arrays of books from many epochs) manifest in their artist studios, book shops, eclectic interior architecture, and the wax museums in some of the arcades. This leads the flâneur “into a past that can be all the more profound because it is not his own, not private” (879–880). Unlike a community, the members of a modern collective are anonymous to one another, and this impedes their coming to politically active, collective consciousness.The flâneur’s apprehension of a public past is a step toward collective identification. In addition to writing about individuals becoming conscious of themselves as members of a collective, Benjamin refers to the consciousness of collectives themselves. It is not clear whether, when he writes of “the collective” as something that “lives, experiences, understands, and invents as much as individuals do” (879), Benjamin means this literally, metaphorically, or as a constellation-like construct for comprehending one dimension of cities. Be this as it may, with respect to the past he argues that “the dreaming collective knows no history,” since it refers all experience to a present (546). However, in confronting inadequacies in “the social organization of production” (that is, economically oppressive ones) the collective dreams of a future that retrieves elements of a classless society in a “primal history” (4).This moves the collective toward awakening in the sense described earlier, when it takes full responsibility for making its own future, that is when it becomes political. 70

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Good city form A persisting fault line in urban theory is exhibited in the contrast between Plato and Aristotle regarding the essence of a good city: When the institutions of a society make it most utterly one, that is a criterion of their excellence than which no truer or better will ever be found. (Plato Laws V 739d) As a polis tends to become more a unity, it eventually ceases to be a polis; for a polis is by its nature a plurality [and] what is said to be the greatest good of a polis [unity] is really the ruin of that polis. (Aristotle Politics Beta 2 1261b) One way that unity may be achieved is through general adherence by a city’s citizens to its inherited traditions; while Plato’s prescription – in opposition to this communitarianism – is to project a new, ideal city.This is the utopian approach. Benjamin’s views on these topics are broadly pro-utopian and anti-traditional, but in both cases his evaluations are significantly qualified. Utopianism figures for Benjamin in the dialectics of awakening. With reference to Baudelaire’s exposure of the “death-fraught idyll” of the city– that is, of modernity – he sees dialectics standing still in the face of an ambiguity between the pretenses of modern life and reactive yearnings for the primal past of a classless society: “This standstill,” he writes, “is utopia” (10; and see 893). It is evident in the case, for example, of Thomas More and Francis Bacon, who claimed to have found their utopian cities foreshadowed in Atlantis, as (some maintain) did Plato. Benjamin, too, looked for present innovation to issue from reflections on a past, not the idealized “mythical past” (880) of the utopians, but the near past of devastation, pain, and suffering. Another difference pertains to the nature of a prescribed utopian society, particularly the static and homogenous one of Plato.The utopian thinker Benjamin favored instead was the most heterodox of them, Charles Fourier, whose phalanstery Benjamin viewed as “a city composed of arcades” (17). In keeping with Benjamin’s enthusiasm for new technology, he liked Fourier’s anticipation of Le Corbusier’s view of a house as a machine for living in, which, in Fourier’s case, does not “indicate anything mechanistic; rather it refers to the great complexity of its structure” (626). He was also attracted to the emphasis Fourier, a “hedonistic materialist,” put on food, sex, and in general recreation: “To have instituted play as the canon of a labor no longer rooted in exploitation is one of the great merits of Fourier” (361). In contrast to most utopians’ visions of completely ordered cities and in keeping with Aristotle’s view, Benjamin approvingly notes Fourier’s notion of “neutral harmony,” which “reconciles incoherent order with a combined order” (Benjamin, 649; Fourier 1968 [1834]: 696). Relevant to Benjamin’s view of tradition is the concluding passage at the end of his prequel for the Arcades Project, “A Dialectical Fairyland,” where he records his thoughts in the reading room of the Bibliothéque Nationale, in which he researched and wrote much of the Arcades Project: When that [Parisian] sky opened to the eyes of this young insight, there in the foreground were standing not the divinities of Olympus – not Zeus, Hephaestus, Hermes, or Herma, Artemis, and Athena – but the Dioscuri. (884) 71

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These were Castor and Pollux, twin sons of Leda, the first fathered by a moral king of Sparta, the other by Zeus. This makes the Dioscuri together three-fourths mortal and one-fourth divine, regarded symbolically as respectively breaking with and adhering to, in their case religious, tradition. We might interpret this passage as saying something about Benjamin’s attitude toward tradition; insofar as the arcades encapsulate the best of urban potentials for him, they both exhibit both traditional and anti-traditional features. In his “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” Benjamin celebrates photography for removing from its depictions the historically inherited “auras” to which other art forms turn one’s attention thereby muting the depictions’ contemporary impact and significance (SW III [1935–6]; and see 103–106). Tradition, being frozen in the past (and in this sense eternal or “divine”), reinforces phantasmagoric conceptions of oneself and the world and thus inhibits forward-looking (“mortal”) liberatory, revolutionary consciousness, and action. But completely to ignore the past or even actively to prescribe, in the manner of some anarchists, trying to erase it from consciousness is futile, since thought material, or more precisely dream material, comes from the past. This would also inhibit radical thought and action: some liberating potentials exist in the past, and it is there that are found the devastation and débris of history to be recognized and atoned for. Benjamin’s stance toward utopianism and tradition evince some elements of good city form for him: •

Arcades are works of architecture with a variety of simultaneous and overlapping uses – Aristotle’s urban plurality. As people traverse them, they are objects of “distraction” in the midst of daily life. Unlike a painting, which “absorbs” and thus isolates the individual viewer into itself, architecture is “the prototype of an artwork that is received [i.e., itself absorbed] in a state of distraction and through the collective” (SW III [1935]: 119–120). The arcades are not and do not include monuments. The arcades encourage the sort of reveries that impinge on waking life, unlike monuments, which are overburdened with the auras of tradition. This marks a major difference for Benjamin between Paris and Rome, where in the latter “dreaming takes the high road” being stultifyingly full of “monuments, enclosed squares, national shrines,” and the like (880). “A criterion for deciding whether or not a city is modern,” he writes, is “the absence of monuments” (385). The general point is that, while a good city may promote civic memory, it must do so in ways that relate its past to present life and possible futures. The arcades point toward the future in their advanced form of architecture: “glass before its time, premature iron” (150). In the rivalry coming to a head in his times between “builder and decorator, École Polytechnique and École des Beaux-Arts” (4) Benjamin took the side of the first of these pairs, mostly praising the new architecture represented by Le Corbusier, and he approvingly cites the view of the champion of the new architecture, Sigfried Gideon (with whom he carried on a correspondence), that houses should be light and airy because “only in that way can a fatal and hereditary monumentality be brought to an end” (407). The transparency of glass contributes to this goal, and iron permits covered but unconstraining, horizontal hallways lined with amenities (158–160). These materials allow one to “encompass both Breton and Le Corbusier” (459). However, Benjamin was not uncritically supportive of the new architecture, characterizing, for instance, Le Corbusier’s Ville Contemporaine as “yet another settlement along a highway” lacking a foothold “from which to cast a productive glance . . . on the 19th Century” (407). Arcades are public spaces with collective-nurturing potentialities – “the furnished and familiar interior of the masses” (423). But one aspect of the arcades relevant to debates 72

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among urban theorists is that, though highly regulated by municipal government, they are privately owned. So here Benjamin anticipates the views of some, like Benjamin Barber, who argue for the potentiality of North American shopping malls becoming vibrant public spaces (1999). The arcades as public spaces depart from a dominant paradigm of public space as open – parks, boardwalks, plazas, streets. By contrast, arcades, though opening onto connected streets, are enclosed. As enclosed areas, they constitute home-like interiors, but unlike actual homes which, like private offices, serve to isolate people from one another and to sustain “the phantasmagorias of the interior” (19), the arcades are public interiors. The “true city” for Benjamin “is the city indoors” (532). The arcades are thus the opposite of the wide and long boulevards constructed by Haussmann. In addition to the destructive gentrifying accompaniments of the latter (145), and far from being interiors for the masses, these were “temples of the bourgeoisie’s spiritual and secular power”: with the “Haussmannnization of Paris, the phantasmagoria was rendered in stone” (24). Though Benjamin is kinder to Le Corbusier and other utopian-inspired urbanists than Jane Jacobs, his endorsement of Fourier’s notion of combing incoherent order with a combined order echoes Jacob’s depiction of cities as “problems in organized complexity” (1992 [1961]: 433). Further, the positive dimensions of the arcades have many of the attributes Jacobs celebrates in cities. Like a city’s neighborhoods, each arcade has a character unique to it, and the arcades allow of diversification for functions and activities– that is, they are not internally zoned and they keep even a very large city from being oppressively impersonal.

Of course, neither Jacobs nor Benjamin sanctions the negative dimensions of existing cities, but they agree with one counter-utopian view regarding city form expressed by Fourier. In comparing contemporary, “barbarian” cities with current, “civilized” ones, Fourier describes the former as “haphazardly put together . . . and confusedly grouped along streets that are tortuous, narrow, badly constructed, unsafe and unhealthy” in contrast to a city in civilization, which has “a monotonous imperfect order, a checkerboard pattern” and is “utterly predictable” (Fourier 1968 [1834]: 696, quoted by Benjamin: 649). If one had to choose between the two, Fourier’s expressed preference is for the barbarian city, though he sees the phalanstery as a city form that allows one to transcend this opposition. On this view city planners, politicians, and urban activists, as well as urban theorists, should aim to supersede order/disorder, utopian/anti-utopian, and traditionalist/anti-traditionalist oppositions. *** Not all philosophers will see Benjamin’s approach to cities as philosophical at all unless it can be construed to fit into a traditional philosophical framework, whether Marxist, mainstream phenomenological, critical-theoretical, or something else. An alternative perspective is that in Paris Benjamin identified aspects of urbanity that call for philosophical interrogation of an innovative sort– namely, that of the Arcades Project.

Note 1 Unless otherwise indicated, page references are to Benjamin’s Arcades Project (1999). That Benjamin reviewed, reorganized, and often repeated his comments throughout the period of writing the Project is taken to license drawing from passages in it without regard to where in the nearly 1,000-page text they appear.


Frank Cunningham

References Adorno, T. (1977 [1931]) “The Actuality of Philosophy,” Telos 31 (March 20), pp. 120–133. Barber, B. (1999) “Malled Mauled and Overhauled: Arresting Suburban Sprawl by Transforming Suburban Malls into Usable Civic Space,” in M. Héfnaff & T. Srrong (eds.), Public Space and Democracy, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 201–220. Benjamin, W. (1963 [1928]) Ursprung des Deutscher Trauerspiels, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag English Translation (1977) The Origin of German Tragic Drama, London: New Left Books. ——— Walter Benjamin: Selected Writing (SW): I (1991) from 1913–1926, Marcus Bullock & Michael Jennings (eds.); II (1999) from 1927–1930, Howard Eiland et al. (eds.); III (2002) from 1935–1938, Howard Eiland & Gary Smith (eds.); IV (2003) from 1938–1940, Howard Eiland & Michael Jennings (eds.), Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ——— (1999 [1927–1939]) The Arcades Project, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ——— [1918] “On the Program of the Coming Philosophy,” SW I, pp. 100–110. ——— [1929] “Surrealism,” SW II, pp. 207–224. ——— [1935] “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility,” 3rd Version, SW III, pp. 251–283. ——— [1936 or 1920] “Theological-Political Fragment,” SW III, pp. 305–306. In which year this was written is debated: Its radical departure from the 1918 “Program” suggests the later date. ——— [1940] “On the Concept of History,” SW IV, pp. 389–400. Fourier, C. (1968 [1834]) Modification à introduire dans l’architecture des villes, in Œuvres Complètes de Charles Fourier XII, Paris: Éditions Anthropos, pp. 683–717. Habermas, J. (1991 [1972]) “Walter Benjamin: ‘Consciousness-Raising or Rescuing Critique,’ ” in G. Smith (ed.), On Walter Benjamin: Critical Essays and Recollections, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 90–128. Husserl, E. (1991 [1893–1917]) On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Jacobs, J. (1992 [1961]) The Death and Life of Great American Cities, New York:Vintage Books. Lynch, K. (1981) A Theory of Good City Form, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Scheler, M. (1973 [1913–1916]) Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Ethics of Values, Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Scholem, G. (1969 [1941]) Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, New York: Schoken Books. ——— (1971) The Messianic Idea in Judaism, New York: Schoken Books. ——— (1991 [1972]) “Walter Benjamin and His Angel,” in G. Smith (ed.), On Walter Benjamin: Critical Essays and Recollections, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 51–89. Simmel, G. (1990 [1900]) The Philosophy of Money, London: Routledge. ——— (2002 [1903]) “The Metropolis and Mental Life,” in G. Bridge & S. Watson (eds.), The Blackwell City Reader, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 11–19.

Further reading Below is a representative sample of works on Benjamin directly or indirectly relating to philosophy in the Arcades Project. Some of them informed this chapter others exhibit alternative interpretations of Benjamin. Space constraints dictate leaving out of account Benjamin’s treatment of many themes and figures important to the Arcades Project. To note a few, the collector, the Jugendstil movement, montage, the feuilleton, Proust, Hugo, Brecht, Balzac, and Grandville. Some of these topics are treated in the readings listed below and in other readings to which they lead. G. Baird, Public Space: Cultural, Political Theory: Street Photography (Amsterdam: SUN, 2011). A. Benjamin, “Time and Task: Benjamin and Heidegger Showing the Present,” in A. Benjamin & D.Vardoulakis (eds.), Sparks Will Fly: Benjamin and Heidegger (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2015), pp. 145–174. S. Buck-Morss, The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989). M. Cohen, “Benjamin’s Phantasmagoria: The Arcades Project,” in D. Ferris (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 199–220. B. Doherty, “The Colportage Phenomenon of Space” and “The Place of Montage in the Arcades Project,” in B. Hanssen (ed.), Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (New York: Bloomsbury, 2006), pp. 157–183.


Urban philosophy in the Arcades Project H. Eiland & M.W. Jennings, Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014). B. Elliott, Benjamin for Architects (New York: Routledge, 2011). E. Friedlander, Walter Benjamin: A Philosophical Portrait (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012). D. Frisby, “The Flâneur in Social Theory,” in K. Tester (ed.), The Flâneur (London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 8–110. G. Gilloch, Myth and Metropolis: Walter Benjamin and the City (Cambridge, MA: Polity Press, 1996). B. Hanssen, Beatrice, “Language and Mimesis in Walter Benjamin’s Work,” in D. Ferris (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 54–72. G. Hartoonian, “Looking Backward, Looking Forward: Delightful Delays,” in G. Hartoonian (ed.), Walter Benjamin and Architecture (New York: Routledge, 2010), pp. 23–38. J. McCole, Walter Benjamin and the Antinomies of Tradition (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993).T. Miller, “Glass Before Its Time, Premature Iron: Architecture, Temporality and Dream in Benjamin’s Project,” in B. Hanssen (ed.), Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (New York: Bloomsbury, 2006), pp. 240–258. P. Schwebel, “Monad and Time: Reading Leibniz with Heidegger and Benjamin,” in A. Benjamin & D. Vardoulakis (eds.), Sparks Will Fly: Benjamin and Heidegger (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2015), pp. 123–144. R. Tiedemann, “Dialectics as a Standstill: Approaches to the Passagen-Werk,” appended to W. Benjamin, The Arcades Project (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), pp. 930–945. S. Weber, Benjamin’s Abilities (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010).



In 1967 Henri Lefebvre described the right to the city as a “cry and demand.” Much of the revival of interest in Lefebvre’s claim focuses on the content of such a right, and prospects for realization. These voices are diverse, and at times (more than gently) skeptical that the right to the city can be anything more than an occasionally useful platitude. Activists have invoked the right to defend rights to housing for the urban poor in Brazil, where in 2001 something very much like this right was enshrined in reforms to articles of the 1988 constitution (Lamarca 2011; Fernandes 2007). In Brooklyn, the Right to the City Alliance uses the right as a rallying cry for a broadly inclusive program of activism to support a range of marginalized voices. International organizations such as UNESCO and UN-Habitat have adopted the phrase in articulating policy reforms toward more inclusive and sustainable urban development (Purcell 2013). Among both advocates and sympathetic critics, all would agree that whatever a right to the city is, it is best understood in terms of how we use urban spaces, not the market value of those spaces. To put the point another way: The right to the city stands opposed to property rights over urban space. But why would Lefebvre himself, a Marxist, invoke the language of rights at all? It is tempting to join the critics in dismissing his “right to the city” as either a strategic or ironic rhetorical gesture. I believe we should resist this temptation: Lefebvre’s account is rooted in a subtle understanding of the historical development of urban life and an abiding concern with work as an expression of our being in the world, but also as an inevitable source of alienation.

Rights in and to the city Because market forces and commercial interests dominate cities so relentlessly, most elaborations of the right to the city, in theory and especially in practice, draw our attention to the political possibilities for challenging these neoliberal forces. Don Mitchell (2003) has put the concept to useful effect in examining the uses of, and conflicts over, public space in North American cities. For Mitchell, the right to the city is a call to interrogate the ways that dominant legal tools and narratives exclude the voices and interests of a great many of those who occupy urban spaces. In a complementary line of argument, Mark Purcell (2002, 2008) has elaborated the political


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demands of Lefebvre’s vision, and its implications for an understanding of citizenship that takes space seriously. Kafui Attoh (2011) has examined several possible articulations of the right to the city, framed in light of how legal and political philosophers distinguish types of rights. David Harvey, who early on saw the importance of Lefebvre’s work, has argued for an understanding of the right to the city as democratizing the question of “who commands the necessary connection between urbanization and surplus production and use” (2008: 40). Margaret Kohn (2016) has further developed the idea of the right to the city, understanding it in terms of fundamental interests in shaping the character of the commons, an interest elaborated in terms of a solidaristic conception of social property that takes rights claims to be internal to, rather than constraining, the politics of the urban commonwealth. There are, then, several plausible ways to understand a right to the city, and to draw out the political and especially the spatial implications of particular forms of that species of rights claim. Still, for all of this sophisticated scholarly attention, and in spite of an extraordinary range of activism around the globe that invokes the ‘ “right to the city” ’ in defense of the poor and marginalized, we have no clear answer to the question: Even if we accept the language of rights, why should these be rights to the city, rather than to particular kinds of place? Why aren’t these simply the urban manifestation of rights to subsistence needs, housing, political voice and influence, and so forth? Or is this all that is meant by the “right to the city”? The question matters for Lefebvre if we think he meant by a right to the city something more than a clever and timely rhetorical strategy, appealing to the political mood and vocabulary of the late 1960s. Certainly he may have understood rights as “always the outcome of political struggle” (Purcell 2013: 146), or he may have meant something altogether novel, eschewing altogether the bourgeois conception of rights as entitlements and constraints, powers and privileges. Instead, perhaps Lefebvre understood the term as describing a participatory socio-political process, inclusive of, in part constituted by (but not exhausted through), political struggle. Still, even if you accept the empirical point that rights in practice inevitably emerge from, and are given substance by, political struggle and complex social dynamics, we nonetheless run up against the brute meaning of the phrase. There is only so much subversive and strategically ironic meaning a term can sustain, and at the end of the day, a right – even a right to be part of a dynamic and inclusive sociopolitical process that challenges bourgeois interpretations of ownership and use – is still an assertion of entitlement. Conventional wisdom suggests that Marxists in particular tend to dismiss any such talk as mere ideology, a precipitate of the political and legal apparatus that arise from, and sustain, the capitalist mode of production. Lefebvre was no exception, at least at first blush. This appearance is deceiving, however: Lefebvre’s position is in fact rather more nuanced than it might at first seem, and indeed, just as heterodox as his more orthodox French Marxist critics once charged. Despite his own protestations, Lefebvre really did have in mind a right in more or less the received sense that contemporary analytic philosophers and legal theorists mean when they discuss rights (e.g., Wenar 2005), and that Marxists mean when they reject rights as bourgeois contrivances.

Situating Lefebvre’s right That is a bold thesis and no doubt too strong, but I will be satisfied that useful expository and interpretive work has been done if I can show that Lefebvre’s account is surprisingly friendly to an analytic understanding of rights and coheres as an account of a right to place thus understood. We can plausibly claim Lefebvre’s right to the city by adopting a very different philosophical


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posture than one usually finds in discussions of Lefebvre and the right to the city. Conversely, we can profitably invoke Lefebvre from within a scholarly tradition usually thought rather uninviting to such voices. Lefebvre’s account is rooted in a subtle understanding of the historical development of urban life, its intimate yet ambivalent relationship to commerce and industry, and the distinction between spaces as artifact or work (oeuvre) and as product – this in turn mirrored in the related distinction between our inhabiting urban society, in contrast to the logic of urban habitat imposed by the rationalist conceits of planners, on the one hand, and commercial ambitions of developers, on the other. Behind this subtle and at times confusing marriage of history and theory there is a unifying concern that Lefebvre took very early on from Marx: the reciprocal and mutually constitutive relationship between work as an expression of our being in the world, and as such, an inevitable source of alienation. Drawing out this early philosophical foundation to Lefebvre’s later work goes much of the way to explaining his insistence that any hope for transformation of the city away from commercial imperatives and the dominance of exchange values must be rooted in the working class (Lefebvre 1996: 153–155 and 158). It also provides philosophical coherence to talk of a “right to the city,” suggesting plausible answers to the questions of why the priority of use values should be framed as a right, and why it should be a right to the city.

The road not taken Upon hearing talk of rights, an understandable inclination is to draw on tools that seem especially well-suited to the task: the concepts and arguments of 20th- and 21st-century analytic ethics and political philosophy. To this end, we might invoke, for instance, Leif Wenar’s powerful framework for conceptualizing and organizing the various species of rights (2003, 2005, 2013), and then pair that understanding, perhaps, with a contractualist justificatory approach to legitimacy, exemplified in the work of John Rawls (1999, 2005), with its attention to justifying public demands on others in ways that respect them as moral equals. Such a pairing promises to be a productive (although certainly not the only plausible) framework for debating conflicting use values of urban space. People have a reasonable expectation not only for social and spatial mobility – freedoms that liberals have eagerly defended, often in the language of rights – but also for spatial fixity, or permanence:The neighborhoods we call home, and the spaces we use in living our lives together, typically have a moral significance that is rarely captured in the market value of plots of land, or the assessments of planners and consultants.1 How to assess that significance? First, by asking citizens to justify their claims to those locations and uses, in ways that are not merely self-serving or narrowly partisan, but that instead appeal to reasons others can find valid, and that are grounded in public values and concerns. Second, by ensuring that political institutions foster and respect such reasonable claims and justifications. If there can be a practicable right to place, as David Imbroscio (2004) argues, and if there is a right to the city in particular, as Lefebvre and others insist, then the standard analyticliberal, rights-based framework seems likely to be a powerful way to elaborate and justify such a right. This critical-liberal approach to place-rights in and around cities is not unfriendly to critical Marxist concerns about the uneven geography of urban development in and around the capitalist city, so perhaps it is not surprising that the space between Lefebvre and the liberal analytic narrative is less pronounced than it might at first appear. Henri Lefebvre is often labeled a heterodox Marxist, yet there is a tendency – certainly in geography and urban studies – to read him through the lenses of critical Marxist and radical democratic approaches that reject much, 78

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if not all, of the liberal analytic and normative framework. In his use of the early Marx and his privileging of a particular idea of the city, however, Lefebvre illuminates a fruitful way to bring philosophy to the city that is recognizably Marxist yet surprisingly consonant with liberal rightsbased analytic narratives. Furthermore, Lefebvre’s approach may be useful in a way that more analytic approaches perhaps are not. The latter tend to come into their own for conceptual clarification, logical analysis, and normative argument. In contrast, a considerable strength of Lefebvre’s analysis is to ground a right to inclusive and responsive politics firmly in the realities of urban life under late capitalism, and doing so with a conception of alienation that is at once more useful and more sophisticated than the development and application of that concept in Marx’s and Engel’s mature works.

Why a right to the city? A right is a distinct assertion. Sometimes that assertion is made directly at others, as when I assert a power over them, or an exclusion from some obligation that binds them. In other cases, the burdens placed on others are more diffuse, as when I assert some privileged standing that requires resources that must ultimately be provided by others. Philosophers have clarified with great precision the ways in which various dimensions of rights are logically distinct yet sometimes importantly related. Again, following Wenar’s comprehensive analysis, we can say that some rights assert liberties (and often thus imply exemptions); others define claims (and in so doing impose duties on others); still others confer authority (typically over the substance of claims); and yet others establish protections by establishing immunity from authority (Wenar 2003: 225–237).

The nature and justification of rights Wenar’s account is perhaps the most systematic contemporary analysis of these Hohfeldian dimensions of rights-talk,2 and how we can understand the nature of, and rationales for, rights in a way that moves beyond a seemingly intractable debate between will versus interest justifications. Will-based accounts of rights appeal to the space of choices that rights either protect or extend. Interest-based accounts instead justify rights in terms of the interests they advance. This longstanding debate has been dominated by advocates of each approach crafting clever counterexamples to the other. Interest theorists thus confront will theorists with the question of whether incompetents have rights. They point out that criminal law often seems to protect our right from harm precisely by limiting, not expanding, the choices available. These challenges are then met with troubling counterexamples in turn: Interest theorists are called to explain why I still have a right (to fulfillment of a contract, say) if I was confused about what interest was at stake when I signed. Indeed, why should the interests of others ever bind me, if I have little at stake myself? For Wenar, we can break this cycle of examples and counterexamples by being clear on the kind of “Hohfeldian incidents” being invoked by an assertion of right and thinking of claim rights in particular in terms of roles rather than individuals (2013: 206ff.).3 Doing so provides a way to clarify our understanding of rights that avoids the familiar pitfalls of interest and willbased approaches. For our purposes we can forgo some of this logical precision and think less formally, and more practically, about how rights often involve the bearer, or their advocates, being justified in making a demand (imposing a duty) on others and holding a legitimate expectation that others 79

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will acknowledge that claim and act accordingly. Think of rights involving liberties of speech, conscience, association, and political participation, or relief from obligations otherwise expected of citizens, as when advocates of group-differentiated rights justify certain religious or ethnocultural exemptions from military service or labor laws (e.g., Kymlicka 1995). Whether the rights asserted are differentiated or universal, we often take such rights to be justified when, given available evidence, they are, or can publicly be seen to be, supported by compelling reasons, even if the protected activity itself seems unreasonable to many citizens. Thus, a right of free speech for racists is often upheld in free societies in spite of most reasonable and informed citizens finding racist beliefs groundless. Consider too how the cluster of rights types involved in property are responsive to reasons in this way. A right of property in land – at once an assertion of privilege (or better, of liberty), a claim (that others have a duty to respect), and an authority (power to shape specific claims associated with my legitimate holding) – is honored to the extent that reasons in support of those assertions are widely taken as persuasive. This is so whether the justification is framed in terms of abiding interests, a presumption in favor of liberty, or again, as Wenar (2013) usefully suggests, in terms of how we discharge our responsibilities in a variety of roles. To be sure, reasonable people disagree over what count as convincing reasons and sufficient evidence, and the history of philosophical approaches to what ultimately grounds rights talk – however specific rights are justified – reflects as much. I want, then, to distinguish among (1) the philosophical clarification of categories of rights and their relationships, (2) the moral and sociopolitical justification of rights, and (3) the background and orienting question of whether or not rights exist. The first and the last question are intimately related, to be sure, as Wenar’s analysis demonstrates: our views on what rights fundamentally are, and indeed whether they exist at all, will inform the strategies we invoke, and the standards we cite, in justifying particular rights. Still, in framing what is distinctive about Lefebvre’s understanding of the right to the city, it will prove helpful to separate the more recent conceptual clarifications on offer in ethics and legal and political philosophy, on the one hand, from the broader historical currents of thought about rights as such, on the other. There have been, in Western political and legal thought, two prominent strategies for explaining the existence of rights (that then, of course, demand specific justifications), and two equally prominent historical sources of skepticism about rights in toto.

The existence of rights Beginning with the historical advocates, the two approaches are as follows: first, to appeal to nature, and second, to contract, either real or ideal. Advocates of natural law are not in agreement over what rights are natural and why, but they invoke the idea that, whether discovered by reason, revelation, or intuition, some rights are brute facts, and so must be respected by persons and institutions. I am not concerned here with the (quite likely intractable) controversies over what rights can be thus discovered, and whether, and if so why, their natural status counts as part of the justification for specific rights. I am here only framing the various ways that scholars have thought of rights, even before they have then wondered whether rights create space for acts of will, or whether they advance interests. Distinct from appeals to nature, one sort of contract theorist of rights takes some claims to be such that any rational moral agent would assent to them: that hypothetical consent is sufficient to establish the existence of the right in question. Other contract theorists are both less demanding and less abstract: Particular types of historical agreement over the scope and content of certain rights are a sufficient warrant for subsequent generations of citizens to acknowledge 80

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the existence of those rights. Again, I am not concerned here with the myriad controversies that plague these positions: How can hypothetical consent bind actual parties? If historical agreement on rights is sufficient, must we limit ourselves only to those rights agreed to in the past by founders? Why only those, if other rights seem to be justified by similar lines of reasoning, but for claims that the founders never could have envisioned? These are vital questions, to be sure, but I am merely mapping a broad conceptual terrain, not taking sides in various disputes. Two skeptical views are also prominent historically. First, the early utilitarians doubted that there are such things as rights, and more generally, consequentialists reject rights as moral primitives. Even John Stuart Mill, who advocated extensive personal liberties, did not appeal to rights, defending them instead for their consequences for social progress and human flourishing. Mill’s approach does, however, suggest that utilitarians and other consequentialists can in practice support something very much like a right, even if they are skeptical or dismissive of the concept as a moral or legal foundation. Contemporary utilitarianism has seen considerable conceptual refinement, most prominently the distinction between act and rule utilitarians. The former take the principle of utility to apply as a maxim guiding every action, whereas the latter allow that some actions may not be utility enhancing but are supported by a rule that does tend toward maximizing overall utility. Rule utilitarians, themselves a diverse group, can be friendly to rights, understanding them as just such rules (e.g., Brandt 1984). The other skeptical voice in the history of political philosophy and social theory belongs, of course, to Marx, who famously said very little about rights. Furthermore, what he did say – chiefly in “On the Jewish Question” and the “Critique of the Gotha Programme” – is not at all encouraging to rights advocates. Marxists since have tended to understand rights talk as ideological: Rights, especially property rights, reflect the legal and political institutions characteristic of a particular dominant mode of economic production and corresponding social relations with respect to the means of production. When those relations are transformed, the social norms and legal practices that both require and sustain them will dissipate, becoming mere historical curiosities.

Lefebvre’s invocation of rights Lefebvre is no exception here, at least at first blush. While he invokes the language of rights, he insists that whatever a right to the city is, it cannot be natural or contractual (Lefebvre 1996: 194). Why, then, does he speak of a right at all? It would be easy (and probably in some measure correct) to dismiss this choice of words as rhetorical. Given the social and political upheavals of the late 1960s, especially in Paris, “rights talk” would find easy purchase among readers. Yet what little he explicitly says about the right to the city seems earnest, particularly in light of his withering scorn for any imagined right to nature. Consider the case: when We first encounter the fleeting elaboration of the right to the city, deep within the collection of chapters which make up Le droit à la ville, the idea of right is presented initially in good Marxist form, as a historical moment, a contradiction of late capitalism: “Rights appear and become customs or prescriptions, usually followed by enactments” (Lefebvre 1996: 157).4 Through various struggles – not least those of the working class – the abstract rights borne of great revolutions are given concrete elaboration: liberties of conscience and speech and assembly; and then of shelter, education, and recognition. Thus far, Lefebvre’s account is true to his Marxist roots, and entirely consistent with Marxist orthodoxies, which while fighting among themselves on the philosophical question of rights within Marxism,5 nonetheless roughly converge on the rejection of much real-world rights talk as rife with ideology. On Lefebvre’s account, rights emerge historically with the rise of 81

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capitalism, and find concrete expression through tensions internal to the political and legal structures that arise with, and reinforce, that mode of production. These abstract right claims, followed by more concrete expressions, nonetheless remain bourgeois instruments, mere precipitates of the capitalist mode of production. Indeed, when the purported “right to nature” is discussed by Lefebvre, it is dismissed as a “pseudo-right” that only emerges once nature has been commodified and valued through mechanisms of exchange (Lefebvre 1996: 158). The right to the city is different, however: It emerges in part through the struggle of the working class (whose efforts are necessary, but not sufficient) to reclaim ways of living that are not unrelentingly mediated by mechanisms of market exchange and rationalist planning. It is not merely a bourgeois negative right, but something deeper and more extensive, yet still meaningfully characterized as a moral right. What grounds this sort of right? In much of the literature in geography and urban studies on the right to the city, the (entirely plausible) intuition is that enfranchisement and inclusion, paired against neoliberal market and political forces, admits of several mutually supporting justifications. Distinct from these popular rationales, I think Lefebvre suggests a different kind of analysis, grounded in the early Marx, whose conception of work and alienation, as central to human beings, is essential to, and ubiquitous in, Lefebvre’s thinking. For the early Marx, our multifaceted capacity to produce and express ourselves in the world is something more than a base animal need – after all, unlike other animals we produce works even when we are not driven by need. And yet we are driven to express ourselves in the world through a variety of works, and these expressions are immediately distinct and separate from us, and so vulnerable to being appropriated from us.6 For the early Lefebvre, as much sociologist as theorist and philosopher, this Marxist theme is critical. Elaborating his approach in the 1958 forward to the first volume of his Critique of Everyday Life, Lefebvre insists that “the theory of alienation and of the ‘total man’ remain the driving force behind the critique of everyday life” (1991: 76). “All self-actualization – which can only be partial and must therefore involve alienation at a more-or-less deep level – appears to be, and becomes, total alienation” (1991: 78). But Lefebvre thinks we can rescue the concept from this apparent reductio ad absurdum by in essence integrating the philosophical conception of alienation into the sociological analysis of everyday life. For example: “The content of concrete life has produced forms which conflict with it, smother it, and which consequently collapse from this self-inflicted lack of substance and roots” (1991: 80–81). This general indictment, cast early on as the framework for Lefebvre’s sociological work, becomes the guiding critical theme of Le droit à la ville, where industrialization, in subsuming and reconstructing the spatial and institutional forms of urban life, undermines the very features that make the city attractive for human emancipation from the tyranny of exchange value. We do not merely reside and produce in the places we live; we inhabit them, expressing within and through them the full richness of our lives in this early Marxist sense (although here we see some of the influence of Heidegger on Lefebvre’s thinking). Central to this vision is a conception of vital social needs: Lefebvre calls them “anthropological needs which are socially elaborated” and include “the need for creative activity, for the oeuvre (not only of products and consumable material goods), of the need for information, symbolism, the imaginary and play” (1996: 147),7 and, of course, the requirement of time and places where these needs can be expressed and satisfied. For Lefebvre, then, the contrast between oeuvre and mere product, and between inhabiting and mere habitat, rests on a complex understanding of human needs that are of necessity expressed in our relations with others in time and place. It is this spatially grounded and intimately social 82

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conception of need that I think is sufficient to ground a moral right claim. Lefebvre, by way of the early Marx,8 accepts an understanding of human needs based in our nature as complex social beings, which amounts to a compelling reason for guaranteeing the bases of these needs. We might disagree, of course, over whether or not there are such needs; or if so, whether they really rise to the standard required to ground successfully a claim of right. Such disagreement, while expected, is of no consequence here: I only mean to show a plausible way in which Lefebvre’s invocation of a right to the city can be understood as more than mere strategic rhetoric. If such a right is rooted in claims about the central importance of uses of spaces we inhabit and otherwise occupy, uses vital to living a properly human life, then we can imagine those claims being linked to needs in such an obvious and pressing way that we ought to consider these uses as entitlements rooted in moral rights.

Why a right to the city? If the centrality of place-specific uses is a deep and unavoidable fact of our lives, one implicated with alienation, then why isn’t a right to inclusion and influence over those uses – and their characteristic spaces – itself worthy of enshrining as a right? Why is Lefebvre’s a right to the city, rather than a right to places and use values more generally? The simple answer is that the city, for Lefebvre, is “a refuge of use values” (1996: 68), but that only pushes the question back: what is distinctive about the city that makes it such a refuge, and why are there not such refuges elsewhere? For Lefebvre the answer lies in the historical interplay of, on the one hand, dimensions of centrality (political, ecclesiastic, commercial) for which towns and cities have been the spatial locus, and, on the other, the eventual supremacy of the logic of industrial production and market exchange. Commerce finds roots in the medieval cities of Europe, between which trade networks flourish. In contrast, industrialization eventually flourishes largely outside the city, only to return and reshape the city according to its own distinctive logic of exchange values and rational plans. The final stages of this historical process leave urban society triumphant over rural life. This triumph, however, is a result of the urbanization of industrial society, not the primacy of the city as a complex and dynamic way of living together. Rather, “urban society is built on the ruins of the city” (1996: 126) thus understood. According to Lefebvre, and again true to his Marxist roots, “each type of society and each mode of production has had its type of city. The relative discontinuity of modes of production defines the history of urban reality” (1996: 168), a historical categorization elaborated in Table 6.1. In Lefebvre’s reading of European history, inevitably shaped by the influential historical narratives and descriptive categories of Henri Pirenne (1923) and Max Weber (1921), the rise of the medieval city and the transition to capitalism present contradictory forces.The medieval city is the focus of wealth and of crafts, arts, and the enfranchisement of peasants; yet the city is also the primary site of production and exchange. Wealth is now mobile, and commerce involves networks of cities, eventually subsumed under the coercive power of emerging national states. Cities become the focus of community inherited from the village and the guild, but they also are the sites of intense class struggles: “the ‘minuto populo’ and the ‘populo grasso,’ ” in the Italian cities; “the aristocracy and the oligarchy,” to the north. “These groups,” in Lefebvre’s characterization, “are rivals in their love of the city” (1996: 67). Thus, a paradox of the high medieval city: The rich “justify their privilege in the community by sumptuously spending their fortune: buildings, foundations, palaces, embellishments, 83

Loren King Table 6.1  Modes of production and city types9 Type of city

Mode of production


Triumphal: “The sacred enclosure captures and condenses sacredness diffused over the whole of the territory. It manifests the eminent right of the sovereign, inseparable possession and sacredness” (168). Place of assembly: the agora and the forum; these cities, along with the Asiatic forms, were “essentially political” (65). Enclosure of market and church: “Urban centrality welcomes produce and people . . . heralding and preparing capitalism” (169); “the medieval city, without losing its political character, was principally related to commerce, crafts and banking. It absorbed merchants, who had previously been quasinomadic and relegated outside the city” (66). A “place of consumption and consumption of place” (170); “exchanges and places of exchange”; “the urbanization of society” (124).

Antique (Greek, Roman) Medieval (feudal)


festivities.” In this way, “very oppressive societies were very creative and rich in producing oeuvres.”Yet “later, the production of products replaced the production of oeuvres and the social relations attached to them, notably the city” (1996: 67). This explains why “the most eminent urban creations, the most ‘beautiful’ oeuvres of urban life (we say ‘beautiful,’ because they are oeuvres rather than products) date from epochs previous to that of industrialization” (1996: 65). Again, industrialization typically began outside of the city, but then attempted to reshape the city according to its imperatives: We have before us a double process or more precisely, a process with two aspects: industrialization and urbanization, growth and development, economic production and social life. The two “aspects” of this inseparable process have a unity, and yet it is a conflictual process. Historically there is a violent clash between urban reality and industrial reality. (1996: 70) Lefebvre’s is a right to the city, then, because that is the mode of living that best allows us to flourish as persons, together. Writing of Paris between 1848 and the end of the Haussmann period, Lefebvre provides perhaps the clearest of many elaborations of this idea: “Urban life suggests meetings, the confrontation of differences, reciprocal knowledge and acknowledgement (including ideological and political confrontation), ways of living, ‘patterns' which coexist in the city” (1996: 75). Given the global nature of the logic of industrialization and its drive to urbanize society, Lefebvre presents the right to the city as a way to recapture what is distinctively urban from that process: to gain access to, and influence over, the spatial and institutional dimensions of the centrality essential to realizing vital needs that require social elaboration.

Claiming Lefebvre’s right Lefebvre is often cast as a heterodox Marxist. This he certainly was. He was also a hopeful romantic, looking back to medieval spatial and civic forms to find revolutionary possibilities. In framing those possibilities so powerfully within the concepts and vocabulary of Marx’s early expressivist understanding of how and why we work in the world, Lefebvre provides a 84

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justification of a rights claim specific to the context of the city as a distinctive spatial and civic form in which that work best proceeds. What is more, this grounded urban justification is consonant with a philosophical tradition typically thought at odds with Marxist formulations: the liberal analytic understanding of rights. We can claim Lefebvre’s right to the city without irony or inconsistency, as a familiar species of right, so long as we accept his argument about the distinctiveness of the city.

Notes 1 Not only moral significance: David Imbroscio (2010) argues that liberal urbanists tend to be too friendly toward mobility-related reform programs, and less friendly toward place-building strategies that arguably respect a reasonable expectation for spatial permanence that I am citing here. Some of his interlocutors suggest that Imbroscio’s charge is too sweeping, leading him to downplay important place-based reforms endorsed on liberal-egalitarian grounds; see, for example, Todd Swanstrom (2006). I take no sides in that dispute here; I only mean to flag this as an important social-scientific and policy debate over whether and how liberals can take seriously something like a right to place, understood as feasible spatial permanence enjoyed by residents in given neighborhoods. 2 The reference is to Wesley Hohfeld (1919), an enormously influential work in legal thought, which is the starting point for Wenar’s and many other modern analyses of rights. 3 Wenar (2005: 224 and 252), where he concludes that “all rights are Hohfeldian incidents. All Hohfeldian incidents are rights so long as they mark exemption, or discretion, or authorization, or entitle their holders to protection, provision, or performance.Therefore, rights are all those Hohfeldian incidents that perform these several functions.” 4 Or, “Des droits se font jour; ils entrent dans des coutumes ou des prescriptions plus ou moins suivies d’actes” (Lefebvre 2009: 106). 5 For an overview of the contrast, most prominently between G.A. Cohen and Steven Lukes, see Brenkert (1986); also Boyd (2009). 6 I have in mind here Marx’s discussion of estranged labor, early in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844; see Tucker (1978: 76–77 and 114–115). 7 There is, curiously, a strong resonance between Lefebvre’s characterization of socially elaborated needs, on the one hand, and on the other how John Rawls (1999: 79) elaborates the socialness of some primary goods, their quality and distribution being deeply implicated in the basic institutional structure of any given society. 8 Think here especially of Marx’s remarks about the transcendence of private property in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, a process through which, inter alia, “the senses and enjoyment of other men have become my own appropriation” such that, “for instance, activity in direct association with others . . . has become an organ for expressing my own life, and a mode of appropriating human life” (Tucker 1978: 88). 9 Table page references are to Lefebvre (1996).

References Attoh, K.A. (2011) “What Kind of Right Is the Right to the City?” Progress in Human Geography 35, pp. 669–685. Boyd, C.M.J. (2009) “Can a Marxist Believe in Human Rights?” Critique 37, pp. 579–600. Brandt, R.B. (1984) “Utilitarianism and Moral Rights,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 14, pp. 1–19. Brenkert, G.G. (1986) “Marx and Human Rights,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 24, pp. 55–77. Fernandes, E. (2007) “Constructing the ‘Right to the City’ in Brazil,” Social and Legal Studies 16, pp. 201–219. Hohfeld, W. (1919) Fundamental Legal Conceptions, New Haven:Yale University Press. Imbroscio, D.L. (2004) “Can We Grant a Right to Place?” Politics and Society 32, pp. 575–609. ——— (2010) Urban Politics Reconsidered, Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Kohn, M. 2016. The Death and Life of the Urban Commonwealth, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kymlicka, W. (1995) Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights, Oxford: Clarendon. Lamarca, M.G. (2011) “Right to the City in Brazil,” Polis. , accessed June 8, 2017.


Loren King Lefebvre, H. (1991) Critique of Everyday Life,Vol. I, trans. J. Moor, London:Verso. ——— (1996) Writings on Cities, trans. E. Kofman & E. Lebas, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. ——— (2009) Le droit à la ville, 3e éd., Paris: Economica/Anthropos. Mitchell, D. (2003) The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space, New York: Guilford. Pirenne, H. (1969 [1923]) The Medieval City: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade, trans. F.D. Halsey, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Purcell, M. (2002) “Excavating Lefebvre: The Right to the City and Its Urban Politics of the Inhabitant,” Geojournal 58, pp. 99–108. ——— (2008) Recapturing Democracy: Neoliberalism and the Struggle for Alternative Urban Futures, New York: Routledge. ——— (2013) “Possible Worlds: Henri Lefebvre and the Right to the City,” Journal of Urban Affairs 36, pp. 141–154. Rawls, J. (1999) A Theory of Justice, rev. ed., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ——— (2005) Political Liberalism, exp. ed., New York: Columbia University Press. Swanstrom, T. (2006) “Regionalism, Equality, and Democracy,” Urban Affairs Review 42, pp. 249–257. Tucker, R.C. (1978) The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd ed., New York: W.W. Norton. Weber, M. (1958 [1921]) The City, trans. D. Martindale & G. Neuwirth, Glencoe, IL: Free Press. Wenar, L. (2003) “Legal Rights and Epistemic Rights,” Analysis 63, pp. 142–146. ——— (2005) “The Nature of Rights,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 33, pp. 223–252. ——— (2013) “The Nature of Claim-Rights,” Ethics 23, pp. 202–229.



In Jeremy Crampton and Stuart Elden’s much celebrated edited collection Space, Power, Knowledge (2007), we get a detailed picture of Foucault’s direct engagement with questions of geography and urban space, along with critical commentaries by scholars from postcolonial, Marxist, and feminist perspectives. Shortly following the publication of the Space, Power, Knowledge collection also appeared Michiel Dehaene and Lieven De Cauter’s Heterotopia and the City: Public Space in a Postcivil Society (2008), which sought to revive Foucault’s concept of heterotopia to rethink and address contemporary issues in urban studies such as the privatization of public space, the rise of network society, the proliferation of “the camp” and encampments of “bare life,” and the withdrawal and disintegration of state and city governmental services in the neoliberal era since the 1970s. Together, these edited collections represent both a reevaluation of Foucault as a philosopher of urban issues as well as the proliferation of urban studies more broadly in recent years. Here, the work of Stuart Elden stands out in particular, from his scholarly work on Lefebvre and Foucault to his own detailed historical investigations into the “spatial history” of certain geographic figures, perhaps the most notable of which can be found in his recent book The Birth of Territory (2013). However, before turning to these reevaluations of Foucault’s engagement with urban geography and philosophy, we should pause to contextualize Foucault’s thinking about the city, the field and study of “governmentality,” and their application to the analysis of urban space. Through the relatively recent publication of Foucault’s lecture courses at the College de France which were conducted from 1970 to 1984, and the publication of other writings and interviews since his untimely death in 1984, Foucault has demonstrated the breadth, depth, and complexity of his thinking on questions of power and the city. By the time Foucault gave his 1977–1978 lecture course, Foucault had sought to distinguish the various ways that governments and authorities had historically approached questions of space and the problems of urbanism. Sovereign power, Foucault clarified, manages territory, goods, and persons through law, borders, and prohibitions. Prior to the 18th century, Foucault states in an interview, the city was generally conceived as a place of exception and privilege, beyond the common law of a territory overseen by a sovereign power (1984a: 241). Beginning in the 18th century, with the emergence of mercantalism and the centralization of a state “police” apparatus, the city becomes more and more the disciplinary schema for the entire territory (Foucault 1984a: 241). Disciplinary power, Foucault clarifies, manages specific spaces and institutions through the control, 87

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surveillance, and normalization of bodies, movements, and gestures to maximize efficiency and utility. Through the disciplinary schema of a centralized state police apparatus, the 18th century produced the utopia of governing each and every individual in a territory – a population – “on the premise that a state is like a large city; the capital is like its main square; the roads are like its streets. A state will be well organized when a system of policing as tight and efficient as that of the cities extends over the entire territory” (Foucault 1984a: 241). Finally, with the emergence of liberal mechanisms of government such as rule of law, civil society, and an autonomous market economy, Foucault distinguished what he called apparatuses of security, which seek to manage natural processes, flows and forces by “letting things happen”: The basic function of discipline is to prevent everything, even and above all the detail. The function of security is to rely on details that are not valued as good or evil in themselves, that are taken to be necessary, inevitable processes, as natural processes . . . in order to obtain something that is considered to be pertinent in itself because it is situated at the level of the population. (2007a: 45) With the emergence of liberal government in the 19th century, Foucault claims, space is “no longer modeled on the police state of the urbanization of territory” (1984a: 244), but rather on the idea of a world market society of circulation constructed by “engineers and builders of bridges, roads, viaducts, railways” (Foucault 1984a: 244, 2007a: 61). Modern liberal governments, for Foucault, thus think about urban space and space in general not primarily in terms of a general disciplinary schema but in terms of a circulating market society managed by specialists, technicians, and engineers of communication. Governmentality, Foucault clarifies, is the type of governmental (state) power predominant in the West since the 16th century and which utilizes elements of all three types of power in managing space – sovereign power, discipline and security – but takes as its central focus the health and well-being of population (2007a: 108). Indeed, as Foucault writes, the “notion of a government of population renders all more acute the problem of the foundation of sovereignty . . . and all the more acute equally the necessity for the development of discipline” (2000: 219). According to Foucault, therefore, all modern governments utilize elements of sovereign power, disciplinary power, and apparatuses of security when managing the health and well-being of populations. The central role liberal government places on apparatuses of security, for example, is thus a matter of emphasis or degree. For those non-liberal and neoliberal governmental interventions which have seemingly abandoned the principle of improving the health and well-being of the population (a point returned to later), the lenses of necropolitics (Mbembe & Meintjes 2003) and “inverted totalitarianism” (Wolin 2016: 591) have played an increasingly important role, respectively. Foucault’s notion of governmentality has since been taken up in the critical social sciences as a research tool into the various rationalities and practices of modern governments to produce and manage space, territory, and populations. Merry (2001: 18) provides the following summary, clarifying that the concept of spatial governmentality derives from Foucault’s elaboration of the notion of governmentality, a neologism that incorporates both government and rationality (1991). Governmentality refers to the rationalities and mentalities of governance and the range of tactics and strategies that produce social order. It focuses on the “how” of governance (its arts and techniques) rather than the “why” (its goals and values) . . . the 88

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deliberations, strategies, tactics and devices employed by authorities for making up and acting upon a population and its constituents to ensure good and avert ill. Roughly three “sequences” of governmentality have been identified within Foucault’s thought (Merry 2001: 18). The first two sequences are those analyzed by Foucault first as the institution of confinement and physical action on the body (the prison), and secondly as the institutions and practices of reform, rehabilitation, and disciplinary techniques whose “birth” he described in Discipline and Punish (1977). The third “sequence” of governmentality is identified as a form of “spatial governmentality,” which is described as “a late twentieth-century postmodern form of social control that targets categories of people using actuarial techniques to assess the characteristics of populations and develops specific locales for prevention rather than the normalization of offenders” (Merry 2001: 19). Before focusing on the “third” sequence of spatial governmentality, that has garnered so much attention by urban geographers, a review of the first two sequences is on order – the institutions of confinement (prison) and the disciplinary techniques multiplied throughout the social body which Foucault describes in detail in Discipline and Punish (1977). For Foucault, the prison was a historically specific architectural form that contained within (and without) its walls the normalizing and disciplinary logics which objectified the subject – exclusion, surveillance, discipline, normalization. Yet, none of these features of objectification would be coherent without an account of the unique spatialization involved in their employment. Thus, for Foucault, a notion one finds central to the development of the prison in the 18th century (which was lacking in the previous centuries) is the discourse of architecture and space: “From the eighteenth century on, every discussion of politics as the art of the government of men necessarily includes a chapter or a series of chapters on urbanism, on collective hygiene, and on private architecture” (1984: 240). Indeed, Foucault recognized the importance of urban space in how governments think about and deploy power, well before his later analysis of “governmentality” from 1977 until his death in 1984. In any case, by 1982 Foucault was ready to state in unequivocal terms that “space is fundamental in any exercise of power” (1984: 252). And while sovereign power approaches space in terms of law and prohibition, while security apparatuses approach space in terms of “letting things happen,” “discipline . . . is, above all, analysis of space; it is individualization through space, the placing of bodies in an individualized space that permits classification and combinations” (Foucault 2007b: 147). This form of power is for Foucault crucial, since it is discipline which allows a governmental strategy, program, or policy to actually drill down to the details of an individual and/or population and thus to objectify, categorize, sort, and classify individuals and populations along a curve of normality and abnormality. It is this kind of normalization, for Foucault, that is essential for any exercise of power whose aim is to influence and prescribe the behavior, attitudes, aptitudes, and capacities of individuals and populations. Indeed, most notably in his 1977–1978 lectures at the College de France, Foucault came to see the spatialization of disciplinary techniques as absolutely central to the exercise of power. Spatial layouts, architectural forms, and even apparatuses of security each intimately involve the exercise of disciplinary power for Foucault and were concerns of utmost importance in Foucault’s analysis of power. As Huxley makes clear, some of Foucault’s most notable work on disciplinary strategies and tactics serves as “distillations of underlying logics” inherent in spatialarchitectural layouts that may be extended to more complementary forms (2007: 194). In one particularly outstanding passage from an essay titled “The Force of Flight,” Foucault states that “the vertical is not one of the dimensions of space, it is the dimension of power” (2007d: 170). The first methodological principle of Foucault’s analysis of disciplinary power is “to try to study the metamorphosis of punitive methods on the basis of a political technology of the body, 89

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in which might be read a common history of power relations and object relations” (1984b: 171). A second methodological guideline of his approach is that, given that systems of punishment in modern societies are situated in a certain “political economy” of the body, “it is always the body that is at issue – the body and its forces, their utility and their docility, their distribution, and their submission” (1984b: 172).Third, the knowledge of the body, or political technology of the body, is to be analyzed in terms of a “political anatomy,” an analysis of “a set of material elements and techniques that serve as weapons, relays, communication routes, and supports for the power and knowledge relations that invest human bodies and subjugate them by turning them into objects of knowledge” (1984b: 175–176). In summary, Foucault’s methodological aim in Discipline and Punish was to write the history of the modern prison, “with all the political investments of the body that it gathers together in its closed architecture” (1984c: 183). This last remark of Foucault’s on his aim in Discipline and Punish tells us several important things. First, the political technologies of the body are found, first of all, in a space – they are spatialized. Second, in order to examine the political technologies of the body, we must infiltrate the space which encloses and adopts them – in this case, the prison.This is important for our purposes because it clarifies how, if we are employing Foucault’s analysis of disciplinary techniques, we should go about inquiring into contemporary relations of power, space, and the body. It is important to keep in mind, however, that what Foucault is describing here are disciplinary techniques; that these techniques easily spread from one discipline to another; and that the domain of their application seemed always to be expanding. Foucault warns us, when proceeding in such an analysis, to look not only for the raw function of a disciplinary technique, but also the “coherence of its tactics” (1984d: 188). It is this methodological sensitivity to the identification of disciplinary tactics and their coherence – not their mere function – that animates Foucault’s analysis of power-knowledge. For Foucault, it is this distinction between the function of disciplinary techniques and a specific tactical coherence which utilizes them which will enable Foucault to speak of discipline as a mobile technology of power which may be utilized in the tactics of sometimes very different “governmentalities,” whether liberal, neoliberal, or fascist. The success of disciplinary power, Foucault tells us, derives from the use of three instruments: hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment, and “their combination in a procedure that is specific to it . . . the examination”(1984d: 190). To the extent that disciplinary power is successful in its objectification of the subject, we should be able to locate the instruments of disciplinary power functioning in different tactical forms. That is, given that disciplinary power functions in modern societies in a variety of different tactical coherences (“governmentalities”), we should be able to identify the common instruments of disciplinary power utilized in each of those tactical coherences. The first instrument of disciplinary power Foucault identifies is the instrument of hierarchical observation, which manifests itself through “the spatial nesting of hierarchized surveillance”: “The exercise of discipline presupposes a mechanism that coerces by means of observation; an apparatus in which the techniques that make it possible to see induce effects of power and in which, conversely, the means of coercion make those on whom they are applied clearly visible” (1984d: 189). The ideal model of this development of hierarchized surveillance was the military camp, which Foucault calls the “artificial city” and which was also found in urban development, where the idea of “spatial embedding” of surveillance was also implemented (1984d: 190). Several things should be noted here. First, we need to recognize that this mechanism Foucault is describing that “coerces by means of observation” is a necessary condition of the exercise of discipline. Such a mechanism could, of course, exist within a space, but by itself not be sufficient for the complete exercise of disciplinary power. Second, this mechanism


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is embedded in the spatial layout in such a way that makes the spatial layout itself a critical part of the surveillance. Furthermore, Foucault tells us, this hierarchized surveillance was organized as both automatic, and anonymous. It is automatic in the sense that it functions continuously like a machine; anonymously because the effects inherent in its implementation are not possessed or transferred by anyone – it is, in an important sense, carried out by the spatial layout itself.The second instrument of disciplinary power Foucault identifies is the instrument of the normalizing judgment, which manifests itself as a form of punishment which ultimately results in a binary opposition of the permitted and the forbidden; the normal and the abnormal. This normalizing judgment is accomplished through five distinct operations, which Foucault lays out as the following: 1 2 3 4 5

The referring and comparing of individuals to the rule of the whole The differentiating of individuals according to a rule of minimum achievement The quantitative measuring and hierarchization of people in terms of “ability/nature” The introduction of the constraint of conformity, according to this hierarchy of ability/ nature The definition of the limit of permissible difference. (1984d: 199)

Foucault summarizes each step of this process as (1) Comparison, (2) Differentiation, (3) Hierarchization, (4) Homogenization, and (5) Exclusion. This process employed as discipline, Foucault says, is the “perpetual penalty” inherent in all disciplinary institutions, and results in the binary opposition of two types of subject: the normal/accepted subject, and the abnormal/ forbidden subject. The third instrument of disciplinary power that Foucault identifies is the examination which, regardless of the form it takes, is always the combination of the instruments of surveillance and normalizing judgment in a specific procedure. As a result, the examination is essentially the spatial manifestation of surveillance and normalization which takes a specific form: It is the fact of being constantly seen, of being able always to be seen, that maintains the disciplined individual in his subjection. And the examination is the technique by which power, instead of emitting the signs of its potency, instead of imposing its mark on its subjects, holds them in a mechanism of objectification. In this space of domination, disciplinary power manifests its potency, essentially, by arranging objects. The examination is, as it were, the ceremony of this objectification. The examination, therefore, is the instrument of disciplinary power which combines both the instruments of hierarchized surveillance and normalizing judgment into a procedure of objectification, a sort of spectacle of the subject. One exemplary manifestation of the examination Foucault mentions is the military parade of review. Describing the design of a commemorative medal of King Louis XIV in the 17th century, in which a regiment of soldiers is strategically positioned in front of the sovereign palace, Foucault gives us a detailed illustration of how “the order of the architecture . . . imposes its rules and its geometry on the disciplined men on the ground” (1984d: 200). This depiction of the military parade shows how the examination, utilizing architectural, geographic, and spatial means, creates an inversion of visibility in which the power of the sovereign is masked by and through the visibility of the subject. In this way, ­Foucault will claim the disciplinary power of the prison lies precisely in the fact that the sovereign power to punish is masked by the visibility of the prisoner. And, as I will claim, the disciplinary power of the neoliberal “prison-in-reverse” (the neoliberal city) lies in the fact that sovereign power is masked by the invisibility of those excluded from the city.


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The third sequence of governmentality, spatial governmentality, targets spaces rather than people by employing architectural design and security initiatives to regulate space and the “natural” processes that occur through and within that space. Merry (2001) argues that the logic of this new form of spatial governmentality is fundamentally different than the logic of disciplinary reform and normalization. The emphasis is on producing spaces of safety for a given population and excluding deviant behavior (Merry 2001: 17). Although “spatial mechanisms” for excluding deviant behavior have existed at least since the pre-industrial city, some argue that their recent expansion in urban life reflects an abandonment of the project of disciplinary reform and a move toward the territorialization of space itself. As Merry writes, Disciplinary regulation focuses on the regulation of persons through incarceration or treatment, while spatial mechanisms concentrate on the regulation of space through excluding offensive behavior. Spatial forms of regulation focus on concealing or displacing offensive activities rather than eliminating them. Their target is a population rather than individuals.They produce social order by creating zones whose denizens are shielded from witnessing socially undesirable behavior such as smoking or selling sex. The individual offender is not treated or reformed, but particular public is protected. The logic is that of zoning rather than correcting. (2001: 17) Foucault’s influence on the study of this new spatial governmentality is underscored by that fact that, as Crampton and Elden point out, “governmentality and biopolitics informs the work of an increasing number of geographers,” a focus they call “geo-governmentality” (2007: 6). Furthermore, as Huxley argues, the investigation of spatial rationalities is at the same time an investigation into the “logics contained in “strategies” and “tactics” of government that seek to use urban space for particular disciplinary ends” (2007: 194). This observation makes clear the importance of Foucault’s methodological concern of distinguishing the function of disciplinary techniques from the tactics of a coherent governmentality which seeks to utilize them. In the context of the spatial rationalities of neoliberalism then, we will be speaking about a rationality which “postulate[s] causal qualities of ‘spaces’ and ‘environments’ as elements in the operative rationalities of government, and these postulates can be examined as truths having histories” (Huxley 2007: 194). The “prison-in-reverse,” as it has been described in the social science literature, can be seen as a specific spatial manifestation of a new form of spatial governmentality. A wide range of literature from urban studies, criminal sociology, human geography, and other related disciplines has made the “prison-in-reverse” a topic of debate in critical discussions on life in contemporary urban space. This literature is sometimes characterized as describing different aspects of the “punitive city.” Several areas of specific focus include the increasingly segregated nature of the urban experience (Blakely & Snyder 1997; Christopherson 1994; Low 2001; Beckett & Herbert 2008), the management and territorialization of public space (England 2006; Mitchell 1995, 1997;Voyce 2006; Wright 1997), the criminalization and objectification of the poor and homeless, the surveillance of urban society (von Mahs 2013; Arnold 2004; Wacquant 2001; Williams 1999; Arrigo 1999), and urban governmentality in general (Lyon 1994; Marx 2003; Elden 2003; Norris 2003). While each of these foci no doubt contributes to the elucidation of the “prisonin-reverse” and its characteristics, I focus on the specific figure of the “prison-in-reverse” as it relates to Foucault’s own analysis of disciplinary power. In this way, we can get a better grip on the specific ways that techniques of power are deployed within the tactics of an urban neoliberal governmentality. 92

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The elaboration of the notion of the “prison-in-reverse” should be attributed first to Susan Christopherson (1994). The term itself and its application to the empirical study of a specific space – namely, an Australian shopping mall – has appeared in the work of sociologist Malcom Voyce (2006). Using Foucault’s genealogical method, Voyce analyzes the sociopolitical, conceptual, and spatial development of an Australian shopping center, focusing on the changing nature of “public space” in Australia. In his analysis of the shopping center, a massive project which displaced a large area designated “public space,” Voyce concludes that the shopping center was ultimately constructed “to form a predictable controlled environment which acts like a “prison-in-reverse”: to keep deviant behavior on the outside and to form a consumerist form of citizenship inside” (2006: 273). In her study of “The Fortress City,” Christopherson argues that the shopping mall is the predecessor of even newer forms of the “prison-in-reverse” model.1 These new forms, Christopherson argues, are urban forms characterized by “larger, highly managed . . . mesoscale urban environments . . . designed to insulate and isolate, to buffer and protect so-called ‘normal users’ in the space” (1994: 417). This effective normalization is reflected by the various city ordinances and regulations that enforce the “rules of conduct” as well as the physical design of the space itself. Christopherson gives several examples of these “buffered and isolated urban spaces,” including “Bunker Hill in Los Angeles, the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Harbor Place in Baltimore, Battery Park in Manhattan, and Peach Tree Center in Atlanta” (1994: 417). Elaborating further on the characteristics of these spaces, Christopherson continues, The quintessential features of these environments are separation from the larger urban environment, limited pedestrian access, multi-level functionally integrated spaces through which users are channeled via walkways and high level of security. Although these spaces may provide spectacle – puppet shows, musical performances, fashion shows – all activities are programmed and intended to enhance the central uses of the space. (1994: 417) Yet another extension of this “prison-in-reverse” model of the business improvement district. One important aspect of the business improvement district is the priority of cleaning, “polishing,” and policing the space over actual physical improvements to the space: “One important aspect of emulating the mall experience,” Christopherson says, “is to rid the business improvement district of the homeless and deinstitutionalized mentally ill through design, daily regulation and longer-term solutions such as displacement to the urban fringe” (1994: 417). Finally, Christopherson mentions studies of privately controlled public space in Los Angeles and the many common features they share with the model of the shopping mall: “Designs are inwardly oriented, with high enclosing walls, blank facades, distancing from the street and obscured street level access. These ‘public spaces’ are effectively disconnected from the surrounding city. The activities that can take place in these spaces are severely restricted” (1994: 418). For Christopherson, it is the very boundaries between public and private space that have been reworked, wherein the new boundaries are determined by the production of spatial territory itself, with the street itself “abandoned to the unhoused, the poor and the undesirable,” while the new urban space produced exclusively for the “normal user” (1994: 421). Most importantly, these new boundaries that separate the normal and abnormal user require the creation and maintenance of a “territoriality of safety,” which must be guaranteed by property owners, city authorities, and the police (Christopherson 1994: 421). These new territorialities of safety are constituted by three levels: a symbolic level of outdoor signage, paving, and plantings; a level of organized 93

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security through private security personnel and city police; and a level of mechanical control through locks and mechanical surveillance (Christopherson 1994: 422). Through these three levels of territoriality the boundaries between the normal and abnormal user of the space are effectively marked out. A final aspect to be noted about the expansion of the “prison-in-reverse” model from mall to the city is the element of surveillance. This observation is not new, as a whole literature on “surveillance studies” has established itself, one which takes an explicitly Foucaultian approach. A particularly lucid illustration of the expansion of surveillance documented by Christopherson is worth quoting in full: In cities such as Newark, New Jersey, the scale of surveillance has been extended to the entire portion of the city traversed by the commercial user and consumer. Grants from the federal government have allowed a selected number of cities to set up video surveillance posts throughout a “protected” area. Swiveling video cameras high above the street capture every human move for a police surveillance team located at central command post. This surveillance is an aspect of city government participation in public-private partnerships with developers. In contrast, those spaces where property values are not dependent on safety, such as parking lots, are increasingly “owned” by no one.They have become the no man’s land, and even more so the no woman’s, lands of the city. (1994: 421) Here Christopherson reiterates the importance of the production and definition of the protected area in marking out the new spatial and symbolic boundaries between the “normal” and “abnormal” or undesirable user. Christopherson also makes clear how the advancement of technology has allowed the expansion of surveillance techniques over a broader and much larger geographic scale. Thus, the expansion of surveillance from the shopping mall to the business district, the downtown city hall, the city park, and other urban “protected” areas. We are now at a point where we can define the “prison-in-reverse” as the following: a novel urban spatial production in which the traditional logic of “public space” and the disciplinary logic of the prison has been inverted, creating a predictable controlled environment in order to physically exclude deviant behavior and undesirable forms of life while fostering “normal” users. Using this definition, we can tease out disciplinary techniques as they are utilized in the tactics of neoliberal governmentality. The first and most obvious indication of disciplinary techniques of the “prison-in-reverse” is the hierarchized surveillance implemented in the very constitution of the spatial architecture itself. As pointed out, the technological expansion of surveillance has made it possible to cover wider geographic areas and in more efficient ways. This spatial nesting of hierarchized surveillance can be aptly illustrated by the proliferation of closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs). As Goold points out, CCTVs present urban subjects with the problem of the “unobservable observer”: Knowing that we are being watched by a camera is not the same as knowing the identity of who is watching us. All that we know is that we are being watched, but it is impossible for us to know why or by whom. This is the reason that we draw a distinction between being watched by a visible police officer and a CCTV camera mounted on the side of a building. Seeing, identifying, and attempting to understand the motives of whoever is watching us is an essential precursor to deciding how we feel about being observed and to deciding how to respond to such observation. (2002: 24) 94

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Another scholar of surveillance, commenting on CCTVs, notes, Often, the presence of CCTVs is unannounced, and the cameras are concealed. But even if the cameras are unconcealed, the fact that they are mechanical, positioned above people’s line of vision, and blend in with other features of the physical environment makes them easily overlooked. (von Hirsch 2000: 65) In Goold’s article, possible solutions are discussed to this problem of the “unobservable observer,” one of which is proposed by von Hirsch, namely an independent watchdog agency that could oversee and make public the surveillance activities of those behind the cameras. As Goold points out, this solution, while attempting to solve the problem, actually moves us closer to something exactly like Bentham’s panopticon. For, in a panoptic situation, the central observer is also himself observed, but without the inmates being aware who (or even if) the observer is even present in the central tower. In other words, the panoptic effect would be the same in the situation where there is a watchdog observing the observer, for precisely the reason that those who are being observed are never aware if or by whom they are being watched. The salient features of CCTVs for the technique of hierarchized surveillance are obvious. First, CCTVs are both automatic and anonymous. They are first automatic in the sense that they can be programmed to operate by themselves and, increasingly, are being programmed to even identify certain elements of the visual field through the use of identification technology. They are also anonymous in the sense that they are an unobservable observer. And finally, a central feature of CCTVs – one Foucault would have made much of – is the element of perpetual, constant surveillance. As Foucault writes, Discipline is a technique of power, which contains a constant and perpetual surveillance of individuals. It is not sufficient to observe them occasionally or see if they work to the rules. It is necessary to keep them under surveillance to ensure activity takes place all the time and submit them to a perpetual pyramid of surveillance. (2007b: 147) Thus, the automaticity, anonymity, and perpetual nature of surveillance in the “prison-inreverse” model exemplifies in a striking way the instrument of disciplinary power Foucault identified as hierarchized surveillance. The second instrument of disciplinary power is the normalizing judgment, which Foucault defined as a process of punishment or perpetual penalty inherent in all disciplinary spaces which results in the binary opposition of the normal/accepted subject and the abnormal/forbidden subject. As Christopherson argues, the normalizing judgment of the “prison-in-reverse” should be understood as the network of exclusionary processes including “design, daily regulation and longer-term solutions such as displacement to the urban fringe” (1994: 418). One significant aspect of the normalizing process inherent in the “prison-in-reverse” model is the convergence of the discourses of citizenship and the presence and visibility in public– private space, where participation as consumerism within the urban milieu is now seen as constitutive of what it means to be a citizen. As Merry writes, The space itself creates expectations of behavior and consumption. These systems are not targeted at reforming the individual or transforming his or her soul; instead they 95

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operate on populations, inducing cooperation without individualizing the object of regulation. . . . Spatial governmentality works not by containing disruptive populations but by excluding them from particular places. (2001: 20) The spatial rationality of the “prison-in-reverse” model therefore involves, on the one hand, a defined set of expectations of behavior and consumption, and on the other, the exclusion of particular populations. However, was should be noted is that these excluded populations, in a very real sense, have long already been judged. Business and private interests, public health officials, politicians, police, and public authorities have, in this model, already determined the limits of acceptable and unacceptable behavior and “conduct” within public–private space. The judges of normality, as Foucault calls them, have become the very exclusionary spatial order of the city itself. In spaces that can be characterized as a kind of “prison-in-reverse,” the body and its gestures, behavior, and conduct is subjected to the spatial order itself, within which the limit of permissible difference has long before been defined the moment one steps into the space. What kinds of gestures, bodies, utterances, clothing, behavior, and comportment are permissible and what not have in a sense already been defined; indeed, such things are increasingly defined by city ordinances, the enforcement of which is left up to police. In this way, the normal and abnormal subject is defined and circumscribed by what Foucault calls “techniques of individualization”: techniques that make the individual subject to control. Foucault writes, Discipline is basically the mechanism of power through which we come to control the social body in its finest elements, through which we arrive at the very atoms of society, which is to say individuals. Techniques of individualization of power. How to oversee someone, how to control their behavior, their aptitudes, how to intensify their performance, multiply their capacities, how to put them in the place where they will be most useful; this is what discipline is, in my sense. (2007c: 159) For Foucault, it is the techniques of individualization employed that render individuals subject to certain forms of social control. The “prison-in-reverse” will thus use techniques of individualization in order to render the normal and abnormal/forbidden subject amenable to control. The first technique of individualization in the “prison-in-reverse” model is the creation of the subject-as-user. Here the urban subject is defined and classified as either a user or abuser of the space. Merry describes what she sees as the use of risk-based techniques of governance in the ordering of urban space. These risk-based techniques of governance “offer more efficient ways of exercising power since they tolerate individual deviance but produce order by dividing the population into categories organized around differential degrees of risk” (2001: 19). These techniques then divide populations into categories of risk in such a way to provide a basis or criterion for property owners, city authorities and police to exclude certain “undesirable” populations from a certain area of neighborhood. Merry points out that the neoliberal model of urban governance from which these risk-based techniques derive complement the broader emphasis on the risk-taking consumer-citizen and the ideal of the self-entrepreneur (2001: 19). These techniques, once defined and articulated in city law and discourses of public health and safety, then act as the standard by which urban subjects are then compared, differentiated, hierarchized, homogenized, and excluded according to their degree of risk or conformity with the “character” of the space. 96

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The “examination” of the “prison-in-reverse” therefore could be said to be ubiquitous, precisely in its very absence. As the inversion of the logic of the spectacle and infinite visibility of the excluded subject, the examination in the “prison-in-reverse” can be interpreted as the invisibility of the subject that is excluded. Indeed, “power appears to disappear behind individual choice” (Merry 2001: 20). Unlike the military parade, where power is masked by the visibility of the subject, power in the “prison-in-reverse” is masked by the invisibility of the forbidden subject from the space. Indeed, for those populations who are excluded from these territorialities, “the punitive city of the 21st century appears to be one in which mere presence in urban space is once again a crime” (Beckett & Herbert 2008: 24). Several important criticisms of Foucault’s methodological approach to questions of power and space have been raised, both in the broader context of international relations as well with respect to the historical and regional accuracy of his accounts of power relations. One common criticism of Foucault’s analysis of power and space has to do with the way in which Foucault underestimates the historical significance and scope of colonial governmentality in shaping power relations both internationally and within Foucault’s own histories (Fernandez & Esteves 2017; Scott 1995; Stoler 1995). According to this line of critique, Foucault “regarded Europe as a homogenous space merely ordered by a unique temporality” (Fernandez & Esteves 2017: 137), and therefore “ignored crucial bifurcations . . . that came to be constitutive of the world divided into a center – a system of sovereign states regulated by the balance of power – and a periphery – an unchecked group of belated societies articulated as a civilizational or developmental space” (Fernandez & Esteves 2017: 137–138). Why, for example, does Foucault not seem to factor in colonial resistance to his analysis of how modern European governmentality developed in the way it did – not as a footnote to the development of liberalism and a global market, but as a constitutive element of the history of the present? Even though Foucault notes that colonialism had long been underway before the organization of a world market centered in Europe, Foucault does not claim that colonialism or even major events such as the transatlantic slave trade played any major role in the development of a world market. As Foucault writes, “The game is in Europe, but the stake is the world” (2007a: 56). Because of this oversight of the significance of colonial power relations, Foucault’s account of spatial governmentality must be qualified both in its historical accuracy and practical applicability to understanding the relations of power found in global cities across the world. To be sure, urban and rural rebellions, revolts, and movements across the globe continue to play a major role in the governance and constitution of power both regionally and internationally. This criticism is echoed by some Foucault scholars as well, who point out that Foucault’s underestimation of the colonial relationship in understanding global power relations has much to do with Foucault’s underestimation of the role of sovereign power in constituting the geopolitical field of power relations characteristic of imperialism (Kelly 2010). Related criticisms include the charge that, within Foucault’s own account of the emergence of the modern “governmental state” in the West, the analysis of power we are left with seems only to apply to advanced liberal societies and therefore are unable to provide an analysis of international power relations and international development more broadly (Joseph 2010; Selby 2007; Kelly 2010). Additionally, commentators have shown how Foucault’s history of power relations – in particular his treatment of sovereignty, biopolitics, and race – overlooks and whitewashes the sovereignty of indigenous and First Nations peoples by tracing the emergence and transformation of European sovereignty. In turn, these methodological oversights, it is argued, make it appear as if settler colonial histories are naturalized within the all-encompassing focal history of European modernization (Morgensen 2011). There is little doubt about Foucault’s oversight of the significant role that race, ethnicity, indigeneity, and sovereignty have played in the geopolitical constitution of the global world in 97

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which we live. For these reasons, Foucault’s account of spatial governmentality – and perhaps power relations of “the city” more broadly – must be examined as to its historical accuracy and practical applicability to regional and local contexts. This is especially true in the Global South, as well as within marginal spaces of the global economy whose histories and dynamics of power might be much more complex than those laid out by Foucault, who admittedly did not fully come to terms with the racial structure of power in modernity – what scholars refer to as the “coloniality of power” (Quijano 2000). Nonetheless, Foucault’s analytics of power enable us to understand, differentiate, and anticipate the different techniques and strategies by which governments deploy sovereign power, disciplinary power, and security apparatuses around the world in pursuit of harnessing populations, power, territory, and financial wealth. Indeed, for Foucault, the analysis of power – particularly in the context of the city – demonstrates that “space is fundamental in any exercise of power” (Foucault 1984: 252).

Note 1 Likewise, Merry (2001) considers the shopping mall the “prototype” of this new spatial governmentality.

References Arnold, K. (2004) Homelessness, Citizenship and Identity: The Uncanniness of Late Modernity, Albany: State University of New York Press. Arrigo, B. (1999) “Constitutive Theory and the Homeless Identity: The Discourse of a Community Deviant,” in S. Henry & D. Milovanic (eds.), Constitutive Criminology at Work: Applications to Crime and Justice, Albany: State University of New York Press, pp. 67–85. Beckett, K. & Herbert, S. (2008) “Dealing with Disorder: Social Control in the Post-Industrial City,” Theoretical Criminology 12 (1), pp. 5–30. Blakely, E. & Snyder, M.G. (1997) Fortress American: Gated Communities in the United States, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Christopherson, S. (1994) “The Fortress City: Privatized Spaces, Consumerist Citizenship,” in A. Amine (ed.), Post-Fordism: A Reader, Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell Publishing. Crampton, J. & Elden, S. (2007) Space, Power and Knowledge: Foucault and Geography, Burlington: Ashgate Publishing. Dehaene, M. & De Cauter, L. (eds.) (2008) Heterotopia and the City: Public Space in a Postcivil Society, New York: Routledge. Elden, S. (2003) “A Diagram of Panoptic Surveillance,” New Media and Society 5 (2), pp. 231–247. ——— (2007) “Rethinking Governmentality,” Political Geography 26, pp. 29–33. ——— (2013) The Birth of Territory, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. England, M.R. (2006) Citizens on Patrol: Community Policing and the Territorialization of Public Space in Seattle, Washington (University of Kentucky, Electronic Theses and Dissertations), . Fernandez, M. & Esteves, P. (2017) “Silencing Colonialism: Foucault and the International,” in P. Bondotti, D. Bigo, & F. Gros (eds.), Foucault and the Modern International: Silences and Legacies for the Study of World Politics, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 137–154. Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. A. Sheridan, New York: Vintage Books. ——— (1984a) “Space, Knowledge and Power,” in P. Rabinow (ed.), The Foucault Reader, New York: Pantheon, pp. 239–256. ——— (1984b) “The Body of the Condemned,” in P. Rabinow (ed.), The Foucault Reader, New York: Pantheon, pp. 170–178. ——— (1984c) “Docile Bodies,” in P. Rabinow (ed.), The Foucault Reader, New York: Pantheon, pp. 179–187. ——— (1984d) “The Means of Correct Training,” in P. Rabinow (ed.), The Foucault Reader, New York: Pantheon, pp. 188–205.


Foucault and urban philosophy ___ (1991) “Governmentality,” in G. Burchell, C. Gordon, and P. Miller (eds.), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 87–105. ——— (2000) “Governmentality,” in J. Faubion (ed.), Power: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954–1984,Vol. 3, New York: New Press. ——— (2007a) Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the College de France, 1977–78, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ——— (2007b) “The Incorporation of the Hospital into Modern Technology,” in J. Crampton & S. Elden (eds.), Space, Knowledge and Power: Foucault and Geography, Burlington: Ashgate, pp. 141–152. ——— (2007c) “The Meshes of Power,” in J. Crampton & S. Elden (eds.), Space, Knowledge and Power: Foucault and Geography, Burlington: Ashgate, pp. 153–162. ——— (2007d) “The Force of Flight,” in J. Crampton & S. Elden (eds.), Space, Knowledge and Power: Foucault and Geography, Burlington: Ashgate, pp. 153–162. Goold, B. (2002) “Privacy Rights and Public Spaces: CCTV and the Problem of the Unobservable Observer,” Criminal Justice Ethics 21 (1), pp. 21–27. Huxley, M. (2007) “Geographies of Governmentality,” in J. Crampton & S. Elden (eds.), Space, Knowledge and Power: Foucault and Geography, Burlington: Ashgate. Joseph, J. (2010) “The Limits of Governmentality: Social Theory and the International,” European Journal of International Relations 16 (2), pp. 223–246. Kelly, M.G.E. (2010) “International Biopolitics: Foucault, Globalisation and Imperialism,” Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 57 (123), pp. 1–26. Low, S. (2001) “The Edge and the Center: Gated Communities and the Discourse of Urban Fear,” American Anthropologist 103 (1), pp. 45–58. Lyon, D. (1994) The Electronic Eye:The Rise of the Surveillance Society, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Press. Marx, G.T. (2003) “What’s New about the ‘New Surveillance’? Classifying for Change and Continuity,” Surveillance and Society 1 (1), pp. 9–29. Mbembe, A. & Meintjes, L. (2003) “Necropolitics,” Public Culture 15 (1), pp. 11–40. Merry, S.E. (2001) “Spatial Governmentality and the New Urban Social Order: Controlling Gender Violence through Law,” American Anthropologist 103 (1), pp. 16–29. Mitchell, D. (1995) “The End of Public Space? People’s Park, Definitions of the Public, and Democracy,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 85 (1), pp. 108–133. ——— (1997) “The Annihilation of Space by Law:The Roots and Implications of Anti-Homeless Laws in the United States,” Antipode 29 (3), pp. 303–335. Morgensen, S.L. (2011) “The Biopolitics of Settler Colonialism: Right Here, Right Now,” Settler Colonial Studies 1 (1), pp. 52–76. Norris, C. (2003) “From Personal to Digital: CCTV, the Panopticon and the Technological Mediation of Suspicion and Social Control,” in D. Lyon (ed.), Surveillance and Social Sorting: Privacy Risk and Automated Discrimination, London: Routledge, pp. 249–281. Quijano, A. (2000) “Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America,” Nepantla: Views from South 1 (3), pp. 533–580. Scott, D. (1995) “Colonial Governmentality,” Social Text 43, pp. 191–220. Selby, J. (2007) “Engaging Foucault: Discourse, Liberal Governance and the Limits of Foucaultian IR,” International Relations 21 (3), pp. 324–345. Stoler, A. (1995) Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things, London: Duke University Press. Von Hirsch, A. (2000) “The Ethics of Public Television Surveillance,” in A. von Hirsch, D. Garland, & A. Wakefield (eds.), Ethical & Social Perspectives in Situational Crime Prevention, Oxford: Hart Publishing. Von Mahs, J. (2013) “Get Lost! The Impact of Punitive Policy on Homeless People’s Life Chances in Berlin,” in R. Lippert & K. Walby (eds.), Policing Cities: Urban Securitization and Regulation in a 21st Century World, New York: Routledge, pp. 177–178. Voyce, M. (2006) “Shopping Malls in Australia: The End of Public Space and the Rise of Consumerist Citizenship,” Journal of Sociology 42, pp. 269–286. Wacquant, L. (2001) “The Penalisation of Poverty and the Rise of Neo-Liberalism,” European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 9, pp. 401–412. Williams, J. (1999) “Taking it to the Streets: Policing and the Practice of Constitutive Criminology,” in S. Henry & D. Milovanic (eds.), Constitutive Criminology at Work: Applications to Crime and Justice, Albany: State University of New York Press.


Kevin Scott Jobe Wolin, S. (2016) Politics & Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Wright, T. (1997) Out of Place: Homeless Mobilizations, Subcities and Contested Landscapes, Albany: SUNY Press.

Further reading J. Crampton & S. Elden, Space, Power and Knowledge: Foucault and Geography (Burlington: Ashgate Publishing, 2007). M. Dehaene & L. De Cauter (eds.), Heterotopia and the City: Public Space in a Postcivil Society (New York: Routledge, 2008). S. Elden, The Birth of Territory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013). S.E. Merry, “Spatial Governmentality and the New Urban Social Order: Controlling Gender Violence through Law,” American Anthropologist 103 (1) (2001), pp. 16–29.



Introduction In Brazil’s civil war of 1897, soldiers camped on a hill in the northwest region where the favela plant grows. After the war ended and the soldiers returned to Rio, the temporary housing which lined the hillsides came to be known as the favela hills. Most of these present-day favelas still lack sanitation and sewage systems, fail building codes, have rudimentary infrastructure, and are latent with crime and drugs. The favela, however, has also been nicknamed the “proletarian park” for its ability to promote creativity, diversity, and public spaces for strangers to congregate and interact (Ortiz 2016). In many ways, the image of the favela stands in contrast to the Enlightenment ideal for the model of democracy. As a proponent of this ideal, John Locke in the Two Treatises of Government argued for the natural freedom and equality of men against the tyranny and abuses of monarchy (Locke 1988 [1689]). Individuals were autonomous agents and had the right to life, liberty, and property, which are independent of any society. Locke’s enactment of this ideal, however, failed to uphold the freedom and equality for all; those who were women, slaves, Native Americans, and impoverished were not at liberty to exercise their autonomy. In response to this failing, Jean-Jacques Rousseau proposed an alternative vision in his work The Social Contract for democracy as an ideal of free and equal citizens co-existing in a community through a common consciousness of shared governance (Rousseau 1987). This ideal of community promised mutual understanding and compassion as a solution to the alienation and domination of the corrupt nation-state. The Brazilian favela, however, provides an image of a third ideal of democracy: the ideal of the city proposed by the philosopher Iris Marion Young (2000). This third ideal uplifts neither autonomy nor community, but instead promotes an ideal of difference and social justice through an open exchange of diversity. In this chapter, I review these two initial models of democracy bequeathed by Locke and Rousseau, and then turn to Young’s critique of them. In section three, I elaborate Young’s account of the city life as the site for the politics of difference in both its idealized and pragmatic forms. Finally, I consider further directions of Young’s theory for the urban philosopher as public philosopher with regard to the issues of disability and prostitution.


Elyse Purcell

The legacy of Locke and Rousseau Autonomy and community The legacy of Locke’s autonomy for the nation-state assured the “the right to equal freedom or liberties in a political and economic system based on individual freedom of contract, whether this be in the economy, the family, or the social contract of government” (Ferguson 2009: 164). Following this legacy, Rawls provided a principle to balance the values of freedom and equality more fairly between the rich and the poor in welfare capitalist democracies. The ideal of fairness for social democracy, based on Rawls’s second principle of justice known as the difference principle, aimed to promote both the negative freedom from interference and also the positive freedom for opportunity for all, even for the poorest, to have their basic material needs such as health, education, housing, and employment met to pursue their life goals (Ferguson 2009: 165; Rawls 1971). Advocates of social democracy have used the difference principle to reduce vast inequalities in wealth. The problems of the welfare capitalist democracy which inherited Locke’s ideal, however, are numerous: This model of democracy is atomistic, depoliticized, and fosters self-regarding interest-group pluralism and bureaucratic domination (Young 2000: 226). In response to this dystopian vision, philosophers such as Sandel (1982) and Barber (1984) have appealed to an alternative vision – namely, the ideal of community –drawn from Rousseau’s ideal. This ideal of community rejects the image of persons as separate, self-contained individuals with the same formal rights. Moreover, this ideal criticizes the self-interested competitiveness present in capitalistic democracy. Instead, the ideal of community argues for a community that attends to and shares the particular needs and interests of its members. This ideal of community, which is based on a “longing for harmony among persons, for consensus and mutual understanding,” Young writes, is grounded in the Rousseauist dream (2000: 229). Those who embrace the ideal of community argue that liberalism assumes a conception of the self that is faulty. This false conception assumes the self is atomistic, separate from others, and prior to desires, goals, and values. In contrast, Sandel and Barber propose a conception of the self and social life as a product of shared values, goals, and meaningful relations. According to Sandel, this ideal is expressed as a shared subjectivity and the social transparency of the Rousseauist dream based on common self-understanding is the meaning and goal of the community (1982: 62–63, 173).While the ideal of community may be expressed as a common consciousness as in the Rousseauist dream or as a shared subjectivity as in the communitarian vision, this ideal upholds the ideal of relations and reciprocity as the primary good of society.

Problems with the Rousseauist dream Much like communitarians, many socialists, feminists, and others have criticized welfare capitalist democracy for its domination and oppression. They, like those who embrace the Rousseauist dream, also desire a society which is meaningful and strengthens the affinities among different social groups. Moreover, they agree with Sandel and others that the self is a product of social relations, and that one may find a sense of meaning that is shared with other members of one’s group. Finally, they, too, criticize the consumer-oriented assumptions about human nature, and call for an institution of democratic politics, rather than a privatization of politics as is found in liberalism (Young 2000: 226–228). This ideal of community, however, is essentially a myth. It expresses an ideal for the fusion of subjects and thus denies and represses social difference.Young first criticizes the Rousseauist 102

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dream for setting up “an exhaustive dichotomy between individualism and community” insofar as the language used divides into polarizing views defining each other negatively (228). On the one hand, for liberalism there is the separate self as a unity not defined by anything or anyone other than itself. Proponents of the community, on the other hand, uphold a shared, social self that is defined according to mutuality and symmetry among individuals.This symmetry, according to Young, is a totality, which denies difference by positing fusion in their shared whole. Next, drawing from Jacques Derrida, Young critiques the Rousseauist dream for expressing an ideal of social relations as the copresence of subjects (Derrida 1976: 137–139; Young 2000: 231). While this ideal is for the transparency of subjects to one another, the way in which each person understands the other is in the way they understand themselves. Young argues that this ideal collapses the “temporal difference inherent in language and experience into a totality that can be comprehended in one view” and consequently submits to the metaphysics of presence, by denying the ontological difference within and between subjects (2000: 231). This mutual sharing is never complete understanding and reciprocity. The net result is a fragile and mostly unachievable utopia. Young’s third criticism of the ideal of community follows from her second criticism: The “ideal of community as a pure copresence of subjects to one another receives political expression in a vision of political life that privileges local face-to-face direct democracy” (2000: 232). But this privileging of the face-to-face relation is founded upon a metaphysical illusion of unmediated social relations: In the concrete, this vision would require a dismantling of the urban character of modern society. Furthermore, it would require an overhaul of places of trade and commerce as well as living and work spaces (2000: 234). In summary,Young thinks that to enact such a vision of community is not politically possible in capitalist democracies such as the United States that are made up of large-scale industries and urban centers. The fourth criticism Young provides against the ideal of the community concerns its mischaracterization of how smaller communities relate to each other. The ideal of community assumes that the only relations these smaller communities are engaged in are friendly visits. This is a significant oversight since many smaller communities – for example, a farmers market– participate in an exchange of resources, goods, and culture. While the ideal of community seeks to overcome the alienation and domination felt by individuals lost in democracies led by faceless bureaucracies and corporations, which strip individuals of their feelings of autonomy and control, a vision of community should not be of one large whole. Rather, it should appeal to a nexus of smaller communities, which participate at local levels of the neighborhood and workplace. This local engagement bolsters local and direct control, fosters justice, and minimizes domination and oppression. The ideal of community obscures the power of local communities and forgets that the relations among others are not just among friends, but also among strangers.

The city of difference as an alternative vision The city life as ideal As an alternative vision, Young proposes an account of social relations built upon the ideal of the city which includes the economic, political, and kinship networks and communities directed by regional governance. In her ideal of the city, social relations of group difference are affirmed rather than obscured and represents an unrealized normative ideal. She defines “city life” as a being together of strangers that make up our social relations. Since city life is composed of clusters and networks of individuals with their affinities such as families, social groups, voluntary associations, neighborhoods, and other small communities, city dwellers commonly move 103

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beyond what is familiar to them into open spaces to meet other strangers to engage in politics, commerce, and festivals. City dwelling situates one’s self within a vast array of unknown, unfamiliar activities and other identities, which in turn, alter the conditions of one’s own identity. Young acknowledges, however, that while the ideal of the city is a normative ideal, she is not utopian about the ideal because of the many social injustices present in cities. These injustices include the exploitation, marginalization, and cultural imperialism produced by domination of corporate capital and state bureaucracy. Private decision-making processes in cities and towns reinforce these oppressions. While many democratic theorists call for local autonomy in neighborhoods to dispel these evils,Young argues that such localized autonomy reproduces the problems of exclusion facing the ideal of community. Instead,Young proposes four virtues of social relations in the normative ideal of city life to guide democratic justice. The first virtue Young articulates is social differentiation without exclusion. City life provides supportive social networks and subcultural communities. Within the city, individuals are free to form affinities with different groups, even though there are some spatial barriers and borders which exclude others.Young gives the example of neighborhoods with distinct ethnic identities. In these neighborhoods members of one social group dwell together with members of other groups. The freedom to traverse the borders is found in the city and this openness supports the normative ideal. The second virtue of the social relations in the ideal of city life is variety. This initial variety takes place within the city through the multiuse differentiation of social space. Public spaces support a diversity of activities, and include but are not limited to stores, restaurants, bars, clubs, parks, and offices. In these social spaces, strangers encounter one another in an exchange of difference along political, economic, and other social interactions. Young defines the third virtue as eroticism.Young defines the erotic in the wide sense “as an attraction to the other, the pleasure and excitement of being drawn out of one’s secure routine to encounter the novel, strange, and surprising” (2000: 239; cf. Barthes 1986). The erotic is the inverse of community. Within the ideal of community, an individual’s sameness is affirmed and recognized in the experiences, perceptions, goals, and values one shares with other members of the social group. The erotic, by contrast, provides a distinct kind of pleasure in the different, the unfamiliar, and drawing one out of oneself. A city’s eroticism arises from its aesthetics of material being, from its social and spatial inexhaustibility: the “bright and colored lights, the grandeur of its buildings, the juxtaposition of architecture of different times, styles, and purposes” (Young 2000: 240). The fourth virtue of social relations within the city is publicity. The normative ideal of the city life provides the public spaces and forums for politics. In the public forum, anyone can speak, and anyone can listen. In the exchange between strangers, the politics of difference is realized. We begin first with our familiar relations and affinities with whom we share our daily living. Then we venture forth to public spaces which give political representation to other social groups to share their distinctive characteristics and cultures. In these public spaces, an exchange of otherness occurs because these places are open and accessible to all.

The city life in practice The city life in its normative ideal identifies and supports the social structures, processes and relationships to foster a politics of difference. Unfortunately, three aspects within the city contribute to domination and oppression, rather than openness and empowerment. Young identifies these three aspects: (a) centralized corporate and bureaucratic domination of cities; (b) decision-making structures in municipalities and their hidden mechanisms of redistribution; 104

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and (c) processes of segregation and exclusion, both within cities and between cities and suburbs (2000: 242).The corporate and bureaucratic domination over the municipal dissociates the lived space from the commodified space. This dissociation becomes more apparent in the decisionmaking process, exacerbated by land use and zoning. Injustice is the result of this spatial divide in local economies, decision-making, and function, and promotes oppression and domination. For example, zoning regulation reinforces class and racial segregation. At its most far reaching, Young argues, this dissociation promotes a legal separation of municipalities themselves: The “legal and social separation of city and suburbs, moreover, contribute to social injustice” (2000: 247).Young’s solution to these three aspects is to empower the city dwellers to take back their decision-making authority.

New directions for urban philosophers Young’s ideal of the city life emphasizes the concept of empowerment, which she defines as the agent’s participation in decision-making through exercising one’s voice and vote. According to Young, agents “who are empowered with a voice to discuss ends and means of collective life, and who have institutionalized means of participating in those decisions, whether directly or through representatives, open together onto a set of publics where none has autonomy” (2000: 251). It is this concept of empowerment that I think is most significant for urban philosophers enacting the ideal of the city as public philosophers. This empowerment at the regional level would include in the modest sense at least expanding the range of decisions made through the democratic process. To enact this empowerment, Young proposes three principles regional representatives ought to follow: They should promote (a) liberty, (b) diversity, and (c) public spaces. These three principles are at work in fostering the encounter between strangers in the empowerment of urban philosophers and the controversial issues of zoning laws for prostitution and commercial sexualized businesses and the public accommodation for people with disabilities.

Empowering urban philosophers Young stressed that empowerment includes both (a) giving voice to discuss ends and means of collective life and (b) having institutionalized means for participating in those decisions. One of the principles of empowerment is liberty. In the promotion of liberty, individuals and collectives should be able to do what they want (without harming others), where they want, and develop and exercise their capacities. The principle of liberty is expressed in Elizabeth Anderson’s epistemic model of democracy (2006), which she develops from the philosophy of John Dewey. Anderson argues that the constitutive features of democracy include diversity, discussion, and dynamism (feedback) – that is, bringing citizens from different walks of life together through discussion to address and find solutions problems of public interest (2006: 14). An institution’s capacity for change must be both legal and cultural and is enacted through its periodic elections, a free press skeptical of state power, petitions to government, public opinion polling, protests, and public comment on proposed regulations of administrative agencies (2006: 15). According to Anderson, “Diversity and discussion need to be embodied and facilitated in the institutions and customs of civil society. If a social arrangement has a systematic and significant impact on some social group, information about that impact needs to be conveyed to decision makers” (ibid.). Changing institutional means, however, is not enough as Young points out. Individuals must have access to channels of communication in order to have a voice in decisions of collective life. Both speaking and listening through effective channels of communication must be in place 105

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for individuals to have a voice in collective living. To be effective, Anderson argues, that communication must include the ability for individuals to speak freely but also that individuals and government decision-makers listen to one another and that practical norms must be in place to welcome or at least tolerate diversity and dissent (2006: 16).

Zoning and prostitution Following Jane Jacobs (1961), who proposed the idea of “zoning for diversity” in the 1960s, Young maintains that fostering diversity requires a reformation of the meaning and function of zoning (2000: 254). Regional planning decisions should minimize exclusion, and instead should promote a diversity of social groups and activities interspersed with one another. In “Zoning for Difference: Rethinking Iris’ Ideal for City Life:The Case of Prostitution” (2004),Yen-Wen Peng extends Young’s ideal of the city and argues for the practice of zoning for difference which is built on the embodiment of participatory procedure and justified exclusion. According to Peng, while zoning regulates and differentiates land use that can reinforce exclusiveness, separation, and injustice, it also may be a compromised but feasible expression of the politics of difference. Rather than using zoning as a positive intervention for building a city of difference, as Jacobs did, Peng proposes zoning as a negative intervention: one that prevents differences from being eliminated. For Peng, prostitution serves as a useful case study because it does not allow for consensus even in critical perspectives, and thus is a key example of conflicting voices without resolution (2004: 48). For example, Taiwan’s special businesses with sexual implication exclude prostitution but have allowed for other sexual practices to be legal with heavy commercial districts. The Taipei city government provided for participatory democracy by demanding community approval as a precondition for these special businesses in 1999. A question, however, remains: Who designates the different zones? If this question is not considered, Peng argues, zoning will not be open to “all concerned communities, and each and every community should have an equal say in the final decision” (2004: 50). This proposal of zoning allows for the toleration of the Other due to spatial segregation rather than spontaneous respect and can be a temporary alternative for a city faced with irreconcilable differences of values, identities and interests.

Public spaces and disability According to Young, public policy and services should create public spaces such as assembly halls, indoor and outdoor plazas, wide sidewalks, recreation facilities, and parks promoting the democracy of diverse social relations and exchanges. Within Young’s public places, which promote open access to all, disability provides a controversial example. Disability understood as a social limitation due to the environment or social practices in which an individual participates and lives is most relevant to Young’s ideal of the city. Many disabled people face marginalization and exclusion from both the labor market and public forums because the environments are not built for their needs (Purcell 2014). Changing institutional practices is one way to counter this oppression and to provide disabled individuals with the opportunity to participate in the city life. To do this, regional governments should modify and restructure their public spaces to provide access and participation. Adjustments might include changes such as simplified task explanations, warning labels, news copy, individually tailored schedules, telecommuting, and jury instructions (Wasserman et al. 2015). Similar to the issue of prostitution, a controversy arises in the degree of the modification for public spaces. This controversy concerns the burdensome 106

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costs that would be required to make modifications for individuals with profound impairments and to what degree they would be utilized. This controversy brings to light the issue of voice for individuals with profound impairments. Susan Wendell (1996) has drawn the distinction between those who might be considered the “healthy disabled” from the “unhealthy disabled”: Respectively, those who experience chronic, functional disability or illness differ from those who suffer from chronic dysfunctional or terminal illness or disability.1 If a city only focuses on changing its “oppressive institutions and policies, prejudiced attitudes, discrimination, cultural misrepresentation, and other social injustices,” it will obscure the attention to and possibly silence those who are “highly medicalized because of their suffering, their deteriorating health, or the threat of death” (Wendell 2001: 18). The solution, according to Wendell, is “solidarity between people with chronic illnesses and people with other disabilities” by “acknowledging the existence of the suffering that justice cannot eliminate” (2001: 31). Urban philosophers have the power to promote empowerment for individuals to develop their human capabilities and engage in democratic participation in social decisions (Ferguson 2009: 169). Liberty and fostering diversity enabled the recognition of what Young (2000) calls “differentiated solidarity” in which a kind of transformational solidarity might take place through dialogue and discussion. Differentiated solidarity and the creation of accessible public spaces and channels of communication within Young’s ideal of the city can provide the platform the plurality of voices practicing politics and overcome the cultural domination of one group silencing another.

Concluding thoughts Iris Marion Young envisions politics as a relationship of strangers who relate to each other across time and distance, and who may or may not understand one another in an immediate sense. The city provides the public space in which mediated understanding and communication can occur. The ideal of the community, as conceived in the legacy of the Rousseauist dream, obfuscates the difference between subjects and social groups. Rather than empowering individuals, it subjects them to copresence, mutual identification, and exclusion of those who are different. Thus, the ideal of community enforces homogeneity rather than heterogeneity. This myth of community may be found in any organization whether liberal or conservative, which assumes social change requires a mutual friendship to be the goal of the group. This privileging of the face-to-face relation of mutual identification and sharing of a present problem to assert positive group difference leads not to liberation, but to cultural imperialism. While Nancy Fraser (1997) has argued that the politics of difference is not globally applicable, and moreover, that the ideal of difference is universalistic, this overarching aim for global governance is not Young’s goal. The solution to the problem of the collapse of the nation-state has been taken up on two opposing views: on the one hand, thinkers like Fraser, Pogge (2002), and Nussbaum (2000) argue for a more cosmopolitan conception of justice, whereas, on the other hand, thinkers such as Sandel and Young have argued for a more localized conception of justice. Cosmopolitan approaches such as these, however, appear to be impractical or insufficient to counter the prevailing global injustices. First, Pogge proposes a Global Resources Dividend in which “wealthy nations contribute to alleviate poverty in poor nations, [but] it seems to be more a counterfactual hope than a viable solution” (Ferguson 2009: 166). Similarly, while Nussbaum (2000) and Sen (1995) have developed the capabilities approach to provide basic human capabilities such as health and education to poor nations, the approach is limited in overturning institutional violence and discrimination based on one’s gender, ethnicity, race, 107

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religion, or sexual orientation. By contrast,Young’s solution of regional governments, rather than nation-states, appears to be a better solution to the problems posed by the axes of oppression – global and local – and can be extended in new directions – namely, disability and prostitution – since they are controversial issues and citizens are divided on these issues. Young’s ideal of the city as a being together of strangers in openness to group difference provides a platform for social change. I think that this ideal of the city of difference enacted is most notably found in the Brazilian favela. As a border town crisscrossing along the city of Rio, destabilizing boundaries, segregation, and oppression, the image of the favela demonstrates not only the city of difference as a site for political difference, but also as a site for political resistance. When the Brazilian nation-state attempted to eliminate the favelas in the 1960s, the members of the favelas resisted the imperialism and violence. Although some favelas were eliminated, others quickly rose up as displaced members moved in. The favela as an image of the city of difference promoted neither autonomy nor community; instead it promoted liberty and diversity within public spaces. The city of difference as an ideal, then, breaks away from the legacy of Locke and Rousseau. On the one hand, it should be understood as an empowering site of political difference, which enables the vibrancy of its dwellers, and, on the other hand, it can serve as a destabilizing site of political resistance, which disrupts the five faces of oppression. Thus, it is the city life as a normative ideal that provides the ideological and institutional means for group participation, recognition and acknowledgement; the public space is, as Young says, “heterogeneous, plural and playful, a place where people witness and appreciate diverse cultural expressions that they do not share and do not fully understand” (2000: 241).

Note 1 Wendell defines the “healthy disabled” as the individuals who have “physical conditions and functional limitations [that] are relatively stable and predictable for the foreseeable future” (2001: 19). By this she means those who are relatively stable and are not motivated to seek medical treatment or cures or who face fluctuating and at times uncertain futures.

References Anderson, E. (2006) “The Epistemology of Democracy,” Episteme 3 (1–2), pp. 8–22. Barber, B. (1984) Strong Democracy, Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press. Barthes, R. (1986) “Semiology and the Urban,” in M. Gottdiener & A.P. Lagopoulos (eds.), The City and the Sign: An Introduction to Urban Semiotics, New York: Columbia University Press. Derrida, J. (1976) Of Grammatology, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. Ferguson, A. (2009) “Feminist Paradigms of Solidarity and Justice,” Philosophical Topics 37 (2) (Fall), pp. 161–177. Fraser, N. (1997) Justice Interruptus: Critical Reflections on the “Post-Socialist” Condition, New York: Routledge. Jacobs, J. (1961) The Death and Life of Great American Cities, New York: Random House. Locke, J. (1988 [1689]) in P. Laslett (ed.), Two Treatises of Government, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Nussbaum, M. (2000) Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach, New York: Cambridge University Press. Ortiz, E. (2016) “What Is a Favela? Five Things to Know About Rio’s So-Called Shantytowns,” NBC News. . Peng, Y.-W. (2004) “Zoning for Difference: Rethinking Iris’ Ideal for City Life: The Case of Prostitution,” Forum 6 (1), pp. 46–51. Pogge, T. (2002) World Poverty and Human Rights, Cambridge, UK: Polity Books.


Iris Marion Young’s city of difference Purcell, E. (2014) “Oppression’s Three New Faces: Rethinking Iris Young’s ‘Five Faces of Oppression’ for Disability Theory,” in M. Nagel & S. Asumah (eds.), Diversity, Social Justice and Inclusive Excellence: Transdisciplinary and Global Perspectives, Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Rawls, J. (1971) A Theory of Justice, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Rousseau, J. (1987) The Basic Political Writings, trans. Donald A. Cress, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company. Sandel, M. (1982) Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sen, A. (1995) “Gender Inequality and Theories of Justice,” in M. Nussbaum & J. Glover (eds.), Women, Culture, and Development, Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp. 259–273. Wasserman, D., Asch, A., Blustein, J., & Putnam, D. (2015, Summer) “Disability and Justice,” in E. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, . Wendell, S. (1996) The Rejected Body, New York: Routledge. ——— (2001) “Unhealthy Disabled: Treating Chronic Illnesses as Disabilities,” Hypatia 16 (4) (Fall), pp. 17–33. Young, I.M. (2000) Inclusion and Democracy, Oxford Political Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Further reading M. Foucault, Power/Knowledge (New York: Pantheon, 1980). M. Fricker, Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). S. Wendell, “Toward a Feminist Theory of Disability,” Hypatia 4 (2) (Summer 1989), pp. 104–124. I.M.Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990). I.M. Young, Intersecting Voices: Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy, and Policy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997).



Philosophical engagement with urban issues


Urban aesthetics

9 URBAN PLANNING AND DESIGN AS AN AESTHETIC DILEMMA Void versus volume in city-form Abraham Akkerman Introduction Reflecting on the city and on urban planning more than two millennia ago, Aristotle (384– 322 BCE) posited that city walls “may be a proper ornament to the city, as well as defense in time of war” (Ellis 1895: 251). The primary function of city walls, of course, should be defense, but the great philosopher of western antiquity had placed defense only second, after beauty, which city walls should possess as a functional feature – as if urban aesthetics appeared to Aristotle as important as, if not more than, defense. Aristotle’s statement could be seen as much a recommendation for an urban planning ordinance of his times, as it is, with some hyperbole, also an indictment of much of urban design of our own times. Aristotle’s statement, in fact, seems to be an observation of the way city walls were often perceived in antiquity, and, on that observation, one may also notice that urban aesthetics since the time of Aristotle has lost much more than city walls. City walls, undoubtedly, were a critical concern in urban planning throughout much of history. In Bronze and Iron Age Egypt, too, cities and palaces were surrounded by elaborate painted walls for the purpose of defense, but also for ornamentation. Aristotle would have been aware of the account relating to the walls of the city-state of Babylon by the Greek historiographer Herodotus of Halicarnassus. In his Histories, written c. 440 BCE during the spurt of new Greek city-colonies throughout Asia Minor, Herodotus provided a description believed to be an exaggerated account of the magnificence of Babylon’s walls. But other ancient writers, too, described the grandeur of Babylon’s walls, their most remarkable feature being the northern gate, dedicated to Ishtar, the goddess of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, and war, all in one. Designed with patterns of rosettes, often seen as symbols of fertility, the Ishtar Gate would mark also the beginning of a processional way, through which a ceremonial march was led at the time of the vernal equinox, considered by the Babylonians the birth of the New Year (Somerville 2010: 45–65). Up until about 404 BCE, only decades before Aristotle, Athens too was surrounded by walls. Far in the western walls of Athens the main approach to the city was through the Dipylon Gate. According to the late antiquity writer Lucian of Samosata (125 CE–180 CE), the walls of the Dipylon Gate were said to be written over with graffiti love messages (Costa 2005: 243). It was also near the Dipylon Gate where Aristotle’s late contemporary, the philosopher 115

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Epicurus (341–270 BCE), founded in 307 BCE the Garden, a school open equally to all, slaves and women included (Goetz 1995: 161). Consistent with the premise that all good ensues with what is pleasurable, and all bad is bound to what is painful, two millennia before the advent of logical positivism, Epicurus contended also that nothing should be believed except that which was tested. Aristotle’s twofold urbanist outlook conjoining defense and beauty in the city does not remain confined to the design of city walls. In Book IV of his Politics, Aristotle lauds the element of surprise in irregularly built urban environments as a defense standard against armed intruders: “For the purposes of war, streets ought to be winding and intricate, obstructed by impediments and entangled by perplexities” (Gillies 1797: 236). Later in Book VII of Politics, Aristotle discerns between suburbs and the city’s core by way of features of streetscape layout. Ancient urban defense needs against outside intruders had ordained tortuous, irregular streetscapes, which were intended for the suburbs, near city walls. This was to protect the affluent civic core designed, quite in contrast with orderly straight streets and aligned open spaces, as standards of urban elegance. In Politics Book VII, Aristotle writes: The arrangement of private houses is considered to be more agreeable and generally more convenient, if the streets are regularly laid out after the modern fashion which Hippodamus introduced, but for security in war the antiquated mode of building, which made it difficult for strangers to get out of a town and for assailants to find their way in, is preferable. A city should therefore adopt both plans. . . . The whole town should not be laid out in straight lines, but only certain quarters and regions; thus security and beauty will be combined. (Kasperson & Minghi 2011: 16) Aristotle seems to apply the same twofold forethought of urban security and beauty both to the vertical edifice of the walls, as well as to the horizontal layout of streets. The mention of streets “regularly laid out after the modern fashion” refers to the grid plan, such as that of Miletus, on the shoreline of the eastern Mediterranean in Asia Minor in today’s Turkey. Built c. 442 BCE on ruins of the city previously destroyed by the Persians, the grid plan of Miletus, attributed by Aristotle to the architect and planner Hippodamus of Miletus (498–408 BCE), is now known to have been applied millennia earlier at Harrapa by the Indus Valley Civilization (Possehl 2002: 101). More than a century after the new plan of Miletus, in 323 BCE, the gridiron streetscape was applied to the nearby planned city of Priene (Watkin 2005: 50). In his Poetics (Part IV), Aristotle asserted that Nature finds her own creative extension in the art of humans.1 It would appear, therefore, that the gridiron plan uniformly applied across Miletus, for example, is quite contrary to the notion of creative extension. Aristotle’s recommendation that a city should adopt both the gridiron plan as well as the tortuous streetscapes of erratic lanes and alleyways comes in support of variability and inventiveness, while creativity would hardly be consistent with a uniform and repetitive grid plan. The rigid and monotonous grid plans of both Miletus and Priene might have been, indeed, anything but inspiring, if it were not for the topography upon which the plans of both cities were imposed. The grid pattern on which the two cities were laid out was applied to steep slopes to allow for efficient drainage by a configuration of channels supporting a sewer system. But as a result, the paved and stepped streets on the slopes of Miletus and Priene would also undoubtedly afford an outstanding spectacle of the sea as well as of the lower parts of both cities. The point in Aristotle’s observation is that the contrariety of mutual opposites is vital in urban aesthetics and city planning. The constructive impact of an orthogonal grid pattern upon 116

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the mind could be credible if hybridized within a contrasting environment, such as a disorderly streetscape, for example.The surprise that ancient and medieval cities had sought against outside intruders in crooked and unpredictable streets has transformed into charm and astonishment in those cities that managed to retain them across many centuries: The injection of unpredictability into the townscape has retained its affirmative trait of urban vitality across centuries. To Aristotle the straight line along which a street was planned exemplified urban beauty, and the meandering and convoluted lane guaranteed security.Two thousand years later the roles have almost switched. But not quite: In North American planning of the 20th century the stately linear boulevard was to guarantee safety and surveillance, yet the tortuous lane or back alley has been usually far from either yielding aesthetic appeal or warranting safety and security. Urban imposition upon nature has usually constituted rationalist, solemn, and rigid features related to predictability in streetscapes, emanating from concerns for safety, security, and control, largely Platonic and Cartesian traits. In an ominous boast, almost two thousand years after Aristotle, René Descartes in his Discourse on Method (Part VI) asserted that we, humans, “can make ourselves, as it were, the lords and masters of nature” (Olscamp 2001: 50). A founder of modernity, Descartes could hardly imagine four hundred years ago that his breakthroughs in philosophy and science would lead, among its many achievements, also to urban dysfunction of hour-long lineups, congested roads, maintenance breakdowns, accidents, and pollution. Much of urban dysfunction is the result of conflicts between urban contradictions which in actuality cannot be resolved by one party “winning” over the other. The question therefore ought to be asked first whether a hybrid of contrasting, or contradictory, features in city-form is possible. To that question Aristotle already gave an affirmative answer more than two millennia ago in his Politics: “A city should therefore adopt both plans” (Kasperson & Minghi 2011: 16). But a second, follow-up question about what the founding constituents of such a hybrid might be remains still to be addressed (Everson 1996: 182).

Void and volume in the built form: a psycho-cultural overview of history and prehistory It was Friedrich Nietzsche who in The Birth of Tragedy (1871) suggested that Greek classicism had evolved from primordial gender facets that came to be expressed in the arts as Apollonian and Dionysian dispositions. Nietzsche’s Apollonian–Dionysian divide has been recently extended onto the notion of projection of masculinity and femininity in the aesthetic discernment between volume and void in city-form. Such augmentation stems from the view that mutual feedback between human-made habitats and facets of thought throughout history has yielded two environmental myths: the Garden and the Citadel. On this view, both myths correspond to Jung’s feminine and masculine collective unconscious, as well as to Nietzsche’s premise of Apollonian and Dionysian impulses in art. Nietzsche’s premise suggests, furthermore, that the feminine myth of the Garden is time-bound, expressive of movement and change, whereas the masculine myth of the Citadel, or the Ideal City, constitutes a solemn, static spatial deportment. In Greek myth of the Iron Age (c. 1200 BCE), Gaia, the Great Mother and the primordial goddess of the Earth, is in a marital union with Uranus, the god of sky. Earlier on, in Mesopotamian myths of the Bronze Age (c. 3000 BCE), Kishar, the Earth Mother, is the wife of Anshar, the archaic god of heavens. The union of male deity Shiva with the female goddess Shakti in the Hindu religion represents the merger of a masculine divinity, limitless and unchanging, with cosmic femininity, a deity manifest by uncontrollable energy. C.G. Jung had pointed out that in contrast to the union of deities and the unity of the world, multiplicity of the world arises 117

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in Hindu belief from splitting of the divine cosmic union of femininity and masculinity (1977 [1950] CW 9i: ¶ 632). In some early societies, Jung explains further, the matrimony of gods and goddesses had signified primeval religious proceedings toward union of opposites (1978 [1951] CW 9ii: ¶ 425). Mimicking this union of gods and goddesses across archaic cultures was the hieros gamos sexual ritual performed by a priest and a priestess (1975 [1952] CW 11: ¶ 748). The Bronze Age hieros gamos ritual in time had projected the myth of gendered universe upon the environments of humans. The ritual seems to have Neolithic origins and extends to ancient and classical Greece, defining what appears to have been a transition from ritual to civic space. Amalgamation of the religious and the civic originates in late ancient Greece of the 8th century BCE, when the patronage over city walls and colonies was conferred on the sun god Apollo, also the god of prophecy and the heroic healer of disease. It was at the ancient Greek Temple of Apollo at Delphi that throughout classical antiquity an oracle priestess would dispense divinations for the founding of new colonies in trance-induced messages. It is thought that the Oracle of Delphi was likely stupefied by narcotic gases escaping from a rock crevice into the temple’s cellar where she was confined. The hallucinogenic mumble of the frenzied priestess, edited by the attending male priests, was regarded throughout much of the Mediterranean antiquity as a highly authoritative prophecy. The hallucinogenic frenzy at Delphi was one of the venues associated with both the hieros gamos sexual ceremony and with Dionysian Mysteries, a set of rituals in Classical Greece and Rome which used intoxicants along with trance-inducing dance and music to remove, for a few days, inhibitions and social constraints. While masculinity came to be associated with heroism, power, and prudence, femininity in ancient Greece, as elsewhere, was consigned to the domain of frenzy and insanity. Manifesting frenzied femininity was the thiasus procession during the City Dionysia festival where inebriated women were marched to the Theatre of Athens at openings of drama performances. Ostensibly liberating women through return to a natural state by casting off constraining social guise, the thiasus was to be the prelude to performances of the open-air tragic drama where human authenticity were to be revealed. The Greek theatre had risen, precisely, from the annual festivals of ritual madness and religious ecstasy (Ridgeway 1910: 10–55). These festivals, the theater and the thiasus procession, were associated with the mythical half-brother of Apollo, the bisexual god Dionysus, patron of the grape harvest, winemaking, wine, and fertility. Cult and rituals of Dionysus possibly date to the period 1500–1100 BCE in Mycenaean Greece and Minoan Crete (Kerényi 1976: 53–72). The adulation of Dionysus during the Dionysia thiasus processions was savage: Maenads, intoxicated women revelers in frantic rage, would tear apart live animals and consume them raw, on site. Often dressed in fawn skins, dancing while carrying a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped with a pinecone dripping honey, the maenads would form the thiasus parade, a pageant that were to welcome the arrival of Dionysus. Participants dressed as ithyphallic creatures, the satyrs, were also part of these processions (Kerényi 1976: 313–359; Kirkwood 1959: 36–38). It is not difficult to imagine a procession similar to the thiatus at the Neolithic and Bronze Age sites of the English county of Wiltshire, the monumental stoneworks at Stonehenge and Avebury. Presumed to have been sites designated for burials, both venues are believed by some to have been also the staging grounds for fertility rituals (Tilley 2010: 285–292). At Avebury two parallel lines of stones form a conduit across about 2.5 kilometers between a stone circle and what seems to have been an open-air ceremonial place, now dubbed the Sanctuary. Excavations from the first half of the 20th century suggest that around 100 pairs of standing stones had lined the avenue, dated to about 2200 BCE or earlier. Each pair of the standing stones along the conduit consists of one pillar-shaped and one diamond-shaped stone, evidently representing male and female (Mann 2011: 239–242). 118

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The discernment of what appear to have been designed ceremonial places of sexual processions and fertility rituals at burial sites suggests Neolithic origins not only to the hieros gamos later in the Bronze and Iron Ages, and the thiasus during the classical Greek period, but also to the very idea of the theatre.The Wiltshire stoneworks are similar to even older ditched round enclosures in Central Europe, remnants of which have been uncovered in their dozens only over the last decades, mostly through satellite or aerial photography (Milisauskas 2011). At Goseck, near Leipzig, Germany, remnants of a Neolithic ditched round enclosure, complete with an access conduit, were uncovered in 1991, believed to have been used for staging ceremonial performances related to renewal rituals. The proximity of burial and fertility ritual sites at Wiltshire are reminiscent of an observation made by Georges Bataille, a leading figure of French philosophical anthropology, at the Lascaux caves in southwestern France. Observing one of the most remarkable of the Paleolithic cave paintings of c. 17,000 BP, Bataille had commented: A man, dead as far as one can tell, is stretched out, prostrate in front of a heavy, immobile, threatening animal. This animal is a bison, and the threat it poses is all the more grave because it is dying: it is wounded and under its open belly its entrails are spilling out. Apparently it is this outstretched man who struck down the dying animal with his spear. But the man is not quite a man; his head, a bird’s head, ends in a beak. Nothing in this whole image justifies this paradoxical fact that the man’s sex is erect. Because of this, the scene has an erotic character; this is obvious, clearly emphasized, but it is inexplicable. Thus, in this barely accessible crevice stands revealed – but obscurely – a drama forgotten for so many millennia: it re-emerges, but it does not leave behind its obscurity. It is revealed, but nevertheless it is veiled. From the very moment it is revealed, it is veiled. But in these closed depths a paradoxical accord is signed, an accord all the more grave in that it is signed in this inaccessible obscurity. This essential and paradoxical accord is between death and eroticism. (1989: 51–52) Death, associated with the masculine and with the struggle for survival, against eroticism associated with the feminine, with birth and nourishment, have been the archetypal notions of humans since prehistory. The birdman of Lascaux, much as the many other cave paintings of humans with animal heads, seems to suggest that animal masks, likely the gutted heads of real birds or animals, were part of a hunting ritual. The archetypal feature of such ritual is evident in the Archaic periods of the Great Plains of North America, where buffalo runners dressed as coyotes are thought to have performed similar rituals. And possibly, quite similar to the European round enclosures, the North American medicine wheels, stone circular structures of the Archaic Paleoindians of the Great Plains, are believed to have served as ceremonial dance structures (Liebmann 2002; Schlesier 2002). The oldest extant medicine wheel is at Majorville, Alberta, Canada, and has been dated to 3200 BCE, the approximate timing of the European round enclosures and of Stonehenge. Millennia after archaic rituals associated with the stoneworks, the ceremonial drama had been reenacted in the Mediterranean region by the hieros gamos and at the thiasus, and in the Great Plains by the Sun Dance of North America’s indigenous peoples (Spier 1921). This is hardly because the rituals were remembered or preserved through millennia, but rather – if we are to follow Jung – because they have represented a common, archetypal imprint in the minds of humans. 119

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The thiasus had culminated with actual drama performances in an open space which, from the 5th century onwards, was the Theater of Dionysus at Athens. It was here where the great tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were played for the very first time.The music of the theatre’s chorus expressed the tragedy’s Dionysian feature, while Apollonian constituents of the tragic play were found in the dialogue, the precursor of rational philosophical discourse. To Friedrich Nietzsche, the theatrical tragedy in ancient Greece was the highest form of art due to this blend of both Dionysian and Apollonian elements into a wholesome performance, affording the audience the full range of values and feelings defining the human condition (Young 1994: 25–57). It is due to this synthesis of the sensual and the frenzied with the rational and the grave that “the amalgamation and necessary conjunction of Dionysus with Apollo in the shrine at Delphi symbolizes, for Nietzsche, an acceptance by the Greek priesthood . . . of a belief in the two-fold and contradictory existence of suffering and joy as the basis for life” (Murray 1999: 34).

Archetypal origins of designed void as a public space As if in juxtaposition to Nietzsche’s Dionysian and Apollonian, two environmental paradigms are offered in the Biblical stories of the Garden of Eden and of the Tower of Babel. The Dionysian, as the feverish, irrational, and feminine compulsion, and the Apollonian, as the calculating, rational, and masculine trait, are projected onto the environmental archetypes of the Garden and the Citadel (Akkerman 2016: 142–147). It is not overbearing to suggest that city-form – at least, in its aesthetic expression – ought to seek out and preserve both the Apollonian and the Dionysian impulses and maintain them at balance. Whereas architecture may be said to emphasize the static, vertical object of the built form, urban planning, along with landscape architecture and urban design, is focused on the horizontal aspects of the built environment facilitating movement and change. In a generic urban setting the distinction could be characterized by the tension between volume, a masculine projection represented by buildings, walls, and infrastructure, and void, a feminine imprint embodied by streetscapes, parks, and gardens. Volumes and voids constitute the elemental ingredients of city-form. A geometric square in a symbolic gender representation might best stand for a male, while a circle might signify a female, as is actually the case in pedigree charts, for example. During Western antiquity, perimeters of numerous planned cities had been often circumscribed by the circle and their internal layout by square grid. Defense considerations, but also observations of the sun or of paths of celestial objects, as well as continuing manufacture and use of round articles, may have been instrumental in the inclusion or outright preference of concentric or oval ground plans of several Bronze Age cities in the Mediterranean (Kelly 1977: 12). The Early Bronze Age settlement of Al-Rawda (2400–2000 BCE) in the eastern Mediterranean had circular concentric design with radiating streets carving the town into zones (Castel & Peltenberg 2007). In the Greek city by the 5th century BCE, according to Wycherley, walls circumscribing the acropolis became a frequent occurrence (1949: 10). The city of Rhodes, founded c. 408 BCE, was said to be “built in the form of a theatre,” and accounts of excavations and aerial surveillance at the site confirm that “from [the temple of Aphrodite] the ground rises gradually to west and south west, giving a theatre-like effect” (Lewis & Boardman 1992: 205). Many planned colonies in Classical Greece, such as Miletus or Thurii (both 440s BCE), however, were often laid out on a rigid rectangular grid, perhaps following on some settlement plans from Egypt (Morris 1994: 29), but possibly also in deference to the belief in the four elements, as well as for ease of property assessment. The Dionysian feature of these cities had been topography: sharply varied elevation differences of steep slopes upon which the grid was imposed. 120

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The result was stepped streets with magnificent vistas and charming streets views such as is the case at Miletus and Priene. In the Critias, Plato purports to give a factual description of the island of Atlantis and its capital city, prior to having vanished into the ocean some “9000 years” before Solon, a legislator who preceded Plato by two centuries (Archer-Hind 1888: 67). In Plato’s myth, the capital city of Atlantis, at the center of the island, was built by the god of the sea, Poseidon, who enclosed the hill in which [his beloved maiden Cleito] dwelt all round, making alternate zones of sea and land larger and smaller, encircling one another; there were two of land and three of water, which he turned as with a lathe, each having its circumference equidistant every way from the centre. (Jowett 1895: 600) The number of enclosed land areas between and outside the five zones in Atlantis has been shown to be seven (Golding 1975) and radiating avenues in four cardinal directions have been inferred for Atlantis repeatedly (Saunders 1976). It has been pointed out that in Atlantis, Plato had followed the concentric circular plan of Ecbatana, the capital of the Medes in Iron Age Persia, about 8th century BCE (Naddaf 1994). As reported by Herodotus of Halicarnassus in his Histories, Ecbatana was encircled by seven walls. This seems to correspond to the land areas of Atlantis, while Poseidon and Cleito’s dwelling place on a hill at the center of Atlantis is located, similarly to the palace of the Median king Deiokes, on a hill at the center of Ecbatana (Gill 1977): [Deiokes] built large and strong walls, those which are now called Ecbatana, standing in circles one within the other . . . on a hill . . . all seven in number. And within the last circle are the royal palace and the treasure-houses . . . and of the first circle the battlements are white, of the second black, of the third crimson, of the fourth blue, of the fifth red: thus are the battlements of all the circles colored with various tints, and the two last have their battlements one of them overlaid with silver and the other with gold. These walls then Deiokes built for himself and round his own palace, and the people he commanded to dwell round about the wall. (Godley 1920: 129–131) Five spheres of the known planets and the two spheres of the moon and the sun, accepted as a fact in early astronomy, confer cosmic harmony on the plans of both Atlantis and Ecbatana (James & van der Sluijs 2008).

Origins of civic space: from Thracian roundels to The Birds of Aristophanes Save Herodotus, the only other known literary source to circular – concentric or radial – city plans, prior to Plato, is the Athenian dramatist Aristophanes (c. 448–385 BCE), who in one of his most renowned plays lampoons ideal city-plans, precisely by linking them to sky patterns. It may have been a supposed mythical association with circular plans that Aristophanes had in mind in his comedy The Birds, written sometime before 414 BCE – that is, at least six years prior to the founding of Rhodes. Since Rhodes could not have been the butt of his lampoon, Aristophanes was possibly satirizing some prevailing parable attempting to mimic an ideal city according to the rules of geometry and the universe. In the play, the 5th-century Athenian astronomer Meton 121

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appears as a town planner trying unsuccessfully to peddle his skills to Pisthetaerus, one of two elderly runaways fleeing the disorderly and corrupt Athens who wish to found an ideal city, the City of Birds: Pisthetaerus: Meton:

Pisthetaerus: Meton:

What are these things? Tools for measuring the air. In truth, the spaces in the air have precisely the form of a furnace. With this bent ruler I draw a line from top to bottom; from one of its points I describe a circle with the compass. Do you understand? Not in the least. With the straight ruler I set to work to inscribe a square within this circle; in its centre will be the market-place, into which all the straight streets will lead, converging to this centre like a star, which, although only orbicular, sends forth its rays in a straight line from all sides. (Pine 1999: 29)

The play’s Meton provides the audience with a bird’s-eye view depiction of a city laid out on a circular plan bisected into equal radial portions, with the agora at the center, a representation close to the ideographic image of “city” (Castagnoli 1971: 68). Archaic North American medicine wheels, too, had been constructed by laying stones in the pattern of the four cardinal directions (Eddy 1974), suggesting a universal archetypal pattern. One of the protagonists in Aristophanes’s play is a hoopoe, as the metamorphosed mythical king of Thrace, a southeastern region of the Balkans. It is Thrace, between today’s Greece and Bulgaria, where Aristophanes’s plot is probably taking place, and where a connection could be also sought to Plato’s cosmogony and to the layout of his ideal city of Atlantis. Several chalcolithic clay roundels that appear to have been used as seals or whorls were excavated in the Balkans throughout the 20th century. Many of them carry carvings variably presumed to be an early script, or ornamentation. One such clay disk is a roundel in cross-like division into four equal and inscribed parts, conjuring Meton’s ground plan in The Birds. About 6 centimeters in diameter and 2 centimeters in thickness, the roundel, perhaps a whorl-like seal, was unearthed in eastern Thrace, at Karanovo, Bulgaria, in 1968, and has been dated to about 4800 BCE (Makkay 1971: 1–9). The inscriptions have never been definitely deciphered, and the suggestion that they could, in fact, represent an asterism or some other pattern in the sky has been put forward as one of possible interpretations (Pellar 2009). Rather illuminating, now, is the description of prehistoric Balkan settlements based on their configuration, as reported by Jane McIntosh: By 4500 B.C. tell settlements were often substantial and carefully planned, with houses laid out in rows, concentric circles, or blocks. Defensive ditches and palisades, with entrances placed at cardinal points, surrounded the settlements. (2009: 40) The roundel from Karanovo, and another late Neolithic roundel from c. 5300 BCE at Tartaria, Romania, both intersected at right angles, may be associated with a solar myth, on the one hand, but possibly also with early settlement ground plans, on the other hand. This could lend support to the suggestion that the roundels represent a late Neolithic source to Mycenaean radial planning and to radial images of an ideal city later in Classical Greece. Should it be the case that the carvings constitute actual or symbolic map or plan of settlements, then both the circle and the intersected straight lines may stand also for feminine and masculine projection 122

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onto an early built environment. Corresponding to such a description could be other inscribed whorls or stamp seals excavated in Thrace or in the rest of the Balkans and Asia Minor (Naumov 2008). Whether seals or imitations as amulets, the Karanovo and Tartaria clay disks could be construed as symbolic maps, or even real settlement plans, epitomizing the linkage between a sunwheel myth, the manufacture of disks, and a primordial concept of an ideal city. Common to the artisans of the Karanovo and Tartaria disks, to the designers of the Central European round enclosures, and to the Paleoindian builders of the archaic medicine wheels through the Great Plains were similar sky patterns of the northern hemisphere, and the ensuing archetypal imprints.

Anima, animus, and urban planning: a look at the 20th century’s city-form The bisected Neolithic disks in the later geographic proximity of Plato’s own whereabouts could indicate an early, primeval source to Plato’s Atlantis and to Aristophanes’s comedy. The Karanovo and Tartaria roundels, as both celestial and terrestrial representations of observed or imagined patterns, may point thus to archaic source of early Greek contemplations about the ideal city. It is the esoteric conclusion at the very end of the most influential work of Plato, the ten-volume Republic, that buttresses such a supposed linkage. At the end of Book X of the Republic, Plato launches an enigmatic, cosmogonic parable, the “Myth of Er” (Jowett 1888: 333–334). In the fable, the soldier Er, who is believed to have died, journeys to the afterlife and comes to life again to tell his story. In Er’s account the universe is shown to be a celestial spindle, the Spindle of Necessity, spun by Ananke, the goddess of necessity, assisted by her three daughters, the Fates. Placed on the Spindle of Necessity are eight whorls: The first and outermost whorl has the rim broadest, and the seven inner whorls are narrower, in the following proportions – the sixth is next to the first in size, the fourth next to the sixth; then comes the eighth; the seventh is fifth, the fifth is sixth, the third is seventh, last and eighth comes the second. The largest (or fixed stars) is spangled, and the seventh (or sun) is brightest; the eighth (or moon) colored by the reflected light of the seventh; the second and fifth (Saturn and Mercury) are in color like one another, and yellower than the preceding; the third (Venus) has the whitest light; the fourth (Mars) is reddish; the sixth (Jupiter) is in whiteness second. (Jowett 1888: 333) The colored seven inner whorls seem to parallel the colored battlements of Ecbatana’s seven circular walls, as described by Herodotus only a century before Plato, as well as the seven enclosed land areas of Atlantis, as accounted for by Golding. The “Myth of Er” appears at the very end of the Republic, as the closing message to its intended readers, the legislators of the city-state. Plato’s analogy between the presumed perfection of the physical universe and the layout of the ideal city, emerging from the account in the “Myth of Er” and the description of Atlantis, appears to be such a concluding precept. The regimented and masculine clockwork universe of Plato’s cosmic whorls, founded on the Spindle of Necessity, is softened by its female deities. Plato’s “Myth of Er,” as if presaging Nietzsche’s insight of the Apollonian and the Dionysian, presents femininity and masculinity as inherent features of the universe. Nietzsche’s discernment advances, further, an evolutionary premise that follows from a standpoint presupposing two elemental environ/mental imprints: the 123

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myths of the Earth Mother and the Sky Father. The two primordial paradigms were shown by Carl Jung as archetypes of the collective unconscious, originating in prehistory (1959: 81–84).The emergence at the dawn of history of city-form – the configuration of urban voids and volumes – ought to be viewed, accordingly, as expression of ongoing allegories, rather than merely the strict product of reason (cf. Boyer 1983: 214–215 and 286–287). Conceptions of natural and built environments have always contained gender traits, with masculinity and femininity projected as imprints producing edifices and urban voids, quite consistent with Jung’s notions of animus and anima (Akkerman 2016: 53–55). But whereas descriptions of the Ideal City, such as in The Birds of Aristophanes, or in Plato’s Atlantis, had shown urban voids as a component commensurate with volumes in city-form, the following two millennia had witnessed gradual demise of parity between urban void and volume. The 20th century’s master plans have sealed this historical retreat in a transatlantic urban failure, exemplified by Le Corbusier’s urban schemes and by North America’s suburban sprawl. A view on the failings of 20th century’s city-form suggests that, more often than not, they have been the result of excessive focus on urban volume on account of and in sharp contrast to the neglect of urban voids.

The downtown parking lot and the back alley: Romanesque revival or more of the same? The masculine Apollonian has been at the founding of the Platonic myth of the Ideal City and its modern descendant, the myth of the Rational City. Modern urban planning has been object-directed and, consistent with the historical trend since the Renaissance, has become a constituent of a NeoPlatonic mythology that insists on forging a city as an urban technological artifact. Most existing urban parks and squares, as well as suburban gardens, within this approach only augment the subordinate standing of urban voids. The Aristotelean call for a synthesis of beauty and security, of a fusion between predictability and randomness, had been left largely unheeded in city-form. But half-way across millennia, between the first Neolithic settlements and the metropolis of postmodernity, stood the medieval town, its streetscape often haphazard, unplanned by a central overseeing authority.The disarray of erratic streetscapes of the Romanesque town inadvertently facilitated a spatial continuum of unexpectedness, while usually accommodating people and animal traffic throughout the town. Intricate lanes and irregular squares were the unintended product of city walls, a physical urban growth boundary surrounding the medieval town and forcing impromptu spatial arrangements within it. Spatial configuration under such circumstances, along with limitations of available technology and materials, through small changes over time and space, had created an urban specter of oddity and bewilderment. Idiosyncrasies in the streetscape were countered by high population density, affording people interaction in an ambience of open air and, during the day, relative safety from street crime, which had been relegated to highways outside cities (Hallsworth 2005: 33–50). In historic cities of Europe Romanesque streets are of about the same width as the North American downtown back alley of today. The narrowness of the Romanesque city street is due not only to reasons related to constrictions on land, but – in southern Europe – also due to the concern of protecting pedestrians from scorching summer heat. The narrowness of the North American downtown back alley has a correspondingly mitigating effect in the winter: there are warmer temperatures in the alley than in the open streetscape. Strangely, it is this urban-climatic feature of the narrow alley that has yielded an appealing street environment in European cities, facilitating dense pedestrian movement and a high-density residential population, while in the North American downtown it has turned the back alley into a hub of crime. 124

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Pointing to the failures of industrial city-form to retain premodern streetscapes was Camillo Sitte, a Viennese architect and planner, in his late 19th-century critical survey of late-medieval and Renaissance towns in northern Italy. Sitte had shown that instead of superficial greenery, the medieval streetscape had created a built environment tantamount to spontaneity and randomness of nature: The medieval built form itself was an extension of the natural environment. Into the unpredictable streetscapes of the medieval town a visual mastery of small plazas had been injected, facilitating continuous human encounters as well as prevalence of visual appeal. His book, City Planning according to Artistic Principles (2006 [1889]), alluded to serendipity and surprise as embedded within the medieval city-form. In the context of epistemological reflection on urban design and the aesthetic experience of city-form, Sitte could not be more relevant. But quite contrary to Sitte, to René Descartes, the founder of modern rationalism, the planned streetscape, by way of comparison with the convolution of medieval townscapes, epitomized the triumph of reason (Brodsky Lacour 1996: 117–140).Yet reading Descartes today, some four hundred years after his time, it seems that the contrast between the Romanesque town and the planned new town of the Renaissance, rather than fondness for one type over the other, was the source of his perspicacity: Looking at the buildings of the former individually, you will often find as much art in them, if not more, than in those of the latter; but in view of their arrangement – a tall one here, a small one there – and the way they make streets crooked and irregular, you would say it is chance, rather than the will of men using reason, that placed them so. (Descartes 1988 [1637]: 25) The Romanesque city-form with its tortuous narrow streets had provided perceptual contrariety against the linear streetscapes of the Renaissance planned new towns. It was not the denial of one type of city-form in behalf of partiality for the other, but the collocation of the old with the new that had stirred Descartes, his intellectual peers, and other champions of early modernity (Akkerman 2016: 157–166). It is from this vantage point that adaptive, Neo-Romanesque design of at least some back alleys in North American downtown precincts ought to be seen as an open-ended opportunity to counter and complement, not to deny, contemporary North American city-form geared for mechanized transportation. As necessary as it is for maintenance of social and economic structures, post-industrial city-form by its very nature resists unstructured change. It is the paragon of repetitive routine and the exemplar of predictable settings. In absorbing humans in its fold, this mechanistic aspect of city-form, since the Industrial Revolution, helped advance overall material well-being, but it has also yielded denial of spontaneity, authenticity, and human autonomy. Such was also the notion of a modern, surprise-free streetscape that was to guarantee, first and foremost, urban safety and security (Raco 2007). Sitte’s admiring analysis of small, irregular urban squares contrasts sadly with such urban ideals, and with North American urban open spaces in particular. Poignantly, urban parks in downtown areas are often the most dangerous places. Countering the specious greenery in modern city-form is the Romanesque streetscape, where greenery is entirely absent. With authentic nature in abundance outside its city walls, the medieval city, where open space was at premium, could hardly accommodate greenery in its midst. Often, as a result, randomness could be said to be a defining feature of the Romanesque streets, while market squares, performances, and festivals had preserved urban void as a venue for the prerational and the authentic. Replaced by uninspiring intersections throughout the 20th century, small urban squares have all but disappeared from North American cities. Similarly, private and public green space 125

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that had been injected into the city through the 20th century have become usually a deprived replica of natural wilderness, and patching over this failing with occasional exceptions has not fundamentally resolved the dilemma of urban void as subordinate to urban volume. Inauthentic introduction of greenery, from Le Corbusier’s City in the Park, on the one hand, to the front yards and backyards of North American subdivisions, on the other hand, seems to have been an insincere antidote to the prevalence of automation and alienation in the metropolis. It is noteworthy in this regard that Sitte’s analysis of medieval squares has been extended later in the 20th century in a typology of urban squares by the Luxembourg architect and planner Rob Krier (1979 [1975]: 30–50). Downtown parking lots, the eyesore of the North American city, have been also recently targeted for selective conversion along Krier’s typology (Czerniak 2013). Urban squares lined with small shops and colonnaded walkways for inclement weather are one such mode of conversion of handpicked parking lots. Chosen downtown parking lots-turned-small-urban-squares, linked by redesigned back alleys, can yield appealing outdoor space, becoming strategic turning points of policy for increased pedestrian traffic. At a fraction of the cost of a freeway overpass, selected alleyways and converted parking lots in downtown areas of our cities can be turned into charming open-air walkways and attractive public spaces (Akkerman & Cornfeld 2010). Neo-Romanesque back-lane design, the success of which would be manifest in increasing pedestrian movement all-year-round and in reducing blight and crime, could confer the same effect on the downtown as it had on the historic centers of European cities: safety and aesthetic appeal, drawing the mainstream community during the daytime as well as after-hours (Akkerman 2013). If urban planning and design are set to reinvigorate urban streetscapes toward less automation and more authenticity, then consideration of Romanesque revival in city-form is inevitable. The ultimate and most challenging component of a Neo-Romanesque approach to urban planning and design ought to be the reintroduction of small niches of the unplanned. The restoration of a Dionysian feature in city-form in the unplanned place could be the greatest challenge to contemporary urban planning and design. This amounts to the reconfiguration of urban space, allowing for niches of urban voids to emerge where allegories of femininity could be celebrated, rather than discarded. The feminine face of the city has been a vanishing web of narrow lanes and twisted streets, or whatever was left of it. “Smart Growth” and “Compact-City,” the contemporary strategies for sustainable urban development, ought to reflect on urban voids as the feminine face of the city, severely understated in our built environment, while considering the potential of NeoRomanesque features as an affirmative component of postmodern city-form. This is a difficult, but not unsurmountable task, one that is critical to the city of the 21st century, and indeed, of the third millennium.

Conclusion In North America, urban niches carefully chosen for accreted change, rather than centrally planned urban design, could become the genuine feminine feature of a city. Furthermore, the North American notion of the Neo-Romanesque in urban planning and design extends to authentic urban voids that ought to pay tribute also to the Aboriginal traditions of North America where space and open air, rather than permanent solid structures, have defined human encounter and interaction. In a recent article, Rod Barnett of Washington University in St. Louis asked the question: How do we create public spaces that enable true contact between cultures? Barnett asked the


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question within the context of mainstream attitudes toward a historical Indian site in Missouri. He sums up the middle-class attitudes as a narrative that binds [the Indian site] to a national bedtime story masquerading as a place. The interesting dead Indians have receded into the past, while the “uninteresting” living Indians, deracinated and unecological, persist in a cultural vacuum where they are unable to reinvent themselves because they are perceived as both “cut off ” from their cultural roots and “outside” the mainstream. The dominant culture has naturalized this situation as inevitable, through the landscapes it creates and defends. (2016) Barnett suggests that urban encounters with Native America ought to occur in contact zones that are ongoing, interactive, and actually constitutive of contemporary indigeneity, rather than through the skewed spatiality of historical or aesthetic representations by the mainstream. Barnett calls “for the creation of seemingly disparate spaces . . . as responses to the challenge of articulating Native identities to mostly non-Native publics, at the same time as empowering the free use of those spaces by all.” Barnett’s call ought to be seen as an endorsement of such urban voids as places that gradually coalesce through human encounter and synergy. The solemnity of the masterplan can never replace the dynamics of a small open space, as a place slowly accreting through the interaction of humans within a metropolis.Yet the modern myth of the masterplan, as the latest version of the Ideal City, has hardly facilitated spatial configurations allowing for the unexpected and the serendipitous to emerge from within small open-air niches in the midst of a city. Disheartening is the juxtaposition of Barnett’s observation with 20th century’s urban planning projects, outside North America or Europe, where urban volumes had degraded urban voids in a duplicate disregard for their indigenous environment. Le Corbusier (1887–1965) in Chandigarh, India, and Lúcio Costa (1902–1998) in Brasília, had planned what were to be ideal cities built from scratch, featuring some undisputedly awesome architecture, the latter by Oscar Niemeyer (1907–2012). Both Chandigarh and Brasília have been largely considered urban planning blunders. In Chandigarh, much of the streetscape plan reflects Le Corbusier’s obsession with the automobile. Nevertheless, the city has been forced presently to proceed with a controversial flyover to alleviate traffic congestion (Chandigarh Tribune 2018). Le Corbusier’s plan had ignored outdoor street vending, as well as access and parking needs for bikes and rickshaws, the prevalent means of urban transport in India. At least street vending, an essential part of Indian culture, has found its way on its own onto the city’s streets, in spite of the fact it was not accounted for in the plan (Hindustan Times 2016). Brasília has long attracted even more censure. The disregard for indigenous open spaces in the city has been the source of simmering resentment, culminating recently in a protest over the Shrine of the Shamans, just minutes away from downtown Brasília (Reuters 2018). Consistent with the contempt for the Aboriginal community is the megalomania of the plan itself. Years after its completion in 1960, the Berkeley anthropologist James Holston depicted Brasília’s plan as a parody of ancient mythology, and showed Costa himself as a pretentiously reluctant Grand Designer: As in a creation myth, the capital’s construction functions as an ordering event for an entire region and, by extension, for the nation. In the almost universal tradition of founding myths, . . . the plan presents the ordering event itself through ideal


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geometries. . . . Costa is playing the role of an improbable bard who is visited by muse, in this case of architecture and city planning. . . .With great skill, Costa manages to give the plan of a new city the suggestion of a legendary foundation, to give technical planning devices the aura of sacred symbols, and to invest Brasília with a world mythology of cities and civilizations. (1989: 65, 69) Giving the city’s plan a political context, Holston says: “Brasília was planned by a left-center liberal, designed by a Communist, constructed by a developmentalist regime, and consolidated by a bureaucratic-authoritarian dictatorship” (1989: 40). No less damning is a later assessment of impact upon the community by Richard Williams, a reputed authority in visual culture, to whom Brasília “came to represent an authoritarian and inflexible urbanism that for residents was profoundly alienating” (2005: 120). Alienation firmly entrenched in a townscape emerges from the description of streets in The Castle, an incomplete novel written in Bohemia by Franz Kafka, one of 20th century’s great writers. The novel’s hero, known to us only as K., is a land surveyor who arrives in town after having received a letter of acceptance for a position by the chief administrator, named Klamm (similar in sound and spelling to “fraud” in Czech). K. now makes his way to Klamm at the Castle: At every turn K. expected the road to double back to the Castle, and only because of the expectation did he go on; he was flatly unwilling, tired as he was, to leave the street, and he was also amazed at the length of the village, which seemed to have no end; again and again the same little houses, and frost-bound window-panes and snow and the entire absence of human beings. (Kafka 1992 [1926]: 17) Writing in central Europe at the turn of the 20th century, Kafka might well have been describing a North American subdivision at the century’s end. K., the land surveyor, never attains his goal of reaching the Castle where the chief bureaucrat resides, just as Kafka never completes his novel. The town, its streets leading nowhere, and the Castle, its bureaucrats accessible to none, appear as a forgery, just like the town’s streetscape. The only distinct cognizance is alienation arising from this environment. The rock-bottom sentiment comes at the moment of a dull conversation between K. and one of the town’s clerks: You’ve been taken as Land Surveyor, as you say, but, unfortunately, we have no need for a Land Surveyor. There wouldn’t be the least use for one here. The frontiers of our little state are marked out and all officially recorded. So what should we do with a Land Surveyor? (Kafka 1992 [1926]: 61) The land surveyor, the foremost professional who since antiquity has measured property lots and laid out new towns, has no reason to stay in this town since it all has been measured, its layout completed. Towns laid out already have no need for land surveyors. More than any other realm merging art and technology, urban design carries with it the most commonplace impact. The tragic distortion of 20th century modernity has been embodied by this merger, competent in the destruction of open spaces, yet seldom able to replace them by 128

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anything but desolate perfection. The challenge to contemporary urban planning and design is to hybridize edifices and open public spaces, volumes and voids, as different but equally worthy features of the metropolis.

Note 1 See, for example, Halliwell (1998: 109–110).

References Akkerman, A. (2013) “Reclaiming the Back Alley,” Public Sector Digest 10 (3), pp. 7–10. ——— (2016) Phenomenology of the Winter-City: Myth in the Rise and Decline of Built Environments, New York: Springer. Akkerman, A. & Cornfeld, A. (2010) “Greening as an Urban Design Metaphor: Looking for the City’s Soul in Leftover Spaces,” The Structurist 49/50, pp. 30–35. Archer-Hind, R.D. (1888) The Timaeus of Plato, London/New York: Macmillan. Barnett, R. (2016) “Designing Indian Country,” Places Journal (October), accessed May 23 2018, . [Note from author: There is no paper version of this article, or of Places Journal. Only online version, with no pagination. The article was posted online only in October 2016.] Bataille, G. (1989) The Tears of Eros, P. Connor (trans.), San Francisco: City Light Books. Boyer, M.C. (1983) Dreaming the Rational City: The Myth of American City Planning, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Castagnoli, F. (1971) Orthogonal Town Planning in Antiquity, trans. V. Caliandro, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Castel, C. & Peltenberg, E. (2007) “Urbanism on the Margins: Third Millennium BC Al Rawda in the Arid Zone of Syria,” Antiquity 81, pp. 601–616. Chandigarh Tribune (2018) “City All Set to Get Its First Flyover,” The Tribune, May 27, 2018. Costa, C.D.N. (ed.) (2005) Lucian: Selected Dialogues, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Czerniak, T. (2013) An Infill Strategy for the Walkable Reuse of Surface Parking Lots: Uncovering Opportunity in Canada’s Winter Cities, unpublished M.A. Thesis, Saskatoon, SK: University of Saskatchewan. Descartes, R. (1988 [1637]) “Discourse on Method,” in J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, & D. Murdoch (eds. and trans.), Descartes’ Selected Philosophical Writings, Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press. Eddy, J.A. (1974) “Astronomical Alignment of the Big Horn Medicine Wheel,” Science New Series 184 (4141), pp. 1035–1043. Ellis, W. (trans.) (1895) Aristotle’s Politics: A Treatise on Government, London: Routledge. Everson, S. (1996) Aristotle:The Politics and Constitution of Athens, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gill, C. (1977) “The Genre of the Atlantis Story,” Classical Philology 72, pp. 287–304. Gillies, J. (trans.) (1797) Aristotle’s Ethics and Politics,Vol. II, London: Strahan, Caddell & Davies. Godley, A.D. (1920) Herodotus Histories, Book I, London: William Heinemann. Goetz, I.L. (1995) Conceptions of Happiness, Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Golding, N. (1975) “Plato as City Planner,” Arethusa 8, pp. 359–371. Halliwell, S. (1998) Aristotle’s Poetics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Hallsworth, S. (2005) Street Crime, Cullompton: Willan Publishing. Hindustan Times (2016) “Over 22,000 Street Vendors to Get License to Operate in Chandigarh,” Hindustan Times, September 27. Holston, J. (1989) The Modernist City: An Anthropological Critique of Brasilia, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. James, P. & van der Sluijs, M.A. (2008) “Ziggurats, Colors, and Planets: Rawlinson Revisited,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 60, pp. 57–79. Jowett, B. (1888) The Republic of Plato, Oxford: Clarendon Press. ——— (1895) The Dialogs of Plato, New York: Charles Scribner. Jung, C.G. (1977 [1950]) “Concerning Mandala Symbolism,” The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, CW 9i. ——— (1978 [1951]) “Conclusion,” Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self, CW 9ii. ——— (1975 [1952]) “Answer to Job: Lectori Benevolo,” Psychology and Religion:West and East, CW 11.


Abraham Akkerman ——— (1959) The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious: Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 9, trans. R.F.C. Hull, New York: Pantheon. Kafka, F. (1992 [1926]) The Castle, New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Kasperson, R. & Minghi, J. (eds.) (2011) The Structure of Political Geography, New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers. Kelly, T. (1977) A History of Argos to 500 BC, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Kerényi, K. (1976) Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Kirkwood, G.M. (1959) A Short Guide to Classical Mythology, Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. Krier, R. (1979 [1975]) Urban Space, New York: Random House. Lacour Brodsky, C. (1966) Lines of Thought: Discourse, Architectonics, and the Origins of Modern Philosophy, Durham, NC/London: Duke University Press. Lewis, D.M. & Boardman, J. (1992) The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. 5: The Fifth Century BC, Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press. Liebmann, M. (2002) “Demystifying the Big Horn Medicine Wheel: A Contextual Analysis of Meaning, Symbolism, and Function,” Plains Anthropologist 47 (180), pp. 61–71. Makkay, J. (1971) “A Chalcolithic Stamp Seal from Karanovo, Bulgaria,” Kadmos 10, pp. 1–9. Mann, N. (2011) Avebury and the Cosmos of Our Ancestors, Alresford, Hants: John Hunt Publishing. McIntosh, J. (2009) Handbook of Life in Prehistoric Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Milisauskas, S. (2011) “Early Neolithic, the First Farmers in Europe, 7000–5500/500 BC,” in S. Milisauskas (ed.), European Prehistory: A Survey, New York/Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 153–206. Morris, A.E.J. (1994) History of Urban Form Before the Industrial Revolution, London: Longman. Murray, P.D. (1999) Nietzsche’s Affirmative Morality: A Revaluation Based in the Dionysian World View, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Naddaf, G. (1994) “The Atlantis Myth: An Introduction to Plato’s Later Philosophy of History,” Phoenix 48, pp. 189–209. Naumov, G. (2008) “Imprints of the Neolithic Mind – Clay Stamps from the Republic of Macedonia,” Documenta Praehistorica 35, pp. 185–204. Nietzsche, F. (1956 [1871]) The Birth of Tragedy and the Genealogy of Morals, trans. F. Golffing, New York: Doubleday. Olscamp, P.J. (2001) Rene Descartes, Discourse on Method, Optics, Geometry, and Meteorology, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing. Pellar, B.P. (2009) “On the Origins of the Alphabet,” Sino-Platonic Papers 196, pp. 34–35. Pine, J.T. (1999) The Birds of Aristophanes, Mineola, NY: Dover. Possehl, G.L. (2002) The Indus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, New York: Rowman & Littlefield. Raco, M. (2007) “Securing Sustainable Communities: Citizenship, Safety and Sustainability in the New Urban Planning,” European Urban and Regional Studies 14 (4), pp. 305–320. Reuters (2018) “Land Fight Simmers over Brasilia’s Shrine of Shamans,” Reuters, February 6. Ridgeway, W. (1910) The Origin of Tragedy: With Special Reference to the Greek Tragedians, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Saunders, T.J. (1976) “Notes on Plato as a City Planner,” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 23 (1), pp. 23–26. Schlesier, K.H. (2002) “On the Big Horn Medicine Wheel: A Comment on Matthew Liebmann, Plains Anthropologist,” Plains Anthropologist 47 (183), pp. 387–392. Sitte, C. (2006 [1889]) “City Planning According to Artistic Principles,” in G. Collins & C. Collins (eds.), Camillo Sitte:The Birth of Modern City Planning – With a Translation of the 1889 Austrian Edition of His City Planning According to Artistic Principles, Mineola, NY: Dover, pp. 129–332. Somerville, B. (2010) Great Empires of the Past: Empires of Ancient Mesopotamia, New York: Chelsea House. Spier, L. (1921) “The Sun Dance of the Plains Indians: Its Development and Diffusion,” Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History 17 (pt 6), pp. 451–527. Tilley, C. (2010) Interpreting Landscapes: Geologies,Topographies, Identities; Explorations in Landscape Phenomenology, Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. Watkin, D. (2005) A History of Western Architecture, London: Laurence King Publishing. Williams, R.J. (2005) “Modernist Civic Space and the Case of Brasília,” Journal of Urban History 32 (1), pp. 120–137. Wycherley, R.E.W. (1949) How the Greeks Built Cities, London: Macmillan & Co. Young, J. (1994) Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Art, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



I The philosophy of architecture illuminates the nature of architectural objects, properties, and types – and the sorts of things they are; how we know about and judge architectural objects; and ethical and political considerations of architectural objects and practice. Thus, for example, on a (minimalist) functional beauty view, architectural works may be intended or judged as objects of aesthetic interest relative to their functional properties. Or, on a (minimalist) moralist view, their aesthetic character may be tied to their ethical features or consequences. Some have it that one or another of these claims is universally true. And, holding certain architectural ontologies or views of access to or appreciation of architectural objects may sway our vision of those other matters. Such issues may be considered as regard one architectural object at a time, in conceptual isolation. Yet a relational philosophy of architecture provides critical framing. In this regard, the urban context of many architectural objects is the public and environmental stage for such aesthetic, functional, or ethical features – and how those features relate to one another. Accordingly, as intersects with the philosophy of the city, one set of questions in philosophy of architecture focuses on (a) how the design process for built structures, and structures designed, relate to specifically urban contexts; (b) how our experience of built structures relates to urban contexts; and (c) how urban contexts relate to their constituent-built structures – temporally, process-wise, structurally, behaviorally, and so on. A preliminary metaphysical task, then, is to identify what built structures and their urban environments contribute to one another. Relevant theses to consider include: Compositionalism. Cities are composed of built structures, and dependent for their character as built environments on the character of those structures. Note that this is a more modest claim than the Composition-as-Identity (CAI) thesis, that identity of the whole just is that of its parts in the aggregate – in this case, being composed of such-and-such structures. Compositionalism offers the necessity element of CAI but not the sufficiency element: city x must comprise parts p where {p: p1, p2, p3, . . . pn} but the aggregation alone of those same parts p might well not yield city x – or any city at all.1 Contextualism. Cities provide defining contexts for architectural objects, and as those contexts change, so too, do their constituent objects – or at least how we grasp them – change. 131

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Emergentism. Cities are systems with properties that emerge from assembly of their constituent architectural objects, through contributions of their properties – whether individually or relationally – in ways that are qualitatively distinctive and unforeseeable based on our best understanding of those constituent objects. These particular theses may not be mutually exclusive. One may imagine, for example, contextualist account of our knowledge or appreciation of a city’s buildings as consonant with the compositionalist view that we take the character of the given city to depend crucially on its particular collection of buildings. Thus, our best grasp of the Eiffel Tower is defined, in part, by its Paris locale, which sits perfectly well with our sense of Paris as having a character the depends on its constituent architectural objects, including (prominently) the Eiffel Tower. In the ontology of cities, compositionalism is primarily downward: The city is the whole object that contains parts such as buildings, bridges, roads, sidewalks, and the like. From the perspective of architecture ontology, however, the proper orientation – or, at least, an important alternative orientation – is upward: the right aggregation of midsized architectural objects such as buildings constitutes a continuing, systematic whole.2 One issue with city-wise, or urban, compositionalism as defined in terms of built structures is the limiting nature of seeing component parts of any city as simply its material, artifactual parts. There is more to a city than all that – its history, topography, ethos, laws, people, flora and fauna, and so on. Ostensibly, this can be easily addressed by including the non-material or nonartifactual. Whether such compositionalism still meaningfully or especially ties the character of cities to their architecture is then sensitive to which and how many other constituent parts count. A remade compositionalism by design still may range mostly over architectural objects, phenomena, systems, and the like – let’s call that strong architectural compositionalism – or be dominated by other aspects and features of the city.3 Why be a compositionalist, particularly of the strong architectural brand? As an empirical affair, cities indeed have parts – we are constantly replacing them or building new ones, and among the different classes of parts, architectural objects are among the most important. The evidence for this last claim is that architectural objects might be the only parts we could take to be necessary to there being cities altogether, aside from the populations of cities. Indeed, architectural objects have a possibly better claim on necessity to cities than do their populations, as we can talk about extant but de-populated or never-populated cities but not extant cities that have no architectural objects.4 One ostensible reason not to be an architectural compositionalist is taking as incomplete the very same, singular focus on architectural objects as shaping the character of cities. One person’s highlighting of key parts looks to others like a deficient compositionalism given a broader variety of parts, material or otherwise. Further, there are practical difficulties to embracing compositionalism even if we accept the architectural object weighting of the strong brand. For one, compositionalism offers a component ontology of fully detachable, clearly bounded parts – yet we may think (along with the traditional view in urban studies) that equally important, or more important, are interlocking, diffusely bounded, or even non-contiguous regions. For another, in consideration of temporal dimensions of parts, there are varying dynamics of identity at the levels of whole and part. Cities may shift in character faster or slower than any of their individual component-built structures. The rate of urban character change is, after all, not solely a function of changes in the built environment. Other theses regarding the nature of relations among cities and their built structures present accounts somewhat orthogonal to compositionalism – and questions of similar gauge. For example, we may ask if contextualism is beholden to, or conversely, entails a downward 132

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compositionalism. As the case of the Eiffel Tower and Paris suggests, the buildings of a city may have their identity in virtue of being parts of that city. Hence, we might expect the ways in which we categorize or appreciate those buildings to be connected, in one direction or the other, to that whole-part relation. A further question regarding a putative contextualism is whether to construe such a thesis in terms familiar to like perspectives in other domains – cultural, historical, or socioeconomic frameworks – as determinative of the nature, or our appreciation, of the objects in question. In short, different variants of contextualism depend on commitment to identification or appreciation of built objects not simply as – or not at all as – formal parts of their urban context but as social, cultural, or otherwise-defined parts of that context. As for emergentism, we find a possible consonance with at least some compositionalist and contextualist accounts, given their scope, ranging only over component-built structures of urban environments. On one prominent form of urban emergentism, the phenomena to explain go beyond the physical or material, extending to the magic, romance, synergy, and energy of city environments.5 Emergentism is attractive as it explains such phenomena by appealing to proximity, relations, and mutual interactions of not only the component structures, but also the artifacts and people inhabiting or otherwise using them – along with the supposition that the relevant urban character or behavior arise only because those elements are assembled together in the given place.

II Regardless of whether one embraces strong architectural compositionalism, or weds that view to a contextualist stance, or folds it into a broader systems analysis of emergentist stripe, a common thread ties together all such views. The thread consists in the proposals that cities have parts that significant among them are their built structures, and that the character and behavior of the urban whole and its parts are to be understood as strongly related – perhaps inevitably so, given their formal or causal relations. Against this background, it appears, conceptual tensions and synergies at the overlap of philosophy of the city and philosophy of architecture turn on what we take to be “parts” of a city altogether, and whether such parts range over architectural objects in particular. Thus, we may ask whether those are physical parts alone or, as Epting (2016) suggests, all manner of physical and non-physical components, inclusive of processes, systems, rules, and ethos.6 Focusing on the physical alone, the character of such tensions or synergies further depends on the sorts of objects we count as architectural.7 Views tendered on such questions – as pertain to part–whole relations per compositionalism or otherwise – suggest how we should conceive of the city as a whole, relative to its individual component architectural objects. In turn, the resulting conceptions shape our accounts of how to pursue or assess design processes, experiences, or other dimensions of the built environment, including temporal stages, or systemic processes or behaviors.

Design processes As well-recognized (e.g., Verma 2011) differences in forms of practices among architects and urban planners yield varying challenges as shaped by the sorts of problems they tackle and their distinctive disciplinary approaches. The lines cross, however. Consider an architect who designs a commercial building in a given city – ostensibly an undertaking on behalf of the client. Even in such a case, neither the client nor the built structure is in a vacuum. The architect is professionally enjoined to take into account site information of the given location, and very possibly the greater setting of that city, when designing such a structure to be built in that 133

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location. The design process optimally reflects what the designer draws from, and contributes to, the broader urban context. For a city-based project, this has keen practical, moral, political, and social dimensions, but before any such considerations, there is the foundational question of what any given designed object contributes to or takes from the larger set of designed objects of which it is a part. The metaphysical stakes are low if we are referring to silverware in a formal dinner – everything should match but overall aesthetic sensibility is not changed appreciably by inclusion of a minimal number of non-compliant pieces. (Some exceptions, as at Buckingham Palace, may come to mind.) Uniformity in contemporary architectural design raises more complex questions: whether and when it is desirable, or even possible, to contribute to aesthetic ends in urban wholes, and whether degrees of attaining uniformity matter. So, too, for other qualities – like comprehensiveness, harmony, symmetry, balance, or density – as contribute to our engagement with, and appreciation of, aesthetic objects in virtue of relations among their parts.

Experiences and appreciation A different sort of concern is how we relate experientially to individual architectural objects as parts of urban wholes, or to the city as a whole in virtue of its component architectural parts. Moving through, or staying in place, we experience individual built objects at one scale, sets of built objects at another scale, whole (or parts of) cities at yet another scale. The facets of such experiences – kinetic, per affordances, phenomenological, or otherwise – may shift, by degrees or by kinds, with scale or levels of complexity. Less obvious is the possibility that we might be able to experience whole cities at a time. As with other such complex, diffuse, and multifaceted objects, it seems likely that we stitch together our experiences of sets of built objects and, in turn, those of their individual, constituent objects. This scenario reflects a quantitative difference: We should expect the amounts of information we acquire or process and the instances required to be far greater relative to cities than to individual built structures. There are qualitative differences, too, in our experience and appreciation of individual architectural objects and of larger environments such as the city. For one, our appeal to functional possibilities is not as ready-to-hand as with individual architectural objects. For another, we can appeal to the directly tactile in experiencing architectural objects; we do so at some remove relative to the city as a whole. Our visual access to the city, at the urban scale, is generally through representations – whether at a higher level of abstraction, such as maps, or more detailed and “truer,” as with aerial photography.8

Architectural appreciation and holism This leaves open the question of how the two modes of appreciation, at different scales, relate to one another. As we have seen, the downward compositionalist takes the identity of architectural objects to be bound up in their parthood relation to the city, which strongly suggests one sort of contextualism in architectural appreciation. Now we can see how such a contextualist mode of appreciation might be thought a function of our experience, just in case we experience – solely or most pertinently – architecture relative to the context of the city as a whole rather than as relative to other, individual architectural objects. On this account, our judgment of individual architectural objects against the urban context might be a question of fit with other parts of the city. Alternatively, on a holist construal, our judgment might simply operate at the urban scale, such that architectural judgment just is appreciation of the whole. Something like this view is found in the literature on public spaces (plazas, squares, and the like), as gauged in terms of the 134

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general topography of the space rather than features of its constituent parts (buildings, monuments, and the like).9 Yet other consequences attach to further dimensions of part–whole relations among cities and their constituent-built objects: Temporal. As noted, there is a differential in the pace of change among urban parts and wholes, at a minimum because the parts may have little dependence on the whole relative to generation, change, and corruption. Each built object contributes to a changing city over time – and to a large degree on its own clock. In turn, the changing urban context – also following its own, grander rhythms – potentially shapes the identity of its componentbuilt objects. Lynch (1960) captures the experiential side of these asynchronicities, referring to the design of cities as a “temporal art.” By this he seems to intend that our limited and episodic exposures at any moment to the shifting parts of a city – over great lengths of time – present the city to us, qua spectators, as an artwork unfolding over time, in the manner of a musical work. But a more crucial aspect of urban design as a temporal art is on the production end. Fast-build, planned cities and Haussmann-scale change are the exception to the general rule whereby the urban whole more typically transforms slowly – at most, one neighborhood at a time, and more often, at the building-by-building rate. A plausible lawlike temporal generalization of urban morphology is that – as a function of economics, efficiency, culture, and yet other forces – the smaller the part, the faster the addition or replacement rate. This pace of change at the urban scale has a curious consequence. The spectator, for their part, may spend a longer time lingering in or around any given architectural objects than in or around the city as a whole.Yet the aesthetic object that the urban whole represents will be around, mutatis mutandis, far longer than many or even any of its constituent parts. Taken together with the incremental change of cities over time, the spectator has a better chance of fully appreciating the urban whole than of appreciating the fullest complement of architectural objects it comprises. Process-wise. The city comprises a collection of processes, public and private – each actualized or articulated through physical or other media. Historically, the principal media of a city’s processes are physical, in the form of the built environment. Notwithstanding the decreasing prominence of this role in an era of growing virtual services, the physical manifestation or vehicle for realizing a city’s processes means that there is a locus for those processes. This in turn allows the processes to be apportioned, divided, relocated, or otherwise distributed among the city’s regions, built environments, or individual structures – a social services office here, a public school there. In the historical case, and still in much of contemporary urban life, the appearance and configuration of buildings and streets form, and are informed by, those processes. Thus, educational or recreational or criminal justice services are actualized in distinctive building types, which determine in part the architectural landscape of the given district or neighborhood of a city. Such structures may, in turn, feature designs reflective of the way those services are delivered, or processes realized, in a given city, district, or neighborhood thereof. Further, the mere fact that such-and-such processes are realized in a given part of the city can shape the greater urban context, as when garbage collection sites or prisons are located in one district and, therefore, not in another. Structural. Built architectural objects may be structurally dependent on elements or the whole of their urban environments to greater or lesser degrees; they may never be wholly independent. What can be built depends upon what is built, whether in terms of buildings replaced, adjacent structures, or sub-structures. Even an open field or the expansion of a 135

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city beyond current borders requires connections to extant infrastructure within the build city. Alongside the built structural constraints of cities on adding or changing architectural objects, there are as well topographic and geological constraints. Thus, building on landfill or at river’s edge requires particular design considerations. In sum, the whole’s partial determination of the character of its parts reflects natural and artifactual aspects of the city. Behavioral. Finally, consider the city as a macro system – or collection of systems – and its component-built objects as sub-systems. On such an account, we can describe the behavior of cities or its component systems at least partly as a consequence of the behavior of its component-built parts.Thus, the transit system of a city behaves well or poorly as a partial function of the built transit infrastructure. Further, as systems of a city interact – such as sanitation affecting housing or vice-versa – the built infrastructures for each have that greater an effect, or face that greater sets of constraints, as a partial function of the size and bearing of those systems with which they interact. Moreover, as built structures themselves each constitute systems, they may behave well or poorly as a consequence of their fit with, or capacity to “thrive” in, the containing system. An apartment building at too great a scale for a given neighborhood may serve its residents poorly if its infrastructural needs (or “amenities” – that is, preferences) cannot be met by local capacity. In brief, all such accounts of part–whole relations – and the ways we understand their relations to be experienced, appreciated, and explained – are highly sensitive to the ways those relations are fundamentally structured. This much, we have seen, has broad-ranging implications for aesthetic appreciation – as well as the design, implementation, use, and interaction – of cities and their built structures. On a standard compositionalist account, we can rate success or failure of a given street or building as connected to successes or failures at the macro level of the city– and tell plausible stories in the other direction, too. Moreover, such considerations may shape our notions of diverse practical matters as concern the lifecycle stages of a building – its development, preservation, decline, restoration, repurposing, and so on. In such matters, what counts as a part and what import it has for the whole, or the other way around, are of great moment as additional to, or coloring, the wide variety of issues – social needs, financial incentive, economic or cultural benefits, and intellectual property rights – brought to bear in decisions about building lifecycle events.Yet broader conceptual underpinnings of those decisions include political or ethical issues, as range over commitments, choices, responsibilities, utility, and the like.

III Over and above such metaphysical questions as concern part–whole relations, there are philosophically significant sorts of political and ethical issues where the architectural meets the urban. Core issues that join political philosophy of the city and political philosophy of architecture include these: who gets to build or otherwise act in the lifecycle relative to what architectural objects – and when, and under what circumstances or constraints; what the process is by which such decisions are made; who is responsible for externalities; and how, in building development or lifecycle interventions with urban scale consequences, we safeguard or develop community interests, justice, autonomy, security, and welfare, as well as other such social or political requirements or desiderata. As elsewhere in matters of social and political philosophy or ethics, such issues turn on broad frameworks for managing and steering among divergent perspectives, preferences, and needs; such frameworks may highlight, for example, rights, obligations, or utility as guides to architectural design in urban milieux, or as gauges of city dwellers’ claims on architectural value, whether aesthetic or practical. Where we are contemplating or otherwise engaging 136

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architectural objects in the urban context, the universe of relevant interests and preferences may be helpfully divided into architectural and urban levels. Thus, “building-wise” and “city-wise” interests correspond to interests of concerned or affected parts relative to built architectural objects, or as relative to the city as a whole. At each of those levels, we find political, commercial, or individual actors engaged in something of an analog to a multi-player game, seeking to promote alternately shared or distinctive interests, preferences, and core values.10 An added complication is the entangled nature of building-wise and city-wise interests, as reflective of buildings’ effects on their cities as well as effects running in the other direction. Architecture shapes political textures of the urban fabric, often one built structure at a time. In contrary fashion, cities shape architecture through political means – as in the powerful instance of building code but as well through less clearly intentional drivers as the constraints of extant infrastructure. In short, beyond the standard, agent-centered pictures of political or ethical choices and decision-making, the associated issues and determining factors in urban and architectural contexts may be accounted for in terms of buildings shaping cities or cities shaping buildings. This suggestion relies on political or ethical corollaries to an ordinary, unadorned compositionalism: As architectural objects contribute to the aesthetic or practical character of their urban context, they bear potential for shaping the political or moral environment – its rules, constraints, guidelines, mores, expectations, and so on – not only at the building scale but as well at the urban scale. And, in reverse, as the city shapes the aesthetic or practical character of its constituent architectural objects, it may shape their political or moral character. On this account of the city and its architectural objects as politically or ethically efficacious, the simplest cases of causally relevant choices and changes are analogous to a tiling puzzle, though one where the pieces have a certain degree of elasticity: choosing to remove extant puzzle parts or replace them with new parts can effect change in the puzzle as a whole – and the parts don’t need to fit exactly, so we may end up changing the very shape of the puzzle. Further, more complex or sweeping cases of political or ethical choices exploit even greater elasticity of the urban “puzzle,” possibly reflecting wholesale changes at the building scale with potential to remake the city, extend its bounds, or eventuate in altogether new cities. This possible extent of change may catalyze unanticipated, immoderate, or even radical or irreversible transformation. In some scenarios, changing enough (or enough of the right sorts of) urban parts – individual architectural objects – may produce runaway knock-on consequences, or even augment or diminish our overall capacity to change parts. Some such transformations – as when a neighborhood of small, old houses is razed to build a stadium – will suffice to see the city as a whole as entirely distinctive, all manner of prior urban systems and phenomena disrupted. Another facet of political and ethical choice subject to the particular character of the given part–whole relations is the direction in which authority and control flows, or should flow. Individual architectural objects may be: (S1) political or ethical shapers of their urban contexts (upward shaping), or (S2) political or ethical shaped by those contexts (downward shaping). It is also possible that architectural objects and their containing cities (H) participate in a causally holist scheme, such as systems or environmental analyses allow. Whether upward or downward shaping is dominant may result from planning or design but is likely is a direct function of core socially realized phenomena of architectural objects and cities.11 Consider such socially realized phenomena as are (a) use-directed, such as living in, working in, 137

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or passing through – which, broadly, includes dwelling, labor, consumption, leisure, and transit; and (b) lifecycle-determining, such as development, augmentation, trading, degradation, restoration, or destruction. Use-directed phenomena of built structures frequently, though not always, articulate with or complement use-directed goals of the city. This much at least suggests the downward shaping (S2) scenario, given the responsiveness of architects and their clients to present or anticipated urban needs or broadly shared preferences.12 H is plausible as well, even in an environment of organic development. Less likely – at least in private development and as independent of intensive urban planning requirements – is the articulation or complementarity of (a) lifecycle-determining phenomena at the individual architectural object scale with (b) lifecycle-determining phenomena of the city. While public infrastructure is ostensibly responsive to, or the product of, urban planning and long-term preferences, private development is most responsive to contemporary preferences and the push and pull of the market. This well fits the upward shaping (S1) scenario but not, without urban planning, downward shaping (S2). Finally, a compositionalist account relating political and social philosophies of architecture and of the city invites utility considerations. It is convenient for the compositionalist that utility offers a standard measure of value and mark of quality and progress in architectural objects and in city contexts alike. Moreover, the interactivity of these two levels of organization, as influences utility measures in the two domains, is also consonant with a compositionalist account – though not unproblematically so. For one, there are practical puzzles. Individual built structures assigned low utility may offer greater utility as aggregated, for example, depending on contributions to design of surrounding space, economics of scale, social factors, and so on. Conversely, such factors may also drive a low-utility assignment, which variability suggests that aggregated utilities for individual built structures present low predictability relative to utility at the city scale. On a more conceptual plane, the opposition of building-wise and city-wise interests highlights tensions between (a) utility maximization and (b) rights and responsibility assignments or mandates. In this regard it is important to recall the centrality to architecture of the advancement of utility.13 As such, it is hard to conceive of an architectural orientation toward promoting the political or ethical good that hews to any other, non-utilitarian considerations as primary or defeating. However, while utility enjoys a similar premium in urban planning, design, and development, such premium is frequently constrained or outweighed by concerns regarding rights or responsibilities. Those concerns are typically undertaken by city government or other publicly minded advocates, as legal guarantor, adjudicator, or protector of public as well as individual rights and responsibilities. These sorts of advocacy are liable to dispute, as oriented by private interest at the level of individual architectural objects and as guided by their architects, owners, users, or visitors. And, while developers may often appeal to property rights, architects more typically draw on utility considerations in response to political or ethical questions. A worry, then, is whether the urban planner and the architect are having the same political or ethical conversations. While not a concern for the metaphysical compositionalist, the differing terms of professional conversation confound the possibilities for political or ethical corollaries. All the while utilities rise or fall at the architectural and urban scale, only the architect is fixedly focused on utility maximization, to the typical exclusion of contrasting political or ethical considerations.

Conclusion In its generic forms compositionalism offers great returns, being useful and explanatorily rich without over-investment. Without a deeper CAI-style commitment, compositionalism 138

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highlights the part–whole relationship and so accounts for what the city is, at least in some ways, relative to its component parts. This lower investment allows that the city may also have aspects quite apart from, or unforeseen on the basis of, its parts alone. Some significant piece of what makes compositionalism explanatorily robust is that it allows us to specify ways and degrees to which physical parts of a city14 – its built structures – contribute to the whole. Along these lines, compositionalism may be wed to functionalist models of explanation to frame our understanding of how well a given building performs relative to identified or designated functions in the context of its containing system, the city. One variant of compositionalist function-wise appreciation of the city focuses on the Aristotelian goal of the polis as promotion of happiness (Epting 2016);15 more generalized functionalist accounts of the urban built environment look to a broader account of fitness (Carlson 2001; Parsons 2008).That said, while compositionalism accommodates these sort of functionalist accounts, it is less clear that compositionalism itself requires functionalism: we might sooner appeal to other grounds of appreciating the city or its parts. Beyond functionalist application and appreciation, compositionalism is explanatorily robust in accounting for the myriad ways in which built structures, in the context of urban environments, act as parts of those environments. Thus, compositionalism calls our attention to the use of built structures as (for example) created, recreated, remade, or rescued parts; and to the status of built structures as (for example) ranked (or otherwise ordered), connected (or otherwise related), blended, or patterned. In this last regard, compositionalism reflects a basic theoretical assumption of urban morphology, the study of forms and spatial structures of cities and of their attendant lifespans, processes, and changes. Such an assumption is requisite to analysis of urban forms – in particular, streets, “plots,” and buildings – into hierarchies of wholes and their parts (Conzen 2004). With that analysis in hand, the urban morphologist identifies and assesses patterns among the parts and their corresponding relations, gauges the nature of their development and change, and explains the significance of those hierarchies and patterns for architectural, engineering, or urban planning use (Kropf 2017). In this fashion, compositionalist explanation has practical application beyond, but also rooted in, its contribution to our theoretical understanding or aesthetic appreciation of the city and its built structures. With all this, one might suppose that compositionalism must be so, trivially. Yet there are several ways it might be false. Consider that strong architectural compositionalism about cities might be entirely wrong. A kind of experiential holism proposed by Arnold Berleant (2012) suggests that, while cities have physical parts insofar as they have individual built structures, the urban whole is irreducible to its parts given other sorts of parts into which we analyze all aspects of the city. Some such parts – the geographic and the cultural – bind architectural objects to their broader, more diffuse settings.16 As an irreducibly complex whole, Berleant proposes, the city is characterized by social life at the urban level, rather than by its parts, physical or otherwise. This picture of the urban whole resonates with aspects of the ways we experience architectural objects in cities, as of a piece with a larger cultural and social fabric. However, more than experiential aspects of the city is needed to support an irreducibility thesis, in light of the physically and otherwise distinguishable nature of individual architectural objects in urban settings. Alternatively, one might hold that cities have physical parts insofar as they have built structures but as architectural objects those just don’t represent meaningful parts because, for example, structures, systems, or flows or other phenomena at urban scale break down into other, more meaningful or causally efficacious or lasting parts. This sort of argument is more likely made on practical than on aesthetic terms. While appreciation and judgment make regular appeals to part–whole relations of cities and their built structures, that might reflect some architectural prejudice on our part. By contrast, it might turn out that optimal approaches to, for example, 139

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engineering or urban planning require analysis of cities into parts that transcend individual built structures. Other putative problems for compositionalism are more modest in scope. For example, we might reject normative compositionalism, accepting that architectural objects do contribute in meaningful ways to the character of their containing cities, but refuse the further notion that they ought to, going forward. Or, we might reject compositionalism as poorly predictive of behavior or phenomena among parts given the same behavior or phenomena in the whole. For example, values as we identify at the level of the whole – relative to design, economic, or other considerations – we might not find, or rank variously, among the parts (or the other way around). Thus, von Bonsdorff (2007) proposes a value in design diversity at the urban scale, in keeping with the diverse nature of communities and their varied activities, perspectives, and modes of engagement. Yet such value does not necessarily or in the same ways operate on the built structure scale. As a simple case, consider the premiums on Bonsdorff ’s diversity at urban scale and on diversity at individual built structure scale.The former is presumably fairly constant in ways that the latter may not be. If we translate such diversity among particular buildings as mixed-use development, we find high value in some contexts but low value in others. Finally, there is much in the philosophies of the city and of architecture for which compositionalism may simply offer no special insights. That diverse terrain might include such issues of urban or architectural significance as historical contexts, styles in design, interaction of natural and urban environments, or social services of the city. In the balance, though, much about the fundamental character of cities and architectural objects is illuminated by fuller grasp of their part–whole relations. As a conceptual linking of these two domains of investigation, compositionalism brings revelatory, explanatory, and heuristic benefits – and offers practical insights, not afforded by its rejection or neglect.

Notes 1 While compositionalism may resemble the CAI thesis, it is neutral between that view and any “doublecounting” theory: All we get is the notion that cities comprise discernable parts in the form of architectural objects, without regard to whether city x just is the sum of its built structures, or an additional entity. 2 As in ecology, the level of analysis determines the focus on structure and function of the system (downward) or its sub-systems and parts (upward). 3 See, for example, Epting (2016), for a broad systems focus that moves away from a compositionalism of architectural stripe. 4 Another reason to consider for strong architectural compositionalism, if entailment can be shown, would be an architectural formalist stance; compositionalism may be detachable from formalism yet preferable if formalism is true. 5 Most prominently, we find this sort of view in the urban planning tradition associated with Jane Jacobs (1961), wherein the right mix of ingredients yields a particular urban character. Tursić (2017) offers one latter-day theoretical framework, weaving together Bunge’s emergent systemism (2000) and Lévy’s systemisme dialogique (1999). 6 Vesely (2016: 155) allows that cities comprise other parts than architectural objects, yet sees a special cultural and situational connection among architectural parts and the city as a whole: “The relation of architecture and city should be seen as a relation of reciprocity, in which the city can receive a higher level of articulation and subtlety from architectural design, and architecture can receive higher level of culture from the life of the city.” 7 In this regard, and for purposes of brevity, I offer as basic an architectural inclusivism thesis: An object is an architectural object if it is, or is intended to be, a built structure. Thus, the Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 1 and the Canal St. Martin (Paris) are architectural objects as much as the buildings that line each of those thoroughfares. So, too, for banal building designs whose


Architecture and philosophy of the city architects were long forgotten and perhaps deservedly so. The contrary exclusivist view yields results similar to what Carlson calls the “designer” view, limiting architectural objects to those conforming to traditional notions of art objects.The reason for the inclusivist assumption is that exclusivism severely proscribes our ability to address aesthetic, moral, or other qualities of those objects designed by architects as built structures. 8 Kevin Lynch (1960) proposes that our epistemic access to the city as a whole is a function of its “imageability,” or capacity to prompt our mentally conjuring its organization and salient features, as in a mental map. Lynch’s other well-known proposed feature of environmental cognition is the “legibility” or navigability of an environment, which depends on our being able to evaluate or find meaning in that environment – in part by recognizing patterns (structural or otherwise) and by identifying component structures. The ensuing tradition in environmental and spatial cognition, as applied to the city, focuses on related capacities of distinction, differentiation, orientation (“wayfinding”), visibility, and appearance of usability, all of which assume our individuation of physical parts– that is, architectural objects (cf. Weisman 1981; Passini 1984; Devlin 2001; Nasar 2011). 9 For contemporary holist views, see, for example, the related concept of integral urbanism, in Ellin (2011); or the systems analyses at the center of urban studies, with debts to such diverse influences as holistic human ecology (cf. Hawley 1950) and sustainable cities planning (cf. Hester & McNally 2011). Perhaps the ultimate tribute to holist urbanism is the planned city – whether reflecting plans of architects, such as Broadacre City (Frank Lloyd Wright), Chandigarh (Le Corbusier, with Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry), and Brasilia (Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, with Roberto Burle Marx); or of urban planners and developers, such as Irvine, California, or Aventura, Florida. One key historical text in this tradition is Sitte (1889). 10 For example, political issues of urban design, urban planning, and architecture divide not only by goals but as well by decision-making processes. Further, relative to constituents and participants, those processes fork into (a) experts, (b) clients (including developers), and (c) the public (citizens, residents, or transient populations); and experts sort into yet other groups, including at least (a) architects and planners, qua vendors, (b) scholars, and (c) civically engaged institutional actors. 11 Hence, possibly, an indirect function of planning or design. 12 This assumes roughly a stable population and minimal speculation on, for example, “destination” development such as intended to attract those who, by dint of minimal or low-stakes citizenry, have needs or preferences unmoored from those of the city they inhabit. 13 This, as committed by traditions around the world – in ancient Greek, Roman, Indian, and Chinese texts. 14 A broader compositionalism might pick out parts that are not only physical but as well natural, social, cultural, technological, and so forth. Epting’s modified CAI (2016) picks out parts of more or less any nature, which runs a risk of being indiscriminate to the point of losing explanatory power. 15 For the Platonist tradition that precedes Aristotle, see Morrison (2001). 16 Berleant (1986) earlier suggests that centrally important elements of the urban environment are not even localized parts at all, but sensory qualities diffused through the environment – such as sound and smell – constituting a “perceptual plenum.” This, too, he takes to be a irreducible whole (perhaps of different kind), though one might otherwise take physical manifestations of sound, smell, and other sensed qualities as greatly diffused parts.

References Berleant, A. (1986) “Cultivating an Urban Aesthetic,” Diogenes 34 (136), pp. 1–18. ——— (2012) “Distant Cities: Thoughts on an Aesthetics of Urbanism,” in Aesthetics Beyond the Arts: New and Recent Essays, London/New York: Routledge, pp. 105–116. Bunge, M. (2000) “Systemism: The Alternative to Individualism and Holism,” Journal of Socio-Economics 29 (2), pp. 147–157. Carlson, A. (2001) “On Aesthetically Appreciating Human Environments,” Philosophy and Geography 4 (1), pp. 9–24. Conzen, M. (ed.) (2004) Thinking About Urban Form: Papers on Urban Morphology, 1932–1998, Bern: Peter Lang Publishing. Devlin, A. (2001) Mind and Maze: Spatial Cognition and Environmental Behavior, New York: Praeger. Ellin, N. (2011) “Postmodern and Integral Urbanism,” in T. Banerjee & A. Loukaitou-Sideris (eds.), Companion to Urban Design, London: Routledge, pp. 589–599.


Saul Fisher Epting, S. (2016) “An Applied Mereology of the City: Unifying Science and Philosophy for Urban Planning,” Science and Engineering Ethics 22 (5), pp. 1361–1374. Hawley, A. (1950) Human Ecology: A Theory of Community Structure, New York: Ronald Press Co. Hester, R.T. & McNally, M.J. (2011) “Intertwist and Intertwine: Sustainability, Meet Urban Design,” in T. Banerjee & A. Loukaitou-Sideris (eds.), Companion to Urban Design, London: Routledge, pp. 619–631. Jacobs, J. (1961) The Death and Life of Great American Cities, New York: Random House, Inc. Kropf, K. (2017) The Handbook of Urban Morphology, Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Lévy, J. (1999) Le Tournant Géographique: Penser l’Espace Pour Lire le Monde, Paris: Belin. Lynch, K.A. (1960) The Image of the City, Cambridge, MA/London: The MIT Press. Morrison, D. (2001) “The Happiness of the City and the Happiness of the Individual in Plato’s Republic,” Ancient Philosophy 21 (1), pp. 1–24. Nasar, J. (2011) “Environmental Psychology and Urban Design,” in T. Banerjee & A. Loukaitou-Sideris (eds.), Companion to Urban Design, London: Routledge, pp. 162–174. Parsons, G. (2008) “Nature, Aesthetic Values and Urban Design: Building the Natural City,” in P.Vermaas, P. Kroes, A. Light, & S.A. Moore (eds.), Philosophy and Design: From Engineering to Architecture, New York/ Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 341–354. Passini, R. (1984) Wayfinding in Architecture, New York:Van Nostrand Reinhold Company Inc. Sitte, C. (1986 [1889]) City Planning According to Artistic Principles (Der Städtebau: nach seinen künstlerischen Grundsätzen,Vienna: Graeser), in G.R. Collins & C.C. Collins (trans.), Camillo Sitte:The Birth of Modern City Planning, New York: Rizzoli. Tursić, M. (2017) “Aesthetic Space: The Visible and the Invisible in Urban Agency,” Doctoral dissertation, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Verma, N. (2011) “Urban Design: An Incompletely Theorized Project,” in T. Banerjee & A. LoukaitouSideris (eds.), Companion to Urban Design, London: Routledge, pp. 57–69. Vesely, D. (2016) “Between Architecture and the City,” in H. Steiner & M. Sternberg (eds.), Phenomenologies of the City, London/New York: Routledge, pp. 151–166. Von Bonsdorff, P. (2007) “Urban Richness and the Art of Building,” in A. Berleant & A. Carlson (eds.), The Aesthetics of Human Environments, Peterborough, Canada: Broadview Press, pp. 66–78. Weisman, J. (1981) “Evaluating Architectural Legibility Way-Finding in the Built Environment,” Environment and Behavior 13 (2), pp. 189–204.

Further reading L.T. Di Summa-Knoop, “Identity and Strategies of Identification: A Moral and Aesthetic Shift in Architecture and Urbanism,” Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology 3 (2016), pp. 111–123, discusses contributions of architecture to individual and social identities in the urban context through promotion of attachments and realization of values. Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, translated from the Arabic by F. Rosenthal (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986), is a classic discussion of coercion by or encouragement from those in power as driving labor-intensive construction that builds a city’s structures. J.L. Nasar, The Evaluative Image of the City (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998), discusses architecture in the environmental psychology of the city.V. Oliveira, Urban Morphology: An Introduction to the Study of the Physical Form of Cities (Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2016), overviews study of urban form, de-emphasizing buildings as against other structures, and highlighting contributions of actors in varied roles to development of the city’s forms. R. Scruton, The Classical Vernacular: Architectural Principles in an Age of Nihilism (Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press/New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995), defends patternbook vernacular, rooted in classical architecture, as a contributing factor to successful definition of urban space and to signaling of purpose and meaning at the urban scale.


11 A PHILOSOPHY OF URBAN PARKS Amanda J. Meyer and Charles Taliaferro

Urban parks today are complex and serve many purposes. For apartment dwellers who lack a yard or garden, parks can be their only (or at least their closest) access to nature. For the homeless, parks can be a refuge, though gang violence can undermine any safety. The use of parks can reflect ethno-cultural differences in recreation. For example, Caucasian European Americans often enjoy feeling “enveloped” by nature and value the solitude they can find in parks. They look for amenities such as picnic tables and hiking-biking-walking trails. Others, such as Latinos and Asians, often look to parks for large family gatherings. In this chapter, we step back and take note of how historically parks were at first thought of in aristocratic terms, and then gradually evolved to be of more public, democratic usage. We build a case for thinking today of parks as serving what we refer to as a philosophical use, sites for the free exchange of ideas. The history and meaning of a park is reflected in standard definitions of the term in English that hint at the aristocratic origins of parks. For example, in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary we find that a park is “1a: an enclosed piece of ground stocked with game and held by royal prescription or grant 1b: a tract of land that often includes lawns, woodland, and pasture attached to a country house and is used as a game preserve and for recreation 2a: a piece of ground in or near a city or town kept for ornament and recreation 2b: an area maintained in its natural state as a public property” (Merriam-Webster n.d.). Note that the primary definitions refer to the use of such enclosed, managed areas as an arena for aristocratic hunting, a site which may function as an ornament to a country house (which might well be a prestigious mansion or manor house).The idea of a “park” seems natural to citizens of our current society, but in reality, our experience of what a park is is relatively new. In fact, the entire concept of a “park” is a relatively new concept for human civilization. Increased human populations and land ownership led to decreased “wild” or “open” space and necessitated the creation of the park-like spaces, which have since developed and changed in tandem with society. In this chapter, we offer an overview of the evolving concept of a park and then propose a philosophy of urban parks that is particularly fitting to a pluralistic democratic republic, rather than a site for the leisure activity of persons with social prestige. We follow this by outlining challenges for urban park development, and close with the identification of an area for further philosophical inquiry. Our concern is principally with urban parks in the United States, but the history and themes are more broadly applicable.


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A history of American urban parks The first green urban spaces that were set aside as parks were initially closed spaces stocked with game and were accessible principally to aristocratic European hunters rather than widely available for public use. The concept later expanded to include exurban spaces meant for both game reserves and for recreation, and urban spaces meant for recreation and aesthetic enjoyment. Even later, the concept was expanded to include spaces maintained in their natural state (conserved) for public use and/or environmental protection. Despite their ever-changing form and function, parks have always existed for their anthropocentric value, have historically been connected to the issue of the urban-rural divide, and are contrasted with other urban elements, as well as with the concept of “wilderness.” The first public park developed in the British North American colonies was Boston Common (1634), bought from a farmer using tax money from the citizens of Boston. It was used for agricultural, public, military, and recreational purposes. Most notably, however, Boston Common was controlled, developed, and beautified in sharp contrast with two things: (1) the “dangerous and uncontrollable” wilderness beyond the boundaries of the colonial town and (2) the bustle, noise, congestion, and pollution of the town (later, the city). Regarding the prior: To the citizens of the early American republic, the “natural world” was perceived as wild and dangerous, and the drive to place the land under Euro-American cultivation was considered proper and right (a matter of providential destiny). This providence included the calling to remove Native Americans from such land (through violent conquest or treaty or sales). Native Americans, whose culture and livelihood were intertwined with the natural world, were also considered wild and dangerous. This early cultural contrast between the safe domesticity of urban settlements and the wilderness beyond them is preserved and extended to current society through aspects of our cultural conception of the two – for example, children’s stories such as Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and, more recently, Harry Potter. In all these stories, bad things happen to people who go astray in the (forbidden) forest. Regarding the latter (creating a park to relieve the town’s bustle, noise, congestion, and pollution): The use and development of the Boston Common is the earliest example of American efforts to bring the “country” into the “city.” With the sharp growth of urban settlements and the vast expansion of United States territory in the 19th century, Americans gradually re-conceived of the natural world as aesthetically pleasing, mysterious, and a spiritual place (see environmental philosophers Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others in the Hudson River school of painting). After the Civil War, several large urban parks were developed with nature as a controlled, aesthetic reference point. These early mega-parks, including New York’s Central Park and Boston’s Emerald Necklace, were referred to as “pleasure grounds” and intended to mitigate the harsh conditions of the industrial city and bring nature in for city dwellers rather than requiring people to leave the city to gain access – a privilege open almost exclusively to the wealthy classes (Daniels 2009). These first parks consisted mainly of promenades and gardens. However, as cities continued to grow, the spaces began to be used for recreation and hosted buildings for public use. This trend toward parks for recreation continued after World War II at which point smaller, recreation-oriented parks and park buildings were developed to serve the immediate surrounding neighborhood rather than the whole city. Most recently, the environmental and “back to nature” movements have spurred the creation of “ecological parks” and “greenways” in urban areas, which serve the myriad goals of providing aesthetic pleasure and recreation, historical and cultural value, and natural habitat for plant and animal species within the city (Fabos 1995; Gobster 2007). 144

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Urban parks: public, green, and democratic We can point to several success stories of urban park systems. The Trust for Public Land has developed a methodology for the measurement of success (ParkScore) and publishes a yearly ranking of the park systems in the 100 largest US cities (The Trust for Public Land 2019). Many of the perennial top-scoring cities in the Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore rankings feature historically successful parks, the development of which were championed by visionaries such as Frederick Law Olmsted in New York and Boston, William Morse Berry and Theodore Wirth in Minneapolis, and William Hammond Hall and John McLaren in San Francisco. Others were guided by landscape – built on land that developers could not use, such as the swampland and canyons in San Diego, but lovingly designed and maintained. Regardless of their origins, all these parks feature two key characteristics: They are public, and they are green. Many disciplines have explored the latter, proclaiming parks’ “ecosystem services” from the rooftops (see Daily 1997, 2002; Braat & de Groot 2012; Davies et al. 2015, for examples). Studies have shown that urban green space reduces pollutants and regulates the urban climate (Bolund & Hunhammar 1999; Daniels 2009), increases the economic and social value of the surrounding area (Kuo & Sullivan 2001; Runfola & Hughes 2014; Wolch, Byrne, & Newell 2014), and provides both psychological and physical benefits to urban dwellers (Frumkin 2001; Burls 2007; Hartig et al. 2014). These benefits are real and true. They certainly could stand as the sole reason for the protection and expansion of urban green spaces. Indeed, there have been calls – Meyer’s voice among them – to include “green” or “ecological” infrastructure as a necessary element in urban planning and design (Mell 2009; Pickett et al. 2011; Grimm et al. 2012; Randolph 2012; Li et al. 2016). Environmental services aside, however, urban parks can provide more. Cities are about community. Augustine defined the city as an intentional community, united by common rules, a sense of justice, and a common love. So, we turn to the other characteristic of urban parks: They are public. Since the establishment of the Grecian agora, public spaces have been expected to provide space for philosophical exchange, where all people feel a sense of ownership and belonging, dialogue is encouraged, and community is built. This is not always the case. As we noted earlier, the first parks were used exclusively by aristocratic and wealthy individuals. But in the United States in the 20th century, some parks have provided generous spaces for public gathering and exchange. This is perhaps most evident in Washington DC under the McMillan Plan of 1902 when monumental city planning was met with setting aside a tree-lined National Mall and an extended water basin in front of the US Capitol, “designed to furnish the park-like means of communication between the legislative and the executive departments” (Moore 1902: 43) which, incidentally, is able to host crowds of one to two million. The monuments in and around the National Mall may seem more imperial (recalling Ancient Rome and the Italian Renaissance) than the site of a participatory democratic republic, but the Mall has served well as the site for the civil rights movement and the more recent Black Lives Matter movement and the 2018 Women’s and Science Marches. In our philosophy of urban parks, we stress many of their uses in terms of recreation, the release of stress, education, and so on, but we also advance what may be called a philosophical model for the urban park. We submit that the more urban parks can be sites in which persons can freely gather to exchange ideas in the context of a green environment, the better. In an increasingly privatized and techno-centric society, parks can provide this critical space for community gathering and exchange (Kamierczak 2013). Taliaferro has argued for what is called the philosophical model of museums in which museums can provide important, noncommercial spaces for community exchange (2016). This would involve what might be called 145

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an open museum that is dynamic, interactive, and democratic. It involves a radical, open view of museums that can be fruitfully applied to parks while avoiding the more elitist, stagnant view of museums that urban ecologist Paul Gobster warns us against: the “museumification of parks” (see Gobster 2007).

Prioritizing and developing socially just urban parks The knowledge we now have regarding the importance of parks in our lives, as well as their potential to protect open community dialogue requires us to develop and expand parks in already-developed cities. But how? There is a new movement for the reclamation of relics from the height of industrial United States for park development. The movement has transformed waterways and riverfronts, abandoned spaces, and transportation corridors across the United States, often blending fresh green space with the bones of industrial development, creating unique historical spaces. However, green space development is and has always been in competition with commercial and industrial development. The development of public parks competes with more lucrative industry and commercial interests. And, as parks are installed, they increase the value of the neighborhoods around them, further increasing their own competition for existence (Wolch, Byrne, & Newell 2014). This is an ever-present challenge for advocates of urban public green spaces. While the form and use of urban parks have changed throughout history, they have long reflected a human need for access to nature and safe space for recreation, community building, and dialogue.The urbanizing population should see it as a critical infrastructure. However, the importance of maintaining social justice and equality in the development of parks cannot be understated. As we mentioned previously, development of quality green spaces often leads to increased value of the surrounding neighborhoods, reflected in housing prices, rents, and taxes.These increases drive gentrification and displace the urban poor to “less green” areas (Wolch, Byrne, & Newell 2014). Furthermore, parks are cultural landscapes and must be designed, developed, and maintained with an ethno-racial sensitivity for the park’s intended users (Byrne & Wolch 2009). If we agree that urban parks are a critical infrastructure, spaces where minds and bodies are restored, democratic communication happens, and community is built, then equal access to and political, social, and cultural neutrality of parks should be top priorities for municipal governments. All urban dwellers should feel a sense of belonging in their parks, regardless of the color of their skin, their religion, their gender and sexuality, their age, or their socioeconomic status. The “socio-equality” of urban parks is an additional, ongoing challenge for urban planners.

Intrinsic value Our focus in this chapter has been on urban parks and their role in addressing human needs and aspirations, health, and social cohesion. However, parks also host nonhuman life (such as other species of animals, birds, insects, and plants) and abiota (non-living elements of a landscape or ecosystem such as soil, water, nutrients, and climate). Thus, we end this chapter with a nod to the theory that urban parks also have a value of their own – an intrinsic value, beyond that which is instrumental to humans and society. Of course this is a philosophically contentious area, but some recognition of the good of natural areas for their own sake may well instill or promote an awe and reverence for them that will help humans transcend our all-consuming preoccupation with our own species. It may also help us avoid the well-known tragedy of the commons: the likelihood that unregulated, shared lands or resources can become degraded by self-interested individuals placing personal gain from said resources above the common good. 146

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In this chapter, we cannot hope to develop some form of deep ecology (like Arne Nass) or case for the goodness of the natural, nonhuman objects (as one finds in philosophers like Paul Taylor and environmentalists like Aldo Leopold), but we point in the direction of such a broader philosophical framework to provide yet another layer of meaning and value when it comes to the urban park.

References Bolund, P. & Hunhammar, S. (1999) “Ecosystem Services in Urban Areas,” Ecological Economics 29 (2), pp. 293–301. Braat, L.C. & de Groot, R. (2012) “The Ecosystem Services Agenda: Bridging the Worlds of Natural Science and Economics, Conservation and Development, and Public and Private Policy,” Ecosystem Services 1 (1), pp. 4–15. Burls, A. (2007) “People and Green Spaces: Promoting Public Health and Mental Well-Being Through Ecotherapy,” Journal of Public Mental Health 6 (3), pp. 24–39. Byrne, J. & Wolch, J. (2009) “Nature, Race, and Parks: Past Research and Future Directions for Geographic Research,” Progress in Human Geography 33 (6), pp. 743–765. Daily, G.C. (1997) Natures Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems, Washington, DC: Island Press. Daily, G.C. & Ellison, K. (2002) The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable, Washington, DC: Island Press. Daniels, T.L. (2009) “A Trail Across Time: American Environmental Planning from City Beautiful to Sustainability,” Journal of the American Planning Association 75 (2), pp. 178–192. Davies, K.K., Fisher, K.T., Dickson, M.E., Thrush, S.F. et al. (2015) “Improving Ecosystem Service Frameworks to Address Wicked Problems,” Ecology and Society 20 (2), p. 37. Fabos, J.G. (1995) “Introduction and Overview: The Greenway Movement, Uses and Potentials of Greenways,” Landscape and Urban Planning 33 (1–3), pp. 1–13. Frumkin, H. (2001) “Beyond Toxicity: Human Health and the Natural Environment,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 20 (3), pp. 234–240. Gobster, P.H. (2007) “Urban Park Restoration and the ‘Museumification’ of Nature,” Nature & Culture 2 (2), pp. 95–114. Grimm, N.B., Grove, J.M., Pickett, S.T.A., Redman, C.L. (2012) “Integrated Approaches to LongTerm Studies of Urban Ecological Systems,” BioScience 50 (7), pp. 571–584, , accessed October 4, 2012. Hartig, T., Mitchell, R., de Vries, S., & Frumkin, H. (2014) “Nature and Health,” Annual Review of Public Health 35, pp. 207–228. Kamierczak, A. (2013) “The Contribution of Local Parks to Neighbourhood Social Ties,” Landscape and Urban Planning 109 (1), pp. 31–44. Kuo, F.E. & Sullivan, W.C. (2001) “Environment and Crime in the Inner City: Does Vegetation Reduce Crime?” Environment and Behavior 33 (3), pp. 343–367. Li, F., Liu, X., Zhang, X., Zhao, D. et al. (2016) “Urban Ecological Infrastructure: An Integrated Network for Ecosystem Services and Sustainable Urban Systems,” Journal of Cleaner Production, pp. 1–7. Mell, I.C. (2009) “Can Green Infrastructure Promote Urban Sustainability?” Proceedings of the ICE – Engineering Sustainability 162 (1), pp. 23–34. Moore, C. (1902) The Improvement of the Park System of the District of Colombia. I. – Report of the Senate Committee on the District of Colombia. II. – Report of the Park Commission. Washington, DC. . “Park” (n.d.) . Pickett, S.T.A., Cadenasso, M.L., Grove, J.M., Boone, C.G. et al. (2011) “Urban Ecological Systems: Scientific Foundations and a Decade of Progress,” Journal of Environmental Management 92 (3), pp. 331–362. Randolph, J. (2012) Environmental Land Use Planning and Management, 2nd ed., Washington, DC: Island Press. Runfola, D. & Hughes, S. (2014) “What Makes Green Cities Unique? Examining the Economic and Political Characteristics of the Grey-to-Green Continuum,” Land 3 (1), pp. 131–147. Taliaferro, C. (2016) “The Open Museum and Its Enemies: An Essay in the Philosophy of Museums,” Royal Institute of Philosophy, Supplement 79, pp. 35–53.


Amanda J. Meyer and Charles Taliaferro “The Trust for Public Land” (2019) ParkScore, . Wolch, J.R., Byrne, J. & Newell, J.P. (2014) “Urban Green Space, Public Health, and Environmental Justice: The Challenge of Making Cities ‘Just Green Enough’,” Landscape and Urban Planning 125, pp. 234–244.

Further reading M. Benedict & E. McMahon, Green Infrastructure: Linking Landscapes and Communities (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2012). T. Daniels, “A Trail Across Time: American Environmental Planning from City Beautiful to Sustainability,” Journal of the American Planning Association 75 (2) (2009), pp. 178–192. A. Kamierczak, “The Contribution of Local Parks to Neighbourhood Social Ties,” Landscape and Urban Planning 109 (1) (2013), pp. 31–44. R. Louv, Last Child in The Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 2008). S. Low, D. Taplin & S. Scheld, Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009).



In one of his short stories, O. Henry describes himself as setting out to discover “the Voice of the City.” He poses his question about the city’s identity to the milkman, the grocer, the flower seller, and the many other New Yorkers he encounters in that single day. But he can’t find the “homogeneous identity” he’s seeking. The city says to him, in effect, “I am neither a single voice nor a mere collection of voices, but something else again” (Henry 1953: 1254). Despite the enigmatic nature of this reply, O. Henry seems very satisfied with it, as if he took to heart some comments from a later cityphile and philosopher, Iris Marion Young. For she is clear: The “life of the city” is neither the homogeneous unity, the single voice, favored by communitarians, nor the collection of voices suitable to the autonomous individualism promoted by traditional liberals. Rather, the convivial city is “the being together of strangers,” a public that is “heterogeneous, plural, and playful, [occupying] a place where people witness and appreciate diverse cultural expressions that they do not share and do not fully understand” (Young 1990: 237, 241). O. Henry and Young are speaking of a democratic rather than an authoritarian city. More specifically, they are describing a city that valorizes what we can refer to as three political virtues: diversity or heterogeneous perspectives, fecundity or the creation of new forms of city life, and solidarity or the form of unity that does not sacrifice the other two virtues for a narrow or exclusionary idea of the good city. The democratic city therefore stands in sharp contrast to anything like the Third Reich’s preferred view of solidarity and the city: an efficiently ordered metropolis, ruled by a supreme sovereign, and dedicated to propagating a one-dimensional public, a “pure race” in this case. Nor would the denizens of a democratic city be enthralled by the sort of public art – “beauty without sensuality” or “muscular and harmonious bodies” – that the Nazis used to characterize their ideal citizenry (Mosse 1991: 25–31, passim). The contrast between these two types of cities therefore implies a philosophical criterion for determining what does and does not count as the kind of public art appropriate for the democratic city. More compactly, it implies a criterion for assessing public artworks as “acts of citizenship” in such a city (Isin 2012: 109–110, 130; Isin & Nielsen 2008). The task of establishing this criterion will involve determining the issues of political aesthetics surrounding public art in urban spaces. It is further complicated because the criterion will have to be as unfinalizable as the democratic city itself.


Fred Evans

Public spaces and public art What are urban spaces and public artworks in the democratic city? Because of the length allowed for answering this question here, I will restrict “urban spaces” to “public spaces – that is, to places in which citizens can present and debate their views without fear of coercion or unreasonable censure. In a much-cited article, Nancy Fraser takes issue with the standard liberal notion of public space. She argues that even Jürgen Habermas’s more enlightened version of that notion inadvertently reinforces the unfortunate idea that “a system of limited government and laissez-faire capitalism is a necessary precondition for a well-functioning public sphere” (Fraser 1977: 89). Fraser’s own position emphasizes that democracy requires social equality and a porous border between civil society and the governmental apparatus. In a critical response, Lambert Zuidervaart argues that the immediate impossibility of full social equality makes “political democracy seem unattainable for the foreseeable future” (2011: 103–104). But it is possible to read Fraser as claiming that democracy is the continual effort toward achieving social equality and not just the final obtainment of it. In other words, we can think of the democratic city as the more “agonistic” arena described by art historian Rosalyn Deutsche in her essays on the relation between public art and democratic values. She characterizes this view of democracy as an ongoing contest for audibility among many adversarial views. For her, “the public square remains democratic only insofar as its exclusions [of rival views] are taken into account and open to contestation” (1996a: 289; see also Doss 2010: 127; Lefort 1986: 279; Mouffe 1992).1 In concert with her view of public space, Deutsche holds that “public art can be viewed as an instrument that either helps produce a public space or questions a dominated space that has been officially ordained as public.” She adds that “we assume political identities” in our encounter with the art inhabiting public space (1996a: 288–289). Zuidervaart, too, distinguishes between nonpolitical art that is open to the public and what he calls “art in public.” He defines the latter as “any art whose production or use presupposes government support of some sort and whose meaning is available to a broader public – broader than the original audience for which it was intended or to which it speaks” (2011: 80). For our purposes, we will limit “public art” to two sorts of projects. The first of these sorts of projects are those that are directly supported by the government and presumably advanced in the name of democracy. The second are artistic projects that confront government-supported public artworks claiming to exist in the name of the democratic city but actually expressing a more autocratic or exclusionary tendency. We can see that public art is often a site of such confrontation by simply noting the titles of three current books on controversy in such art: Memorial Mania (Doss 2010), Visual Shock (Kammen 2006), and Monument Wars (Savage 2009). To develop the criterion we are seeking and to see more clearly the key issues involved in public art, we can use the notions of voices, oracles, and quasi-voices that I have developed elsewhere (Evans 2008, 2016b, 2019). Each voice expresses a social discourse and therefore is more than simply the speech of an individual. In the context of public art, the discourses involved include the artist’s professional ideas about his or her art, the audience’s different ways of responding to the artwork, and the purposes or meanings that governmental, religious, and other officials attribute to these artistic products. Moreover, the public artwork, as an artifact, is inseparable from the voices that surround it and make it the object of their dialogic exchanges with each other. Indeed, the interplay among the voices in their discussion of public artworks holds these voices together while simultaneously keeping them apart, forming the dialogic body that we call society and that includes us as the enunciators of these dialogic combatants. There are several reasons why voice is appropriate for the political aesthetics we are discussing here. For one, the politics of public art and of the city is ultimately all about which voices 150

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are heard and which not.Voice also has a great range – from an individual’s to that of the nation, nature, or the beyond. Third, we can always specify the identity of a voice through the substantive discourse associated with it. In short, voice has a political sense and the two other advantages of flexibility and specifiability. Besides these general features of voices, the special use of “oracle” pertains to any voice that expresses itself as the one true God, the pure race, or any other non-revisable discourse that would threaten to reduce the heterogeneity of the city and curtail the creative interplay among its many voices. Oracles, therefore, are the dark side of the social body. Finally, “quasi-voice” refers to the public artwork itself and its ability to interrupt any of the discourses with which we attempt to assign it a final meaning and limit its power as a lure for further articulations concerning it. From what I have said thus far, we can see that public art as an act of citizenship in a democratic city must support or innovatively enhance one or more of the three political virtues (solidarity, heterogeneity, and fecundity) without denigrating the others. A particular problem is that many scholars involved in contemporary political aesthetics – the relation of art to politics – emphasize heterogeneity and fecundity at the expense of solidarity.This is at least partly because they understand solidarity as a homogeneous form of unity that would eliminate the other two political virtues. Therefore, a criterion of public art, as well as the artworks themselves, must be able to suggest a form of solidarity that does not commit this kind of elimination. To see what this criterion can reveal about public art in the city, and to characterize the criterion more fully, we need to turn to some instructive examples.

Public art as acts of resistance A criterion for public art can sustain the three political virtues of a democratic city in at least two ways. It can assess these artworks according to whether and how they resist the oracles that would undermine one or more of the three virtues. And it also can evaluate the artworks with respect to whether they characterize the three virtues in innovative manners rather than issuing only bromides about democracy. I will present some examples to illustrate both these ways. I will also address a third related topic, the relation between the aesthetic and political dimensions of public artworks – that is, the meaning of public art with an emphasis upon it as art. In this section, we will start with resistance. Krzysztof Wodiczko’s dissident artwork The Homeless Projection is a very poignant example of resistance to the oracle of capital. In the 1980s, Manhattan city officials and the real-estate industry used Union Square and its sculptures of Washington, Lincoln, and other patriotic figures to symbolize their “revitalization” of the city and the aesthetic “beautification” of the square. Part of the price of this project was the eviction of the homeless from the square. In response, Wodiczko used his slide-projection technique or “slide warfare” to transform the statues into images of homeless persons and the square into a “counter-architecture” that revealed the true meaning of the real-estate industry’s revitalization project: the “death of the homeless” (Figures 12.1–12.4).The slide warfare also disclosed that public art is processual in character: New contexts, artistic interventions like Wodiczko’s, or other dynamic factors can transform the meaning or significance of a public artwork, which typically would have been thought of as permanent (Wodiczko 1986; Deutsche 1996b; Doss 2016; Evans 2016a, 2016b). The smaller city of Reidsville, North Carolina, presents another case of both resistance and processual change. This case involves resistance as the removal or permanent damage to a public artwork. In an article on one of Reidsville’s monuments, Sarah Beetham points out that the construction of Confederate memorials in the South underwent a change after the post–Civil War period of Reconstruction. During the Reconstruction period, Confederate monuments – often 151

Figure 12.2 Figure 12.1

Figure 12.3

Figure 12.4

Figure 12.1  Krzystof Wodiczko, Proposed Projection for Union Square – Lafayette. 1986 Source: Photo © Krzysztof Wodiczko; courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Figure 12.2  Krzystof Wodiczko, Proposed Projection for Union Square – Lincoln. 1986 Source: Photo © Krzysztof Wodiczko; courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Figure 12.3  Krzystof Wodiczko, Proposed Projection for Union Square – Washington. 1986 Source: Photo © Krzysztof Wodiczko; courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Figure 12.4  Krzystof Wodiczko, Proposed Projection for Union Square – Charity. 1986 Source: Photo © Krzysztof Wodiczko; courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

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the statue of a single soldier atop a column – mourned those Southerners who died for the “Lost Cause” of fighting against “insurmountable odds.” The Jim Crow period that followed, however, marked an “ideological shift”: White officials placed the soldier monuments in courthouse squares rather than in cemeteries, signaling the renewed cause of white supremacy rather than sacrifice for the lost cause of secession. In 2011 Reidsville, a car accidentally knocked the statue of a Confederate soldier off its pillar, shattering it into many pieces. City officials, along with the legal owners of the original statue, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, decided to move it from the courthouse square to a plot that the Daughters owned in a nearby cemetery. But it took a court battle to defeat another group who preferred that the new statue continue to sit in the center of the square. Racial incidents in the city during this time, and some of the official comments at the dedication ceremony in the cemetery, indicated the statue’s racist meaning for the group that had wanted to keep it in the square. The resistance to this statue and the latter’s indicated meaning – an oracle for racial bigotry – was made clear by the reaction after the statue was installed in the cemetery during the summer of 2015: Its “flat surfaces were covered with painted slogans, including ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ‘Jim Crow,’ ‘White Supremacy,’ and ‘We should not honor the white supremacists in this way, whether the KKK, the Nazi Party, or the [Confederate States of America]” (Beetham 2016: 18).2

Public art and its status as art We can divide the criterion of public art as an act of citizenship into a political part and an aesthetic part. The political part includes acts of resistance to the power of capitalist domination, racism, and other oracles. The resistance to capital was illustrated by Wodiczko’s The Homeless Projection and the resistance to racism by the words spray-painted on the Confederate monument. The political part of the criterion also includes acts that innovatively valorize democracy as a whole. Before turning to those acts, however, it is appropriate to introduce the aesthetic part of the criterion first. This is because the words spray-painted on the Confederate statue do not seem to be art either in intent or effect and yet many contemporary artists and critics have questioned whether any clear line can be drawn between art and non-art. The question raised by these artists and critics are often provoked by the tendency in the West to regard the European tradition in art as setting the standard for what counts as art and also for what constitutes the different periods in its history. This Western metanarrative tends to exclude art by women, ethnic minorities, and people outside the West, and to refer to their art as “crafts” or by some other less exalted term. Because the history of art in the West involves time and the idea of evolutionary progress, its metanarrative suggests a single line of temporal development as well as geographical prominence. For that reason, the contemporary backlash against the Western metanarrative is often expressed in temporal terms, as evidenced by the names of three of these dissenting tendencies: contemporaneity, heterochronicity, and anachronicity (Didi-Huberman 2003; Moxey 2013; Osborne 2013; Smith 2009; Smithson 1972). These tendencies hold that art is heterochronic – consisting of many different temporalities – rather than being the single, teleological temporality constituted by the Western metanarrative of art. They also maintain that some art objects can become unmoored from their historical context and disrupt the context in which they are now experienced. This trans-temporal event suggests that artworks have agency (Gell 1998), that they are what I earlier called “quasi-voices.” Indeed, even the aesthetic dimension of current artworks can help break with contexts that otherwise would assign these objects a more standard meaning or effect. Some of the contemporary thinkers who agree that the Western metanarrative of art overarrogates its claim of supremacy nonetheless caution against the relativism that would seemingly 153

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follow from the absence of such a standard. Keith Moxey, for example, holds that we at least have to operate with the “fiction” of a universal time or periodicity in order to be able to talk comparatively and critically about art that comes from non-Western as well as Western sources (Moxey 2013: 44–47). Paul Wood specifically thinks that contemporary art has to have a more stabilizing identity than the “pluralist relativism” implied by those who claim that this art escapes all periodicity (is neither modern, postmodern, nor any other identifying category) (2014: 280– 291). This argument is also reflected in the positions held by some leading philosophers of art. For example, Alain Badiou holds the extreme view (“inaesthetics”) that art has its own, selfcontained or “immanent” truth and is thus, as art, uncontaminated by political truth (2005: 9). In contrast, Jacques Rancière rejects this self-containment of art and argues that “the aesthetic regime” is the prevailing form of art: art is inseparable from types of non-art, particularly the political realm. He sees the two dimensions – the aesthetic and the political – as constituting an often-fruitful tension within artworks. He nonetheless limits the political dimension of such artworks to suggestions of new forms of community and not to art that overtly serves emancipatory aims (2009: 32, 63). In speaking of “participatory art,” Claire Bishop applauds the overt political aims of its practitioners but chides them for their failure to recognize the aesthetic dimension of their artworks or for their explicit eschewing of that dimension in the name of the purity of their political goals. She therefore effectively endorses Rancière’s aesthetic regime of art but renders it inclusive of the overtly political concerns that he excludes in the case of art (Bishop 2012: 28, 29–30). All of the above comments pertain to public art as well as to art generally.They are important to our topic because if there is no way of distinguishing between art and non-art then we cannot in principle formulate a criterion for evaluating public art as an act of citizenship. To take a step in the direction of showing that the criterion concerning public art is tenable, I contend that we should establish its aesthetic part by endorsing the expanded version of the aesthetic regime of art: the aesthetic aura of a public artwork must augment the effectiveness of its political content in order to count as an act of citizenship in a democratic city; that is, the artwork must not be reduced to a striking display – to the oracle of aesthetic spectacle – that precludes or distracts from the political meaning the work might have; nor must the work be reduced to a political philosophy or polemic at the expense of its aesthetic aura. The protest messages scribbled on the statue of the Confederate soldier are acceptable politics for many of us, but probably not as art.This conclusion (and thus our criterion) provides some stability to the idea of public art without significantly limiting its heterogeneity (Evans 2016a, 2019).

Public art as an innovative valorization of the democratic city We have just finished illustrating one set of acts within the political part of our criterion for public art – those involving resistance to oracles. We’ve also introduced the aesthetic part of the criterion. We still must consider the second set of acts within the criterion’s political part. Those acts consist of public artworks that innovatively valorize the democratic city as a whole and its three political virtues. Erika Doss provides many examples of such works in her book Memorial Mania. She introduces them according to how they are “archives of public affect,” the material embodiment of different types of public “feelings and emotions” (2010: 13). Under the label of “anger,” Doss presents a memorial by Judith Baca, Danzas Indigenas. This memorial and its anger commemorate the suffering of Indians under the Spanish and Anglos in the area and times to which Danzas Indigenas most immediately refers; but perhaps more or at least equally important, it also innovatively valorizes the diversity and solidarity of the democratic city. Indeed, Doss says that Danzas Indigenas is recognized as “a democratizing model of community-based 154

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public art” (2010: 366). My treatment of this artwork will rely on Doss’s presentation of it, various pertinent websites, and my own observations.3 In 1993, Baca was commissioned by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the City of Baldwin Park to create a public artwork at the entrance of the city’s commuter rail station. The explanatory plaque at the site of Danzas Indigenas describes the public artwork as consisting of an outdoor plaza, a 20-foot-high arch, the open platform area of the rail station, the commuter shelters, metate sitting benches, and tracks, all going down to the end of the platform.The arch is situated between the plaza and the platform, marking the end of the plaza and the beginning of the platform as you go toward the trains (Figure 12.5). Two planters at the entrance to the plaza, each with an oak and a cactus, represent the mixing of the indigenous (the original inhabitants) and Spanish cultures.The architectural outline of the nearby San Gabriel Mission is reproduced on a large part of the surface of the plaza. The site plans of the three missions closest to Baldwin Park (they include the San Gabriel Mission) are contained in the floor patterns of the open platform that begins on the other side of arch. The plaque goes on to state that “the elliptical shapes of two lines of dancers of the Gabrielino and Chumash tribes” are “woven over and through” the patterns on both sides of the arch. The texts inscribed on these lines and patterns contain English and Spanish, as well as the traditional languages of the Gabrielino or Tongva, Chumash, and Luiseno nations. Some of these texts contain information on the cattle raised and grape vines grown at these missions, juxtaposed with the number of Indians forced by the Spanish to carry out this labor and to die there. The arch itself is designed as the partial ruin of a Spanish colonial structure. The side of the arch facing the plaza and signifying the past contains the reproduction of a Tongva pictograph that represents the passage of a young woman into mature womanhood and, at the bottom of it, a pictograph addition designed by Baca. The latter depicts “the ending of the Mission era and the coming of harmony.” The other side of the arch, the one facing the train platform and

Figure 12.5  Judith F. Baca © 1993, Danzas Indigenas, Baldwin Park, California


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the commuters as they leave the train, represents the present and contains engraved statements that express the hopes of anonymous Baldwin Park citizens. This side also has “Baldwin Park” inscribed at the top; on the other side of the arch, the name “Sunigna” – the original Tongva name for the region – is prominently displayed. To pass through the arch on their way to the city, the arriving commuters have to first walk around a prayer mound covered with inlaid stones and placed just in front of the arch and thus in the position of the altar in the San Gabriel Mission floor plan. This placement emphasizes the cultural hybridity that is evident throughout the design of the memorial. The mound itself commemorates Toypurina, a 23-year-old Tongva woman and healer who led a revolt against the Mission in 1785. Baca finishes the public artwork with the words “memory and willpower” inscribed on the last bench of the platform. She says that these two mental faculties are “the basis for [the] preservation of any culture and [an] important teaching of the Chumash.” If we can assume that O. Henry and Iris Marion Young would find congenial the view of Deutsche that I introduced earlier, we can take all three of these thinkers as celebrating the idea of a city as having an agonistic form of democracy. This type of democracy is poignantly expressed in the 2005 and 2007 protests revolving around Danzas Indigenas. A white-supremacist group in California, Save Our State (SOS), attacked Danzas Indigenas, especially for some of the words inscribed on its arch: “This land was Mexican once, was Indian always and is. And will be again” (a quote from Chicana poet Gloria Anzalduá). The SOS group also interpreted one of the many anonymous inscriptions by Baldwin Park citizens, “It was better before they came,” as referring to Anglos, and ignored more inclusive ones such as “The kind of community people dream of, rich and poor, brown, yellow, red, white, all living together.” Ironically, the word “they” in the phrase that caught the attention and umbrage of SOS was actually part of the statement made by an anonymous Anglo resident of Baldwin Park who had Mexican immigrants in mind. The first SOS protest took place in 2005 and was greeted with the clamorous reaction of a large number of Baldwin Park citizens and their allies. However, the citizens of Baldwin Park soon realized that this more violent form of protest played into SOS’s propaganda and their strategy to use lawsuits and other means to bankrupt the city. They therefore changed their tactics for the next time the SOS returned.These new tactics involved using a 90-foot-long mobile mural titled You Are My Other Me, a translation of the Mayan concept-word “in lak ech.” This mural consisted of a chain of marchers carrying placards with images and quotes on both sides – for example, “good art confuses racists” and “America turns its back on hate groups.” In other words, this counter-protest was a celebratory festival, disarming the hate-motivated approach of SOS with “love, humor, dignity, compassion, understanding, indigenous spirituality, inclusivity, and resistance.”4 Altogether, the counter-protestors consisted of hundreds of Baldwin Park residents, students, city politicians, musicians, poets, dancers, performance artists, guerrilla theater groups, and peace organization activists. The mayor of the city proclaimed: “This monument [presumably both Danzas Indigenous and You Are My Other Me] represents our city, our people and all America” (Doss 2010: 373). With respect to the criterion for evaluating public art as an act of citizenship in a democratic city, Danzas Indigenas and You Are My Other Me are acts of the political part of the criterion that resist oracles, white supremacy in this case. Both memorials could also be said to satisfy the second type of acts that are sanctioned by the political part of the criterion, the ones that innovatively valorize democracy and its three political virtues. But this latter accomplishment is demonstrated most obviously in the mix of the various languages and ethnic groups in Danzas Indigenas. This mixture affirms two of the three political virtues, heterogeneity and fecundity. Indeed, one sign of its fecundity is its production of the third virtue, solidarity. This virtue is indicated by the intermingling of the signs of the different ethnicities and of other elements of 156

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the memorial, and most strikingly by the two interlacing lines of the indigenous dancers. They express the idea of the unity we have been seeking, one composed of difference rather than imposed on it. Besides the memorial’s material representation of this type of unity, it is affirmed also by the citizens’ performance of it in their way of living and protesting together, as well as by their statements and their adoption of Danzas Indigenas as their city’s symbol. This unity composed of difference is valorized once more by the citizens’ defense of it and its symbol in peacefully resisting the racist oracle of SOS.

The criterion as an “event” I have offered a sketch of a criterion for assessing public artworks as acts of citizenship in the urban spaces of democratic cities. Several examples have illustrated the criterion’s political and aesthetic parts. The political part consisted of resistance to oracles and of the innovative valorization of the three political virtues. This resistance, along with the processual nature of monuments, was exemplified by Wodiczko’s The Homeless Projection, the graffiti defacement of Reidsville’s Confederate Soldier Monument, and You Are My Other Me. The innovative valorization of the three political virtues was depicted, in particular, by Baca’s Danzas Indigenas. The aesthetic part of the criterion – that is, an effective tension between the aesthetic and political dimensions of a public artwork – was captured by all of the above examples except for the graffiti defacement of the Confederate soldier statue. If I ended the chapter here, I would leave the impression that our criterion allows us to stand outside the world and impose our judgements upon it and the public art we encounter there. But if we take the city of O. Henry and Iris Marion Young as epitomizing society and our world, then all judgments are the expressions of voices contesting clamorously over the meaning of the city, democracy, public art, and the many other themes that our surroundings suggest. This agonistic interplay is what many contemporary philosophers call an “event.”5 As such, the interplay among these voices throws us, as their enunciators, ahead of ourselves into a future which is always and only “to come” – a future which always and only defers the arrival of the voice that we think might have the answers to the indecidable questions we pose.6 Because we cannot live without seeking these answers, the acknowledgement of their indecidability, their intrinsic deferability, helps us resist the oracles that wish to seal up public space and eliminate the creative interplay of voices in the name of a final and dominating truth. Public artworks, as we saw, can participate in this resistance, interrupting oracular discourses, and, at the same time, producing alternative visions of democratic life through their aesthetics and their political intimations. Although the inconclusiveness of the interplay among our voices, the indecidability of exactly what we are after, may also seem discouraging, it allows us to work out the best answers at which we can arrive.These answers must be something like what we can call a “dialogic a priori”: not a final answer, but one that temporarily wins out in the contest among the many voices that occupy our present moment, and which seems to hold for as far as we can imagine into the future from within this same moment. If we remain true to acknowledging their intrinsic deferability, these answers will not themselves turn into oracles. This conclusion also holds for the public art criterion we have been seeking. It, like the public artworks it wishes to assess, is a participant, a voice, in the ongoing interplay among the voices of the city, in the ongoing event of our social existence. For that reason, our criterion is not just a set of guidelines for assessing public art as an act of citizenship. Rather, it like the other voices is inherently unfinalizable and functions in three ways that assist its adjudicating role: first, as a lure for always further diverging or converging articulations of itself; second, as an interruption of any articulation that would declare itself the final word on what it is; and, 157

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last, as an inspiration always to question whether it as well as our public artworks are supporting the idea of the democratic city and its three political virtues of solidarity, heterogeneity, and fecundity. In other words, the criterion is paradoxically indecidable and at the same time revealing, like the democratic city itself.

Notes 1 For more on public space, see Kohn’s distinction between “public space” and “social space” and her emphasis on the former as a way of establishing social solidarity (2004: 196); Miller’s idea that public space in democratic life must be a “hybrid of actual physical spaces and active public spheres,” where the latter means “a dynamic relationship among publics formed around issues of concern and bodies accountable for addressing these issues” (2007: xii, xvii); and Butler’s treatment of public space in terms of her “performative theory of assembly” (2015: 70–77, 155). One should also read Deutsche’s article on the famous case of Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc, which was originally government sponsored, and how its removal was determined by uncontested and misleading definitions of public space (1996c). See also Miles (1997) for a comprehensive treatment of urban art and spaces. 2 For a critical summary of other defacings of Confederate monuments and the issue of whether they count as transgressive acts of iconoclasm or, instead, vandalism, see Doss (2010: 361–362), Gell (1998), and Evans (2016a). 3 Two key websites for images of Danzas Indigenas and the mobile memorial You Are My Other Me, as well as for official statements by Baca, city citizens, and officials, the white supremacist group Save Our State (SOS), and the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) are and . All quotes on the two memorials and the protests I mention come from these sources. 4 5 See Evans (2008, 2019). 6 See Derrida (2005: 35–36, 38–39, 52–53, 135, 144, 148, 152) and Evans (2016b).

References Badiou, A. (2005) Handbook of Inaesthetics, trans. A. Toscano, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005. Beetham, S. (2016) “From Spray Cans to Minivans: Contesting the Legacy of Confederate Soldier Monuments in the Era of ‘Black Lives Matter’,” Public Art Dialogue 6 (1), pp. 9–33. Bishop, C. (2012) Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, London:Verso. Butler, J. (2015) Notes toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Derrida, J. (2005) Rogues: Two Essays on Reason, trans. P. Brault & M. Naas, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Deutsche, R. (1996a) “Agoraphobia,” in Evictions: Art and Spatial Politics, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp. 269–327. ——— (1996b) “Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Homeless Projection and the Site of Urban ‘Revitalization’,” in Evictions: Art and Spatial Politics, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp. 3–48. ——— (1996c) “Tilted Arc and the Uses of Democracy,” in Evictions: Art and Spatial Politics, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp. 257–268. Didi-Huberman, G. (2003) “Before the Image, Before Time: The Sovereignty of Anachronism,” trans. P. Mason in C. Farago & R. Zwijnenberg (eds.), Compelling Visuality: The Work of Art in and out of History, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 31–44. Doss, E. (2010) Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ——— (ed.) (2016) Public Art Dialogue, Special Edition on Permanence in Public Art 6 (1). Evans, F. (2008) The Multivoiced Body: Society and Communication in the Age of Diversity, New York: Columbia University Press. ——— (2016a) “The Dilemma of Public Art’s Permanence,” in E. Doss (ed.), Public Art Dialogue, Special Edition on Permanence in Public Art, Guest Editor, Erika Doss 6 (1), pp. 1–24. ——— (2016b) “Derrida and the ‘Autoimmunity’ of Democracy,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Special SPEP Edition 30 (3), pp. 303–315.


Political aesthetics of art in urban spaces ——— (2019) Public Art and the Fragility of Democracy: An Essay in Political Aesthetics, New York: Columbia University Press. Fraser, N. (1977) “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy,” in Justice Interruptus: Critical Reflections on the “Postsocialist” Condition, New York: Routledge, pp. 69–98. Gell, A. (1998) Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Henry, O. (1953) “The Voice of the City,” in The Complete Works of O. Henry,Vol. 2, Garden City, New York: Doubleday. Isin, E. (2012) Citizens Without Frontiers, London: Continuum. Isin, E. & Nielsen, G. (eds.) (2008) Acts of Citizenship, London: Zed Books. Kammen, M. (2006) Visual Shock: A History of Art Controversies in American Culture, New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Kohn, M. (2004) Brave New Neighborhoods:The Privatization of Public Space, New York: Routledge. Lefort, C. (1986) The Political Forms of Modern Society: Bureaucracy, Democracy, Totalitarianism, J.B. Thompson (ed.), Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Miles, M. (1997) Art, Space and the City: Public Art and Urban Futures, London: Routledge. Miller, K. (2007) Designs on the Public: The Private Lives of New York’s Public Spaces, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Mosse, G. (1991) “Beauty without Sensuality/The Exhibition Entartete Kunst,” in S. Barron (ed.),“Degenerate Art”: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany, New York: Los Angeles County Museum of Art/ Harry N. Abrams, Inc., pp. 25–31. Mouffe, C. (1992) “Democratic Citizenship and the Political Community,” in C. Mouffe (ed.), Dimensions of Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, London:Verso, pp. 34–45. Moxey, K. (2013) Visual Time:The Image in History, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Osborne, P. (2013) Anywhere or Not at All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art, London:Verso. Rancière, J. (2009) Aesthetics and Its Discontents, trans. S. Corcoran, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Savage, K. (2009) Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Smith, T. (2009) What Is Contemporary Art? Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Smithson, R. (1996) “The Spiral Jetty (1972),” in J. Flam (ed.), Robert Smithson, the Collected Writings, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, pp. 143–153. Wodiczko, K. (1986) “The Homeless Projection: A Proposal for the City of New York,” October 38, pp. 3–22. Wood, P. (2014) Western Art and the Wider World, Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. Young, I.M. (1990) Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, pp. 241–247. Zuidervaart, L. (2011) Art in Public: Politics, Economics, and a Democratic Culture, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Further reading R. Deutsche, Evictions: Art and Spatial Politics (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1996). E. Doss, Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2010). F. Evans, Public Art and the Fragility of Democracy: An Essay in Political Aesthetics (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019). K. Moxey, Visual Time:The Image in History (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013). K. Savage, Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2009). I.M.Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990).


13 WALKING THE CITY Flânerie and flâneurs Kathryn Kramer and John Rennie Short

Walking: flânerie’s prehistory Anthropological debate about what came first for hominids, the cerebral or the bipedal, gradually conceded that the account favoring the brain’s precedence was flawed. A new theory based on scans of a well-preserved Australopithecine skull now posits a convincing rationale for foot before thought. A truly vertical posture required narrowing of the pelvis, which problematized childbirth to such an extent that spongier skulls evolved to ease passage through the birth canal.These softer birth skulls hardened gradually over the first two years of life, allowing for larger brains to develop in the meantime (Costandi 2012). Co-evolving bipedalism and brain size consequently led to a fearless breakout of the forest into the savannah and across vaster and wider territory. Other modes of passing through the landscape emerged over time, but walking remains ever vital, and along the way acquired significance beyond mere conveyance. Walking has long served as an effective means toward the contemplation of both the physical and metaphysical and led to tours de force of aesthetic and intellectual production. For centuries such reflective walking was in finest harmony with nature, although not so much the intimidating wild but the cultivated kind of nature – Aristotle’s sacred grove in Athens, Rousseau’s old royal hunting forest outside Paris, Kant’s Königsberg park, Thoreau’s Walden Pond woodlot near Concord. These constitutional walks were inevitably aligned with rural rather than urban pleasures despite protective proximity to city limits. It would seem that groves and gardens resonated with aboriginal memories of grasslands at some deep level of consciousness.1 Walking the city was rarely considered a sufficient motivation to be visionary. Those who especially endorsed the interconnection of walking, “wilderness,” and invention often harshly disparaged the city’s ability to provide any appropriately inspirational pathway. For example, William Wordsworth, one of the most renowned advocates for the poetic benefits of the rural ramble, notoriously describes London in The Prelude as overwhelming to his imagination. In contrast, he describes his beloved Lake District in north England as intensifying to his imagination in its pastoral beauty and predictable seasonal cycles.2 Walking literature and its scholarship is ancient and extensive, encompassing praise for walking’s benefits to both mind and body as well as nurturing great works of art, science, and philosophy. This chapter’s primary focus is walking the city and in particular flâneurs/flâneuses and flânerie (city walkers and their practices of walking through urban space). Flâneurs are 160

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increasingly incorporated by more recent walking history scholarship, but it seems for the most part in rather perfunctory, even grudging, manner. This suggests that the old bias against walking a city remains in place, at least within certain sectors of walking literature, despite going on two centuries of art, poetry, fiction, and multidisciplinary scholarship emerging from treading city streets. A recent example of this reluctant yet obligatory nod to flânerie is Frédéric Gros’s The Philosophy of Walking, originally published in French in 2009 and first appearing in English in 2014. Gros is Wordsworthian throughout, declaring, for example, how a vigorous, long walk in the great outdoors allows a clearing of the mind and thus accentuates the “process of selfliberation,” whereas a city dweller enthralled by metropolitan overstimulation would consider such a trek as “deprivation” (Gros, Howe, & Harper 2014: 12–13). This description of the comparative benefits/pleasures of rural versus urban walking sounds like something uttered by a 19th-century Romantic poet unnerved by London’s excitement, but it is actually strangely ahistorical since Gros is applying his comparison to the present. For Gros, a walker is ever a hiker over mountains who concentrates on the trail whereas a flâneur is ever a stroller through streets who scrutinizes the crowds. Gros may be maintaining the rural/ urban divide for demands of his expository essay style. However, there is a tenacity of this binary even in the face of its effective erasure by 21st-century’s farmland’s semi-urbanization and cities’ sustainable greening (Benton-Short & Short 2013: 2). Not that the divide ever unequivocally existed – it has always been more of a convenient trope – but it does stubbornly persist as actual fact in popular culture. Gros’s book was a bestseller in France in 2009. Likewise, Robert McFarlane’s The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot (McFarlane 2013), wielding the rural/ urban divide as a vivid imaginary, entered the nonfiction bestseller charts at number three. Both essayists adhere to that old-school demarcation between nature and culture, rural and urban. Since a major goal of our literature review is to propose avenues for further research, we suggest investigation into this diehard anachronism’s critical context: what are the reasons over a decade into “the urban century” to downplay walking in the city? The old distinction between the urban and the rural is no longer supportable. Today, city and country are shot through with each other’s traits, rural greenery wired with urban circuitry, the concrete jungle submitted to sustainability. McHale et al. (2015) systematically describe this new urban form unfolding from megacities to suburban industrial parks to wild and rural lands and everything in all combinations in between. Four main patterns of this contemporary urbanization are outlined as complex, connected, diffuse, and diverse. The authors suggest these four urban features and their combinations are giving rise to new forms of “urban/rural mosaics” (5225), spatial complexities that are in serious need of further interdisciplinary research that is “comparative and globally relevant” (5219). We would like to propose flânerie as a tool suitable for this kind of research. A more promising body of rigorous walking history scholarship is currently emerging. Walking Histories, 1800–1914 (Bryant, Burns, & Readman 2016) is a prime example of this new approach. This is an edited volume collecting essays on walking’s modern history. This modern treatment is not only in terms of those chronological parameters of the title but also, as stated in the introduction (subtitled “Modern Walks”), “walking was absolutely central to modern experience in 19th-century Europe” (12). Flânerie is one among many of walking’s “surrounding discourses” (25), which include political protest marches, vagabondage, mountaineering, wandering through museums, studying botany and geology in natural surroundings, and revival of religious pilgrimage – to name just a few of the essays’ subjects. The rural/urban divide remains, but it is appropriately permeable. Gone are the overt or implied value judgements about which space is better for walking. Walking Histories also includes a variety of global perspectives, examining modern walking practices in Australia, Russia, East-Central Europe, and South Asia. 161

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Karen O’Rourke’s Walking and Mapping; Artists as Cartographers (2013) is also part of the current revisionism of walking history. While O’Rourke’s focus is on walking artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, she discusses them less in the context of specific periods or movements than of their walking practices. She designates these practices as “cartographic,” involving conventional mapping to be sure but more associated with embodied movement making marks by various means.The so-called cartographers are conceptual and performance artists, geographers, landscape architects, biomechanics, urban planners, ecologists, and actual mapmakers, committed to a pedestrianism that might otherwise be called a kind of “bipedal aesthetics.”

Flânerie’s history An eccentric urban wanderer, the flâneur was a fixture on the streets of 19th-century Paris almost as soon as shopping arcades appeared and sidewalks widened enough to accommodate leisurely strolling. Flâneurs were publicized as denizens of the streets as early as 1806 in physiologies, popular guidebooks featuring new characters formed by modern Paris.3 As flânerie’s proving ground was a rapidly urbanizing 19th-century Paris, its etymology explicably derives from the French: the verb “flâner” means “to stroll, to loiter, to dawdle” and insinuated initially the practice’s undesirability as mere wasteful idling.4 This pejorative profile faded as novelist Honoré de Balzac featured flâneurs as narrators who celebrated the unexpected pleasures of confronting, describing, and analyzing Parisian modernity (Ferguson 1994: 90). He called them “artist-flâneurs,” a term that poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire subsequently borrowed, using it throughout his “The Salon of 1846” (Baudelaire & Mayne 1965) and most notably in his 1863 essay “The Painter of Modern Life” (Baudelaire & Mayne 1964). In this essay, Baudelaire describes the artist-flâneur as mobilized and inspired by the urban spectacle, driven to make art out of the dazzling effects of architectural demolition and construction, commodity display, and new forms of mass media. The 20th-century social theorist Walter Benjamin calls Baudelaire’s confrontation with Paris streets the phantasmagoria of the urban. Throughout his scholarship, Benjamin vacillates about the nature of the phantasmagoric, whether it describes an active, Baudelairean participation in the urban spectacle and or a hysterical submission to commodity fetishism (Benjamin 1999: 14–15). This ambulant, aesthetic practice as portrayed by Baudelaire and Benjamin is the flânerie most familiar to 20th- and 21st-century readers, writers, artists, and scholars.

The return to the 19th century Many of the recent scholarly converts to flânerie-as-research engage not only in sizable citations of 19th-century Parisian flânerie’s practices but also in mentioning these practices as valid historical precedents of the ethnographic transdisciplinarity that dominates their contemporary scholarship. We cannot assert with any certainty that this citational activity is a direct cause of what amounts to a revisionism of the flâneur’s initial traversal of Parisian streets, but nevertheless there is a growing body of scholarship reappraising the past. Perhaps this update is an attempt to establish a historiography appropriate to contemporary flânerie’s expanding role as a research tool for taking various measures of the urbanizing global. Whether or not this is the case, there is a simultaneity of the retrospective and the contemporaneous. Laura Peters’s article (2012) is very effective as a “historiographic cleanup” of the elements of quaint archaism from “flânerie” in order to favor its evolving currency as a theoretical term for research methodology. Her essay returns to the Paris of the 19th century to recount vividly the flâneur’s evolution from suspicious idler to turtle-walker (standard bearer for flânerie’s slow 162

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pace) to crowd connoisseur (213). However, Peters’s most valuable contribution to flânerie’s current revisionism is her portrayal of the evolution of the poetic flâneur (Baudelaire) to the analytic flâneur (Benjamin) and back again with the return now incorporating that combination of the poetic and the analytic that artists and researchers alike (often in collaboration) find so useful (214). In the process, she credibly links Baudelaire and Benjamin along a persuasive continuum that features varying degrees of their “actor within” and “thinker about” the complex reality of the modern city. Peters does not, as so many do, separate Baudelaire’s sensual celebration of the urban from Benjamin’s intellectual disaffection with it. Instead she writes about the “epistemological implications” of a concept flexible enough to accommodate the embodied and/or intellectual approach according to a wide variety of academic disciplines’ requirements. For Peters, today’s flâneur/flâneuse is “beyond disciplines,” and flânerie is a good fit for “a transdisciplinary way of inquiry” (217).5 Peters’s article is a good source of important discussions of flânerie in French and German (her own translations). Andreas Huyssen’s Miniature Metropolis: Literature in the Age of Photography and Film (2015) attempts something similar by bringing out a more sociological dimension in Baudelaire’s literary flânerie (his prose poems eventually published as Paris Spleen) and a more literary one in Benjamin’s sociological flânerie (his “city portraits”). In a much-needed study that looks at the popular, short form of urban writing known as miniatures (also known as feuilletons), often published in newspapers, Huyssen examines this journalistic genre about metropolitan space from Baudelaire to Jünger. Reading the chapters on Baudelaire and Benjamin (Huyssen 2015: 23–51, 181–217) in conjunction with Peters’s article would be ideal for a student seeking to acquire an appropriate historiographical foundation for investigating contemporary flânerie. Recent work reexamining flânerie’s modernist origins also suggests new ways into flânerie scholarship and/or to apply flânerie. Fresh, often interdisciplinary studies do emerge, mainly in tandem with sensory studies. We have made a case elsewhere for the 19th-century Baudelairean sensual to be reinscribed in flâneuristic practices of the 21st century (Kramer & Short 2011). Still, it is fair to say that while Baudelaire did ride all five senses into his crowd immersions, there has not been until recently a true “sensual turn” within 19th-century studies of flânerie. In 2012, Aimée Boutin edited a special issue of Dix-Neuf: Rethinking the Flâneur: Flânerie and the Senses, declaring in her editorial that the sensual turn followed the “return of the body” in the 1990s and early 2000s. Flânerie was a prime candidate for this sensual expansion since Parisian boulevards and alleys alike were as redolent, noisy, delicious, and textural as they were visual.This issue covers all of the five senses and is a model of how to consider the sensual as a 21st-century flânerie moves all around the vast, urbanizing earth, encountering innumerable cultures with diverse sensual arrays. In 2015, Boutin published City of Noise: Sound and Nineteenth-Century Paris, dedicated to flâneurs’ encounters with sounds and noises on their city strolls, not only establishing a case for “aural modernity” but also for “acoustic flânerie.” The same year, another major book appeared, devoted to noise and 19th-century Paris and this time centered around Baudelaire, An Atmospherics of the City: Baudelaire and the Poetics of Noise by Ross Chambers. Chambers has also written a lively book, Loiterature (1999), parts of which should be read as exemplary flânerie scholarship – part personal narrative, part research – on the brink of the 21st century. The other parts of Loiterature are closer to walking literature, although most definitely not in the hiking/nature walking history guise but in terms of its negation – the dilatory, the unwholesome, the wayward. We notice the same kind of play with ideas/terminology in An Atmospherics of the City: there is the straightforward discussion of the urban noise that finds its way into Baudelaire’s poetry of Paris, the discussion of noisy atmospherics as in messy urban weather, and the discussion of the “noise” of Baudelaire’s “sawing” city themes and characters formerly of novel scale and breadth down to poem size. We encourage students to research this 163

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obvious aural trending. 2015 was also an unprecedented year for noise/sound art at the Venice Biennale: ten major installations! An additional recent work of revisionism devoted to 19th-century Parisian flânerie and beyond (in terms of both time and space) was published in 2014 by Richard Wrigley. He edited The Flâneur Abroad: Historical and International Perspectives to include essays devoted to flânerie’s precedents in baroque and neoclassical European art and to practices in Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Le Havre, London, Madrid, New York, Prague, and St. Petersburg (primarily in the 19th and 20th centuries). Significantly for our mission to revive thoroughly Baudelaire’s conceptions and practices of flânerie for the 21st century, there is a decided turning away from Benjamin. The Flâneur Abroad is a useful compendium of scholarship on par with Tester’s The Flâneur (1994).

Flânerie today While flânerie’s origins are 19th-century Paris, its practice remains central to analyzing the urban well beyond the eurocentric West. Present-day flânerie’s creative production reflects and contributes to new discursive combinations of humanities, social sciences, and sciences devoted to urban analysis through movement, which may be fittingly described as flânerie’s drift across the disciplines. Random, solo strolling accompanied by sharp observation throughout any urban or urbanizing area continues to be ideal for taking its measure; serendipitous discovery is still prized; a phenomenological approach – embodied, multisensual, affective – is still emphasized. Baudelaire’s poetic presence is still felt. Benjamin’s negative connotations are de-emphasized. What is noticeably different about today’s flânerie is where it can go.We have already alluded to the much wider definition of the urban that galvanizes flânerie. Cities at all scales, at all corners of the globe, and incorporating vast rural streaks yield to flâneuristic investigation. Short makes an important case for cities not necessarily achieving classic world city status being interconnected with those that have or are otherwise linked via assorted networks that connect to their local specificities (2004: 22–23).These networked globalizing cities are in a constant state of reglobalization (22), thus in constant demand of flânerie’s exploratory skill sets.Their networked linkages make notions of center and periphery relative. Susan Stanford Friedman uses the term “planetarity” to mean encompassing “multitudes on a global grid of relational networks. And that means encompassing contradictions, tensions, oppositions, asymmetries” (2016: 79). Globalization’s circuits as much as reglobalizing cities themselves have reinvigorated flânerie. Along the circuits, flâneurs/flâneuses are nomad-flâneurs, making pilgrimages of sorts to various locations in order to navigate, interpret, and represent the bombardment of contemporary urban development, including that of the so-called urban peripheral. In Circulation and the City: Essays in Urban Culture, Alexandra Boutros and Will Straw propose a new formulation, the “circulatory turn,” which extends Short’s ideas about reglobalization, focusing on types of circulation both within and between cities of all sizes, which interrelate the local and the global all along the ways (2010). This is a very useful anthology of essays for understanding the urbanizing global and flânerie’s role in taking its measure. An important research topic to consider is how contemporary flânerie can investigate and instrumentalize this circulatory turn. While Baudelaire’s affective embodiment still applies to moving about the city and immersing oneself in crowds, his focus on the urban spectacular is now curtailed in favor of the everyday. Another edited volume, Walking in the European City: Quotidian Mobility and Urban Ethnography, discusses flânerie as a method of observing everyday city life, especially how it has often been overlooked in favor of the metropolitan ecstatic (Shortell & Brown 2016). Although admittedly more peripheral than the original flâneur’s urban stomping grounds, European venues are still 164

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the focus. The authors also introduce a new range of scholars, some published in English for the first time. This book is also a valuable update to Keith Tester’s seminal The Flâneur (1994) by addressing throughout how well flânerie tackles the quotidian. These two works provide a solid and accessible background for the researcher to absorb and assess a body of scholarship that confirms and expands both the classic and contemporary history of flânerie. Joan Fitzpatrick’s The Idea of the City: Early-Modern, Modern and Post-Modern Location and Communities (2009) is not strictly about flânerie, although the concept appears throughout this book of essays, both directly discussed and implied by defining a city through collections of experiences. The phenomenological core of the book accords with what we have discussed as “neo-Baudelairean” (Kramer & Short 2011: 324–326). The Idea of the City comprises lots of recent thinking about wider definitions of cities and their boundaries and suggests new historiographic pathways that may serve a more rigorous defining of flânerie. Flânerie’s bibliography continues to develop. Our research (Kramer & Short 2011; Short 2012; Kramer 2014) examines consortiums of social scientists, philosophers, art historians, artists, and beyond that deploy 21st-century versions of flânerie derived from various mergers of their respective fields. Such deployment cultivates direct, experiential, foot-based contact with today’s urban order as research – research much more likely to be termed “flâneurist” than simply “fieldwork” (Mould 2015: 6). We consider this purposeful invoking of “flânerie” specifically as a current, scientific term all the more reason to re-present it with certain methodical precision. Our work functions well as a review of the recent literature on flânerie from the early 1990s through the first decade of a new century when scholars from multiple and overlapping disciplines increasingly revive and redefine flânerie with their various disciplinary tools as means to interact with and study the drama of urbanization in a perpetually reglobalizing world. Flânerie as a practice is now employed by many disciplines and has reclaimed the embodiment, experientialism, and expressive aesthetic that characterized its 19th-century manifestations. Today’s flânerie favors fieldwork over the theoreticization that dominated its application throughout most of the 20th century (Kramer & Short 2011: 332). Flânerie is ideally suited to exploring and addressing urban scales from exurban to megacity, processing information and producing scholarly (and artistic) narratives through embodied ways of knowing. Flânerie serves the key research need as defined by McHale and colleagues for studying the 21st-century urban in anthropocentric terms. Flânerie’s multidisciplinary, multidimensional nature brings together the arts and sciences with regard to the objects, manner, and results of its study. While scholarship bringing together flânerie and the Anthropocene is nascent, the work of Ursula K. Heise – a leading representative of the new field of the environmental humanities – is making inroads. Sense of Place and Sense of Planet (2008) and “Terraforming for Urbanists” (2016) discuss flâneuristic tactics in anthropocentrically urban contexts. Flânerie is now eagerly claimed as a central, ethnographical practice by a variety of “turns,” framing the social implications of the movement of people, things, and ideas (Adey 2014). These ever-multiplying “turns” include the aesthetic turn, the affective turn, the creative turn, the performative turn, the sensory turn, the spatial turn, and the topographical turn, to name just a few of the mobility-inflected, multidisciplinary trends of directed research. Flânerie’s place in mobility studies is far more appropriate than in walking history. A highly recommended read along these lines is Justin Spinney’s summation of mobile methods (2015). Spinney clearly outlines embodied practice, bio-sensing technology, affect, and phenomenology, all of which contemporary flânerie manifests to varying degrees and combinations. We stress contemporary flânerie’s great potential as a method that advances a variety of disciplinary turns. Research focused upon flânerie’s application within a particular turn would be rewarding. Also welcome would be research leading to the possible production of a similar 165

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kind of compendium for flânerie as Noel Salazar and Kiran Jayaram’s recent Keywords of Mobilities: Critical Engagements (2016) provides for mobilities, increasing the scholarly rigor that the concept deserves.Yet, “flânerie” still suffers from loose overuse as a kind of a showy synonym for pedestrianism or walkability. There are also new takes on flânerie. Two recent examples, nighttime flânerie and embodied flânerie, are among the most recent. Matthew Beaumont (2015) recounts the history of nighttime flânerie in the unlit cities of the premodern era and the half-lit cities of the early modern. He describes the nighttime perambulations of poets, novelists, and writers in London from the days of Shakespeare to Dickens. Through his discussion of walking the nocturnal, he also provides an alternative history of London. Nighttime flânerie provides a kind of understanding of the “counter-Enlightenment.” Garnette Cadogan writes of walking while black ( walking-while-black/). Born in Jamaica, he walked the streets of Kingston as a flâneur. Later, he moved to New Orleans and then New York City. Walking while black in a US city now registered as a threat. Flânerie became a more complex negotiation as he sought to reassure white females and not to antagonize the police. Walking while black restricts yet transforms the experience of flânerie. Walking is always an embodied experience. Yet bodies are coded racially, by gender and socially. There is significant body of work on the role of flâneuse. Kramer’s special issue of Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational and Gender Studies: Today’s Global Flâneuse (2011: 11–88) reviews an important body of scholarly work that asserts the flâneuse as a distinct reality in the 19th-century metropolis of the West to the globalized present, making a convincing case that public (so-called masculine) and domestic (so-called feminine) spheres were never so mutually exclusive as to completely preclude a proactive feminine presence in the streets. Just as her male counterpart, the flâneuse can, within certain limitations, achieve some anonymity on the street, be a detached observer, and produce social criticism and art from her experience. Kramer’s volume is also an early recognition of the ability of today’s global flâneuse to engage cities’ networked circuits even when specific cities are not as accepting of women’s free roaming of their streets. Basnia Sliwinska (2015: 287–309) continues the consideration of the nomadic flâneuse throughout the various global networks in her investigation of women’s artistic practices as forms of what she calls “transnational embodied belonging along edge habitats.” In a true Baudelairean tradition, Lauren Elkin’s Flâneuse:Women Walk the City in Paris, New York,Tokyo, Venice and London (2016) is a memoir of her own experiences along the circuits of the 20th and 21st centuries intertwined with a well-researched, updated history of the flâneuse dating from George Sand’s day to the present. Flânerie was always freighted with class, race, and power relations. These relations are today as much a source of analysis as the embodied experience within which they are embedded.

Conclusion This literature review presents major works on flânerie published in the past half-decade. In the process of documenting this new research, we also make a case for reconsidering flânerie’s history. We identified of a number of retrospective histories reexamining flânerie’s 19th-century origins. We hope that more research into this “historiographic turn” for flânerie takes place in the future. There are also avenues of research suggested here for contemporary flânerie in terms of new spatial aspects of urbanization as well as new class, racial, and gendered dimensions. We signpost a widening of the experience and analysis of flânerie from the usual suspects of affluent white males treading the capital cities of the West to an encompassing of other types of flânerie in other cities and in different types of urban forms. 166

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Notes 1 One of the best discussions of the literature of walking, especially of the mostly unspoken rural/urban divide that marks the genre, remains Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust (2000), which also is one of the earliest walking histories to present the prehistorical evidence. 2 Raymond Williams’s analysis of Wordsworth’s ambivalent interactions with London in The Country and the City is required reading when considering the growing impact of the urban experience in the 19th century (1975: 127–152). 3 Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson’s chapter on flânerie in her book on 19th-century Paris delves into its Parisian history going back to the very beginning of the century and is highly recommended to the student researcher (1994: 81–114). 4 Rebecca Solnit’s summary of flânerie’s linguistic derivation is most thorough (2000: 198–199). 5 Peters’s citing of Alfonso Montuori’s definition of transdisciplinarity bears quotation as it is descriptively applicable to flânerie’s epistemological implications: an attitude towards inquiry, informed by certain epistemological presuppositions and an effort to frame inquiry as a creative process that recognizes as central the subjectivity of the inquirer and challenges the underlying organization of knowledge. (2012: 217)

References Adey, P. (ed.) (2014) Routledge Handbook of Mobilities, New York: Routledge. Baudelaire, C. & Mayne, J. (1964) The Painter of Modern Life, and Other Essays, London: Phaidon. ——— (1965) Art in Paris, 1845–1862: Salons and Other Exhibitions Reviewed by Charles Baudelaire, London: Phaidon. Beaumont, M. (2015) Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London Chaucer to Dickens, London:Verso. Benjamin, W. (1999) Paris, Capital of the 19th Century, Exposé in R. Tiedemann (ed.), The Arcades Project, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, pp. 14–26. Benton-Short, L. & Short, J.R. (2013) Routledge Critical Introductions to Urbanism and the City: Cities and Nature, 2nd ed., New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Boutin, A. (2012) “Rethinking the Flâneur: Flânerie and the Senses,” Dix-Neuf 16 (2), pp. 124–132. ——— (2015) City of Noise: Sound and Nineteenth-Century Paris, Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois. Boutros, A. & Straw, W. (2010) Circulation and the City: Essays on Urban Culture, Montreal: McGillQueen’s University Press. Bryant, C.C., Burns, A., & Readman, P. (2016) Walking Histories, 1800–1914, London: Palgrave Macmillan. Cadogan, G. (2016) Walking While Black [], Literary Hub, July 8. Chambers, R. (1999) Loiterature, Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press. ——— (2015) An Atmospherics of the City: Baudelaire and the Poetics of Noise, New York: Fordham University Press. Costandi, M. (2012) Bipedalism, Birth, and Brain Evolution, The Guardian, May 7, . Elkin, L. (2016) Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London, London: Chatto and Windus. Ferguson, P.P. (1994) Paris as Revolution: Writing the Nineteenth-Century City, . Fitzpatrick, J. (2009) The Idea of the City: Early-Modern, Modern and Post-Modern Locations and Communities, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Friedman, S.S. (2016) Planetary Modernisms: Provocations on Modernity across Time, New York: Columbia University Press. Gros, F., Howe, J., & Harper, C. (2014) A Philosophy of Walking, London:Verso. Heise, U.K. (2008) Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Heise, U.K. (2016) “Terraforming for Urbanists,” Novel 49 (1), pp. 10–25, doi:10.1215/00295132-3458181. Huyssen, A. (2015) Miniature Metropolis: Literature in an Age of Photography and Film, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Kathryn Kramer and John Rennie Short Kramer, K. (2011) Editorial in K. Kramer (ed.), Wagadu:Today’s Global Flâneuse 7, Philadelphia: Xlibris. ——— (2014) “Flânerie’s Art and Measure of the Urbanizing Global,” Visual Resources 30 (4), pp. 336–353, doi:10.1080/01973762.2014.964656. Kramer, K. & Short, J.R. (2011) “Flânerie and the Globalizing City,” City 15 (3–4), pp. 322–342. McFarlane, R. (2013) The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, New York: Penguin Books. McHale, M., Pickett, S., Barbosa, O., Bunn, D. et al. (2015), “The New Global Urban Realm: Complex, Connected, Diffuse, and Diverse Social-Ecological Systems,” Sustainability 7 (5), pp. 5211–5240, doi:10.3390/su705521. Mould, O. (2015) Urban Subversion and the Creative City, London: Routledge. O’Rourke, K. (2013) Walking and Mapping: Artists as Cartographers, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Peters, L. (2012) “About Turtles, Pickpockets, and Transdisciplinarity: Some Reflections on the Epistemological Implications of Flânerie,” World Futures 68 (3), pp. 212–219, doi:10.1080/02604027.2012.668418. Salazar, N.B. & Jayaram, K. (2016) Keywords of Mobility: Critical Engagements, New York: Berghahn. Short, J.R. (2004) Global Metropolitan: Globalizing Cities in a Capitalist World, London: Routledge. ——— (2012) “Representing Country in the Creative Postcolonial City,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102 (1), pp. 129–150, doi:10.1080/00045608.2011.583576. Shortell,T. & Brown, E. (2016) Walking in the European City: Quotidian Mobility and Urban Ethnography, New York: Routledge. Sliwinska, B. (2015) “Transnational Embodied Belonging Within ‘Edge Habitats’,” Third Text 29 (4–5), pp. 287–309, doi:10.1080/09528822.2016.1145891 Solnit, R. (2000) Wanderlust: A History of Walking, New York: Penguin Group. Spinney, J. (2015) “Close Encounters? Mobile Methods, (post)Phenomenology and Affect,” Cultural Geographies 22 (2), pp. 231–246, doi:10.1177/1474474014558988. Tester, K. (2014 [1994]) The Flâneur, New York: Routledge. Williams, R. (1975) The Country and the City, New York: Oxford University Press. Wrigley, R. (2014) Flâneur Abroad Historical and International Perspectives, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.



Introduction Creative placemaking has emerged as an influential model of urban (and sometimes small town) renewal and community building. Utilizing humanities and arts content and methodologies to strengthen community and place, creative placemaking has gained global recognition and momentum in recent years (Rich & Tsitsos 2016: 736). Although there are some important concerns about the ways in which creative placemaking projects might serve neoliberal agendas that primarily serve the interests of investors, I argue that many creative placemaking projects can and do further social justice agendas in cities and work to strengthen and build communities. Critical philosophical reflection on the movement as well as on specific projects can help us better understand (a) the ways in which creative placemaking might help create more just urban communities, and (b) the role(s) that philosophers might play in urban planning and community building practices. In particular, I argue that both the arts and philosophy are enriched and are more likely to contribute to just cities when they work in dialogue with one another and with those who claim a right to the city.To make this case, I will bridge philosophical argument with the art of storytelling.

What is creative placemaking? In the United States, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) takes credit for coining the term “creative placemaking.” The NEA’s Director of Design Programs, Jason Schubach, makes this claim: “In 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) decided to focus on the role of arts organizations, artists, and designers in making better places and decided to call it ‘creative placemaking’ ” (2016: 1). The definition and the practice have evolved over time. Torontobased Artscape defines it as follows: “Creative Placemaking is an evolving field of practice that intentionally leverages the power of the arts, culture and creativity to serve a community’s interest while driving a broader agenda for change, growth and transformation in a way that also builds character and quality of place” (Artscape 2018). United States–based Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national infrastructure organization that has focused on affordable housing, has taken a leadership role in creative placemaking activities and defines it in terms of inclusion, collaboration, and community development, with a focus on the scale of the 169

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neighborhood: “Artistic and cultural activities strengthen a community, particularly when they reveal and celebrate its character and identity. At LISC, we support residents coming together to make social, physical and economic changes in their neighborhoods through the arts and culture” (LISC 2016). “Creative placemaking” started to become a commonly used term a year after it was coined, in 2010, with the publication of a National Endowment for the Arts white paper written by Ann Markusen and Ann Gadwa and the initiation of the NEA’s Our Town grants project (Schupbach & Ball 2016: 2). In their paper, Markusen and Gadwa define the desired outcomes of creative placemaking in terms of livability and economic development, with an additional focus on diversity (2010: 7). They further define “livability” in terms of the “safety, aesthetic, expressive, and environmental concerns of people who live, work, and visit” (2010: 3, 7) – that is, in terms of quality of life. They argue that artists attract more people circulating the city at all hours, giving them both more satisfying things to do and also creating a greater sense of safety. The animation of underutilized or abandoned spaces can also enhance streetscapes and make once dark, abandoned areas come alive while also instilling a sense of pride of place. Markusen and Gadwa argue that creative placemaking also furthers economic development and does so in several ways. Creative places become “incubators of arts and cultural enterprise” (2010: 8) as young people become more involved in and trained in the arts; more ideas are fostered in creative practices and spaces; local dollars are captured by new arts and cultural activities; visitors are attracted to the new, distinctive arts and cultural hub; and some arts and cultural productions might be exported elsewhere (2010: 9–14). Markusen and Gadwa have much less to say about diversity even though they identify it as an outcome of creative placemaking. But others note that artist-led projects can both highlight specific cultural practices in a community and can also foster more inclusive thinking and participation (see, e.g., LISC 2016). Although the term “creative placemaking” is relatively new, many of the practices date back many years. As LISC’s Director of Creative Placemaking, Lynne McCormack, notes, “placemaking” has been used in many urban planning circles since at least the 1960s. While adding “creative” to placemaking might be dated to 2010, the history of artists’ work in cities dates back in the Western tradition to the ancient Athenian polis where works of both tragedy and comedy shaped citizens’ thinking about themselves as citizens and what it meant to live in a city (LISC 2016; and see, e.g., Barker 2009). Architecture always has been understood in the Western tradition as an art form that shapes the lived experience of the city. As Edward S. Casey argues, artists have influenced our understanding of place, including urban place, in their representations of place in landscape paintings and maps (2002). The 19th-century City Beautiful movement in the United States was an example of cities making investment in arts and culture to alleviate problems caused by industrial growth (Markusen & Gadwa 2010: 5). In more recent times, artists have continued to play influential roles in their communities, often engaging in intentional interventions and naming their practices “art and social engagement,” “art and social practice,” “community arts,” “participatory arts,” and “community cultural development” (see Goldbard 2006: 20–22). While there are reasons that artists have used different names for their practices and they differ in political values as well as methodologies, the point is that creative placemaking is not a completely new practice but rather a novel way to bring together and name a diverse set of creative activities that link to urban planning and/or community development. Many creative placemaking practitioners would distinguish their work from many earlier practices by emphasizing their focus on smaller scale investment in smaller spaces with a greater participatory emphasis and clearer strategic goals or outcomes. That said, the term “creative placemaking” is now used by many to describe projects of widely different scales, some of which are funded and directed by more centralized or top-down efforts that are not very inclusive or participatory. 170

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The coining of the term “creative placemaking” galvanized funders in the United States, as the National Endowment for the Arts leveraged its funding by creating partnerships with private foundations to form ArtPlace America (2018); they had funded more than US $100 million in creative placemaking projects as of summer 2018. But the movement is global, with many funded and high-profile projects in Australia and New Zealand (see, e.g., Kent 2016). The Placemaking Leadership Council was founded in 2013 and boasts more than 1,800 members in more than 80 countries, including Kenya, South Africa, Singapore, and India, as well as most European nations (Placemaking Leadership Council 2018). It is important to note that creative placemaking has emerged with the rise of the global city (see Meagher’s chapter “Ghost Cities” in this volume). The offshoring and decreased importance of manufacturing and the rise of a service-based cognitive or IQ economy has made it easier for capital to travel globally. The result is that many cities, especially those built on strong manufacturing economies, have been gutted. While city dwellers with higher education and income and therefore greater mobility could leave and follow employment opportunities elsewhere, lower-income persons are left in a city with few resources. Corporate manufacturers often also provided support for arts and cultural activities that were defunded when the corporations and their philanthropic arms left the city and the overall tax base shrank. These forces often caused a deterioration of a sense of place and creativity in the affected communities. In this context, creative placemaking has been introduced as an important counterweight to global capital with its focus on smaller scale, grassroots efforts that can restore a sense of place and creativity. It taps into the realities of the cognitive economy, but by focusing on the specificity of place, creative placemaking interventions try to stop the quick exit of capital from one city to another. Markusen and Gadwa claim: “Today’s placemaking efforts celebrate and stabilize distinctiveness with modest-scale investments, a dramatic change in American economic development. Cities and neighborhoods used to compete for major infrastructure commitments, aspiring to move up an urban hierarchy of look-alikes” (2010: 5). Yet given the connection between creative placemaking and the new cognitive or IQ economy, there also has been a tendency to argue that creative placemaking can be the key to success in the global city competition. Markusen and Gadwa themselves waiver on this point, contradicting their claims about small scale, arguing elsewhere in their paper that creative placemaking can be developed at different scales and can be centralized in its strategy (2010: 6). Furthermore, they follow Richard Florida’s argument on the creative economy, arguing that “creative people decide what kinds of education and training to pursue and where to live and work” (Markusen & Gadwa 2010: 9), suggesting that it is not a matter of focusing on the people in a given place, but of attracting a particular kind of globally mobile creative class. Richard Florida’s research on the creative city (2002) and Markusen and Gadwa’s (2010) endorsement of the concept of the creative economy in their white paper played major roles in fueling creative placemaking funding and bringing it into the mainstream. (When I worked in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 2002–2005, the mayor kept a copy of Florida’s book on his desk.) The argument that it can be a catalyst for a city’s entry into the cognitive economy has bred its own industry of consultants and has caused new competition among cities to become creative places that can attract creative people and capital. Private and governmental funders have embraced the strategy as a key to economic development. Likewise, Toronto-based Artscape argues that creative placemaking “is a strategy to improve community well-being and prosperity while also fostering conditions for cities to define, draw attention to and distinguish themselves on a global scale” (2018, my emphasis). That said, many proponents and practitioners of creative placemaking reject much of Florida’s work and the ties to global city competition, especially the monetization of it in terms of 171

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consulting that seems to focus on creativity at the expense of placemaking, as those consultants dictate formulas and practices for remaking cities that seem to disregard the specifics of place in each case. While tapping into global city competition and enthusiasm about a new cognitive or idea-based or creative economy has fueled much of the funding for creative placemaking, LISC’s model of creative placemaking (funded in large part by the Kresge Foundation) focuses on inclusive neighborhood activity with the primary aim of community (rather than economic) development. In contrast to economic development, where the focus is on the need to attract new capital investment to the neighborhood, community development focuses on the creation of stronger capacities for residents, better public spaces, and increased participation. The idea is to connect artists in and to the community to catalyze participatory conversations in planning that allow democratic reimagining of possibilities. For example, artists might work with community members to build a prototype of a park playground and then use other arts methods to collect community feedback on it. These sorts of creative community building activities usually work from an assets-based approach – that is, they begin with artists fostering communities to embrace what is positive in their communities and build from there (see, e.g., Zabel 2016: 6–9). An example of the latter is a project that Luis Alfaro did with barrio gang youth in which he asked them to pretend that they had been commissioned to design and build a monument to their neighborhood, an exercise that called the youth to think about what they valued in their neighborhood rather than what they thought were its deficits. This is an example of the ways that the arts and humanities can make good on the turn to more democratized and community-based urban planning processes that Jane Jacobs had fought for (1993 [1961]). As McQueen and Gittleman found, Art and culture can inspire citizens to transform neighborhoods and encourage civic dialogue around challenging issues. . . . Artists, arts and cultural organizations and institutions of higher learning animate our communities, bring disparate people together to share common experiences, stimulate our creativity and help us imagine a better future. (2015: n.p.) Research undertaken by Animating Democracy similarly has found that many arts and culture projects foster civic dialogue and strengthen communities, both urban and rural (Korza, Bacon, & Assaf 2005). Korza and her colleagues have found that many arts-based projects further the civic goals of (a) increasing awareness and deepening understanding of issues, (b) motivating people to listen to one another and to better understand the roles of themselves and others in civic life, and (c) broadening dialogue and participation around issues (2005: 85–86). These findings suggest at least one way that creative placemaking projects foster justice – by creating space for civic dialogue and engagement and bringing neighbors and strangers together to (re)imagine their communities and cities. I will discuss the relationship between creative placemaking and urban justice below, but first want to take up the challenges and criticisms of creative placemaking.

Challenges for creative placemaking The review of the literature on creative placemaking by Markusen and Gadwa as well as the assessments conducted by Animating Democracy and others makes clear that not all creative placemaking projects are successful on civic or other outcomes. Many projects encounter 172

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obstacles. Markusen and Gadwa note that it is not easy to forge and sustain the partnerships needed nor is it always possible to overcome community skepticism (2010: 15–17). Even when projects are successful, there are barriers, as my own experience with creative placemaking work in Chester, Pennsylvania, clearly bears out. For the project Chester Made, the lead organization, and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) forged partnerships with the City of Chester, Widener University, key funders, and local artists. The City of Chester recommended participants to the PHC who were well-connected politically but who were not always trusted or well-liked in the community. Moreover, a mayoral election during the project ushered in a new set of city government players who had to be brought into the fold. Given the complicated politics, many of the local artists were initially wary of joining the project. And when they did join, many lacked the documentation of their work (e.g., standard art portfolios and websites) that funders expected that they would have. Government regulations can also hamper the work, and there are few metrics by which to judge programs’ success (Markusen & Gadwa 2010: 15–18). Funders generally require enormous financial outlay for social scientists to work as independent assessors of the projects, which suggests a continued wariness about the validity of more arts and humanities–based approaches. Finally, creative placemaking projects, like any complex civic engagement projects, can have unintended consequences.

Critiques of creative placemaking There are many criticisms of creative placemaking, and while criticisms are confounded by the fact that many different types of practices appropriate this name, there are two major critiques that share a general concern. The shared concern is that creative placemaking endangers art and artists, in that it devalues art, making it merely useful for some other greater goal. That is, there are worries that creative placemaking causes a loss of art for art’s sake because art is being valued as an instrumental good rather than an intrinsic one. There are two specific critiques linked to this general concern. First, many argue that the focus on creativity in cities has placed the arts at the service of a neoliberal agenda that causes gentrification and displacement. Second, some argue that it reduces art to propaganda or a strictly utilitarian commodity that forces artists to participate in creative placemaking activities because it is the only way that they can get paid. The first critique links the consequence of gentrification to a neoliberal agenda that many suspect either motivates some creative placemaking activities or at least benefits from it. Neoliberalism is the economic and political resurgence of a laissez-faire market economy that values competition. Initially a term used by scholars within the context of globalization debates, urban scholars have embraced the term to help understand shifts in urban space deregulation that have paved the way for rezoning and other policy changes that favor multinational and global capital investment and development in cities (see Brenner & Nik 2005). The influx of such investment and development often causes gentrification and displacement. Although most creative placemaking projects claim a goal of preserving and rejuvenating cities or neighborhoods, the economic outcomes can place tremendous pressure on real estate values, causing speculation and the displacement of the neighborhood’s original inhabitants (Markusen & Gadwa 2010: 15, 17). Without some zoning and regulation to protect the neighborhood, creative placemaking activities have resulted in more than one city that now boasts an arts district without artists.Yet the urban research literature suggests that displacement is not inevitable (Rich & Tsitsos 2016: 745). The second critique, the concern about the devaluation of art and/or its co-optation, is particularly worrisome if we think artists have been co-opted to aid in the destruction of their own neighborhoods. But even if we are not concerned about the ways that creative placemaking 173

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activities may enable neoliberal urban development strategies, we may still worry about the shift of funding and resources from art for arts’ sake to community development. At a time when the NEA was threatened with extinction, it survived and found a way to leverage funding for artists by turning to creative placemaking. But we must ask why the United States cannot support arts and culture as valuable and worthy of investment in its own right. The NEA’s strategy has worked to help artists survive and fund arts projects unrelated to placemaking, but that requires that artists and their supporters develop projects that allow for such possibilities. I think it is critically important that project leaders intentionally address the potential ethical and political consequences of creative placemaking activity, ensuring that artists have both the space and time to pursue their own projects. There are strategies that can be adopted to prevent problems, and the research of Rich and Tsitsos (2016) suggests that they are likely to be effective if they are both intentional and include participatory discussion and planning – even though they will also be imperfect and some still will feel excluded. City governments can develop arts retention programs; nonprofit organizations can enter as developers committed to owning and managing spaces. Alternative ownership programs such as land banking and community trusts can also be utilized (Markusen & Gadwa 2010: 17). In Chester, the nonprofit partners Widener University and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council committed to providing support to local artists to help them establish nonprofit and for-profit entities that would enable them to purchase and rehabilitate properties in the arts district that we were creating, ensuring that they would be able to stay even if the community development efforts led to economic development that caused real estate speculation. Furthermore, the grants funding enabled us to hire local artists, providing a source of revenue that they then reinvested in the properties. By securing their place to do other artistic work, the Chester Made project anticipated and aimed to address both critiques. But counterstrategies must be developed not only at the local level of the project, but in the ways that creative placemaking is developed as a global strategy for community development. We have ethical and political obligations to try to intervene when creative city rhetoric fuels rather than counterbalances global city competition and other neoliberal excesses. There are many studies that indicate that development and urban planning has continued in the usual ways with a sugarcoating of arts sprinkled on top – that is, that creative placemaking approaches have not had a major impact on mainstream urban planning practices (Rich & Tsitsos 2016: 740). Therefore, concerted pushes must be made to rethink and remake urban development and planning processes that learn from the best of creative placemaking’s processes – that is, that they be democratic, inclusive, imaginative, and asset-focused rather than deficit-focused. Despite the legitimate worries that creative placemaking can serve a neoliberal agenda that devalues art and paves the way for corporate investment, many people in communities experience many creative placemaking projects in positive, transformative ways that are inclusive and just. Of course, not all such projects are created alike. Projects vary dramatically in terms of leadership, funding, goals, participants, and effects.

Creative placemaking and the just urban commonwealth So how can we tell which creative placemaking projects are likely to foster just outcomes? I do not think that philosophers can be the final arbiters; we cannot simply apply philosophical theories of justice to determine the best creative placemaking practices. Indeed, engaged philosophy has come under the same type of criticisms as has creative placemaking. For example, Spencer Case recently argued that engaged philosophy reduces philosophy to something merely utilitarian, and as such, devalues it (2018). While I reject Case’s argument, I do agree that philosophers 174

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of the city need to take care not to fall into the instrumentalist role of expert who serves other interests. We therefore need to better understand both creative placemaking and philosophy’s difficult relationship to both art and the city if we are to really get a sense of how we as philosophers might play a helpful role. One way that we might better understand these questions is by studying the arguments of Margaret Kohn in her book The Death and Life of The Urban Commonwealth (2016) in light of my own work on creative placemaking in Chester, Pennsylvania, from 2014–2017. Beautifully and clearly written, Kohn thinks through several actual urban political issues with the help of contemporary and classic political theorists as her guide. As such, she provides a remarkable analysis that demonstrates how and why urban political theory/philosophy matters. It matters because it can provide us with conceptual distinctions that allow us to make persuasive arguments (which Kohn notes are central to democracy) about how and “why urban displacement policies such as gentrification, slum clearance, and destruction of public housing are wrong” (2016: 176). Last, but not least, Kohn also makes a case for the life of the urban commonwealth – for the need for both shared public space and a “stage for political disagreement” (2016: 176). Nevertheless, Kohn still ends her book by voicing possible criticisms of it, including the question of “whether normative theorizing is an effective political tool in the struggle for a just city” (2016: 197). I have little doubt that it is, not just as a “diagnostic tool,” but as something that can help us conceptualize and act toward urban justice. In an act of solidarity, I want to pick up where she left off, extending her work to think more about how we not only resist the death of the urban commonwealth but how we might sustain and grow its life. I will focus on the work that I was doing in partnership with local artists in Chester, Pennsylvania, and Widener University faculty, students, and staff – projects in creative placemaking. Some people are rightly suspicious of anything that would appear to generate so much interest from large foundations and corporate sponsors, and as I have discussed above, there is indeed good evidence that many funded creative placemaking activities have caused displacement or the death of the urban commonwealth rather than its life. Kohn herself is quite critical, quickly dismissing the “creative city.” Drawing on Lefebvre’s spectral analysis that teaches us how to see through hopeful signs, Kohn argues that “the production and consumption of culture function to disguise or legitimize” inequalities in the city. Kohn continues, “The visible work of artists and the invisible labor of service workers make glamourous city living possible, but in enabling the city of consumption, they also contribute to their own exclusion through gentrification” (2016: 183). Kohn acknowledges that the tensions created “could spark a political movement” but then quickly analyzes one such project that would seem to hold such promise – Artscape in Toronto – and dismisses it, arguing that it simply fuels a fantasy that we are denying capitalism when we are in fact feeding it (2016: 184). Kohn argues that “practices of participation, play, and creativity . . . [fail] to identify the social forces that could resolve these contradictions in a way that advances social justice” (2016: 185). Like any progressive practice, creative placemaking is not immune to the dangers of neoliberal appropriation and misuse. And while I agree with Kohn that there is nothing about creative placemaking in itself that yields a more just city, I do not agree with her wholesale dismissal of the approach. In fact, reading Kohn’s book helped me better understand just what types of creative practices can and do make the life of the urban commonwealth. The creative placemaking work in Chester has seen its share of successes and failures – both in terms of process and in terms of results, but it is work that continues, and I believe that those of us who are doing this work in Chester have embraced the life of the urban commonwealth. Although there have been rifts between some individuals on various projects, there also is a developing consensus around many shared values as we do the work (I relocated to New York 175

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City in June 2017). My initial meeting with my key collaborator, Chester-based artist Devon Walls, focused on ways that he and his partners had a plan to do something different, to learn from the lessons of Baltimore and elsewhere. Devon and his crew had been hired in Baltimore on a project that paid them to install art in abandoned storefronts; it was the beginning of “turning around the neighborhood,” creating a place that is too expensive for most artists (see Rich & Tsitsos 2016).There is little question that much of creative placemaking has involved the instrumental use of artists. In other cases, artists have lost control because they did not (or could not) foresee some of the unintended consequences of their work. The artists in Chester realize that they also run risks of being displaced. When I was working closely with Devon, there were nearly daily reminders; out of town real estate developers stood on sidewalks, taking pictures of properties on which they might speculate and trying to eavesdrop on our conversations about our plans. As we rebuilt Chester’s downtown, we were also struggling to build a community with shared values and commitments. The experiences of the artists who had witnessed unintended consequences for projects done in other cities was invaluable in shaping our own plans, but we lacked a full range of concepts that might have helped us distinguish our work from destructive neoliberal appropriations of creative placemaking. Kohn’s book provided me the conceptual vocabulary to distinguish the type of creative placemaking that we do from the type that uses its name and methods but often causes destruction and displacement. One destructive element of many “creative placemaking” initiatives is an implicit assumption that there was no place; that something needs to be built in a vacuum. But these urban places are never no place inhabited by no body. We have to be careful not to narrate what we are doing in such a way that fails to acknowledge and preserve what is already there. Yet there does seem to be something about the term “placemaking” (which in many regards I like very much, and I use frequently) that often compels us to tell a story of heroic creativity that made something from nothing. Below I work to tell a different story.

What Makes Chester Makes Located just 15 miles south of Philadelphia along the I-95 corridor, Chester is a small city of only 35,000 people. On an artist exchange visit to Chicago in 2017, some of our team participated in a panel on creative placemaking. The assistant city planner of Chester, who was new to this work, explained what we were doing by telling a history of Chester’s great industrial past and its loss, claiming “when the industry left, culture left too.” When he said that, Devon Walls shot me a look, and then challenged that view, arguing that while arts and culture might have become less visible, it never left town. He claimed that he sees his work not as new but as a continuation of the work of his uncle and other family members who created art and taught art in the city throughout the 20th century to this day. Devon is not creating something from nothing. In the mid-20th century, Chester was an industrial giant – a major hub for ship building (Sun Shipyard) and the home to major manufacturers such as Scott Paper (now KimberlyClark). As a provider of good paying, secure jobs, Chester was a favored destination for many who made the great migration from the South. Whites tended to make up the managerial class. But after World War II, Sun Shipyard closed completely, causing more than 100,000 people to lose their jobs. Most whites left, and now Chester is more than 75 percent African-American. Many small business owners closed their shops in the once thriving downtown business district. Much commercial property was bought up cheaply mostly by Korean businessmen who lived elsewhere. In some cases, they kept or reopened shops; in other cases, buildings have remained 176

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shuttered in hopes of an eventual real estate boom. Until the Chester Made project, there were almost no inhabited residential units in the central business district. Those of us who have worked as part of Chester Made, but especially the Chester-based artists, think of the work as an act of rebuilding. A Widener student who engaged in several of the community creative placemaking activities said, “Creative placemaking is taking what you’ve got and making something new.” It is not a matter of destroying the old but incorporating it into something stronger – it is a matter of breathing new life into it. After conducting a series of storytelling sessions throughout the community in which people responded to prompts asking them to tell a story about a recent cultural or art experience in Chester, we were able to develop a cultural assets map that made what had been there all along visible again. And we heard a constant refrain that anything that we built now should be “Chester Made.” That phrase is a variation on a sign that once dominated Chester’s skyline, “What Makes Chester Chester Makes.” “Chester Made” pays homage to Chester’s industrial past without being overly nostalgic (Meagher 1999), heralding in a new era of making, but one that is anticorporatist, antipolluting, and focused on the arts. In this sense, Chester Made is both an effort at placemaking and placekeeping, preserving the historic and cultural legacy of which the community is justifiably proud while strengthening, sustaining, and renewing it. Creative placemaking can be deployed as a political strategy that minds the gap between legality and legitimacy. In her chapter “Parks and Refs,” Margaret Kohn (2016) tells of the conflict that emerged about the use of a soccer field in the Mission District of San Francisco. Once an unkempt field used only by neighborhood youths for pick-up games, the field was managed by a set of informal rules and understandings in which the team that won the last game got to continue playing. After the city invested in refurbishing the field, it decided to sell passes and newer, higher-paid adult residents (many from the tech industry) bought passes to use the field, causing the neighborhood Latino youths to be displaced. Kohn argues that thinking about this case helps us understand a contradiction in democracy – there is a gap between legality and legitimacy. The two groups vying for the soccer field make separate claims. Those who paid for passes claim that they followed the rules and therefore legally have access to the field. But the youth question the legitimacy of the rules themselves. As a result, they confronted those with passes and filmed the event as a political strategy to gain support (Kohn 2016: 156–168). Creative placemaking DIY (do it yourself) breeds political strategies that address this gap. For example, artists who dub themselves “tactical urbanists” around the world have engaged in projects where they (illegally) erect temporary barriers, carving out new public spaces on streets for things like bike lanes (Lydon & Garcia 2015). In making such bike lanes and encouraging their use, participants are able to show that the law and legitimacy are not the same. Tactical urbanists have uncovered a new, supra-legal legitimate use for the public space of the street that can then (and in many instances has) lead to policy changes and actual material changes in the life of the city – new bike lanes, more public gatherings spaces, and so on. This work can do a great deal to build community, reinvigorating peoples’ imaginations so that they can declare and claim a right to their city. Kohn acknowledges that “the local economic development promoted by critical urban theory is a good idea but only a partial solution,” or what she calls a “capillary form of solidarity.” But Kohn fails to distinguish between community development and economic development. Kohn notes that the real power of local economic development strategies “is their ability to diffuse a more solidarist ethos and create a political constituency that mobilizes in favor of solidarist politics” (2016: 196). Kohn draws on the French Left 19th-th and 20th-century concept of solidarism – that is “the claim that the division of labor creates a social product that does not naturally 177

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belong to the individuals who control it as their private property” (2016: 14). She argues that a solidarist politics built from this recognition justifies claims of the right to the city (as the city and its goods cannot belong only to individuals, or only to individual corporations, but must be recognized as shared social goods). While Kohn concedes that some creative placemaking practices might yield partial solutions, I am more optimistic that some might be the be best solutions. Kohn fails to distinguish creative placemaking that aims at community development and those practices that aim at economic development. Kohn also makes such a claim because she ultimately argues that state-directed forms of solidarism are most likely to effect the greatest changes to the injustices of the capitalist city. But in a neoliberal state where deregulation fosters the unjust distribution of the goods of the city and the displacement of people from it, such DIY creative placemaking strategies are most likely to effect the greatest changes to the injustices of the capitalist city. Artist-led movements can work to both point out the contradictions needed for political movements while being political movements themselves. Creative placemaking projects can be movements that, in inviting people to make things together, provide positive experiences of community-building, collaboration, and solidarity; give disenfranchised people new means and modes of expression; and create new public spaces for democracy. Despite Kohn’s own doubts about both creative placemaking and the power of normative politics, I believe that her work can provide us with some principles that might guide creative placemaking to contribute toward more just cities and help us better understand how philosophy and creative placemaking can work together to achieve positive change. First, for the reasons I provide above, it is important to focus on community-building or keeping and making rather than on economic development. Second, we need to view art as a social and public good that is not a luxury; it is a “social property” in the solidarist sense (see Kohn 2016: 13–31). Third, we must understand access to art as part of what we are claiming when making a right to the city because, as Kohn argues, “bare life is a necessary but not sufficient condition of human flourishing” (: 57). Kohn therefore argues that the social goods of the city include cultural institutions and the arts. Understood as part of what constitutes our right to the city, art must provide new mechanisms for expression for all, but especially to those who are oppressed and disenfranchised. Fourth, creative placemaking should expose the gap between legality and legitimacy. Kohn argues we need a normative political theory “that is mindful of that gap” (2016: 175), and I agree but would argue that tactical urbanism and similar forms of creative placemaking make such gaps visible to a broad public in a way that normative theory rarely does. Fifth, creative placemaking projects should include activities that are themselves deliberative. In Chester, for example, we developed a theater project that provided the public with opportunities to reflect on both rifts and shared ground between Widener University and the wider Chester community. Sixth, creative placemaking projects must explicitly and planfully resist gentrification and the instrumental use of artists by acknowledging and exposing that the danger is always present and by engaging in practices that make it more difficult. Strategies include focusing on selfgenerated projects on artist-owned property. Last, creative placemaking projects should create or reinvent new public spaces that bring where “people can come together to meet as citizens rather than as consumers or clients” (Kohn 2016: 155). The principles of creative placemaking can and should be derived from our reflections of successful placemaking practices as well as from normative distinctions that can inform those reflections. There remains much ongoing work to do. But thinking about actual practices of creative placemaking in light of Kohn’s analysis gives us some sense of both the potential value of creative placemaking and of philosophical reflection on that work. 178

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Arguably there are at least three roles for philosophers in creative placemaking: First is to resist the Old Quarrel between philosophy and art, working in solidarity with artists or playing a double role of artist and philosopher to ensure that both art and justice are valued and are seen as valuable in supporting each other. In aesthetics we have a vocabulary that can help artists justify their work that is art for art’s sake. In normative political philosophy, we can and do discuss what constitutes the good city and the good life, and the role that all the artists play in it. Second, philosophers of social science might contribute by building new models of assessment of projects that are responsive and accountable to the community that integrate the value of arts methodologies, and that themselves are drawn from the arts and humanities. Last and most important, we need to continue to develop theories of social change in dialogue with artists and community members, developing meaningful language and concepts that help people envision a more just city and point them in directions that make it possible for them to create it.

References ArtPlace America (2018) “Our Work,” , accessed August 11, 2018. Artscape (2018) “DIY Creative Placemaking: Approaches to Creative Placemaking,” Toronto: CA, , accessed September 2, 2018. Barker, D. (2009) Tragedy and Citizenship: Conflict, Reconciliation, and Democracy from Haemon to Hegel, Albany: State University of New York Press. Brenner, N. & Nik, T. (2005) “Neoliberalism and the Urban Condition,” City 1 (9), pp. 101–107. Case, S. (2018) “Is Service-Learning a Disservice to Philosophy?” Quillette, July 18. , accessed September 3, 2018. Casey, E.S. (2002) Representing Place: Landscape Painting & Maps, London/Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Florida, R. (2002) The Rise of the Creative Class, New York: Basic Books (Perseus). Goldbard, A. (2006) New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development, Oakland, PA: New Village Press. Jacobs, J. (1993 [1961]) The Death and Life of Great American Cities, New York: Modern Library. Kent, E. (2016) “Building, and Learning From, the Australasian Placemaking Movement,” Project for Public Spaces, June 12. . Kohn, M. (2016) The Death and Life of the Urban Commonwealth, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Korza, P., Bacon, B.S., & Assaf, A. (2005) Civic Dialogue, Arts & Culture: Findings from Animating Democracy, Washington, DC: Americans for the Arts. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) (2016)“Creative Placemaking,”, accessed September 3, 2018. Lydon, M. & Garcia, A. (2015) Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action for Long-Term Change, Washington, DC: Island Press. Markusen, A. & Gadwa, A. (2010) “Creative Placemaking,” Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Humanities, , accessed August 11, 2018. McCormack, L. (2016) “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Creative Placemaking,” LISC Stories, LISC, June 30. , accessed August 11, 2018. McQueen, A. & Gittleman, J. (2015) “Insights and Lessons: Community Arts and College Arts,” A Report to the Kresge Foundation, , accessed August 11, 2018. Meagher, S.M. (1999) “Tensions in the City: Community and Difference,” Studies in Practical Philosophy 1 (2) (Fall), pp. 203–213. Placemaking Leadership Council (2018) , accessed August 11, 2018.


Sharon M. Meagher Rich, M.A. & Tsitsos, W. (2016) “Avoiding the ‘Soho Effect’ in Baltimore: Neighborhood Revitalization and Arts and Entertainment Districts,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 40 (4) (July), pp. 736–756. Schupbach, J. (2016) “So How Do You Do Creative Placemaking?” in J. Schupbach & D. Ball (eds.), How to Do Creative Placemaking: An Action-Oriented Guide to Arts in Community Development, Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts Office of Public Affairs, pp. 1–3. Schupbach, J. & Ball, D. (eds.) (2016) How to Do Creative Placemaking: An Action-Oriented Guide to Arts in Community Development, Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts Office of Public Affairs. Zabel, L. (2016) “How Creativity and Culture Can Contribute to Community Planning,” in J. Schupbach & D. Ball (eds.), How to Do Creative Placemaking: An Action-Oriented Guide to Arts in Community Development, Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts Office of Public Affairs, pp. 6–9.

Further reading Beyond the works in the references, the most up-to-date resources on creative placemaking are on websites, particularly the following: For examples of creative placemaking projects, see ArtPlace America, ; Project for Public Spaces, ; and LISC, . For information on how to do creative placemaking, see How to Do Creative Placemaking: An ActionOriented Guide to Arts in Community Development (Washington, DC: NEA, 2016). For relevant theories of just cities, see J.M. Green’s work, especially Pragmatism and Social Hope: Deeping Democracy in Global Context (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008). See also C.R. Hayward & T. Swanstrom (eds.), Justice and the American Metropolis (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), and S. Fainstein, The Just City (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010).



Urban politics

15 BEYOND DELIBERATION AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT Participatory budgeting and a new philosophy of public power Alexander Kolokotronis and Michael Menser Participatory budgeting: the nuts and bolts Participatory budgeting (PB) has been used at a variety of levels, most notably the municipality. It can be done in other institutional frames as well, including states, but also schools, NGOs, and universities.When done within a governmental jurisdiction, “PB allows the participation of non-elected citizens [and noncitizens] in the conception and/or allocation of public finances” (Sintomer et al. 2012: 2). It is “a vehicle through which participants use deliberation to secure public policies to directly benefit their communities” (Wampler 2007: 266). PB is then distinguished by the following features: It is decisive not consultative: constituents don’t just voice their views, they directly decide how to spend the funds. It’s deliberative and is not just a onetime event; rather, it is a multistage process that takes several months and repeats and evolves over years. The point of PB, however, is not just to get more people involved in the business of government; it’s to get something out (of it): namely, projects that improve public services and directly address residents’ needs.

Porto Alegre’s orcamento participitavo The official birthplace of PB is Porto Algere (POA), Brazil. In the mid-1980s, Brazil made the transition from a dictatorship to an open, democratic society and faced a double crisis: budget shortfalls and heavy foreign debt, combined with severe public doubt about the legitimacy of the new government. One particular municipality that forged an innovative response to these problems was an epicenter of progressive political activity called Porto Alegre. In the 1980s, one third of its citizens dwelled in shantytowns or slums and the city as a whole faced a budget shortfall so severe it was unclear how to best spend the funds available (Chavez 2004: 161; de Sousa Santos & Avritzer 2005: 327). The post-dictatorship government was looking to legitimize itself in the eyes of the public and this was especially the case in Porto Alegre because the key opposition party, Worker’s Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores or PT), just won the mayoralty. This transformation was enabled by the 1988 constitution, which decentralized resources and authority over the provision of basic social services (Wampler 2007: 25) Then, through mayoral


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decree – no law was ever passed – the participatory budget was created. PB was able to get off the ground because of the shared interests among groups pushing it combined with new institutional possibilities due in part due constitutional changes (Baiocchi 2005: 47; Wampler 2007: 113–118; Menser 2018: 69–70). Porto Alegre’s PB operates as follows (de Sousa Santos & Avritzer 2005: 321–322; Wampler 2007; Baiocchi 2005; Pateman 2012): It begins with neighborhood assemblies in each of the city’s 16 geographic regions – and since 1994, six non-territorial thematic assemblies. The latter are: (1) Transportation; (2) Education and Leisure; (3) Culture; (4) Health and Social Welfare; (5) Economic Development; and (6) City Organization, Urban, and Environmental Development (de Sousa Santos & Avritzer 2005: 316). In the local (i.e., intracity “regional”) meetings, any city resident may participate (sometimes assemblies are attended by more than 1,000 participants). The purpose of these meetings is to enable residents to voice their concerns with the local government and to deliberate to determine the top three most pressing needs. Next, there are the Regional Budget Forums where delegates are elected to represent each region at the citywide level in what is called the Council of the Participatory Budget. (Delegates serve for one year and can be reelected only once.) Here, delegates from across the city’s 16 regions meet to register the needs of all the regions and then to deliberate as to what needs are most pressing, and what region most lacks services in question. These assemblies are conducted in the presence of the mayor and his staff. During this stage of the process, technical experts are made available to the council by the mayor’s office to make sure funding requests and projects are feasible and delegates take trips to the sites deemed most in need. After completion of the PB budget for the year, it is integrated into the mayor’s budget proposal and submitted to the legislature. Because of the popular legitimacy of the PB, the PB section of the budget has for the most part gone unmodified by the legislature. At the beginning of the following fiscal year a review of the past year is taken up and sometimes various procedures or criteria or altered to increase fairness or efficiency. All information about the process is made public through the internet (Chavez 2004: 183). Porto Alegre’s PB has led to great improvements in housing, service access, education, health, and the environment (Menser 2018: 70–72).

PB spreads and adapts This public product-producing democratic process – in which residents set the agenda in the governance process – has travelled to more than 3,000 cities across six continents, from the megacities of Chengdu, China, and Chicago, United States, to small towns such as Nahampoana, Madagascar, and Ilo, Peru (Lerner 2014b; Sintomer et al. 2013: 11; Cabannes 2014). When done well, PB delivers four types of benefits (and even when done not so well, it delivers at least one). PB enables empowered participation: It creates a mechanism for popular involvement in which people have more than just consultative power and exercise and develop agency. There are two dimensions to this: the skills and capacities that individuals and groups develop, and the relationships that the people forge with the government. PB expands access of populations to government and expands contact of government agencies to the broader public. PB improves public service provision and increases the number of people who benefit from city services (Touchton & Wampler 2014). Over the course of 25 years of operation, studies have shown that PB routinely increases civic participation, reduces corruption, makes government more accountable, and implements projects that benefit the public. And it has epistemic benefits; it is an example of adaptive learning (Lerner 2014a). In the policy realm, there are three frames for praising PB. 184

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Three frames for praising PB Neoliberal Efficiency: public helps the government do more with less; reduces government corruption; efficiency of government is increased; Good Governance: electeds and agencies are more accountable and political process is more transparent for the public; projects are more cost-effective; reduces government corruption and patronage; legitimacy of government is enhanced; Participatory Democracy: public helps the government do more with more (i.e., PB increases the range of resources available for public control and benefit); government supports individual and collective agency; projects are more responsive to community needs; increased access to and quality of city services; reduces government and private sector corruption and patronage; government supports and protects community-driven allocation process (Menser 2018: 82–85). In this way, we find that actors from disparate ideological camps praise, support, and even advocate for PB. Liberals like it for its transparency and accountability. Socialists praise it as an example of how the state can help the people develop popular power. Even anti-state anarchists like it, seeing it as a means by which to transfer power from the state to the people – a real example of self-government that some have even referred to as a “non-state public sphere” (Baiocchi 2005: 15). Praise and support for PB ranges from the World Bank, the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT), the United Nations, the White House, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Even the right-wing party that has won municipal elections against the PT in Porto Alegre retained PB for its own program for a while (Menser 2018: 66–72).1 We argue from the last participatory democratic perspective, that there are four dimensions of benefits of PB: collective determination, material benefits and capability development, inequality reduction, and solidarity enhancement.

PB and collective determination Self-determination is one of the foundational concepts of modern political theory, but outside of elections and direct democracy such as referenda, what forms can it actually take? From a participatory democracy (PD) perspective, PB is about self, or more accurately, collective determination. It’s a process in which a collection of individuals comes together not just to represent itself but to drive an agenda and create actual projects that meet its needs and showcases its imagination. In this sense, PB is a postmodern version of the assemblies, somewhere between the all-encompassing and all-powerful Athenian ekklesia and the more partial New England Town Hall meeting. In philosophical terms, the assembly, and the project of self-determination, was not much articulated by the ancient Greeks (indeed Plato and Aristotle were famously against such practices), but Rousseau’s work is relevant here as he stresses the importance of the assembly as both a site of deliberation and ultimate decision-making authority. The essentiality of assemblies to participatory democratic participatory budgets echoes Rousseau’s emphasis on assemblies. For Rousseau, assemblies are necessary for the body politic – or, more broadly conceived, the people – to maintain its sovereign authority: “The sovereign can act only when the people is assembled” (Rousseau 1975: 74). Thus, Rousseau writes “there must be regularly scheduled assemblies that nothing can abolish or postpone” (76). Rousseau views the assembly as a site where members of the community are best able to exercise their agency. It is at the assembly where “the person of the humblest citizen is as sacred and inviolable as that of the highest 185

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magistrate, because there can be no representatives in the presence of those they represent” (77). Later on, Mill (1991 [1861) praises the assembly as a place where citizens can learn and for developing the right kind of (democratic) dispositions for (competent liberal) governance. Pateman (1970) discusses Mill in this regard. Butler looks at the Occupy movement from this perspective (2015), and Hardt and Negri (2017) have a volume on the topic but none offers a history of assemblies, the different forms they take, the powers they exercised, nor their role in these times of social media and cyber governance. Two exceptions here are Keane’s (2009) history of democracy, which does include sections on the early history of assemblies, and Barry’s essay (2016), which looks at 21st-century technology-enhanced versions in the case of Taiwan. (See also Hilmer’s (2010) survey of participatory democracy in contemporary political theory.) But it is Kropotkin that stands out as perhaps the first thinker to outline the democratic city, especially in his work Mutual Aid (1902). Not only does he write about participatory democracy in the city; he does with respect to both labor (i.e., guilds) and community, the city and multicity alliances (neighborhood assemblies and municipal federations), as well as the crucial question of the relationship between city and country, which he takes up in works like The Conquest of Bread (2015) and Fields, Factories and Workshops (2013). This research project remains unclaimed, but crucial from the perspective of the city and ecological regionalism and participatory democracy in the city – although Lucarelli gives a nice outline from which to begin (1995). Concerning PB as a postmodern version of assemblies, one might turn to Nathan Jun (2012). Jun emphasizes the dispersion and multiplicity of sites of self-governance, rather than the single site of assembly-democratic power, as alluded to earlier. In part because anarchism moves away from notions of a single site of power, Jun’s thesis is that anarchism – including the “classical anarchism” of the 19th century – can be considered the first postmodern philosophy. In recognizing the multiplicity of sites of participatory power created by PB, it can in turn be recognized as a postmodern version of assembly democracy. In addition to the (post)anarchist, there is pragmatism, which has the notion of the public at its core both in terms of politics and epistemology. With respect to PB, Roudy Hildreth has a series of coauthored papers, and in the broader context of pragmatist and participatory democracy, the work of Judith Green (1999) and David Woods (2012) is both historically rich and politically astute.2

On capabilities, responsive governance For Pateman, in “participatory theory ‘participation’ refers to (equal) participation in the making of decisions, and ‘political equality’ refers to equality of power in determining the outcome of decisions” (1970: 43). Pateman’s description of participation and political equality is manifest in PD PBs, as both the voice and capacity of community members are elevated. According to Pateman, PBs create a positive feedback cycle of individual and group development (2012). In terms of capability development, PB intersects with the work of Martha Nussbaum. Again, like Mill, PD PBs are spaces that ensure the flourishing of those two (of the total ten) capabilities that are “architectonic” to the rest. These architectonic capabilities are affiliation and practical reason, with people. PD PBs are not simply “good policy in the area of each of the capabilities . . . that respects an individual’s practical reason” which is “fully commensurate with human dignity” (Nussbaum 2011: 39). PD PBs are institutions that generate “good policy” through the exercise of every community member’s practical reason. Policies are not simply made for people; they are made by people. Fung and Wright (2003a, 2003b) call this “empowered participatory governance” and distinguish it from deliberative democracy. But do they empower all groups equally? Pateman herself developed concerns about PD and women after her early work (1989) and debates abound with respect to PB (McNulty 2015; Menser 2018: 75). 186

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Who participates? Benjamin Goldfrank demonstrates how and why Porto Alegre’s Participatory Budgeting (PBPOA) proved to be far more efficient and democratic than its institutional counterparts in Montevideo, Uruguay, and Caracas, Venezuela. While Goldfrank points to a number of factors in the success of PBPOA, at the level of the community he found that “participation rates are higher where the connection between individual involvement and results is most clear” (2011: 212). This responsiveness has led to reduction in political and economic inequality, as will be made clearer in the next section. Iris Marion Young writes that “strong and normatively legitimate democracy . . . includes all equally in the process that leads to decisions [by] all those who will be affected by them” (2000: 11). As such, Young also articulated a normative ideal of the city that emphasizes the establishment of multiuse public fora and spaces. Here it is worth noting some outcomes that have resulted from PBPOA. Despite potential barriers posed by the technical and timeconsuming discussions, large numbers of participants representing broad segments of the population attended once the PD version of the process was consolidated. In 1999, after ten years, 14,000 participated, and by the early 2000s, more than 30,000 were participating. (Pateman 2012).3 Not only do more people participate, the process delivers a wider range of benefits to more people. The year before the implementation of PB in 1988, 75 percent of households in Porto Alegre had running water. By 2000, 98 percent had it, and in that same period access to sewage lines more than doubled (from 46 percent to 98 percent). During the pre-PT government from 1986–1988, 1,714 families were provided with housing. Under PB, from 1992–1995, 28,862 were assisted. And in education, there were 29 functioning public schools in 1988. In 2000, there were 86 (Baiocchi 2005: 51). Indeed, as Cabannes puts it, Porto Alegre’s success in terms of both the process and the results makes it “paradigmatic.”

On reducing political and economic inequality Many critics of PB see it as a utopic distraction (Hauptmann 2001; Weinstock 2006), as playing with crumbs (Barry 2016). However, in Torres,Venezuela, PB is used for allocating 100 percent of the investment budget (Hetland 2012). Questions for future research are whether and how getting more money might change priorities. Laure Célérier and Luis Emilion Cuenca Botey examine the internal relations between participants in PBPOA (2015). Further research should be done in this area to better grasp nascent informal and formal hierarchical relations. Baiocchi, Heller, and Silva’s book-length study (2011) on the relationships and power dynamics among residents, community-based organizations, elected officials, and bureaucrats is full of counterintuitive insights. For example, many PD advocates desire that PB take power away from elected officials and empower community-based organizations (CBOs), but sometimes CBOs exclude parts of the public, and elected officials can act in a top down manner that increases bottom-up participation (Nabatchi & Leighninger 2015). But empowering state actors in this “good governance” frame may prevent deeper structural inequalities from being addressed and the social from being reconfigured in more radically egalitarian ways. For how these considerations play out in the city from a feminist and ecological perspective, see, for example, Bennholdt-Thomsen, and Mies (2000). For how they play out in non–first world cities, the case of El Alto. Bolivia. is particularly powerful; see Zibechi (2005).

On interconnecting groups and institutions: strengthening civil society and enhancing PD capabilities Isolated communes will not work. We know that movements and efforts must interconnect and PB in some instances has done so. PB has strengthened civil society through 187

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regeneration and revitalization of independent community organizations. In 1989, there were only four functioning neighborhood associations in Porto Alegre (Baiocchi 2005: 53). By 2001, 28 neighborhood associations were taking part in PBPOA. As Baiocchi points out, with decentralization of the state, new openings were created for civil society actors. Different views articulate these combinations, from the socialist/post-socialist “real utopias” frame of Wright (2010), to the post-Occupy “Next System Project,” to the Movement for Black Lives platform and the corporate major foundation funded “resilient cities.” Here, one could ask what micro and macro mechanisms are needed to ensure that PDs do not devolve into corporatist bodies. An additional question here concerns the terrain of digital media and artificial intelligence. The government of Taiwan not only has a robust PB process, it has rolled out an incredibly comprehensive citizen participation platform which fosters informational and preference gathering and public deliberation and debate, and enforces regulatory accountability. On one side is fake news and Twitter and Facebook bots, and on the other is big data and expertise being brought to serve the public and drive a community-based agenda which may actually change our whole concept of political presence (Barry 2016).

Conclusion Given the above, there’s good reason to believe in PD PB’s potential as a distinct mode of governance. Future philosophical research should be directed toward four distinct topics. First, a history and theory of assemblies. PD PBs offer a distinct role for assemblies that differs as well as overlaps with assemblies in other contexts. To properly determine and assess these distinctions a history and theory of assemblies is needed. This will allow us to raise sharpened questions about what participation means. That is, the question of who has the power and which powers – to decide, consult, propose, and frame questions. Mie Inouye is doing ongoing work on these questions and their relationship to “organizing” (2018). Second, an allusion was made above to Nussbaum and capabilities.To more fully establish the connection of PD PBs to capabilities, more empirical research is needed.Through such research one might be able to generalize about which capabilities are more developed through PD PBs. One may also determine what other institutional forms best compliment PD PB to more fully develop the index of capabilities as put forward by Nussbaum. Third, there is a growing research on the commons. Exploring conceptual and empirical overlaps between PD PBs and the commons could be fruitful. Fourth, while PB has shown success at the city and municipal level, participatory democrats might be interested in questions of scaling PB to larger territorial units. Emile Sobottka and Danilo R. Streck (2014) examine this challenge in the context of the Brazilian state Rio Grande do Sul. With Portugal recently announcing a national PB (Peru, South Korea, and the Dominican Republic have national legislation mandating PB), scalability is a question that needs further theoretical examination. Such questions can also be related to society-wide experiments in participatory democracy, such as in the present-day Rojava Revolution with a post-state cantonal system of direct democracy, and the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities, as well as past experiments during the Spanish Revolution. These historical and ongoing cases may serve as sources in tackling the democratic boundary problem. The calls for research in this chapter are key in crafting a more refined social ontology, as well as in designing and implementing PD institutions.4 188

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On the practices and obligations of public philosophers For Menser, there are at least two senses of “public” in play: one concerns my position as a practicing philosopher. It is of various types of ethical and political import, and epistemic advantage, to tie yourself to some nonacademic group within your field of inquiry whether it’s aesthetics or democratic theory. By “tie” I don’t just mean “connect,” but to join, or even better, to be enjoined. In this sense, a public philosopher becomes responsive to the needs and aspirations of some constituency or audience, and maybe even interactively accountable to them. In my case with participatory budgeting, this happened with regard to my role in the design and maintenance of various participatory budgeting processes in several cities and my own university. Here it’s not just about what my view of participatory democracy wants to see in a process. Rather, the construction of the process is dialogic and deliberative; yes, there are values that guide, but communities sometimes diverge in their understandings of the core PB values of inclusion, empowerment, and equity. And part of the mission of participation is to empower, to create a sense of ownership. Here “public” means sharing power plus creative collaboration. The sense of public as being responsive/accountable/collaborative occurs even more strongly in the context of the organization I co-founded and continue to be responsible to (and for) as president of the board of directors. Here, too, I, along with the other members of the organization (12–18 employees or so and 7–10 board members), also deliberate and strive to develop a shared understanding of PD values, but in the context of trying to run an organization whose principal goal – as a nonprofit – is to benefit an external constituency – while treating its staff with fairness and securing funding from foundations and contracts from cities dealing with austerity. This is not easy, and theory, sadly, is not all that helpful. In this pursuit, it becomes painfully evident how undemocratic American culture is – because of structural racism, classism, and sexism – how little experience people have with participatory democracy (it’s not like its taught in school!), how the workplace is so used to authoritarianism and hierarchies of many sorts, and how much work needs to be done in creating a new shared power culture with accountability and respect. Then there is my position as a philosopher at a public university. Those of us in this position serve two masters, the APA and our home department, but also the university that, in turn, is supposed to serve, in my mind at least, its local public. In 2009, when it became clear that we had the chance of launching and then designing a PB process in New York City, I focused on designing the process and was not able to finish an article on PB that had to do with a rather technical debate pertaining in democratic theory against deliberative democratic views. This led to me receiving a “did not meet all goals” in my annual review. I was willing to take the hit since doing a PB with millions of dollars obviously seemed more important than penning an article that would be read by dozens (at best!). Fortunately for me I already had tenure, but many of us doing public philosophy put our careers at risk in these kinds of ventures. (I have still not been promoted.) Relatedly, I believe my duties to the university means making my university accountable to its local publics. My role here is not only as critic or watchdog though, but as active collaborator with a specific sort of expertise. While some think we should privatize (or monetize) this expertise, I have pursued another route, not the public–private but the “social–public,” which aims to make such expertise, privilege, and/or power serve a community-driven agenda which is inclusive and equity enhancing by interconnecting public institutions (including city agencies and budgets) with communities (Menser 2018: 226–256). Examples of this include my work with participatory budgeting as well as advising on public participation for the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay (, which aims to enhance the resilience of the communities (human and nonhuman) in Jamaica Bay and its watershed (Ramasubramanian et al. 2016; for other examples see Wainwright 2003). 189

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For me (Kolokotronis), in reading Deleuze I found that critique must be linked to creation. To paraphrase Deleuze’s Nietzsche and Philosophy: The critical is creative. Creation would not be ex nihil, but, as Levi Bryant puts it (2011), bricolage, meaning a piecing together of diverse wholes and parts. As creator I would be bricoleur; not mandating a vision from an elusive transcendent above but constructing from immanence. This has guided, and was reinforced by, my practice as founder and lead organizer for Student Organization for Democratic Alternatives (SODA) in New York City. Through SODA (, myself and others strove to bring PB to the City University of New York. No space is more assertively a bricolage than New York City, and within that the borough of Queens, and Queens College. In total, SODA has been involved with launching PB processes on four campuses. PB proved to be the only institutional form that could give expression to this bricolage of constituents and actants. And it also proved to be the one available institutional form that empowered its constituents to play the role of bricoleur. My self-perceived role as public philosopher was not only to be bricoleur, but to empower others – through all available mechanisms (discursive and material) – to recognize themselves as bricoleur, and to together establish institutions that empower all of us to be bricoleurs. This thereby transforming urban space, as well as the relationship of constituents to urban space. I have sought to bring this philosophy of public power into other settings. As a rank-and-file union organizer, I have designed and sought to build critical mass to implement participatory processes. In deepening my involvement in the labor movement, I have advocated for using PB to allocate union dues (Kolokotronis 2017a). Furthermore, in this capacity and as a member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), I have articulated a position that democratizing labor unions can be a “bridgehead” (Langford 2015) into democratizing the municipality (Kolokotronis 2017b).

Notes 1 Porto Alegre’s PB had an incredible, robust run from 1989 to 2004. It then suffered major attacks and has been weakened, leading to a one-year “suspension” in 2017. See Chavez (2008) and Abers et al. (2018). 2 For a pragmatist view that is more skeptical of PD, see Lacey (2008). Young also had concerns about participatory democracy more broadly (1990: 249–250, 2000: 3 180–195), but comes back to it in later work (Menser 2018: 268). 4 For a radical post-Marxist social ontological view on this, see Holloway (2002, 2010); for a more constitutional republican one, see Thomas (2017).

References Abers, R., Brandão, I., King, R., & Votto, D. (2018) “Porto Alegre: Participatory Budgeting and the Challenge of Sustaining Transformative Change,” World Resources Report Case Study, Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. (Available online at Baiocchi, G. (2005), Militants and Citizens:The Politics of Participatory Democracy in Porto Alegre, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Baiocchi, G., Heller, P., & Silva, M. (2011) Bootstrapping Democracy: Transforming Local Governance and Civil Society in Brazil, Stanford: Stanford University Press. Barry, L. (2016) “Taiwan: Public Participation Methods on the Cyberpunk Frontier of Democracy,” The Civicist. , accessed August 11, 2016. Bennholdt-Thomsen,V. & Mies, M. (2000) The Subsistence Perspective: Beyond the Globalised Economy, New York: Zed. Bryant, L. (2011) The Democracy of Objects, London: Open Humanities Press, pp. 27–28. Butler, J. (2015) Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Beyond deliberation and civic engagement Cabannes,Y. (2014) “20 Cities”Working Paper – September 2014, IIED, London: International Institute for Environment and Development. Célérier, L. & Cuenca Botey, L.E. (2015) “Participatory Budgeting at a Community Level in Porto Alegre: A Bourdieusian Interpretation,” Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal 28 (5), pp. 739–772. Chavez, D. (2004) Polis and Demos: The Left in Municipal Governance in Montevideo and Porto Alegre, Maastricht: Shaker Publishing. ——— (2008) “The Watering Down of Participatory Budgeting and People Power in Porto Alegre, Brazil,” Participatory Learning and Action 58 (June). de Sousa Santos, B. & Avritzer, L. (2005) “Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre: Toward a Redistributive Democracy,” in B. de Sousa Santos (ed.), Democratizing Democracy: Beyond the Liberal Democratic Canon, New York:Verso, pp. 307–376. Fung, A. & Wright, E.O. (eds.) (2003a) Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance, New York:Verso. ——— (2003b) “Thinking about Empowered Participatory Governance,” in A. Fung & E.O. Wright (eds.), Deepening Democracy, New York:Verso, pp. 3–42. Goldfrank, B. (2011) Deepening Local Democracy in Latin America: Participation, Decentralization, and the Left, University Park, PA: Penn State University Press. Green, J. (1999) Deep Democracy, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Hardt, M. & Negri, A. (2017) Assembly, New York: Oxford University Press. Hauptmann, E. (2001) “Can Less be More? Leftist Deliberative Democrats’ Critique of Participatory Democracy,” Polity 33 (3), pp. 397–421. Hetland, G. (2012) “Grassroots Democracy in Venezuela,” The Nation, January 11. . Hilmer, J. (2010) “The State of Participatory Democratic Theory,” New Political Science 32 (1), pp. 43–63. Holloway, J. (2002) How to Change the World Without Taking Power, Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press. ——— (2010) Crack Capitalism, New York: Pluto Press. Inouye, M. (2018) “The Politics of Assembly.” Paper presentation at the New England Political Science Association Annual Meeting, April 2018. Jun, N. (2012) Anarchism and Political Modernity, London/New York: Continuum Publishing Group, p. 142. Keane, J. (2009) The Life and Death of Democracy, New York: W.W. Norton. Kolokotronis, A. (2017a) “Democratize the Union: Let the Rank-and-File Decide!” in ROAR Magazine, . ——— (2017b) “Municipalist Syndicalism: Organizing the New Working Class,” in ROAR Magazine, . Kropotkin, P. (1902) Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution, Boston: Porter Sargent. Lacey, R. (2008) American Pragmatism and Democratic Faith, DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press. Langford, T. (2015) “Union Democracy as a Foundation for a Participatory Society: A Theoretical Elaboration and Historical Example,” Labour/Le Travail 76, pp. 79–108. Lerner, J. (2014a) Making Democracy Fun, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ——— (2014b) Everyone Counts, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Luccarelli, M. (1995) Lewis Mumford and the Ecological Region: The Politics of Planning, New York: Guilford Press. McNulty, S. (2015) “Barriers to Participation: Exploring Gender in Peru’s Participatory Budget Process,” The Journal of Development Studies, pp. 1–15. Menser, M. (2013) “The Participatory Metropolis, or Resilience Requires Democracy,” Center for Humans and Nature. . ——— (2018) We Decide! Theories and Cases in Participatory Democracy, Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Mill, J.S. (1991 [1861]) Considerations on Representative Government, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. Nabatchi, T. & Leighninger, M. (2015) Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy, New York: Jossey-Bass. Nussbaum, M. (2011) Creating Capabilities:The Human Development Approach, Cambridge, MA:The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, p. 39. Pateman, C. (1970) Participation and Democratic Theory, Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. ——— (1989) The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism, and Political Theory, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.


Alexander Kolokotronis and Michael Menser ——— (2012) “Participatory Democracy Revisited: APSA President Address,” Perspectives on Politics 10 (1) (March), pp. 7–19. Ramasubramanian, L., Menser, M., Reiser, E., Feder, L. et al. (2016) “Chapter 10: Building Community Resilience Capacity,” in E. Sanderson, W. Solecki, J. Waldman, & A. Parris (eds.), Prospects for Resilience: Insights from New York City’s Jamaica Bay, Washington, DC: Island Press. Rousseau, J. (1975) The Essential Rousseau, trans. L. Blair, New York: Plume/Meridian, pp. 74–76. Sintomer, Y., Herzberg, C., Röcke, A., & Allegretti, G. (2012) “Transnational Models of Citizen Participation: The Case of Participatory Budgeting,” The Journal of Public Deliberation 8 (2), Article 9, . Sintomer, Y., Herzberg, C., & Allegretti, G. (with A. Röcke & M. Alves) (2013) “Participatory Budgeting Worldwide – Updated Version,” Dialog Global Series 25. Bonn: Engagement Global Service Agency Communities in One World. Sobottka, E. & Streck, D. (2014) “When Local Participatory Budgeting Turns into a Participatory System: Challenges of Expanding a Local Democratic Experience,” International Journal of Action Research 10 (2), pp. 156–183. Thomas, A. (2017) Republic of Equals: Predistribution and Property Owning Democracy, New York: Oxford University Press. Touchton, M. & Wampler, B. (2014) “Improving Social Well Being through Democratic Institutions,” Comparative Political Studies 47 (10), pp. 1442–1469. Wainwright, H. (2003) Reclaim the State, New York:Verso. Wampler, B. (2007) Participatory Budgeting in Brazil, University Park, PA: Penn State University Press. Weinstock, D. (2006) “The Real World of (Global) Democracy,” Journal of Social Philosophy 37 (1), pp. 6–20. Woods, D. (2012) “A Pragmatist Philosophy of the City: Dewey, Mead and Contemporary Best Practices,” Cognitio-Estudos: Revista Eletrônica de Filosofia 9 (1). Wright, E. (2010) Envisioning Real Utopias, London/New York:Verso. Young, I.M. (1990) Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ——— (2000) Inclusion and Democracy, New York: Oxford University Press. Zibechi, R. (2005) “Subterranean Echoes: Resistance and Politics,” Socialism and Democracy 39 (Vol. 19, No. 3).

Further reading L. Barry, “Taiwan: Public Participation Methods on the Cyberpunk Frontier of Democracy,” The Civicist. , accessed August 11, 2016. A. Kolokotronis, “Municipalist Syndicalism: Organizing the New Working Class,” in ROAR Magazine, . D. Macauley, “Evolution and Revolution: The Ecological Anarchism of Bookchin and Kropotkin,” in A. Light (ed.), Social Ecology After Bookchin (New York: Guilford Publications, 2008). M. Menser, “Disarticulate the State! Maximizing Democracy in ‘New’ Autonomous Movements in the Americas,” in N. Smith, O. Dahbour, H. Gautney, & A. Dawson (eds.), Democracy, States and the Struggle for Global Justice, pp. 251–272 (New York: Routledge, 2009). M. Menser, We Decide! Theories and Cases in Participatory Democracy (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2018). C. Pateman, “Participatory Democracy Revisited: APSA President Address,” Perspectives on Politics 10 (1) (2012), pp. 7–19. Y. Sintomer, C. Herzberg, & G. Allegretti (with A. Röcke & M. Alves), “Participatory Budgeting Worldwide – Updated Version,” Dialog Global Series 25 (Bonn: Engagement Global Service Agency Communities in One World, 2013). B. de Sousa Santos & L. Avritzer, “Introduction: Opening up the Canon of Democracy,” in B. de Sousa Santos (ed.), Democratizing Democracy: Beyond the Liberal Democratic Canon (New York:Verso, 2005). B. Wampler, Participatory Budgeting in Brazil (University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2007).



Lefebvre and the production of space The notion of constructing urban communities developed in what follows is derived, in the first instance, from Henri Lefebvre’s conception of the production of space. Production or construction, in this context, is to be understood in contradistinction to something’s being simply there as a natural given. In The Production of Space (1991 [1974]) and in his other writings on the politics and sociology of urban life, Lefebvre strives to demonstrate how space is a dynamic product of social, political, economic, and ideological forces. Urban space is, as he asserts in The Urban Revolution (2003 [1970]), the domain of political contestation par excellence. Against such an appreciation of the urban phenomenon we might contrast the traditional urban planning perspective. Here the city is grasped predominantly as a technical puzzle: how to optimize traffic circulation, ensure essential amenities to all urban dwellers, organize the constituent parts into a functionally differentiated or complementary whole, and so forth. We might think of this latter perspective as various ways of moving chess pieces across the board, whereas Lefebvre wants us to think of the board itself as subject to continuous construction. The former is what Lefebvre refers to as “conceived space”; the latter, borrowing from the language of phenomenology, “lived space.” The inspirations for Lefebvre’s thinking on lived space are not all, or even predominantly, philosophical in nature. Born at the start of the 20th century (1901), Lefebvre was, like many of his French contemporaries, deeply influenced by surrealism. The original grouping of Paris surrealists, born of the early experiments in “automatic writing” carried out by Philippe Soupault and André Breton in 1920, profoundly affected French 20th-century intellectuals in a manner rarely acknowledged in Anglophone histories of philosophy. Early surrealist literary works, most notably Louis Aragon’s Paris Peasant (1971 [1926]), demonstrate a particular interest in uncanny elements of the urban environment. The surrealists were pioneers of the aesthetic methodology Breton referred to as “objective chance” – that is, bringing seeming random objects together to induce a kind of mental jolt or shock. In Breton’s novel Nadja (1960 [1928]), the motifs of urban place and random human encounters intertwine throughout. In his 1929 essay on surrealism, Walter Benjamin (1999) drew attention to the surrealist sensitivity toward urban decay, understood as an index of accelerated material obsolescence in the capitalist city. Lefebvre was a cultural Marxist, albeit a doctrinally unorthodox one. While working on the second of three volumes setting out a sociology of the everyday (Lefebvre 2002 [1961]), 193

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Lefebvre encountered the recently formed Situationist International (SI).This encounter would prove to be mutually influential. For their part, the young members of the SI were able to draw on Lefebvre’s mature social theory, while Lefebvre was able to radicalize his appreciation of oppositional forms of urban praxis.The SI’s leading figure, Guy Debord, would go on to publish the Society of the Spectacle (1994 [1967]), recognized as one of the most important writings influencing of social-political movement that came to a head most dramatically in the 1968 “events.” Originally, the situationist raison d’être was a matter of radicalizing certain aesthetic practices and applying them to urban existence. In particular, the early SI employed the collective practices of “détournement” (subversion or hijacking) and “dérive” (drifting) within urban contexts. The negative “de-” prefix in each instance stems from the core SI conviction that, under conditions of advanced capitalist alienation, artistic expression could only take the form of what Derrida will later call deconstruction. In this sense, the SI members, with their abandonment of modernist aesthetic creationism, can be seen as proto-postmodernists. It is important to underscore the fact that this Lefebvrian legacy was scarcely acknowledged in academic geography, urbanism, or sociology until the pioneering work done by critical geographers such as David Harvey in the 1970s. It took a further three decades for this legacy to be more than an obscure footnote to philosophies of space (continental or analytic). It is vital to acknowledge this time lag, as it explains, in part at least, how anything like an explicit and comprehensive philosophy of the city failed to materialize in the 20th century. Within the institutionally marginalized tradition of continental philosophy, theories of space gained prominence largely under the aegis of phenomenology. This stemmed, originally, from work on the “lived body” (in German, Leib) by Husserl (1989 [1912–1915]) in Ideas II; work that crucially informed Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenlogy of Perception (2012 [1945]) and fed into his late concept of “flesh.” This intertwining of space, place, and body, together with Heidegger’s (2013) work on similar themes, has born its most conspicuous fruit in the work of contemporary continental philosophy of religion. Here, the work of Jean-Luc Nancy assumes central significance and it to this that we turn next.

Nancy and community In Constructing Community (Elliott 2010a), I identify three paradigms in recent philosophy of community: dialogical community, derived from the work of Habermas; dissenting community, articulated in the work of Jean-François Lyotard and Jacques Rancière; and singular community, stemming largely from the work of Jean-Luc Nancy, initially in The Inoperative Community (1991 [1982]). Here Nancy offers an extended critique of Georges Bataille and, more broadly, of any nostalgic yearning for a more authentic, original human community. The basic idea is that community, a bounded and bonded human collective, should not be thought of as a work or project of some kind. In certain ways, Nancy’s thinking here builds on a poststructuralist appreciation of how natural languages create linguistic community. The idea is that a common language is not in any credible sense a “work” of the language users: It is not proper to linguistic agents nor is it their creation. Similarly, around the same time Giorgio Agamben, in Infancy and History (2007 [1978]), argues that language is always prior to human projects and works and constitutes a necessary precondition of human collective action. Hence the idea of community as “inoperative” – that is, not a possible human production or opus. In Constructing Community (Elliott 2010a), I take up Nancy’s idea as a conceptual analogue to postmodern urbanism, understood as a response that problematizes the neo-traditionalism of the New Urbanism founded by such urban planners as Andrés Duany and Peter Calthorpe. The New Urbanism, starting in the early 1980s, sought to overcome what it saw as the excesses of 194

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modernist experimentalism and return urban planning to the elegance and harmony of beaux arts city forms. It also embraces what I identify in my book as a fairly unconditional assumption of environmental determinism. By this is meant the idea that the good human community follows predictably from good urban form. In other words, a central New Urbanist article of faith is precisely what Nancy repudiates – the creation of community through concerted rational human action. To this extent, the New Urbanism inherits the faith of architectural modernists such as Le Corbusier but abandons any sense of a modernist experimentalism in favor of a nostalgic neo-traditionalism. As well as the work of Nancy, the parallel thinking of Giorgio Agamben is significant here. While Agamben came to wider prominence through his work Homo Sacer (1998 [1995]), several years earlier he published The Coming Community (1993 [1990]). In a manner that echoes Nancy’s earlier book on community, Agamben presents community as something essentially unworkable – that is, unachievable through concerted human action. There are additional elements to Agamben’s theory of community that align with Derrida’s preoccupation with deferral in Margins of Philosophy (1982 [1972]). The early idea of deferral is transformed and reimagined as the notion of haunting key to Derrida’s late works, in particular Specters of Marx (2012 [1993]). The Marxist-communist idea(l) Derrida sees there as a “spirit” that haunts European thought and politics, which can neither be exorcized not realized. It should be recalled that all the thinkers of community mentioned thus far – Lefebvre, Debord, Nancy, Agamben – are, in important ways, all coming to terms with the legacy, both theoretical and practical, of Marxism and its project of political community. As I have argued elsewhere (Elliott 2011), what is ultimately unsatisfying about the theories of community offered by Nancy, Agamben, and allied contemporary thinkers, is the indeterminacy of their notion of political praxis. This makes it of little use, I argue, for anything like a radical politics of community in the face of the hegemonic powers that shape actually existing cities. Arguing that authentic community is a mere modernist chimera is unlikely to blunt the ardor of the construction sector’s inexorable search for profit or a neoliberal city government’s love of tax increment financing. For this, the impressive work done in the field of critical geography is a far more promising source for post- or neo-Marxist theories of community. Thus, it is to this third domain of philosophy of community that I now turn.

Marxist geography and cultural theory Edward Soja (1989), in his influential work Postmodern Geographies, champions the manner in which Lefebvre’s thinking challenged the neglect of space within Marxian theory. He links this neglect more generally to a prioritizing of time and history in the Hegelian mode of thinking, taken over in a certain manner by Marx. Indeed, modern philosophy from Hegel to Heidegger is clearly preoccupied by time and history and tends to subordinate questions of space and place. This prioritization is also apparent in influential 20th-century philosophical movements such as phenomenology. While, as noted, Husserl’s descriptions of embodiment from Ideas II were taken up by later thinkers such as Merleau-Ponty and developed within theories of spatiality, more generally this did not come close to establishing themes of space and place on a par with those of historicity and temporality. Hence the subtitle of Soja’s work: “The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social heory.” We can cite one obvious and significant exception to this general rule – namely, the work of Walter Benjamin. As I have explored at length in Benjamin for Architects (Elliott 2010b), the work of this unorthodox Frankfurt school thinker between 1921 and 1940 is driven by an underlying concern for the material culture of built space. The most obvious document to this is Benjamin’s 195

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(1999) unfinished – and perhaps unfinishable – Arcades Project. Benjamin lived in Paris for most of the 1920s and 1930s and mixed with the surrealists and other allied artists and thinkers at the time. From the mid-1920s on he also allied his thinking with intellectual Marxism, spending several months in Moscow in the winter of 1926–1927, where he was exposed to the pioneering work of early Soviet cinema and theater. Benjamin’s descriptions of Moscow and other European cities in the 1920s are early documents of his developing urban theory. Nevertheless, Benjamin remains an outlier in the broader context of 20th-century continental and Marxist thought. The exclusion of space from this domain is paralleled by a more surprising exclusion within the field of Marxist geography. As Soja (1989) puts it, until the early 1970s Marxism “stashed away the geographic imagination in some superstructural attic to gather the dust of discarded and somewhat tainted memories” (43); meanwhile, modern geography “isolated itself in a tight island of its own, building a storage-house of factual knowledge that was only occasionally broadcast into the public domain” (43). Part of this aversion to space within Marxism comes from the internationalism and universalism essential to its model of social change. David Harvey (2000), in Spaces of Hope, takes up Raymond Williams’s notion of “militant particularism” in order to reinsert space into the thinking of social change and opposition to capitalism. Harvey is doing this against a backdrop of increasingly radicalized challenges to global capital on the streets of wealthy liberal democracy. Harvey’s recursion to Williams brings another intellectual formation into play that is conspicuously absent from Soja’s reconstruction. Foundational texts for what would later be called cultural studies were Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy (2009 [1957]) and Raymond Williams’s Culture and Society (1958). The common concern of these works was to demystify the notion of “culture,” thereby challenging the traditional academic restriction of the cultural to what is produced and/or enjoyed by the higher socioeconomic classes. As against this, Williams argues that “culture is ordinary” and Hoggart offers a groundbreaking study of such English working-class “ordinary” culture. These seminal works of cultural studies are, at the same time, early forays into community studies. As such, they generate concepts to explain the nature of community – such as Williams’s celebrated idea of “structures of feeling” – to capture the habitual affective bonds exhibited by those who live in tightly knit social contexts. A further development of the work pioneered by these figures in early cultural studies is what might be called critical media studies. This highlights the role played by communications technologies in the formation of modern community. Both Hoggart and Williams were acutely aware of the impact mass media were having within the working-class communities in which they had been raised. In ways that echo the fierce critique of the “culture industry” in The Dialectic of Enlightenment, published by Horkheimer and Adorno in 1944, Hoggart and Williams subject popular media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, and television to extensive “ideology critique.” This stems from the realization that the modern working class is constantly subject to representations of itself produced by media operations that are owned and operated by the upper-middle class. Hoggart, in particular, offers a very gloomy prognosis for the survival of anything like authentic English working-class culture in the second half of the 20th century.

Habermas and communicative action A more direct inheritance of first-generation Frankfurt school thought is found in the work of Jürgen Habermas. Habermas’s breakthrough came with the publication of his two-volume study, The Theory of Communicative Action (1985 [1981]). In this work, Habermas developed a complex social theory using concepts of language, rationality, and community gleaned from American pragmatism and analytic philosophy of language, as well as his formative critical theory 196

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inheritance. In Constructing Community (Elliott 2010a), I label Habermas’s position “dialogical community” in line with his key idea that communicative action presumes an “ideal speech situation” where interlocutors are predisposed to arrive at collective consensus. Habermas’s position proved influential in a number of fields and spawned a movement in “deliberative democracy” that came to prominence in the context of American political theory in the 1990s. It is in the thought of Iris Marion Young that we find the most direct application of Habermasian thinking to issues of urban community. In her seminal work, Justice and the Politics of Difference (1990),Young challenged the traditional focus of leftist politics on economic redistribution and made a strong case for deliberative inclusion. Habermas had established a metaethical principle in his dialogical ethics, such that democratic “stakeholders” should be included in any decision-making process in which their interests were in play.Young systematically applied that principle, arguing that the traditional idea of a paternalistic state benignly redistributing goods according to social need was not robustly democratic in nature. Young was elaborating theoretically what had, in the course of the 1960s and 1970s, become the settled reality of urban decision-making across democratic politics – namely, obligatory public input. Urban regeneration schemes up through the 1950s were often pushed through by municipal governments with scant regard for the sentiments of urban communities. A series of grassroots challenges to this style of urban governance, in particular opposition to the intrusion of freeways into the mature, close-grained built environment of cities, had instituted a generalized legitimacy of public outreach and participation.Young’s specific contribution was to elaborate on the ethical justification of such governmental pragmatics. She also celebrated, as other have done before and since, the unparalleled social diversity that one typically experiences in dense urban environments. In this respect, her reception of Habermas’s notion of dialogical community was far from uncritical. She recognized that Habermas’s regulative ideal of consensus underestimates the tendency of actual agreement to further hegemonic social class interests, thereby perpetuating social exclusion. This concern for the restriction of discursive diversity lead her to adopt a critical stance on the very idea of urban community, with its connotation of shared values and ways of life. In this regard,Young identifies a weak spot in Habermas’s thinking that was regularly alluded to by poststructuralist critics throughout the 1980s. This critique often centered on the then highly voguish conception of postmodernism. While the idea of the postmodern arguably arose within the field of architectural theory, preeminently in Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966), it began to attract more academic attention following Jean-François Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition (1984 [1979]).There, Lyotard stated that the postmodern was not in fact a definitive departure from, but rather a reasserted radicalization of the modern. But when Habermas (1993 [1982]) came to publish his important essay “Modernity: An Incomplete Project,” he identified modernity with an intellectual formation inaugurated by 18th-century Enlightenment thinking. Accordingly, he associated the “postmodern” spirit with a certain counter-Enlightenment tendency of thinking running from Nietzsche and Batailles, through to Foucault, Derrida, and other poststructuralists. While the modern, Enlightenment idea of community is predicated on an appeal to universal communicability, the postmodern idea appeals to incommensurability and irreducible diversity. These rival theories, applied to many disparate areas, also find expression in debates over the actual or desirable nature of urban community.

Lyotard, Rancière, and dissenting community Theories of community generally entail a number of essential elements: an account of how the collective is constituted out of its constituent parts (the internal organization); how the community is materially situated (the material context); and how the community is negatively 197

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defined over and against other communities (the external relations). Habermas’s theory of communication assumes, at the highest theoretical level, commensurability across heterogeneous communities. That is, whatever linguistic, cultural, or ideological differences pertain, these can and should be ideally overcome in any genuine effort to communicate.This opens the possibility of a veritably universal community or cosmopolitan politics. Note that Marx’s social theory rests on the same presumption, hence his famous call to arms is addressed to “workers of the world.” In The Differend (1988 [1983]), Lyotard directly challenges this universalizing assumption and contends that the nature of the social is characterized by power imbalances that make Habermas’s consensus-driven conception of dialogical community untenable. As he illustrates when taking up the case of Holocaust denial, human communication is actually predicated on inevitable miscommunication, lacunas, and breakdowns in the attempt to arrive at shared meaningfulness. Like his poststructuralist contemporary Foucault, Lyotard holds that Habermas’s theory of communication rests on a fundamentally erroneous appreciation of the way language actually works within human society. Reason in history is not an omniscient arbiter, offering up a scrupulously neutral and transparent account of reality that can be shared by all. Instead, it expresses a situational “will to power” of particular social groupings with respect to others. This inherently antagonistic nature of social formation is what Habermas glosses over in his insistence that all human communication aims, “ideally speaking,” at universal agreement. Jacques Rancière’s Disagreement (2004 [1995]), although it makes few explicit allusions to Lyotard’s earlier work, points in a similar direction. In a later work, Hatred of Democracy (2014 [2005]), Rancière radicalizes his earlier critique of the politics of consensual agreement by drawing hard lessons from the “Third Way” political experiment run by Tony Blair in the United Kingdom and Bill Clinton in the United States. This amounted, in Rancière’s eyes, to denying the intrinsically conflictual nature of modern democracy. Insisting that party differences should be overcome in order for the political class to unify in the common interest, as Third Way politics does, is to ignore the original reasons for a multiparty system, namely incommensurable class interests. Thus, the drive toward consensual politics derived from Habermas’s social theory results in an effort by established democratic parties to overcome differences of social class and power and occupy a center-ground where the interests of the “reasonable” political community are to be found. The recent work of Chantall Mouffe has consolidated and extended this critique of consensualist democratic politics. In The Democratic Paradox (2000), Mouffe offers a parallel assessment of contemporary democracy to that offered by Rancière. Similarly, she highlights the role of the Third Way politics developed by the British sociologist Anthony Giddens (1998). Adopted most explicitly by British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the context of the “New Labour” project founded in the mid-1990s, Third Way politics appeals to a “radical center” that seeks to overcome the traditional ideological divisions between right and left of center political parties. In the eyes of Mouffe, this amounts to the application of Habermasian communicative action theory to democratic party politics. In Mouffe’s terms, however, to seek to overcome party opposition is to overlook the “agonistic” nature of democracies. Without ideological struggle, democratic political community is liable to degenerate into a voting public plagued by mass cynicism and nationalistic xenophobia. In light of the current wave of populist politics on both sides of the Atlantic, it is hard not to credit Mouffe’s analysis of democratic politics with strong predictive power.

Neoliberalism and the right to the city What light is shed, then, on the nature of urban community by means of the theoretical positions set out above? One line of analysis would consider the “rationality” of the urban community. As many urban social histories attest, negative attitudes toward the mass or crowd has been 198

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a constant element of urban governance. The sense that the intense massing of human bodies in the city has the permanent potential to erupt into violence and unreason was famously evoked by the Victorian educationalist and essayist Matthew Arnold (2006) in his 1869 work Culture and Anarchy.There Arnold excoriated the working-class men who had massed in Hyde Park, London, to protest limited democratic enfranchisement. Many urban sociologists see in today’s neoliberal metropolis a similar intolerance toward popular protest. Cities in wealthy democracies – beginning with New York’s “zero tolerance” urban policing of the 1980s – have relentlessly sanitized cityscapes of most if not all “undesirable” elements. This trend toward draconian policing is seen by many Left-leaning commentators and theorists as a means for preparing the ground for the types of extreme real estate speculation that have proliferated over the same period. The kind of fiscal austerity typically insisted upon by neoliberal governance has led to a significant diminution of genuinely accessible public space and amenities: public housing, libraries, community centers, hospitals, and schools have all been, in one way or another, largely priced out of the central city. The phenomenon of gentrification has typically spread from the central areas of large cities to the surrounding neighborhoods and beyond. Among other negative effects, this has resulted in workers having to commute ever greater distances to provide services for the minority who can still afford to live there.The sense that the city is essentially run for the extremely wealthy has become manifest to many. This widespread urban discontent erupted after the onset of the 2008 Great Recession in the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. In that year, David Harvey (2008) published an article in the New Left Review titled “The Right to the City.” While the title was taken from a 1968 essay by Lefebvre (1996), Harvey drew explicit attention to the unparalleled economic disparities then evident in New York under its billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Reaching back to the urban history of Paris reconstructed in the 1850s under its prefect Haussmann, Harvey points to speculative finance’s inherent tendency toward “creative destruction” through brutal dispossession of the urban working class. Asserting the “right to the city” against this capitalist dynamic essentially amounts to a popular claim to collective, grassroots urban self-determination. Historically, this claim cannot be effectively staked in the absence of some sort of concerted manifestation of the dispossessed on the urban street. Three years later after Harvey’s article appeared, the OWS movement took possession of Zuccotti Park in New York. This movement was itself inspired by the protracted and dramatic occupation of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, which began in January 2011. OWS inspired similar occupations across the United States and efforts to pressure metropolitan, state, and national government to do for “Main Street” what it had done for Wall Street. Within a few months all the encampments had been dismantled through what appeared to be a coordinated effort among metropolitan governments across affected cities. But OWS has precipitated the greatest assertion of a right to the city seen in the United States since the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization in 1999. Nevertheless, there were many criticisms, coming predominantly from the Left, that OWS had failed to produce concrete demands to effect change in urban governance. Supporters of the movement, such as the activist anthropologist David Graeber (2009), hold that urban protest movements show what democracy look like in action: inclusive, painstaking, and messy. Harvey himself concedes that the bourgeois language of rights is a fickle ally to progressive Leftist causes. The hegemonic neoliberal understanding of Rights casts them largely as protections of the individual against governmental and societal interference.To make good on a popular right to the city it is necessary that metropolitan government allow working-class interests to trump those of the superrich. But the very organization of the metropolitan economy makes this highly unlikely. For example, the favored instrument of tax increment financing (TIF) of metropolitan urban renewal works by enticing construction companies to build expensive 199

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condo towers affordable to a wealthy minority. The property taxes then raised are typically not disbursed to the city as a whole but retained within a particular renewal area for many decades. This creates islands of wealth surrounded by areas often severely strapped for public cash. When it is further acknowledged that neighboring cities are all vying for the surplus profit to be gleaned from such urban renewal, it is easy to appreciate how difficult it will be to break the cycle of neoliberal gentrification.

Working the city Social sustainability, one of the traditionally recognized three pillars of sustainable development, is often understood to denote community vitality. But what are the salient signs of this within the urban context? It is part of neoliberal municipal governance to see the city fundamentally as a mechanism for surplus profit production. This inevitably involves a process of often brutal “primitive accumulation,” whereby the land base of poorer residents is turned over to speculative interests. The original modern vision of sustainable development, set out by the United Nations in the Brundtland Report (Brundtland et al. 1987), looked ahead to a variety of global capitalism that would internalize the concerns for equitable distribution. Few informed commentators and analysts, however, can plausibly contend that cities have become more equitable places to live and work in over the last three decades. In this light, there is growing recognition that the inherited paradigm of sustainable development must be abandoned if the challenges of urban equity and social cohesion are to be met. Given rapid suburbanization in the mid-20th century, the renewal of the central city in the 21st is in many ways surprising. The radical makeover of post-industrial urban sites in recent decades is, in many respects, one of the most striking achievements of mature neoliberal capitalism. But the parallel phenomenon of austerity economics has hollowed out many aspects of the welfare system painstakingly fought for in the context of labor struggles from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries. Clearly, over the last four or five decades, municipal governance has involved a shifting of the balance of power ever more in favor of capital and against labor. The contemporary city is populated by the most part by the “working poor” or “precariat” who find full-time work but lack anything like security or adequate means to enjoy the kind of city neoliberalism has constructed all around them. In this context, community organizations are forced to plug the gaps left by a refunctioned state apparatus. For instance, food banks were virtually unknown in the United Kingdom before the 2008 recession, but are now hailed as a salutary instance of the “Big Society” by the ruling Conservative government. OWS was a brief effulgence of popular resentment across many of the wealthiest cities in the world. But it proved incapable of forming urban communities that could stand the test of time. That task requires long-term organization to restore the power of organized labor to something resembling its stature in the first half of the 20th century. Against this idea, there is a growing leftist movement calling for an end to work and the establishment of a universal basic income (see Srnicek & Williams 2015).The idea here is to move beyond the traditional socialist-Marxist conviction that it is work that provides the common reference point for constituting workingclass solidarities. Urban community beyond workplace identities is an enticing proposition. A further seam of urban theory draws attention to a certain return to place-based work, evidenced by the recent proliferation of local craft production (see Sennett 2008). Clearly, there is a strategic theoretical and practical decision to be made here: Should work continue to be seen as a foundation for urban community or not? For many, the imminent prospect of mass unemployment brought about through a further wave of automation means that we should, indeed, be looking for a post-work vision of urban community. 200

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Finally, there is the current condition of populist politics. Much of the literature on urban community celebrates the unparalleled social diversity to be found in cities. While the bonds of the archetypal rural community might be more intense, this is generally predicated on little difference between community members. The urban social milieu is of a different type, involving recognition that life in the city rules out any common denominator for all residents. The city is thus a community of communities, possessing radical heterogeneity. Right-leaning populism in the United States and Europe tends to involve a xenophobia that would construct walls to diminish such difference. As Jean-Paul Sartre (1995 [1946]) observed of antisemitism 70 years ago, racist and nationalist animus grants to the otherwise dispossessed and alienated a sense of ownership. Having reconstructed cities as the playgrounds of the superrich, the working poor, abandoned by the political class, can plausibly look to a different type of politician to restore their ownership of the country. Even if no material improvement is forthcoming to the supporters of such populism, they can take comfort from the fractious solidarity that emerges through recognition of a shared enemy.

References Agamben, G. (1993 [1990]) The Coming Community, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ——— (1998 [1995]) Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Stanford: Stanford University Press. ——— (2007 [1978]) Infancy and History: On the Destruction of Experience, London:Verso. Aragon, L. (1971 [1926]) Paris Peasant, London: Jonathan Cape. Arnold, M. (2006 [1869]) Culture and Anarchy, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Benjamin, W. (1999a) The Arcades Project, Harvard: Harvard University Press. ——— (1999b) “Surrealism:The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia,” in M. Jennings (ed.), Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings,Vol. 2: 1927–1932, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Breton, A. (1960 [1928]) Nadja, New York: Grove Press. Brundtland, G., Khalid, M., Agnelli, S., Al-Athel, S. et al. (1987) Our Common Future, United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development. Debord, G. (1994 [1967]) Society of the Spectacle, New York: Zone. Derrida, J. (1982 [1972]) Margins of Philosophy, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ——— (2012 [1993]) Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International, Routledge. Elliott, B. (2010a) Constructing Community: Configurations of the Social in Twentieth-Century Philosophy and Urbanism, Lanham, MA: Lexington. ——— Benjamin for Architects (2010b), New York/London: Routledge. ——— (2011) “Community and Resistance in Heidegger, Nancy and Agamben,” Philosophy & Social Criticism 37 (3), pp. 259–271. Giddens, A. (1998) The Third Way:The Renewal of Social Democracy, Cambridge: Polity. Graeber, D. (2009) Direct Action: An Ethnography, Oakland: AK Press. Habermas, J. (1985 [1981]) Theory of Communicative Action, 2 vols, Boston: Beacon. ——— (1993 [1982]) “Modernity – An Incomplete Project,” in J. Natoli & L. Hutcheon (eds.), Postmodernism: A Reader, Leiden: Brill, pp. 98–109. Harvey, D. (2000) Spaces of Hope, Berkeley: University of California Press. ——— (2008) “The Right to the City,” New Left Review 53, pp. 23–40. Heidegger, M. (2013) Poetry, Language,Thought, New York: Harper. Hoggart, R. (2009 [1957]) The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life, New York/London: Penguin. Horkheimer, M., Adorno, T.W., & Noeri, G. (2002) Dialectic of Enlightenment, Stanford: Stanford University Press. Husserl, E. (1989 [1912–1915]) Ideas II, Dordrecht: Kluwer. Lefebvre, H. (1991 [1974)]) The Production of Space, Oxford: Blackwell. ——— (1996) “The Right to the City,” in E. Kofman & E. Lebas (eds.), Writings on Cities, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 147–159. ——— (2002 [1961]) Critique of Everyday Life, Vol. 2: Foundations for a Sociology of the Everyday, London: Verso.


Brian Elliott ——— (2003 [1970]) The Urban Revolution, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Lyotard, J.-F. (1984 [1979]) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ——— (1988 [1983]) The Differend, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Merleau-Ponty, M. (2012 [1945]) Phenomenology of Perception, New York/London: Routledge. Mouffe, C. (2000) The Democratic Paradox, London:Verso. Nancy, J.-L. (1991 [1982]) The Inoperative Community, Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press. Rancière, J. (2004 [1995]) Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ——— (2014 [2005]) Hatred of Democracy, London:Verso. Sartre, J.P. & Becker, G.J. (1995 [1946]) Anti-Semite and Jew, New York: Schocken. Sennett, R. (2008) The Craftsman, New Haven, CT:Yale University Press. Soja, E.W. (1989) Postmodern Geographies:The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory, London:Verso. Srnicek, N. & Williams, A. (2015) Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work. London:Verso Press. Venturi, R. (1966) Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, New York: Museum of Modern Art. Williams, R. (1958) Culture and Society: 1780–1950, London: Chatto & Windus. Young, I.M. (1990) Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Further reading B. Elliott, Constructing Community (Lanham, MA: Lexington, 2010). J. Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990). D. Harvey, Spaces of Hope (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000). H. Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992). R. Sennett, The Craftsman (New Haven:Yale University Press, 2000). N. Srnicek & A.Williams, Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (London:Verso, 2015). I.M.Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011).


17 HOUSELESSNESS Kevin Scott Jobe

Whether speaking of the needs of displaced peoples, climate change refugees, migrant workers, immigrants, slum dwellers, single parents with children, veterans, as well as all those displaced, deprived, discriminated against, “doubled-up,” or underemployed due to socioeconomic or political instability, each of these populations the world over shares a common human need: the need for a safe, affordable, and relatively permanent shelter with basic infrastructure. However, in virtually all discussions about homelessness, these and many other categories of housing deprived populations are excluded either wittingly or unwittingly. Even one major book-length treatment on housing and homelessness admits that not examined in this reader are illegal immigrants, seasonal farm workers, and the victims of natural and human-made disasters who are temporarily or seasonally homeless. All these people become homeless, even if for relatively short periods of time, and seek assistance from social and housing programs that are already severely overburdened. (Erickson & Wilhelm 2011: xxv) In the search for a more inclusive, global definition of homelessness, the Urban Secretariat of the United Nations Center for Human Settlements proposed at the turn of the millennium an official substitution of the word “homelessness” with “houselessness” (Springer 2000). At the core of this global redefinition is a notion of inadequate shelter, which is defined as a housing unit without a roof and/or walls that does not allow privacy; without adequate space, adequate security (legal and physical), adequate lighting, heating and ventilation and adequate basic infrastructure,such as water-supply,sanitation and waste-management facilities; without suitable environmental quality and health-related factors, and with housing costs that are not reasonable. (Springer 2000: 481) The author notes that such a definition includes not only refugee populations living in substandard camps or tent cities due to conflict or environmental disaster, but also populations such as released prisoners who have no permanent place to go and those who live with a relative (“doubled-up”) because they cannot afford their own shelter due to high urban living costs. Such a definition also, 203

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by implication, includes victims and refugees of domestic, child, or family abuse; shelter and street populations who cannot afford or do not have access to housing options; and even the currently housed or sheltered who are at risk of eviction because of discrimination, abuse, intimidation, or simply failing to pay rising living costs in gentrifying neighborhoods. The UN-Habitat Initiative, in its 2001 Global Report on Human Settlements, endorsed this redefinition of homelessness as houselessness on the grounds that it avoids cultural and regional variation, such that anyone “with no access to housing will be considered as houseless the world over” (196). The Global Report laments the fact that much of the regional literature on “homelessness” often focuses exclusively on the problems or issues specific to a certain subpopulation, such as the mentally ill, substance abusers, runaway youth, and so on. As the Report indicates, “The problem with these perspectives is that they centre on subjective experiences and backgrounds of individual people, risking their stigmatization and failing to bring into focus the broader structural factors that underpin homelessness” (2001: 196). Indeed, when we take into consideration all those who fall under the UN-Habitat definition of “houseless” or at risk of houselessness due to inadequate shelter, it is plain to see that the overwhelming problem is not the specific problems or failings of the various subpopulations of the houseless, but rather the structural causes of houselessness themselves: social, political, economic, and ecological factors which increasingly deprive and dispossess people of their livelihoods, their labor, their land, their homes, their security, and their dignity. Indeed, as Saskia Sassen argues (2014), we have entered a new age of “expulsions,” most acutely in the Global South, connected to the ubiquity of the global economy and the socioeconomic, political, and environmental fallout of predatory finance capitalism. For all these reasons, it has been observed that housing and the management of housing, particularly in the context of the city, is a technology of life and death (Willse 2015). Thus, given a broader, needs-based conception of adequate shelter, the public policy solutions governments pursue will always have real consequences for the life and death chances of a wide range of at-risk populations, many of whom already face power inequities of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual orientation.When we drill down to the real life and death issues, in other words, it is housing insecurity and housing deprivation that “make people sick and make people die” (Willse 2015: 24).

Autonomy In light of these broader considerations of housing and human need, certain debates over the ethics and politics of “homelessness” become much clearer. In particular, debates in philosophy, political theory, and public policy over the autonomy of “the homeless” would benefit greatly from a broader perspective on houselessness and human needs. In some of these debates, discussions are often framed in terms of the autonomy versus coercion dichotomy that characterizes much of the literature on analytic ethics in general and biomedical and public health ethics in particular. However, when such debates are framed too narrowly as if the central problem revolves around the special characteristics of a problematic subpopulation (i.e., their deficiency in autonomy), such discussions tend to downplay, ignore, or obscure larger structural causes of houselessness and the role of local and regional struggles and public policy initiatives to meet basic human needs and provide safe affordable shelter for vulnerable populations, as well as achieve sociopolitical, economic, and environmental justice for the needy. When narrowly framed as an issue of “autonomy” versus “paternalism,” for example, much of the literature on homelessness fails to situate houselessness as a human need, thus failing to address the kinds of upheaval, displacement, and violence brought on by socioeconomic, political, and environmental (i.e., structural) causes. As Abbarno (1999) points out, framing the issue too narrowly in terms of respecting “autonomy” often leads to ignoring human needs, and our obligation to recognize 204


peoples’ needs as rights themselves. The validity of public goods like social welfare, affordable housing and accessibility initiatives, and other public policy programs for the needy stem from the recognition therefore that the diversity of human needs presents us with a rights-claim in the form of a positive moral obligation, and not simply a negative claim to respect peoples’ autonomy (Abbarno 1999). For some, the framing of “homelessness” in terms of autonomy versus coercion is seen as a symptom of liberal notions of labor, property, and self-governance shared by liberal democracies of the West. Specifically, American social policy since the 1970s has been premised on the view that the homeless lack the capacity for rational autonomy (Sparks 2012). However, as many theorists and practitioners of social policy and social services have observed, 500 years of Anglo-American law, policy, and other homeless management strategies consistently re-entrenched and reified the notion that the homeless are unfit for rational self-governance and active citizenship . . . wherein the assumed irrationality of the homeless necessitates state intervention and management simply because of the places they must, or may not, inhabit. (Sparks 2012: 1514) The close linkage of “home” with “autonomy,” rationality, and self-governance in liberal thought ensures that, by default, those without a “home” are viewed as suspect rational agents. In addition, the very notion of propertied “home ownership,” as noted by the World Resources Institute, by definition excludes the poor and the majority of the Global South (King et al. 2017: 3). This is for the simple reason that home ownership is not a financial option for the poor and all those without papers who “lack the documentation to qualify for mortgages or subsidies” (King et al. 2017: 3). Illustrations of this narrow emphasis on autonomy and property abound in contemporary debates, which center on questions about whether or not we ought to allow the homeless to be homeless so as to respect their autonomy (van Leeuwen 2017; Smith 2014), or whether and to what extent we should coerce the homeless to be helped (Watts et al. 2018; van Leeuwen & Merry 2018; Noddings 2002). Here, the problem is defined extremely narrowly as a question about whether “we” ought to coerce a relatively small proportion of individuals (in this case, those with extreme mental health issues) who lack access to adequate shelter. What is purportedly being discussed is the phenomena of “homelessness,” but what is in fact being discussed in these debates is one extremely limited aspect of those considered houseless the world over. This is not to downplay these debates or dismiss the need of the subpopulations in questions, but we should not conflate the particular needs of the mentally ill homeless with those of climate change refugees, or migrant workers, or shelter populations, or those fleeing from or displaced by the violence and upheaval brought about by social, political, economic, or environmental instability. And while these categories of houselessness might overlap in some cases, we should be wary of debates that limit our understanding of “homelessness” to one extremely limited and circumscribed aspect of what is undoubtedly an increasingly global phenomenon: the lack of access to basic human needs. To this end, various “paradigm shifts” have been proposed that seek to transcend the liberal paradigm within which most discussions of home and homelessness are seemingly trapped. One proposal is to move beyond a narrowly circumscribed defense of negative liberties, with the recognition that liberty be defined as the absence of humanly imposed impediments that 205

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entail not only deliberate coercion of one agent by another, but also denial of access to the means of life and labor sustained by the laws of property and contract. (Blomley 2009: 586) Under this proposal, where the problem is framed as one of trying to provide basic access to housing and infrastructure in the context of capitalist property relations, the problem has far more significance and meaning for a wide range of vulnerable populations the world over, many of whom face similar situations, albeit in quite different contexts. The UN-Habitat’s definition of “houselessness” is one overarching proposal that might provide a way beyond narrow limitations and understandings imposed by liberal notions of autonomy and property. However, such a paradigm shift away from liberal notions of autonomy and property and toward a more global, needs-based conception of houselessness is far easier said than done. One basic reason for this is that the socioeconomic policies predominant since at least the 1970s are underpinned by (modified) liberal notions of autonomy, which are utilized in order to justify the outcomes of social policy particularly for vulnerable populations.1 These governmental strategies and approaches which deploy liberal notions of autonomy to justify negative outcomes for vulnerable populations can be characterized as neoliberal.2 The following section of the chapter, therefore, will focus on the characteristics of neoliberal social policy, and attempt to explain how neoliberalism utilizes the notion of autonomy in order to justify its own negative outcomes for vulnerable populations, and particularly those considered “houseless” and those at risk of houselessness.

Neoliberalism Over the past four decades, dramatic shifts in social welfare and labor markets have resulted in reduced state funding and regulation for low-income housing, social safety nets, and employment benefits among other social goods. Employees now tend to work longer hours in multiple jobs or temporary forms of work with no comparable rise in income, benefits, or standard of living – a situation many refer to as the “New Economy” (Henwood 2003). Since the Great Recession of 2008 and the housing eviction crisis that followed, economists, sociologists, urban geographers, and political theorists have called renewed attention to a “neoliberal agenda” of housing deregulation and privatization, welfare and entitlement restructuring, gentrification, urban redevelopment, and real estate and financial speculation (Hodkinson et al. 2013). Pursued in concert as a program of social policy over the past four decades, such policies have taken priority over low-income and affordable housing and social services (Hodkinson et al. 2013; Hackworth 2007; Glynn 2009). Additionally, as Leonard Feldman documents in the case of the United States, ongoing attempts to dismantle and displace single-residency occupancies (SROs) and residential hotels for homeless individuals and families since the 1970s have continued to reduce the availability of real options for low-income housing in most urban centers (2004: 114–137). Internationally, data show that high rates of homelessness are found in countries like the United States which have “a very weak and diminishing welfare safety net” (Fitzpatrick & Stephens 2007: 57), and that low rates of homelessness are found in countries like Sweden and the Netherlands which have “well-functioning housing and labor markets and generous social security policies” (Fitzpatrick & Stephens 2007: 56). In the case of the United States, between 1970 and 1994, the typical state’s family benefits fell 47 percent, federal funding for low-income housing fell 49 percent from 1980 to 2003, and since the1980s, income has stagnated compared to steadily increasing rents in major cities (National Coalition for the Homeless 2007). At the same time as wages have been stagnating over this period, scholars of the “neoliberal city” have noted the growth of a casual workforce without job security and a living wage, known as the “precariat” (Standing 2016).The precariat is understood as a 206


workforce characterized by temporary, part-time, and/or fleeting forms of work that places workers on the margins of the economic and legal system; these workers are often subject to political-legal exclusion, harassment, and violence.3 Individuals, for instance, who have “irregular” forms of work and housing arrangements in large urban centers are much more likely to experience harassment, violence, and forms of political and legal exclusion. In response to the violence and exclusionary practices found in urban centers, urban geographers have tracked the emergence of tent cities along the margins of urban development zones as part of governmental strategies of cost externalization and off-loading of financial and social obligation on behalf of state and city governments. Indeed, for many city departments in charge of land development housing, tent cities are viewed as strategic spatial tools in managing the poor at lower cost amidst the ongoing crises of welfare austerity and expansion of anti-homeless laws . . . the persistence of camps underlines the intertwined crises produced in the expansion of criminalization of homelessness and shortcomings of welfare-provision for the homeless within the broader operations of the local state in managing marginality. (Herring & Lutz 2015: 699) In these ways, scholars of the neoliberal city have highlighted the confluence between the costexternalization strategies of city managers and officials on the one hand, and the “conservative register of ‘self-sufficiency’ against liberal government hand-outs” on the other (Herring & Lutz 2015: 697). It is here that we begin to find that neoliberal welfare restructuring and social abandonment dovetails nicely with the discourses of “autonomy” and “self-sufficiency” from state dependence often cited in accounts of tent city residents. As Herring and Lutz’s study of Seattle and Fresno show, state and city Departments of Planning and Development have even acknowledged homeless encampments as viable, low-cost options for housing, endorsing the “autonomy” of homeless encampments as a way of managing the perceived threats of tent cities to downtown urban development. At the same time tent cities have become a commonplace on the margins of major cities, the same city governments often pursue private partnerships with business and technology industries including the “creative class” of the tech boom that has forced housing and property values to skyrocket in major urban centers. As The New York Times documents, the tech boom in cities like Seattle and San Francisco has generated hordes of 20-something millionaires and thousands more with six-figure salaries. While that wealth has created a widely envied economy, housing costs have skyrocketed, and the region’s economic divisions have deepened. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,530 a month, the highest in the country. (Wingfield 2015) In cities like Seattle, Fresno, and San Francisco, these developments have gone hand-in-hand with the off-loading of the social costs of rising rents and living expenses onto the most vulnerable and unprotected populations. As Herring and Lutz conclude, Rather than interpreting the toleration and legalization of encampments as contradicting or challenging the existing policies and theories of the ongoing punitive exclusion of marginalized populations, our research shows how excluding the homeless from prime space while simultaneously assigning specific marginal places to them serves a common goal of neutralizing the “homeless threat” across the city. (2015: 698) 207

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The seclusion of tent cities to the urban fringe dovetails with their socioeconomic exclusion from prime areas of urban development. In this way, discourses of respecting the autonomy and self-sufficiency of the homeless begin to converge with neoliberal urban policies and “practices of social abandonment in the encroaching shadow of neoliberalism at the close of the 1960s” (Mitchell & Snyder 2015: 101). In light of this relationship between neoliberal social policy and its utilization of “autonomy,” disability scholars David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder argue that we ought to think about neoliberalism in terms of the following guiding definition: Neoliberalism involves forms of governance that reject the principle of governing on behalf of devalued populations (systematic provision of government-sponsored support) through the promotion of rampant market profiteering (unregulated corporatizing) and the selling off of public spaces to private interests (the commons). (2015: 101) Other definitions by critical theorists, geographers, social workers, and urban theorists define neoliberal government by its abandonment of any obligation to improve the life, health, and well-being of the population in exchange for the pursuit to make every aspect of social life subject to market norms, including the use of one’s autonomy (Willse 2015: 67). Rather than governing to improve the well-being of the population, neoliberalism interprets the independence of individuals as a market opportunity to increase the value of their autonomy. By idealizing values of independence, self-sufficiency, self-esteem, and personal responsibility, neoliberalism champions “autonomy” while at the same time discouraging entitlements and values of dependency on state or federal support (Cacho 2014: 20). As a result, the neoliberal valorization of autonomy and self-sufficiency means that those populations that find themselves most vulnerable, unprotected, marginalized, and indigent are viewed as victims of their own rational choices as individuals, rather than of any external social causes. Thus, according to neoliberal rationality, the social and economic status of such populations “is a choice made by rational individuals who are ultimately resigned to being underpaid, cheated and abused” (Cacho 2014: 19). Therefore, the neoliberal argument is that marginalized populations can only be brought out of their condition through independence, hard work, self-esteem, and an entrepreneurial spirit. In short, the homeless must become “entrepreneurs of themselves” (Foucault 2008: 225–226; Castells & Portes 1989: 11) and “self-managers” of their own physical and economic security. In this context then, framing homelessness primarily within the problematic of “autonomy” narrowly defines the issue in individualistic terms which ignores or obscures broader structural causes detrimental to the needs of vulnerable populations the world over. In what follows, I explore one regional debate over the “autonomy” of the homeless and try to show how the debate too narrowly defines homelessness and therefore obscures a broader, needs-based conception of houselessness and the structural issues that underpin various states of houselessness around the globe and in regional contexts as well.

The defense of homelessness In the essay “In Defense of Homelessness” (2014), Andrew F. Smith presents a defense of homelessness as a viable lifestyle as a challenge to the “so-called” punitive, institutional model of shelters, homes, housing units, and family structures, all of which Smith claims “communicates to the homeless that their social status is inferior, undesirable, and even pathological” (2014: 34). According to Smith, the “so-called” institutional model consists in “focusing solely 208


on reforming state and philanthropic institutions that aim at securing shelter for the homeless” (2014: 34). For Smith then, the institutional model seems to include not only emergency shelters or day centers but also any form of housing accommodation provided by local or state initiatives. For Smith, the goals of all these state institutions – from shelters to presumably residential hotels to traditional homes – is to integrate the homeless eventually into work and family life. The common “institutional” responses to homelessness Smith outlines are exclusion, harassment, displacement, and finally containment in shelters, “which represents the most prominent response to homelessness” (2014: 36). Smith writes, The stated goal of these institutional responses to homelessness, taken individually or collectively, is to facilitate reintegration of the homeless into the workforce and into homes with stable families. This goal thus supports two complementary ethics: the work ethic and the family ethic. (2014: 37) By enforcing these two complementary ethics, Smith suggests, the institutional system serves the purpose of reintegrating homeless persons into jobs and stable homes with families. According to Smith, this institutional response exacerbates rather than alleviates the hardships experienced by unhoused persons. Since individuals in the shelter system often have to submit to regular and rigorous screening, abide by shelter rules, wait for services and consent to surveillance, perform unpleasant tasks, actively look for work and housing, and endure interference by shelter staff, Smith argues that the institutional response of the shelter system exacerbates rather than alleviates the hardships of the homeless. As a challenge to the “institutional response” of the shelter-housing-home system, which Smith does not distinguish from less restrictive accommodations such as SRO or residential hotels (a point returned to later), Smith advocates an alternative vision of the homeless as “fellow citizens who nevertheless are others, outsiders, threats to the contours of American society” (2014: 43). By highlighting forms of community, or “socioeconomic organization,” in tent cities, and among recyclers and panhandlers, Smith argues that there are certain norms specific to “forms of homeless organization” upon which homeless persons rely to escape the institutional system of “the shelters, family abuse, predatory landlords, and harassment by police and the public” (2014: 38). According to Smith, “Adhering to these norms fosters the enjoyment of a degree of security, dignity, and autonomy under conditions of great duress. These norms include security through community, free sharing of provisions, and equitable exchange” (2014: 38, italics in original). Smith references firsthand and ethnographic accounts of homeless communities to highlight how these norms are exhibited in values like sharing and cohesion, but also in values like “resourcefulness and self-discipline” (2014: 39) which, according to Smith, “permits them at least partially avoid the degradation ceremonies performed by social service institutions and also to maintain dignity through productivity” (2014: 39), Most importantly, Smith points to the “self-sufficiency” and “enthusiasm” of recyclers in order to try to explain why individuals engage in such informal work with little income and no benefits or bargaining rights. In the case of recyclers, Smith acknowledges the literature on how the de-unionization and informality of work like recycling is largely the result of the neoliberal withdrawal of social safety nets and the rise of the temporary contracting and services industry.Yet Smith, appealing to the lived experience of recyclers themselves, fails to entertain the notion that the norms of self-sufficiency, selfdiscipline, and work “enthusiasm” might also be a result of and/or response to the restructuring of work and individual responsibility under neoliberalism. Smith seems to acknowledge that 209

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homeless populations have been deprived of state support and formal opportunities of work under neoliberalism, yet still wants to defend their homelessness on the grounds that they experience greater autonomy and self-sufficiency in such conditions. While Smith never names “neoliberalism” in the essay “In Defense of Homelessness,” he nonetheless writes that “deindustrialization, deunionization, and the rise of the service sector have generated a sharp decrease in well-paying jobs for low-skilled and unskilled workers with no coinciding increase in state support in the United States” (2014: 39). Again, citing the work of Castells and Portes on the informal economy,4 Smith acknowledges that some of the “forms of homeless organization” he is defending such as recycling are a byproduct of the success the state has had at scaling back the social safety net in combination with outsourcing recycling by the forms that process recyclables to parties that receive little income, no benefits, and no leverage with management. (2014: 40) Smith even goes so far to acknowledge how scholars of the informal economy are struck by the activities of recyclers “as an example of how firms prey on the weak to maximize profits, often with state complicity” (2014: 40). On this point, Smith writes, “This is undoubtedly so; I do not deny that recyclers, and the homeless in general, are deserving of sustained state support, a salient voice with respect to the conditions of their employment, and a living wage” (2014: 40). However, presumably in order to counter the image of recyclers as victims of neoliberal austerity, restructuring, and economic compulsion, Smith cites the work of Teresa Gowan on the sociology of underground economies in order to make the point that recyclers often “do not express the sullen resentment of people acting out of economic compulsion” (Smith 2014: 40). However, it is unclear what we are to make of the subjective, “lived experience” of recyclers in the face of Smith’s open acknowledgement that the informalized, de-unionized, and low-wage work of recyclers is the result of the objective economic forces of neoliberalism. Focusing narrowly and exclusively on the subpopulation of male recyclers in San Francisco, Smith acknowledges that recyclers and the homeless in general are actively and systematically being denied state support, bargaining rights, and a living wage, while at the same time downplaying these deprivations by suggesting that the homeless themselves lack any “sullen resentment” about such deprivation and abandonment. Smith offers no reason why informal workers, and the homeless in general, should not be extended a living wage, benefits, bargaining rights, and (not to mention) affordable housing. Indeed, nowhere in the essay does Smith advocate organizing and fighting for more investment in and construction of affordable housing options for the homeless such as residential or SRO hotels, which have been under attack by neoliberal urban redevelopment initiatives for almost 40 years (Feldman 2004: 116–117). In any case, it is false to suggest that all forms of housing accommodation are more or less equivalent to what Smith casually refers to as the punitive, “institutional” model of the “shelter system.” Instead, we should avoid the danger of conflating the punitive, “institutional” model of the shelter system with all forms of housing accommodation and “shelter” as defined by the UN-Habitat initiative. There is no reason to conclude that providing adequate shelter to the needy is always and everywhere punitive, nor need be. Despite legitimate criticisms raised about low-income hotels, hostels, or slums, the fact remains that rates of homelessness throughout the 1980s to the present are due in large part to the disinvestment and destruction of SRO, residential, and affordable low-income housing, in combination with increasing housing costs, wage repression, and welfare abandonment (Feldman 2004: 116–117). Unlike shelters, residential hotels, for example, remain one of the only institutions that provide “limited privacy, 210


freedom from social control, and the possibility of constituting individual identity and relations of urban sociality” (Feldman 2004: 117).The historian of the residential hotel Paul Groth writes that “hotels remain the cheapest private housing available downtown,” that they make economic sense for a model of public housing, and that they are generally seen as much desirable than either accommodations in shelters or the streets (2004: 293–294). Ironically, urban initiatives in the 1980s and 1990s to remove barriers to convert or demolish hotels led to the consolidation of the punitive, institutional model that Smith decries and identifies with the “family and work ethic” of the shelter system, composed of public–private spaces, shelters, case workers, social services managers, counselors, and so on. Because of all this, Smith misrecognizes the enemy of homeless populations as “the institutional model,” rather than the socioeconomic outcomes of neoliberal social policy, coupled with political and environmental instability which creates populations vulnerable to different but often related kinds of dispossession and displacement.

From the individual to the global As disability scholars Mitchell and Snyder (2015) argue, neoliberal attitudes and policies regarding homelessness enact a sort of “bait-and-switch” by ascribing to the individual both the agency of and responsibility for one’s situation and the toxic consequences to which such a life exposes oneself. By constructing the risks and hazards of informal work and substandard housing as simply part of the experience of being homeless in the current “housing market,” neoliberal rationality deploys liberal notions of autonomy as a way to celebrate “the individual.” As Craig Willse argues, it is vital to the well-being of neoliberal capitalism that individuals be abandoned to self-directed entrepreneurial activity. In other words, entrepreneurs are exactly what neoliberalism demands- people who can figure out how to make something out of nothing, who can determine on their own how to survive eroding social welfare nets, sinking wages, and decreased opportunities for formal employment and job security. (2015: 67) In 2014, Mayor Maryann Edwards of Temecula, California, commenting on the city’s “Responsible Compassion” campaign, identified the core of the campaign’s basic approach to homelessness by emphasizing individual responsibility and financial austerity. The city’s “Responsible Compassion” campaign coupled surveillance initiatives and “anti-feeding” ordinances with the reduction and off-loading of housing and homeless services to volunteer and charitable organizations funded by private donors. Remarking on the city’s homeless initiative, the mayor was quoted as saying, “Homeless people panhandling on the off ramps are homeless by choice. . . . They have rejected all forms of help and have chosen instead to play on the sympathy of generous residents” (Keys 2014). As Gershon (2011) argues in her analysis of “Neoliberal Agency,” under this conception of agency, “the care neoliberal agents must take . . . is to minimize the risk and ‘misallocated’ responsibility that these partnerships can potentially lead to” (2011: 540). However, the reconfiguration of all agents as homogenous, risk-calculators therefore also tends to minimize the role of factors like race or gender since these are not considered to have a special effect on the rational calculation of risk. The minimization of the role that gender and race plays in the neoliberal representation of agency can be seen in Smith’s defense of homelessness, in particular the way that way that race, gender, and vulnerability inflect the experience of homelessness for different populations. Rather than distinguishing the ways in which different subpopulations experience the vulnerabilities 211

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of homelessness and its desirability, Smith argues for the viability and safety of tent cities, followed only with a provisory footnote, highlighting how racial segregation is commonplace. Moreover, authorities are more likely to raid and shut down predominantly African-American encampments than predominantly white encampments.This permits the latter to become more established and comfortable, thus replicating wider trends of differential and asymmetrical treatment by the state on the basis of race. (2014: 41n) Notwithstanding this short provisory footnote about the disproportionate harassment and violence experienced by African-American communities, tent cities are still presented by Smith as a viable and safe alternative for both housed and unhoused individuals who wish to “opt out” of the punitive, institutional model. Indeed, Smith acknowledges – surprising briefly – that different populations experience the vulnerabilities of homelessness in differing degrees, writing in the final footnote, I remain skeptical, for example, about children experiencing homelessness. Trevor Smith (no relation) also has suggested to me that my thesis speaks more to the plight of homeless men than to homeless women. Given that Wright notes that some men acting as protective figures in encampments exhibited what he perceived to be hypermasculine behavior, I do not take Smith’s suggestion lightly.Whether a defense specifically of female homelessness is viable is a matter for future investigation. (2014: 51n) Therefore, by Smith’s own account, the modest claim being made is that homelessness is a viable and safe alternative only for non–African-American adult males. This appears as an odd claim, since it is ethnic minorities and indigenous populations who are overrepresented internationally in homelessness figures (Fitzpatrick & Stephens 2007: 55–56; National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty 2015), and some of the fastest-growing subpopulations since the 1980s have been women and families with children (Erickson & Wilhelm 2011: xxv; National Coalition for the Homeless 2007; Edelmen & Mihaly 1989). In addition to identifying lack of affordable housing, gentrification, and predatory lending and real estate practices as the cause of family homelessness, a recent report on homelessness in the state of Florida identified two major contributing factors to homelessness in Florida: Eroding employment opportunities for large segments of the workforce and declining value and availability of public assistance.Though the overall economy shows a rise in wages, these figures are generally skewed by the fact that low-wage workers are often working longer hours and/or multiple jobs. A reduction in the number of unionized workers, a lack of adjustments in the minimum wage with inflation, a decrease in the number of manufacturing jobs, an increase in the number of service-sector jobs, globalization and a disproportionate increase in temporary and part-time employment compared with full-time employment have further contributed to the growing gap between the rich and the poor. (Palm Beach County Government 2008: 13) In other words, the Palm Beach County report on homelessness attributed the increase in homeless families with children in the state of Florida to the advance of neoliberal social policy



examined previously here. However, because Smith ignores these populations in his own analysis, no account is given of the influence of neoliberalism in how the vulnerabilities of homelessness are distributed by factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, or disability. Thus, the overall argument of “In Defense of Homelessness” seems misleading, since the values and norms of “the homeless” population being spoken of by Smith refer only to those positive aspects of homelessness identified with the experience of mostly white, masculine adult homelessness on the streets of San Francisco. Most notably, in this regard, is the exclusion of any discussion of the urban housing crisis in the Global South (King et al. 2017), and the diverse experiences and voices of those with quite different accounts of “homelessness” and the struggle for adequate shelter. In these ways, Smith’s argument seems too narrowly focused on the “subjective experiences and backgrounds of individual people, risking their stigmatization and failing to bring into focus the broader structural factors that underpin homelessness” (UN-Habitat 2001: 196). This is not to single out one example within a larger trend, but rather to illustrate how academic debates over homelessness can become so insular and narrow in their focus that we lose sight of what is purportedly the issue being discussed: the lack of access to basic adequate shelter. And if houselessness, as I have argued, is a global phenomenon that at its base is about human needs and the provision of social goods to meet those needs, then it follows that any discussion of houselessness should frame the issue in those terms at the outset. Rather than framing homelessness in terms of a certain problematic subpopulation or presupposing that the main question revolves around the dichotomy of either respecting autonomy or paternalistic care, we would do better to see the forest for the trees. Indeed, given that only 13 percent of the world’s cities has affordable housing (UN-Habitat 2016),5 and given that by 2050 over 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division 2014: 1), it stands to reason that a more global understanding of housing as a human need is in order. As Abbarno (1999) points out, the increasingly important issues of houselessness are moral issues for the entire global community which present each of us with an obligation to recognize peoples’ needs as rights themselves. And while internationally there does exist some language of rights to housing in various constitutional codes, a “Homeless Bills of Rights” movement and legal struggles to establish a legally enforceable right to permanent (rather than temporary or emergency) housing (Fitzpatrick & Stephens 2007: 57), nonetheless “no legal mechanisms are provided to enable homeless individuals to enforce these rights”(Fitzpatrick & Stephens 2007: 57). 6 However, many of these preliminary achievements have been won through social struggle, popular protest, and public engagement with the political process. And while neoliberalism continues to try to reshape our conceptions of the role of state governments, social welfare, and human rights, we must also recognize the ways in which neoliberalism tries to reshape our conceptions of agency, autonomy, social responsibility, and the obligations of care itself. In this sense, philosophers and ethicists have a distinct social role to play in articulating the importance of the public commons such as investments in affordable housing and worker protections, as well as access to food, clean water, and adequate shelter, while at the same time being vigilant with respect to claims about who or what counts as “homeless,” and who deserves what and who doesn’t. Philosophers therefore need to follow the global public in engaging public policy– makers and arguments which impact all aspects of human need around the globe. Remaining attentive to the global diversity and breadth of human needs around the globe will in turn shed light on the needs of populations in one’s own local and regional context, especially those populations who might go overlooked or ignored by narrow definitions of who or what really counts as “homeless.”


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Notes 1 This brief characterization of neoliberal social policy is discussed later in this chapter and is inspired by the work of disability scholars David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder (2015: 101). 2 For a brief but detailed historical account of neoliberalism, see Harvey (2007). 3 See von Mahs (2013). 4 See Castells and Portes (1989: 11–37). 5 See “Only 13% of World’s Cities Have Affordable Housing – According to New Research,” UN-Habitat, July 26, 2016. . 6 Fitzpatrick and Stephens (2007: 61–62) note that Sweden and Hungary are the only countries that provide a legally enforceable right to permanent housing (not merely temporary or emergency), but only for elderly, ill, or severely disabled homeless populations.

References Abbarno, G. (1999) Failed Rights:The Moral Plight of the Mentally Ill Homeless, Atlanta: Rodopi, pp. 187–198. Blomley, N. (2009) “Homelessness, Rights and the Delusions of Property,” Urban Geography 30 (6), pp. 577–590, doi: 10.2747/0272-3638.30.6.577. Cacho, L. (2014) Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected, New York: NYU Press. Castells, M. & Portes, A. (1989) “World Underneath: The Origins, Dynamics, and Effects of the Informal Economy,” in A. Portes, M. Castells, & L. Benton (eds.), The Informal Economy: Studies in Advanced and Less Developed Countries, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, pp. 11–37. Edelmen, M.W. & Mihaly, L. (1989) “Homeless Families and the Housing Crisis in the United States,” Children and Youth Services 11 (1), pp. 91–108. Erickson, J. & Wilhelm, C. (eds.) (2011) Housing the Homeless, New York: Routledge. Feldman, L. (2004) Citizens Without Shelter, London: Cornell University Press. Fitzpatrick, S. & Stephens, M. (2007) “International Review of Homelessness and Social Housing Policy,” Centre for Housing Policy, University of York, London: Department for Communities and Local Government, . Foucault, M. (2008) The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France, 1978–79, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Gershon, I. (2011) “Neoliberal Agency,” Current Anthropology 52 (4), pp. 537–555. Glynn, S. (ed.) (2009) Where the Other Half Lives: Lower Income Housing in a Neoliberal World, Chicago: Pluto Press. Groth, P. (2004) Living Downtown: The History of Residential Hotels in the United States, Berkeley: University of California Press. Hackworth, J. (2007) The Neoliberal City: Governance, Ideology and Development in American Urbanism, Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Harvey, D. (2007) A Brief History of Neoliberalism, New York: Oxford. Henwood, D. (2003) After the New Economy, New York: New Press. Herring, C. & Lutz, M. (2015) “The Roots and Implications of the USA’s Homeless Tent Cities,” City 19 (5), pp. 689–701. Hodkinson, S., Watt, P., & Mooney, G. (2013) “Introduction: Neoliberal Housing Policy – Time for a Critical Re-Appraisal,” Critical Social Policy 33 (1), pp. 3–16. Keys, S. (2014) “Mayor: ‘People Are Homeless by Choice,’ Won’t Use City Funds to Help Them,” ThinkProgress, May 2, King, R., Orloff, M.,Virsilas, T., & Pande, T. (2017) “Confronting the Urban Housing Crisis in the Global South: Adequate, Secure, and Affordable Housing,” Working Paper, Washington, DC: World Resources Institute, . Mitchell, D. & Snyder, S. (2015) The Biopolitics of Disability: Neoliberalism, Ablenationalism, and Peripheral Embodiment, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. National Coalition for the Homeless (2007) “Homeless Families with Children: NCH Fact Sheet #12,” Washington, DC: National Coalition for the Homeless, .


Houselessness National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (2015) “Homelessness in America: Overview of Data and Causes,” Washington, DC: NLCHP, . Noddings, N. (2002) “Caring, Social Policy, and Homelessness,” Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 23 (6), pp. 441–454. Palm Beach County Government (2008) “Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness in Palm Beach County, Florida,” Palm Beach County Homeless Advisory Board, . Sassen, S. (2014) Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Smith, A. (2014) “In Defense of Homelessness,” Journal of Value Inquiry 48, pp. 33–51. Sparks, T. (2012) “Governing the Homeless in an Age of Compassion: Homelessness, Citizenship, and the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness in King County Washington,” Antipode 44 (4), pp. 1510–1531. Springer, S. (2000) “Homelessness: A Proposal for a Global Definition and Classification,” Habitat International 24 (4), pp. 475–484. Standing, G. (2016) The Precariat:The New Dangerous Class, New York: Bloomsbury. UN-Habitat (2001) Cities in a Globalizing World – Global Report on Human Settlements, London: Earthscan. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2014) World Urbanization Prospects:The 2014 Revision, Highlights. Van Leeuwen, B. (2017) “To the Edge of the Urban Landscape: Homelessness and the Politics of Care,” Political Theory 46 (4), pp. 586–610. Van Leeuwen, B. & Merry, M.S. (2018) “Should the Homeless Be Forcibly Helped?” Public Health Ethics, pp. 1–14, doi:10.1093/phe/phy006. von Mahs, J. (2013) “Get Lost! The Impact of Punitive Policy on Homeless People’s Life Chances in Berlin,” in Policing Cities: Urban Securitization and Regulation in a 21st Century World, New York: Routledge. Watts, B., Fitzpatrick, S., & Johnsen, S. (2018) “Controlling Homeless People? Power, Interventionism and Legitimacy,” Journal of Social Policy 47 (2), pp. 235–252, doi:10.1017/S0047279417000289. Willse, C. (2015) The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in the United States, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Wingfield, N. (2015) “Seattle, in Midst of Tech Boom, Tries to Keep Its Soul,” The New York Times, 8 October, UN-Habitat (2016)“Only 13% ofWorld’s Cities HaveAffordable Housing –According to New Research,”26 July, .

Further reading S. Fitzpatrick & M. Stephens, “International Review of Homelessness and Social Housing Policy,” Centre for Housing Policy (University of York, London: Department for Communities and Local Government, 2007), . D. Henwood, After the New Economy (New York: New Press, 2003). R. King, M. Orloff, T.Virsilas, & T. Pande, “Confronting the Urban Housing Crisis in the Global South: Adequate, Secure, and Affordable Housing,”Working Paper (Washington, DC:World Resources Institute, 2017), available at . NLCHP, “Homelessness in America: Overview of Data and Causes” (Washington, DC: National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, 2015), . S. Sassen, Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014). S. Springer, “Homelessness: A Proposal for a Global Definition and Classification,” Habitat International 24 (2000), pp. 475–484, doi:10.1016/S0197-3975(00)00010-2. UN-Habitat, Cities in a Globalizing World – Global Report on Human Settlements (New York: Routledge, 2001). C. Willse, The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in the United States (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015).



Introduction In this chapter I consider the place of the topic of racial and ethnic urban residential segregation factors into political philosophy. I begin with a short history of residential segregation and the ghetto, and their role in systems of racial domination and oppression, and remarks on the general neglect of this topic in contemporary political philosophy, including in nonideal political philosophy, which proports to take on examples of real-world injustices and inequalities. I then examine, from the standpoint of liberal-egalitarian political theory, what segregation, as a concept, entails, and its harms to individuals, communities, and societies. Segregation in all its forms (residential, educational, and employment, as well as in political and legal systems) is an instance of injustice and inequality and a major component of processes that maintain injustice and inequality, so it requires correction and rectification of some sort. Desegregation and integration are typically forwarded as solutions to the ills and injustices of segregation. They seem synonymous, but are they? To answer this question, I survey the prominent conceptualizations of both during the civil rights movement and the contemporary debate over those terms and political theoretical positions. In the conclusion I outline my partial defense of the idea of integration.

History The separation of groups carved out by conceptions of race has been an intrinsic feature of those concepts, and the extrinsic expression of that separation has taken on many oppressive, dominating, and frequently brutal forms touching on all the facets of human life (Frederickson 2002). Racial divisions were made apparent, visible for all to see – whether demarcated via artificial outward signs or through the designation of physiological features as racial marks – and then those signs or marks were used to enforce codes that governed differences in dress, modes of production and consumption, and distinct living quarters, areas for worship, and even burial grounds. For as long as humans had the idea of race, they have expressed and enforced racial differences in space and in their places (Sundstrom 2003: 83–95). We have the division of the countryside, regions, and cities: the Jewish village, the Jewish quarter, and the emergence of the Jewish ghetto. This spatial separation is a must because it physically marks separate geographies and topographies for “those” people, so their stain, their “dirty blood,” will not taint the clean and pure. 216

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As the modern idea of race emerged in the 19th century the separation needed to be contained lest lustful spiritual or corporeal weakness overcome us, and we commit crimes against our race by blending the physical qualities of our bodies and blood. This separation could be enforced through the separation over a few meters – the servants or slaves are to live separate lesser structures. This was the case in the United States during the era of slavery. The slaves needed to be kept close, but not too close. There were, of course, frequent and institutionalized breeches of this policy. The paradigmatic example is Thomas Jefferson’s declaration that blacks and whites were worlds apart and needed to be kept so, while he had intimate relations with his slave Sally Hemmings, who was the inherited slave of his white wife and her halfsister (Gordon-Reed 1997, 2008). This is not so incomprehensible; such exploitative relations were common white the stated and outward-facing values of the American slave system made them “publicly” incomprehensible and beyond the pale of acceptance or admission. To maintain both the lie and the domination, racial and ethnic separation needed to be fiercely maintained to protect the privileges and power, along with the imagined reputation of th emoral, spiritual, and corporeal purity of white Anglo-Saxon Americans. Modern forms of urban racial separation begin with the European Jewish ghetto, where a group is centralized in a city, concentrated in a district, their isolation enforced, and the exposure between them and the rest of society limited (Duneier 2016). Examples of Jewish ghettos stretch across Europe and into Russia and Russian-speaking states; the most notorious, however, are those formed during World War II by the Nazis in Germany, Nazi-occupied states, and other Axis Powers, such as the Kraków Ghetto in Poland, and the Le Marais Ghetto in Paris, France. Ghettoization as a pattern is site-specific. It takes different forms at different sites, sometimes determined by regional, national, or international social systems and practices. This site-specificity extends to conceptions of racial, ethnic, or religious identity, and norms and procedures of group control, oppression, and domination. The urban residential segregation of black Americans (at least in the pre–World War II years) in the rural, semirural, and urban South, such as in the cities of Memphis,Tennessee, where black neighborhoods were in closer proximity to white ones, differed from the larger and more racially concentrated black ghettos of the industrialized North, such as was seen in the Harlem neighborhood in New York City, or is still seen in some neighborhoods of the South Side of Chicago. In addition to the model of the Jewish ghetto other models arise: the settler versus native divisions in modern colonies, the separation and organization of indigenous peoples into reservations, camps, townships, or informal settlements (Goldberg 2002). The urban ghetto in North America as it is understood today, which is primarily but not exclusively associated with black Americans, began to form after the Civil War with the migration of African-Americans to the industrializing cities of the North and West. The stereotypic examples of black American ghettos are associated with the American North (e.g., New York City, Baltimore, and Washington DC) and the Midwest (e.g., Chicago, St. Louis, and Minneapolis), but they were also produced in the liberal states of the West, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco in California, where they were expanded and the poverty and disparity in them deepened precisely at the time when segregation was declared unconstitutional and illegal and fair housing laws were established (Rothstein 2017).This history is obviously relevant to normative thought about ethics, politics, democracy, justice, and equality. Despite, or perhaps in spite of, the centrality of racial and ethnic segregation in the production of American life, the topic has only a few only a few high-profile appearances in the history of philosophy and political theory. This is in contrast to the much fuller history of empirical scholarship and analysis of race, racism, and segregation in the social sciences and social theory. 217

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The one strong and early exception to this has been in African-American political theory. In the late 18th and early 20th centuries, African-American intellectuals have debated whether blacks should assimilate or amalgamate with or into Anglo-Saxon America, or conserve their collective identity, group solidarity, and culture by maintaining some degree of cultural, institutional, and spatial separation. The participants, among others, in that debate were Martin Delaney, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Anna Julia Cooper.1 Completely separate from that line of discussion, Frederick Engels (1935) in the late 19th century analyzed the separation and the clearing out of working-class neighborhoods in industrializing cities by the growing middle classes. It was, however, within the discussion among African-American intellectuals and political leaders in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that the issue was most thoroughly discussed. This line of discussion, starting with criticism of and resistance to slavery, and to the racial discrimination that followed, has been ever-present in African-American arts and letters and in the post-1960s emergence of African-American philosophy. One prominent fragment of the debate within black philosophy has been about the conservation of race. That debate continues, since being reignited by Anthony Appiah’s (1986) critique of W.E.B. Du Bois’s “The Conservation of Races” (1995). It is a debate mostly about the retention of group identity and solidarity rather than the maintenance of racially marked distinct spaces and places, although its arguments have implications about whether desegregation or integration is a justified ameliorative response to state-sponsored coerced residential segregation.This debate influences contemporary debates about segregation, desegregation, and integration, because it raises issues of group loyalty, solidarity, and the conservation of group identity and culture. Outside of the American context, some European philosophy reacting to the atrocities of World War II and opposing colonialism has also analyzed ghettoization and the forced spatial separation of groups. Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism (1985) stands out for its analysis of Jewish segregation in its analysis of the evolution of totalitarian political forms. Arendt attempted to extend her analysis of education and residential segregation to the American context in her controversial article “Reflections on Little Rock” (2000). She criticized the push to integrate public schools, and particularly the role children had to necessarily bear in this history. Her analysis was remarkably tone-deaf and uninformed about the history of antiblack racism in the United States and the history of African-American political movements, opposition to segregation, and the strategies of those movements to respond to Jim Crow segregation (Gines 2014). Rudimentary race and place analyses were also offered by Jean Paul Sartre (1948) and Simone de Beauvoir (1953) in the years following World War II, but the most incisive and influential was Frantz Fanon’s (1963, 1967) writings on the colonial condition, in which he describes the layout of Algiers in a manner that reflected his existentialist-phenomenological analysis of the formation of racial identities. His description is essential for understanding the dynamic between race and place and the way the racial-state violently exercises its power in the landscape and makes its divisions concrete in the cityscape. It is worth quoting in length: The colonial world is a world cut in two. The dividing line, the frontiers are shown by barracks and polices stations. In the colonies it is the policeman and the soldier who are the official, instituted go-betweens, the spokesmen of the settler and his rule of oppression. . . . In the colonial countries, . . . the policeman and the soldier, by their immediate presence and their frequent and direct action maintain contact with the native and advise him by means of rifle butts and napalm not to budge. It is obvious here that the agents of government speak the language of pure force.The intermediary does not lighten the oppression, nor seek to hide the domination; he shows them up 218

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and puts them into practice with the clear conscience of an upholder of the peace; yet he is the bringer of violence into the home and into the mind of the native. (Fanon 1963: 38) Fanon’s analysis and description was deeply influential, and it was depicted by in the unforgettable opening scenes of The Battle of Algiers (1967), which pans across the visible division of the French from the Arab quarters of the city. Further his analysis of race, colonization, and colonized places and the anticolonial struggle of the natives influenced the emergence of the Black Power movement in the American civil rights movement and the subsequent debate over segregation and self-separation. Notably, the Black Power movement spread across the United States, but it was centered in American cities, such as Oakland, where the Black Panther Party was birthed (Stokely & Hamilton 1967). Despite the history of the occasional entrance of the segregation debate in postwar European and anticolonial philosophy, it disappears in the rise of mainstream ethics and political philosophy. This is no surprise given the depoliticization of American philosophy in the shadow of the Red Scare, and the near absolute absence of ethnic, racial, or gender diversity in philosophy during that period and well afterward. Anglo-American philosophy, or Continental philosophy in the United States, was simply not interested in the social and political thought and concerns of nonwhites (Mills 1998).That situation has been subject to a long and slow process of change in the profession, which is evident in the continuation and flourishing of a host of debates, including the subject of this survey. The history of race in America and history of philosophy outlined above serve as the context for the recent debate in academic philosophy over residential segregation and the differences between, and justification of, desegregation or integration. So, it is a bit arbitrary to pick a date and a set of papers to designate the start of this particular debate, but it is accurate to trace the current debate back to at least Bernard Boxill’s Blacks and Social Justice (1992) and the series of articles and books from other philosophers that it inspired. Not that Boxill and those who followed wrote about residential segregation per se, but the set of issues that Boxill discussed and the arguments he employed framed the contemporary debate in African-American philosophy that was focused on residential segregation. The set of works that started the specific debate include works by Iris Marion Young (1990, 2000), Jonathan Kaplan and Andrew Valls (2007), Elizabeth Anderson (2010), Sharon Stanley (2017), and Tommie Shelby (2016), as well as my own works (Sundstrom 2003, 2004, 2013). Additionally, the debate within American and African-American philosophy over residential segregation overlaps but is distinct from the political theoretical debate over educational segregation.2

Segregation Residential segregation is commonly understood to be due to de jure practices, such as Jim Crow laws or other state-sanctioned forms, such as “redlining” by banks and other financial institutions, discrimination by real estate professionals, or racial covenants by neighborhood associations that commit to exclude nonwhites, or otherwise more blunt mechanisms by forcing blacks, Latinos, Asian-Americans, and other targeted groups to live in districts designated for them. Every racially segregated community in the United States were affected by these and other state-sanctioned practices (Pietila 2010; Rothstein 2017). The compulsory force was usually, in the United States, enforced and justified by federal power, state, or municipal power. The purpose of the separation was to maintain control by whites over other groups in the in the United States; depending on the region, different policies were enforced to satisfy this purpose, from direct discrimination of landlords and real estate agents, to broader municipal, state, and 219

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federal policies. This control was needed to maintain power of one group over another, but also to separate them politically, socially, economically, and culturally, and to often control against interracial intimacies of all kinds. The racial geography of the United States was shaped by these state-sanctioned practices and their effects are deeply embedded and endure in American life. Housing discrimination was formally outlawed by the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (Squires 2018). Those laws did not end segregation; indeed, it survived through a variety of means, leading many to think of post-1968 patterns of residential segregation as examples of de facto segregation, or as the result of individual and private choices driven by economic forces or preferences in tastes. The historical economic and legal history shows, however, that former de jure patterns and practices of segregation were replaced by policies that were intended to conserve and extend segregation; such as, for example, exclusionary zoning laws that forbid the development of multifamily units or smaller homes or homes on small lots that would be affordable to lower–middle class or working-class buyers, public housing, or otherwise affordable housing developments, which had the effect of keeping blacks, Latinos, and poor whites out of exclusively white middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods and suburbs. The fight over such zoning laws, as illustrated in the legal battles over residential segregation and affordable and inclusive housing development in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, illustrates a part of this ugly history. To zero in on residential segregation and its effects, contemporary political philosophy has followed the lead of leading studies of segregation in the social sciences. Particularly influential has been the work of Massey and Denton (1993). One prominent conception and corresponding measure of segregation is called the “dissimilarity index.” It is understood as “the degree to which two or more groups live separately from one another, in different parts of the urban environment” (Massey & Denton 1988: 63). A richer sense of degree of segregation, however, is given by considering several other indices in addition to dissimilarity, and typically these are exposure, concentration, centralization, and clustering (Massey & Denton 1988: 74–78). When a group, neighborhood, or zip code is characterized by more than one of these and to a great degree, it is said to experience “hypersegregation,” which in America typically applies to segregated black neighborhoods. Moreover, those hypersegregated neighborhoods are also sites of concentrated poverty and disadvantage, which continue to fundamentally affect the lives and life chances of the ghetto poor (Rugh & Massey 2014).The social scientists, legal theorists, and public intellectuals that have critically analyzed segregation have also enumerated its many harms. Political philosophers and theorists have added to that enumeration. Iris Marion Young (2000) and Elizabeth Anderson (2010) have argued that segregation, and especially hypersegregation, is unjust as condition and process, and it is an instantiation of systemic group inequality. It is a condition of unjust disparity, and causes further disparities in education and access to political power and economic opportunity. Residential segregation, and its related effects that reinforces segregation in other domains, such as education and employment, are clear instances of the denial of basic rights, political and legal equality, due process, and access to fair equal opportunity (Kaplan & Valls 2007). Additionally, segregation clearly involves the dimensions of mis- and mal-recognition that Iris Marion Young explicated as the five faces of oppression: economic exploitation, social and economic marginalization, lack of power over one’s work, cultural imperialism, and systemic violence (1990). Anderson adds to Young’s analysis by detailing how racial discrimination and its enforcement through segregation creates and reinforces stereotypes, or cognitive biases, and contributes to the process of racial stigmatization. The cognitive biases that are reinforced, according to Anderson, involve “the attribution of negative stereotypes to dishonorable personal traits, which rationalize antipathy toward the group” (2010: 46). This process of group stigmatization reinforces, according to Anderson, six cognitive biases: (1) group favoritism or ethnocentrism; (2) shared reality bias; (3) illusory correlation bias; (4) stereotype 220

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incumbency bias; (5) power bias; and (6) system justification bias (2010: 44–88). Group stigmatization causes harm by in-turn reinforcing the “public standing” of the group and individuals in the group and can have negative effects on public policy, self-image, and reinforce and justify discrimination. It is especially important to understand that in addition to the material harms outlined above and related to the harms of recognition and group stigmatization, is the attack on the dignity of the group. Black social and political critics emphasized the dehumanization of segregation and its distorting and degrading of the minds and bodies of those suffering this oppression – and the moral distortion and degradation of white Americans who imposed the oppression. Segregation, when it is compelled, thwarts individual and group autonomy. Additionally, the mechanisms which enforce it, such as legalized racial subordination and discrimination, unequal legal treatment and protections of individual, and unequal access to social goods and services, are themselves major distributive injustices. Furthermore, these distributive justices have intergenerational effects, for example in educational attainment and wealth tied to housing equity, which results in deeply socially embedded enduring injustices (Rothstein 2017; Shapiro 2017; Spinner-Halev 2012).Those distributive justices, in turn, buttress and result in further relational inequalities. Both types of inequality point to a deeper moral rot because both sorts are signs that society excludes, discounts, or neglects the basic or moral equality of excluded groups. The political toll of the injustice of segregation, the “price of the ticket” in James Baldwin’s (1993) sharp phrasing, is that segregation offends our moral and democratic ideals and practice by leading to injustices in (a) the organization of democratic membership, (b) governance, and (c) and in democratic culture. Segregation is deeply at odds with the very idea of a just, well-ordered society.

Integration When faced with segregation what is seemingly called for seems to be its opposite: demographic diversity in cities and diversity in neighborhoods that is proportional to the demographic diversity of the city. Policies that are meant to bring about these results are respectively thought of as engaging in desegregation or integration. Those practices seem synonymous, but they have distinguishing characteristics. Roughly, desegregation is the ending or reversing of official segregationist policies and practices in economic, politics, and many social institutions and places (except for those that are intimately private), while integration goes further by advocating for the blending or distributing of populations across institutions and neighborhoods. It additionally implies a higher degree of communication and cooperation than desegregation. To understand what integration means and requires, it is useful to start with a minimal, quantitative conception. Integration may be understood as the opposite of what is revealed by multidimensional measures of segregation. For example, taking the index of evenness that is used in calculations of the dissimilarity index, integration occurs when “every neighborhood has the same proportion of each group as the city as a whole” (Denton 2010: 36). However, a strict proportionality does not match common intuitions about neighborhood diversity and seems unnecessary. It focuses too much on end-states rather than on the normative motivations for integration. The normative justification for integration is based on equal moral worth and citizenship. Integration is a requirement for a society that is well-ordered, just, democratic, and stable. It explicitly implies an equal right and access to the basic structures of society, and to the opportunities and subsequent public and private benefits and burdens that arise from those structures. In contrast, desegregation seems narrow and necessarily leads to a society that affirms social cooperation and mutual respect that goes beyond what is required by legal formalities. Martin 221

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Luther King, Jr., gave voice to the distinction between integration and desegregation in his 1962 speech “The Ethical Demands for Integration,” wherein he stated, Integration is creative and is therefore more profound and far-reaching than desegregation. Integration is the positive acceptance of desegregation and the welcomed participation of Negroes into the total range of human activities. Integration is genuine intergroup, interpersonal doing. Desegregation then, rightly, is only a short-term goal. Integration is the ultimate goal of our national community. (King 1986: 118) King’s argument for integration was based on the moral worth of persons, the requirement of freedom in order to live a dignified life as an equal citizen, and the solidarity of the human family. It is also, primarily, based in the Christian theological view that humans are created in Imago Dei and are recipients of agape, or the love of God (Sundstrom 2017). James Baldwin offered another demanding vision of integration. Like King’s view, Baldwin’s was theologically loaded. This is apparent in his rhetoric of love and acceptance, which is connected to his black Protestant background. Although Baldwin had quit his formal ties to the Pentecostal church of his childhood, he continued to draw on some of the language and symbols from his religious past to add depth and to convey the severity of America’s problem with race. His inheritance of this religious background is openly apparent in the title and text of his famous work The Fire Next Time (1993). This deserves accentuation because of his demanding conceptions of integration in that work and his other essays. In the first essay of that book, “My Dungeon Shook,” which was addressed to his nephew, he claimed integration did not entail black people “becoming like” white people, nor did it involve the “impertinent” claim that white people should “accept” black people – that view was condescending and cast integration as a gift from whites that blacks should accept with humble gratitude. Rather, blacks, according to Baldwin, should accept whites because without that loving, redemptive acceptance that mirrors undeserved divine grace there would be no hope for whites or the nation. Baldwin wrote, The terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. And I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love. For these innocent people have no other hope. They are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. (1993: 8) The release of white Americans from the willful innocence that avoids the recognition of their complicity in the continuing immiseration and destruction of black Americans is needed, according to Baldwin, because they were “our” brothers, and the fate of brothers is intertwined (1993: 9–10). Hence, Baldwin prescribed that black and white Americans confront the evil of white innocence to face the truths of America’s antiblack racism and their entwined fates. According to Baldwin: “If the word integration means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing reality and begin to change it” (1993: 9–10). Contemporary integrationists may not call for spiritual affinity, but they most certainly call for spatial, moral, and political affinity (Fiss et al. 2003). The most prominent defense of integration in political philosophy was offered by Elizabeth Anderson in her book The Imperative of


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Integration. Her definition of integration communicates what she holds is the social and political role of integration: The ideal of integration . . . aims at the abolition of racial segregation and its attendant inequalities, not of racial identities. It permits the use of race-conscious policies to achieve racial integration and equality and accepts that some degree of racial solidarity and affiliation on the part of the racially stigmatized is needed to spur integrative policies and cope with the stresses of integration. Thus, integration should also not be confused with the dissolution of black institutions or with the absence of racial clustering in neighborhoods. It consists in the full participation on terms of equality of socially significant groups in all domains of society. (2010: 113) The recent history of the implementation of integration is found in fair housing, education, and fair employment law and policy. That legacy has been, at best, mixed, and at worst, a failure (Rothstein 2017; Squires 2018). The primary contemporary examples of pro-integration policies are those that focus on the mobility of families between and across cities and the deconcentration of poverty (Fiss et al. 2003). “Mobility” means the ability to access neighborhoods, which itself can be understood not only in the ability to pay rent or buy a home in a neighborhood but also the to overcome informal or legal obstacles. Examples of such efforts are the Gautreux assisted housing program, which operated in Chicago from 1966 to 1998, and the Moving Toward Opportunity demonstration project (MTO), which grew out of the Gautreux project and sought to integrate families from poor neighborhoods to those with less poverty, as well as some instances of the post-1990 “Housing and Opportunity for Everyone” (HOPE VI) policy, which redeveloped past public housing and built new units – along with a set of more recent additions to and alterations of those policies. The MTO project is the example that Elizabeth Anderson discusses in her defense of the ideal of integration. The results of that and other mobility programs, however, are mixed, so much so that critics tend to dismiss their efficacy and even their moral legitimacy. This rejection is unwarranted. MTO programs have had, although they are limited, generally positive effects on the lives of participating families (Chetty & Hendren 2015; Chetty, Hendren, & Katz 2016). Similar concerns about efficacy have been registered about HOPE VI developments, but their effect on the quality of life in public housing and the reduction of concentrated poverty has been substantial. In short, the benefits have largely affected children, and the younger the child and the longer they have been exposed to better-resourced neighborhoods, the better for their long-term outcomes, including college attendance, earnings, and single parenthood rates. Mobility programs can lead to increases in quality of life and opportunities for participating families with young children. Integration, therefore, as attempted by those programs, is justified as a matter of social, and in particular, distributive justice, and has the aim of achieving distributive and social equality. It also benefits the functioning of participating individuals and families and thus supports their autonomy and freedom. Segregation has negative consequences, so integration has equally serious positive consequences in improving the quality of life and opportunities for those who would benefit from greater access to education and housing resources. Moreover, integration in public life and the political culture, not only benefits the individual and families, but it also improves the democratic life of society (Fiss 2003). It is for these reasons that Anderson perceives in integration not only the opportunity for the development of the capabilities of individuals


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and increased access to further opportunities for them and their families, but also larger social and political benefits (2010: 2). Therefore, for its advocates, integration is a communicative and relational ideal. It directs society to value civic friendship and to keep in mind its binding force. Further, as Anderson indicated, it serves as a basis for a cosmopolitan relation. In liberalegalitarian theories of justice, integration is also associated with the idea of reciprocity, the relations between individuals engaged in social cooperation bounded by principles that drives from mutual agreement and benefit.

Desegregation There is more to the idea of desegregation than it being the preliminary to integration. At the heart of the distinction between these two ideas, and according to the defenders of the desegregation as a priority, is the normative view that there is nothing wrong with the separation of a group as such, if that separation is self-separation, or more controversially selfsegregation, and is done autonomously by the individuals of the group acting collectively, and is done without infringing on the rights of others (Young 2000; Kaplan & Valls 2007; Shelby 2016). For desegregationists this position has a moral priority over integration and should have a legal and policy one, too; this camp often advocates group empowerment through community and neighborhood development. Being a desegregationist, however, does not necessarily entail opposition to integration for those who voluntarily choose it. Desegregationists put the emphasis on autonomy, and distributive and social equality. Insofar as individuals choose to cluster with other members of their groups, without excluding others or otherwise violating their rights, and as long as this clustering or voluntary “separation” does not lead to or extend distributive injustice or lead to social inequality, there is nothing inherently morally objectionable about truly voluntary residential separation. Iris Marion Young makes this point in her arguments about residential segregation, housing, and regional democracy in her theory of inclusive democratic participation (1990, 2000). She supports desegregation but not integration because, among other things, integration has focused on moving poor people, and in particular poor people of color, from their communities, thereby disrupting those communities and thwarting the desires of some of those moved to stay in their home communities. Integrationist’s preoccupation with where people live, especially where poor black and brown people live, according to Young, misses the crux of the problem, which is the inequitable spatial distribution of public goods and services. Instead of integration,Young favors an approach she calls “differentiated solidarity,” which values identity pluralism and allows for the clustering of groups, as long as it respects the rights of participants and others, and stresses local democratic participation in the organization and administration of community affairs. Likewise,Tommie Shelby in Dark Ghetto (2016) stresses the obligation the state has to desegregate schools, neighborhoods, and other institutions – giving the black ghetto poor access to the goods, services, and opportunities they have a right to – but resists claims like Anderson’s of placing any imperative on the black ghetto poor to integrate. This reflects the position of Jonathan Kaplan and Andrew Valls in their arguments for desegregation (2007). Contemporary integrationists who are committed to contemporary mobility programs in one form or another regard segregation itself as the “linchpin” of the problems that flow from segregation; for them segregation is morally suspicious and inextricably linked with distributive and social injustice. Shelby, in contrast to the new integrationists, shifts the focus from demography and geography to the unequal distribution of primary (social and natural) goods. He argues that “blacks, including poor blacks, should be free to self-segregate in neighborhoods and this practice is 224

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not incompatible with justice” (Shelby 2016: 67). He “also maintain[s] that we should not regard residential integration as a legitimate mechanism for correcting the unjust disadvantages the ghetto poor face, where programs like Gautreaux and Moving to Opportunity are the paradigm” (2016: 67). Instead of integration as residential evenness, he advocates for a position he calls “egalitarian pluralism.” That position, according to Shelby, “requires desegregation, social equality, and, importantly, economic fairness. It does not require residential integration. Nor does it oppose it. It does not proscribe voluntary self-segregation in neighborhoods. Nor does it call for it” (2016: 67). The minimal demands of a liberal-egalitarian approach start with desegregation because what is specifically required is the provision and engendering of the necessary primary goods, and the specific capabilities that flow from them, that individuals need to flourish. Desegregation requires access to these goods but does not insist on the more extensive goals of integration. Insofar as segregation is de jure, then it is obviously unjust because it fails to meet the demands of equal citizenship, but insofar as separation is voluntary or de facto, then the problem is the concentration of poverty rather than racial clustering, as long as ethnic and racial clustering does not negate or impede the rights of those who are outside the group. Therefore, while desegregation is required, demands to integrate are illegitimate. In addition to the political legitimacy objection to integration policies, a historically justified mistrust of the state is another reason for a preference for desegregation. Indeed, the troubled legacy of segregation in America and the administration of its fair-housing policies magnify the illegitimacy of the demand, especially among the ghetto poor, to integrate.

Conclusion I am broadly sympathetic to Young’s, Shelby’s, Kaplan’s, and Valls’s Left to liberal arguments against integration, especially given the concerns about the historic failures of US integration policy and its manipulation to serve the interests of cities interested in redevelopment rather than those of the ghetto poor, but I am not entirely convinced by their skepticism and critique of integration programs. I agree with Anderson’s defense of integration but disagree with her accusation that American multiculturalism is to blame for the undervaluing and undermining of the value integration. I prefer an alternative position that defends a version of integration that emphasizes the building of local, neighborhood resources, for the sake of those communities but especially for the sake of the individuals who live in them. This brief survey of the debate is not the place for me to fully explain and defend my position, but I will offer a rough outline of reconciliation of the desegregation versus integration debate. My position is closely related to Young’s differentiated solidarity, insofar as it values both multiculturalism and democratic participation, but, in contrast with Young, I defend integration as an outcome of justice. My account parallels Sharon Stanley’s (2017) view that integration and racial solidarity can be reconciled, and that integration should be conceived as a process that can “incorporate deeply felt racial solidarities.” This approach is consistent with standard accounts of liberal-egalitarianism and their emphasis on distributive and social equality, but it takes lessons from the politics of recognition, participatory democracy, and the history of segregation in the United States.3 The concept of integration I offer does not start with an atomistic approach to individual well-being, so it does not focus on moving the ghetto poor to better sites of opportunity, although it also does not dismiss mobility programs as an option for those who prefer it. Instead, it advocates for the material support of neighborhoods because many individuals value their neighborhood communities and wish to see them conserved, and when those sites have access to public and private goods and services, support, and opportunities, they provide a foundation for healthy individuals and society. This approach in urban planning and policy is sometimes 225

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understood as an emphasis in place-based reform or community or neighborhood development; it is contrasted with a focus on mobility programs. As with Young’s and Stanley’s approaches, mine emphasizes solidarity, but instead of focusing on “differentiated solidarity,” which is a conception of solidarity based on group affinity, I focus on the local solidarity of neighborhoods, which are often of course also differentiated by ethnic, racial, and class identities, as can be witnessed in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn in New York City or those of North Oakland in Oakland. The justification for this focus is not based on the recognition of social identities and the claims of groups to neighborhoods. Rather it rests on the value of freedom, and, in this case, the right of individuals to participate in the democratic governance of their cities, districts, and neighborhoods, and it also rests on the value of equality, in that citizens of a well-ordered society rightfully expect distributive justice, and (given that all the poor residents cannot practically be relocated to sites of opportunity and that they may rightfully not consent to such relocations – and dislocations) that building communities through equitable development programs that are responsive to the geography of opportunity is a promising method of delivering to individuals and families the public goods they deserve as well as access to valuable private goods. Integration does not lead in this conception; rather, it follows closely on the heels of desegregation and equitable development. So, how ought we as society achieve integration? We must fully enforce the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to effectively outlaw racial discrimination in housing and ensure access of all residents to urban neighborhoods and metropolitan regions, and we must build housing capacity in American cities, protect and stabilize the housing needs of the poor and working-class residents to minimize homelessness and mitigate against housing insecurity and instability, and spread public resources (education, transportation, and so on) through all urban areas. Just cities are the condition for integrated ones.

Notes 1 For an invaluable collection that gathers together a significant number of the classic and foundational readings in African-American social and political thought and sorts them into categories based on their broad political schools, see Brotz (1992). 2 For a survey and critical analysis of that debate, see Merry (2013). 3 A liberal-egalitarian approach toward urban policy and affairs also appears in Williamson (2010) and Fainstein (2010).

References Anderson, E. (2010) The Imperative of Integration, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Appiah, A. (1986) “The Uncompleted Argument: Du Bois and the Illusion of Race,” in H.L. Gates, Jr. (ed.), Race,Writing and Difference, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 21–37. Arendt, H. (1985) The Origins of Totalitarianism, San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ——— (2000) “Reflections on Little Rock,” in P. Baeher (ed.), The Portable Hannah Arendt, New York: Penguin Books, pp. 231–246. Baldwin, J. (1993) The Fire Next Time, New York:Vintage International. Boxill, B.R. (1992) Blacks and Social Justice, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Brotz, H. (ed.) (1992) African-American Social and Political Thought, 1850–1920, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. Chetty, R. & Hendren, N. (2015) “The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility: Childhood Exposure Effects and County-Level Estimates, Harvard University and NBER Report,” . Chetty, R., Hendren, N., & Katz, L. (2016) “The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Project,” American Economic Review 106 (4), pp. 855–902. de Beauvoir, S. (1953) The Second Sex, trans. C. Borde & S. Malovany-Chevallier, London: Jonathan Cape.


Residential segregation and integration Denton, N.A. (2010) “From Segregation to Integration: How Do We Get There?” in C. Hartman & G.D. Squires (eds.), The Integration Debate: Competing Futures for American Cities, New York: Routledge, pp. 23–37. Du Bois, W.E.B. (1995) “The Conservation of Races,” in H. Brotz (ed,), African-American Social & Political Thought: 1850–1920, New York: Transaction Publishers, pp. 483–492. Duneier, M. (2016) Ghetto:The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Engels, F. (1935) The Housing Question, New York: International Publishers. Fainstein, S.S. (2010) The Just City, Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Fanon, F. (1963) The Wretched of the Earth, New York: Grove Press. ——— (1967) Black Skin,White Masks, New York: Grove Press. Fiss, O.M. (2003) “What Should Be Done for Those Who Have Been Left Behind?,” in O.M. Fiss, J. Cohen, J. Decker, & J. Rogers (eds), A Way Out: America’s Ghettos and the Legacy of Racism, Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 3–43. Fiss, O.M., Cohen, J., Decker, J., & Rogers, J. (2003) A Way Out: America’s Ghettos and the Legacy of Racism, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Frederickson, G.M. (2002) Racism: A Short History, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Gines, K.T. (2014) Hannah Arendt and the Negro Question, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Goldberg, D.T. (2002) The Racial State, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers. Gordon-Reed, A. (1997) Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. ——— (2008) The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Kaplan, J. & Valls, A. (2007) “Housing Discrimination as a Basis for Black Reparations.” Public Affairs Quarterly 21 (3), pp. 255–273. King, Jr., M.L. (1986) “The Ethical Demands for Integration,” in J.M. Washington (ed.), A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., San Francisco: HarperCollins, pp. 118–119. Massey, D.S. & Denton, N.A. (1988) “The Dimensions of Residential Segregation,” Social Forces 67 (2), pp. 28–315. ——— (1993) American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Merry, M.S. (2013) Equality, Citizenship, and Segregation: A Defense of Separation, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Mills, C.W. (1998) “Non-Cartesian Sums: Philosophy and the African-American Experience,” in Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp. 1–19. Pietila, A. (2010) Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. Rothstein, R. (2017) The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation. Rugh, J.S. & Massey, D.S. (2014) “Segregation in Post-Civil Rights America: Stalled Integration or End of the Segregated Century?” Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race 11 (2), pp. 205–232. Sartre, J.P. (1948) Anti-Semite and Jew, New York: Schocken Books. Shapiro,T.M. (2017)  Toxic Inequality: How America’s Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility, Deepens the Racial Divide, & Threatens Our Future, New York: Basic Books. Shelby, T. (2016) Dark Ghetto: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Spinner-Halev, J. (2012) Enduring Injustice, New York: Cambridge University Press. Squires, G.D. (ed.) (2018) The Fight for Fair Housing: Causes, Consequences, and Future Implications of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act, New York: Routledge. Top of Form Bottom of Form. Stanley, S. (2017) An Impossible Dream? Racial Integration in the United States, New York: Oxford University Press. Stokely C. & C.V. Hamilton (1967) Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America, New York: Random House. Sundstrom, R.R. (2003) “Race and Place: Social Space in the Production of Human Kinds,” Philosophy and Geography 6 (1), pp. 83–95. ——— (2004) “Racial Politics in Residential Segregation Studies,” Philosophy and Geography 7, pp. 61–78. ——— (2013) “Commentary on Elizabeth Anderson’s Imperative of Integration,” Symposia on Gender, Race and Philosophy 9 (2), . ——— (2017) “The Prophetic Tension Between Race Consciousness and the Ideal of Color-Blindness,” in T. Shelby & B. Terry (eds.), To Shape a New World: The Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 145–177.


Ronald R. Sundstrom The Battle of Algiers (1967) [Motion Picture], Rizzoli Film Distributors, dir. G. Pontecorvo, A. Musu, & Y. Saadi. Williamson, T. (2010) Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship: The Civic Costs of the American Way of Life, New York: Oxford University Press. Young, I.M. (1990) Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton: Princeton University Press. ——— (2000) Inclusion and Democracy, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Further reading For a contemporary philosophical defense of integration see E. Anderson, The Imperative of Integration (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010) and for a defense based on legal theory see O. Fiss, M. Cohen, J. Decker, & J. Rogers, A Way Out: America’s Ghettos and the Legacy of Racism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003). T. Shelby, Dark Ghetto: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016) provides a prominent rebuttal of that position as well as defense of separation or clustering by blacks and other groups as an expression individual autonomy and organizing against and thriving despite racism. For sociological, economic, and legal surveys of the social, economic, and political history and effects of segregation see D. Massey & N. Denton’s invaluable American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993) and R. Rothstein’s legal history of segregation and racism in US housing, land use, and community development law and policy in The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2017).



Introduction The cost of urban housing has soared to unprecedented heights in the last several decades – displacing scores of longstanding residents and forcibly upending entire communities in the process. This increasingly global phenomenon can be observed in cities such as London, Shanghai, Cape Town, New York, São Paulo, Mumbai, Lagos, Chicago – the list goes on and on (Madden & Marcuse 2017; Kothari 2015). Predictably, these sweeping changes have given rise to a variety of conflicts between those who benefit from rising prices and displacement, on the one hand, and those who stand to be displaced and expelled from their communities, on the other. This problem – the problem of gentrification – has obvious relevance to a number of core concerns of political philosophers: the justifiability of coercion; the apparent tension between equality and efficiency; occupancy rights and the legitimacy of removal; the justifiability of commodifying basic goods such as housing; and the meaning of equal membership in a democratic community. Regrettably, however, little has been written thus far by philosophers on this increasingly urgent social problem. This chapter begins the work of correcting this by highlighting the (small, but important) handful of philosophical works that deal with gentrification while, at the same time, pointing to the rich array of opportunities to further this work by drawing on the resources of ongoing work in political philosophy. After briefly defining gentrification, I give a cursory overview of how ideas from the history of philosophy come to bear on our topic. Next, I give a short overview and analysis of what contemporary philosophers have had to say about the matter. Finally, I show how future philosophical work on gentrification might advance by availing itself of resources in critical philosophy of race, egalitarianism, and democratic theory.

What is gentrification? Although the term “gentrification” is becoming more and more widespread among city dwellers and commentators on urban life, rarely do most of the term’s users pause to give it a precise, explicit definition. Though the definition of the term is itself a matter of dispute, for the purposes of this chapter I will take gentrification to refer to a process whereby an existing set of residents of a particular urban area are displaced – sometimes abruptly, sometimes gradually – so that new, more affluent residents can take their place. 229

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Credit for coining the term “gentrification” is standardly attributed to Ruth Glass (1964), but the phenomenon existed long before this word for it became standard. To be sure, most of human history has been rife with social conflicts over space, land use, housing, occupancy rights, landlord/tenant relations, and so on. Nonetheless, in what follows, I will focus only on a specific subset of these conflicts that arise in modern capitalist societies where urban housing is (mostly) privately owned and subject to market forces. That is, I will proceed on the assumption that “gentrification” refers to a specifically modern phenomenon associated with the rise of industrial capitalism and the distinctive urban forms associated with it. One early treatment of gentrification is found in Friedrich Engels’s often overlooked short 1872 work, “The Housing Question.” When Engels speaks of the “housing question” he means the problem of housing workers in dense urban environments where their labor is required but where land use is subject to the speculative, profit-seeking whims of market forces. Engels describes the historical development of this problem as follows: On the one hand, masses of rural workers are suddenly drawn into the big towns, which develop into industrial centres; on the other hand, the building plan of these old towns does not any longer conform with the conditions of the new large-scale industry and the corresponding traffic; streets are widened and new ones cut through, and railways run through the centre of the town. At the very time when masses of workers are streaming into the towns, workers’ dwellings are pulled down on a large scale. Hence the sudden housing shortage for the workers and for the small traders and small businesses which depend for their custom on the workers. (1970 [1872]: 2–3) Engels is describing a process of urbanization where members of the newly minted industrial working class flooded into cities in search of work in factories, only to confront difficulties finding and keeping suitable access to housing. A key social force driving this process of urbanization, of course, was the drive for profit: manufacturers needed a sufficiently large labor force to work in new urban factories producing goods. But this same drive threw up obstacles to housing this workforce in these new, burgeoning industrial cities. The forces of displacement Engels describes in the quote above pertain to public works projects designed to grease the axles of economic expansion – road widening, rail construction, and so on. But he also discusses projects by wealthy developers and early urban planners to eliminate “blight” and clear what they regarded as slums. Again, here’s Engels: In reality the bourgeoisie has only one method of solving the housing question after its fashion – that is to say, of solving it in such a way that the solution continually reproduces the question anew. . . . No matter how different the reasons may be, the result is everywhere the same: the scandalous alleys and lanes disappear to the accompaniment of lavish self-praise from the bourgeoisie on account of this tremendous success, but they appear again immediately somewhere else and often in the immediate neighborhood. (1970 [1872]: 6) What Engels describes here bears a startling resemblance to contemporary housing dynamics in large cities. “Scandalous alleys and lanes,” of course, refer to working-class districts perhaps marred by unsanitary and poorly maintained buildings, high rates of petty crime, overcrowding due to high rents, and so on. The “solution” Engels criticizes here is more or less exactly what 230


we today call “gentrification” – the former residents of the “scandalous alleys” are removed and a new wave of investment and more affluent residents pour in, radically changing the demographics and economic character of the district. Engels regards this solution as a false one because it does not address what he sees as the core issue – the fact that workers can’t afford quality housing in cities. What happens instead is that a previously “blighted” neighborhood is cleared of its former residents – and sometimes also of its former housing stock – thereby opening the door for new profit-making opportunities and the creation of new wealth. This happens because “the growth of big modern cities gives the land in certain areas, particularly those which are centrally located, an artificially and colossally increasing value” and the working-class districts in such areas “depress this value instead of increasing it . . . [since] rents, even with the greatest overcrowding, can never, or only very slowly, increase above a certain maximum” (Engels 1970 [1872]: 15). Engels stands alone as one of the few writers with a philosophical bent who directly confronts the problem of gentrification. Nonetheless, many of the key questions that occupied 18th- and 19th-century political philosophers bear, indirectly, on the normative and conceptual complications arising from the problem of gentrification. For example, since gentrification has to do with rights to use land and housing stock in cities, the philosophical literature on property rights from the 18th and 19th centuries has important applications to our topic. So, too, do philosophical justifications of colonial conquest apply indirectly to our topic, since many of the justifications for the former – “civilizing missions,” economic progress, and so on – have been or are currently advanced, with differences of course, to justify the gentrification of urban spaces.

Recent philosophical work on gentrification Compared to the literature on gentrification in other fields – especially in sociology and urban studies – the amount of recent and ongoing philosophical research on the topic is quite small. In addition, of what philosophical research there is on offer, not all of the work in question focuses centrally and explicitly on gentrification. For example, Margaret Jane Radin (1986) does not explicitly refer to gentrification, but, substantively speaking, her work on rent control is about exactly that. Radin argues that tenants’ residencies in particular places often become profoundly bound up with their identity, with their very “personhood” – and, on that basis, she argues that tenants cannot be removed from their homes without suffering damage to their very sense of self. For these reasons, among others, Radin defends residential rent controls as a bulwark against forced displacement by landlords aiming to maximize their rental income. As Timothy Brennan (1988) points out, however, it appears to follow from Radin’s argument that “if personhood is intrinsically valuable and tenancy is necessary for personhood, a tenant is no more morally justified in injuring his own personhood through premature departure than is a landlord through eviction . . . [this implies] a prohibition against leaving [a rental apartment] when personhood would be harmed” (69). Whether or not that is so, Radin’s article is still very important for its focus on the link between personhood and home as well its careful analysis of whether urban housing is properly thought of as a commodity. For more on the subject of rent control in particular, readers should consult Ken Hanly (1991), Walter Block (2002), and my own work (2017). Like the literature on rent control, the literature on racial segregation (Patterson 1997; Cashin 2004; Adams 2006; Anderson 2010; Shelby 2016) also has a great deal of overlap with our topic, even though the term “gentrification” is seldom used or explicitly thematized. For example, Elizabeth Anderson (2010) argues in favor of racial integration as a way of correcting racial 231

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inequality and injustice. Drawing on empirical studies of racist housing discrimination against black people in the US during the course of the 20th century, Anderson argues that a great deal of contemporary racial injustice could be eliminated by a comprehensive effort to integrate black and white communities. For Anderson, discriminatory exclusion, as well as “the tendency of blacks and whites to associate within largely segregated social networks,” is a key reason for persistent black disadvantage as evidenced, for instance, by “the fact that blacks live several years less than whites, that 13 percent of black men are disenfranchised due to a felony conviction, and that more than a third of black children live in poverty” (2010: 2). That is so, according to Anderson, because racial segregation “isolates disadvantaged groups from access to public and private resources, from sources of human and cultural capital, and from the social networks that govern access to jobs, business connections, and political influence” (2010: 2). Accordingly, racial integration – particularly with respect to housing and urban geography – is imperative in order to overcome inequality and realize democracy. Although Anderson doesn’t explore the theme at length, it’s worth pausing to investigate how her arguments come to bear on the question of gentrification. At first glance, her prointegration argument would seem to count as a consideration in favor of some measure of gentrification, if by that we simply mean the influx of more affluent residents into a district and an outflow of less affluent residents out.To be sure, Anderson’s egalitarian framework supplies us with a variety of reasons to strongly reject large-scale displacement that leads to the formation of racially homogenous neighborhoods occupied exclusively by wealthy residents. And indeed, in this respect, Anderson is in agreement with the majority of critics of gentrification since it is precisely large-scale displacement and white homogeneity that many such critics find most objectionable. Still, Anderson’s goal of integration – and here we can bring in class integration as well – does seem to gauge questions of housing in terms of the diversity (cultural, racial, economic, etc.) of a given neighborhood or district, and this would seem to give us reason to permit or even welcome a moderate amount of gentrification if it facilitated such integration. And there is a danger here that this may fail to adequately value the agency of communities of color (Sundstrom 2013a). In a critique of Anderson, Tommie Shelby (2016) advances an “egalitarian pluralist” alternative to Anderson’s integrationist framework. This, too, has relevance to our topic even though Shelby does not explicitly discuss gentrification as such. For Shelby, Anderson overestimates the efficacy of integration as a means to combat racial injustice and underestimates the very real advantages that some majority-black urban communities would lose were they to be required to integrate with whites. Such advantages include, among other things, the ability to sustain “long-standing community ties, to sustain black institutions and cultural practices, and to ensure access to establishments that serve black needs” (Shelby 2016: 71). These communities, in Shelby’s view, should not be required to “relinquish the benefits of self-segregation, endure increased white hostility and interracial conflict that often accompanies integration . . . and work their way into white social networks . . . in order to have equal life prospects” (2016: 75). Thus, for Shelby, policies that “seek to end unjust racial inequality by pushing, or even nudging, blacks into residential integration . . . show a lack of respect for those they aim to assist” (2016: 75). As with Anderson’s argument, it’s worth exploring how Shelby’s approach applies to our topic. By emphasizing the agency of those living in poor black urban communities, Shelby’s framework gives us a variety of reasons to resist many forms of gentrification – even if they were to lead to modest increases in diversity – on the grounds that they may forcibly displace people from communities they’ve built and chosen to be a part of voluntarily. Harlem, perhaps the most famous and culturally significant black neighborhood in the United States, is a convenient example for distinguishing Anderson’s approach from Shelby’s 232


when it comes to gentrification. As rents have soared in New York City in the last ten years, Harlem has seen a massive influx of relatively affluent, white residents – indeed, in Central Harlem, the share of whites increased fivefold between 2000 and 2010. Today the black community makes up a smaller share of Central Harlem than at any time since the 1920s. Anderson’s integrationist approach supplies reasons to welcome many of these changes – after all, the shifting demographics have reduced residential segregation between whites and blacks, thereby opening the door for many of the advantages of integration to alleviate the effects of racial disadvantage. To be sure, Anderson would also caution us to be wary of the ways in which current trends (especially soaring housing costs) might well transform Harlem into an exclusively wealthy, white enclave. Shelby, on the other hand, would likely sympathize with Anderson’s cautious note about future exclusion but reject her positive assessment of the demographic and structural shifts that have already occurred in Harlem. Black Harlem, after all, isn’t simply the product of racist housing policy imposed on black people from above – so, too, is it a “bottom-up” creation that residents help build and cultivate over the course of many generations. Thus, to the extent that the “whitening” of Harlem is proceeding by way of the involuntary displacement of its black residents, Shelby’s framework gives us reasons to criticize recent changes in Harlem (even though they have resulted in housing patterns that are less racially segregated than those that obtained in the past). Although Anderson, Shelby, and others don’t explicitly take up the question of gentrification, two recent philosophical works do – Margaret Kohn (2013) and my own (2017). It’s worth taking a moment to briefly consider each in detail. Kohn (2013) examines five harms that are often associated with gentrification: residential displacement; exclusion of nonresidents; transformation of public, social, and commercial space; polarization; and homogenization. She concludes that displacement is a serious problem of injustice, whereas the exclusion of nonresidents is not. To make her case, Kohn appeals to the approach known as “luck egalitarianism” – very roughly, luck egalitarianism holds that distributive inequalities are unjust unless they are either chosen or deserved.Thus, if I should turn out to be worse off (or have fewer resources) than others through no fault of my own – through brute luck, say – then we should see this state of affairs as unjust and seek to rectify it. Kohn draws on this framework – in particular, on the luck egalitarian literature regarding the “problem of expensive tastes” – to argue that displacement associated with gentrification is unjust, whereas exclusion of nonresidents by current residents is not. Very roughly, the general problem of expensive tastes arises for the specifically welfare-based version of luck egalitarianism that holds that inequalities in welfare are unjust if they are caused by brute luck (i.e., by factors beyond the control of the person in question). Applying this to urban housing, Kohn argues that “poor people who wish to remain in their gentrifying neighborhood are classic victims of ‘bad price luck’ . . . these residents could not reasonably be held responsible for the expensiveness of their taste [to remain in their homes]” (2013: 302). Since the soaring rental prices that threaten to displace long-time residents are clearly beyond the control of those residents, and given that their desire – their “taste” or preference – to remain in their homes is becoming increasingly pricey due to factors beyond their control, it would be unjust to displace them (and thereby make them worse off). I, (2017), like Kohn (2013), take up work in normative political philosophy and apply it to the problem of gentrification. Unlike Kohn, however, I reject luck egalitarianism in favor of a relational egalitarian approach that focuses on the nature of social and political relationships among persons. Instead of seeking to eliminate the effects of brute luck, relational egalitarians advocate relationships that permit all to look one another in the eye as peers and participate as full partners in ongoing public processes of social cooperation and political self-governance. 233

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I argue that this framework supplies us with three grounds for criticizing landlord/tenant relationships in uncontrolled urban rental markets: such relationships exhibit economic exploitation, economic marginalization, and political subordination. Landlord/tenant relations are exploitative insofar as the landlord instrumentalizes the tenant’s vulnerability in order to extract a net benefit (profit from rental income). As I point out, most “landlords are not obligated to expend their energies working to sustain the tenant, but the tenant is required to expend her energies laboring in order to sustain the landlord” and this “is a case of unequal exchange, whereby there is an unreciprocated net transfer of goods or labor time from one party to another” (2017: 55). Drawing on recent work on exploitation, I contend that this is exploitative to the extent that the landlord instrumentalizes the vulnerability of the tenant in order to extract a net benefit. I also argue that landlord/tenant relationships are prone to impose economic marginalization on tenants. First of all, gentrification often gives landlords reason to view existing tenants as mere obstacles to maximizing rental income rather than as legitimate members in good standing of the neighborhood community. This, in turn, can quickly “take on a xenophobic or racist character whereby anything linked to the perceived culture of groups deemed ‘obstacles to growth’ is devalued and stigmatized” or even criminalized (2017: 64). Another dimension of economic marginalization has to do with the fact that many tenants in gentrifying (or soon-to-be gentrifying) neighborhoods have good reason to be ambivalent about civic improvements and new economic investment where they live since these often have the effect of accelerating rental prices and displacement. Still another problem of marginalization I have identified concerns the tendency of the consumer preferences of tenants in gentrifying neighborhoods to carry less and less weight with the businesses in their area. Indeed, “this problem is especially acute in cases where racial or cultural minorities are the groups whose preferences are being progressively ignored” by the businesses in the gentrifying district (2017: 63). As I put it, “The message this sends to many existing residents is clear: we don’t want or need your business, and we’re betting on the fact that you’ll be priced out before long” (2017: 64). I also focus on the political dimensions of landlord/tenant relationships and find problems of inequality and injustice at work here as well. Very briefly, the argument has to do with the link between residency and membership in a specific political community. As I put it, “If one’s status as a member of a political community is liable to be voided by the latently coercive market forces driving up rents, there is no plausible sense in which one may be said to be the political peer of those who are secure or of those who stand to gain from this expulsion” (2017: 65).

Avenues for future research Though the current philosophical literature on gentrification is small, the potential for productive new research in this area is immense. I’ll here sketch out three directions where such future work might go. The first, and perhaps most important, departure for future philosophical work on gentrification would be to explore its complicated entanglement with questions of race and racism. One obvious starting point would be to explore the ways in which work on the racialization of space applies to the topic of gentrification. By “racialization of space” I mean the process discussed by Charles Mills (1997) that involves “the depiction of space as dominated by individuals (whether persons or sub-persons) of a certain race . . . the pejorative characterization of spaces that need taming . . . that need to be mapped and subordinated” (43). For Mills, the point of “racing” space is both epistemological and moral. The epistemic dimension implies that “in certain spaces real knowledge (knowledge 234


of science, of universals) is not possible . . . [so that] significant cultural achievement, intellectual progress, is thus denied to those spaces, which are deemed (failing European intervention) to be permanently locked into a cognitive state of superstition and ignorance.” (Mills 1997: 44). This observation has obvious relevance when it comes to the ways that majority-black neighborhoods in large US cities are often characterized in mass culture, in the media, and by policy makers. So, too, does the language of “discovery” and “exploration” associated with the racing of space which, as Mills puts it, “basically implies that if no white person has been there before that no cognition could have ever taken place.” (Mills 1997: 45) Indeed, it is not uncommon for defenders of gentrification in large American cities to use the language of pioneers, explorers, frontier-dwellers, rejuvenators of what had been mere “wasteland,” and so on. In addition to these epistemic dimensions of the racing of space, there are moral dimensions that apply to the case of gentrification as well. As Mills puts it, nonwhite spaces are often “demonized” and invested with moral qualities such as vice, “darkness,” superstition, and evil – and this, in turn, “implies the need for Europeanization if moral redemption is to be possible” (1997: 47). The counterpart to this demonization of spaces marked out as nonwhite is the defense of the purity and integrity of spaces marked out as white-only: “White space is patrolled for dark intruders, whose very presence, independently of what they may or may not do, is a blot on the reassuring whiteness . . . of spaces reserved for privileged first-class citizens” (Mills 1997: 48–49). An additional moral dimension to the racing of space concerns the ways in which places marked out as nonwhite are designated as “terra nullius, vacuum domicilium” – as “literally empty and unoccupied, void, unpeopled wasteland” ready for “settlement and industry” (Mills 1997: 49). Though the obvious referent of this remark would be colonial conquest in the 18th and 19th centuries, Mills also hints at its application to urban politics: “There is a presumption that certain spaces (e.g., those of the inner city) are intrinsically doomed to welfare dependency, high street crime, underclass status” with the result that would-be gentrifiers are justified in displacing entire neighborhoods and cashing in on prime real estate that was going to waste under the tenure of the former residents of the district (Mills 1997: 48). Other work on the racialization of space could also be drawn on to construct a detailed and systematic account of the racial politics of gentrification. However, as Mary Pattillo (2007) has shown in detailed empirical studies of a handful of increasingly expensive majority-black neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side, critically analyzing the racialization of space should not be taken to preclude the possibility of criticizing the class dynamics of gentrification that occur within communities of color. In addition to drawing on resources from critical philosophy of race, future philosophical work on gentrification might also examine the overlap between urban housing dynamics, on the one hand, and moral and political questions about occupancy rights, human migration, and freedom of association, on the other (Sundstrom 2013b; Stilz 2013; Essert 2016; Wellman 2008; Fine 2010; Scheffler 2007). Both topics examine the power dynamics at play when it is decided where specific groups of people should be permitted to move, live, work, and so on. So, too, is there an opportunity for further research into whether it is justifiable for housing to be treated as a mere commodity to be bought and sold like any other – here the growing literature on the ethics of commodification should be of great use (Satz 2010). Here work outside of philosophy – Matthew Desmond’s Evicted is especially worth noting – can play an important role in enabling research to link the theoretical and general with the concrete and particular (Desmond 2016). Thus far, our discussion of gentrification has been primarily diagnostic and critical, but if critics are correct to see gentrification as unjust, the obvious question becomes,What should we do about it? Rent control, discussed previously, would be one obvious remedy to protect existing tenants from sudden, sharp increases in rent that are often the prime cause of displacement. 235

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But even the defenders of rent control – for example, Radin (1986), Hanly (1991), and myself (2017) – concede that it is insufficient to deal with the full range of moral and political problems associated with gentrification. Philosophy has a role to play in helping us to imagine alternative institutional arrangements for living together in dense urban communities that are not prone to marginalizing and displacing entire communities at the drop of a hat.The work of Henri Lefebvre (1996 [1968]) is notable here in that it asks us to radically rethink the way that we approach urban living, but much more work on this subject is needed – particularly in light of the fact that city living has changed radically on a global scale since the late 1960s. For my part, I believe that an especially promising avenue for addressing this problem could be to explore the ways that contemporary democratic theory and relational egalitarianism might supply us with a basis for rethinking and replacing the economic and political systems of decision-making that tend to dominate in contemporary capitalist cities. A virtue of these theoretical frameworks is that they focus our attention squarely on questions of power and decision-making authority – rather than factors that are often little more than the mere consequences of power, such as the distribution of income between tenants and landlords. Another advantage is that this framework permits us to analyze concretely the dynamic interplay among race, class, and culture without reducing the problem of gentrification to any particular variable. Whatever direction future research takes, however, it is clear that urban housing is not getting cheaper anytime soon; so we can be reasonably sure that the problems associated with gentrification will persist and continue to cry out for serious, critical philosophical reflection.

References Adams, M. (2006) “Radical Integration,” California Law Review 94, pp. 261–311. Anderson, E. (2010) The Imperative of Integration, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Block, W. (2002) “A Critique of the Legal and Philosophical Case for Rent Control,” Journal of Business Ethics 40, pp. 75–90. Brennan, T. (1988) “Market Failure and Rent Control: A Comment on Radin,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 17 (1). Cashin, S. (2004) The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class Are Undermining the American Dream, New York: Public Affairs. Desmond, M. (2016) Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, New York: Crown. Engels, F. (1970 [1872]) The Housing Question, New York: Progress Publishers. Essert, C. (2016) “Property and Homelessness,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 44 (4). Fine, S. (2010) “Freedom of Association Is Not the Answer,” Ethics 120 (2). Glass, R. (1964) London: Aspects of Change, London: MacGibbon & Kee. Hanly, K. (1991) “The Ethics of Rent Control,” Journal of Business Ethics 10 (3). Kohn, M. (2013) “What Is Wrong with Gentrification?” Urban Research & Practice 6 (3). Kothari, M. (2015) The Global Crisis of Displacement and Evictions: A Housing and Land Rights Perspective, New York: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. Lefebvre, H. (1996 [1968]) “The Right to the City,” in E. Kofman & E. Lebas (eds.), Writings on Cities, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. Madden, D. & Marcuse, P. (2017) In Defense of Housing, London:Verso. Mills, C. (1997) The Racial Contract, Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Patterson, O. (1997) The Ordeal of Integration, New York: Basic Books. Pattillo, M. (2007) Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Radin, M.J. (1986) “Residential Rent Control,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 15 (4). Satz, D. (2010) Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Scheffler, S. (2007) “Immigration and the Significance of Culture,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 35 (2). Shelby, T. (2016) Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent and Reform, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Stilz, A. (2013) “Occupancy Rights and the Wrongs of Removal,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 41 (4).


Gentrification Sundstrom, R. (2013a) “Comment on Elizabeth Anderson’s The Imperative of Integration,” Symposia on Gender, Race and Philosophy 9 (2). ——— (2013b) “Sheltering Xenophobia,” Critical Philosophy of Race 1 (1), pp. 68–85. Wellman, C.H. (2008) “Immigration and Freedom of Association,” Ethics 119 (1). Zimmer, T. (2017) “Gentrification as Injustice: A Relational Egalitarian Approach to Urban Housing,” Public Affairs Quarterly 31 (1).

Further reading D. Allen, A Beautiful Ghetto (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2015) is a striking look at what is lost when a neighborhood gentrifies. K. Moody, From Welfare State to Real Estate: Regime Change in New York City, 1974 to the Present (New York: New Press, 2007) and K.Y.Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2016) discuss critical history of the politics of race and class in major US cities. I. Ness, T. Ngwane, & L. Sinwell (eds.), Urban Revolt: State Power and the Rise of People’s Movements in the Global South (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017) and A. Vasudevan, The Autonomous City: A History of Urban Squatting (London: Verso, 2017) both provide useful snapshots of organizing efforts and resistance to gentrification from below in a variety of cities all over the world.



Occupy emerged in late 2011 and rapidly grew into a large national, and subsequently international, social movement critical of neoliberalism and representational politics – both of which were experiencing crises in legitimacy after the financial crash of 2008. It was not, however, a protest movement insofar as it did not campaign for particular policy changes or petition the government or corporations with a list of demands. Its politics were rather prefigurative and thus embodied the kinds of social relations and direct democratic participation it desired more broadly (Boggs 1977; Polletta 2004; Raekstad 2017). The most distinctive qualities of Occupy’s prefigurative politics were its nonhierarchical decision-making through popular assemblies and the collective occupation of a particular place, typically in city centers. In larger cities, the occupations became sprawling encampments with a sophisticated and creative infrastructure that could sustain basic services for hundreds, if not thousands, of people. In smaller occupations, where it was difficult to sustain an encampment, spaces were appropriated for public assemblies, deliberations, and working groups. Like an insurrectionary Greek agora, Occupy appropriated social space, at times from private owners, so a raucous polis could practice direct democracy. Because the reclamation of this space was more or less an act of civil disobedience – insofar as it violated city ordinances or private property laws – the direct actions of the occupations were, from the beginning, coupled with defensive measures against the police, property owners, and politicians threatening to uproot them (Graeber 2009). The Occupy movement is an example of how social forces can produce social spaces and, conversely, how social spaces can afford new possibilities for social relations and political identities. Urban spaces often serve as part of the means of production – for goods as well as subjects – or are designed as a means of social control. As the outcome of human action, however, such spaces can be remade (Lefebvre 1991: 26). Henri Lefebvre argued that when radical social transformation is on the agenda, as it was in the case of Occupy and similar movements around the globe, then the reconfiguration of social spaces must be as well: “New social relationships call for a new space, and vice versa” (1991: 59). In the Occupy movement there was an effort to create social relationships and political processes free from all forms of social domination, while securing the spatial conditions necessary for participatory democracy. In the following, I sketch the general contours of the Occupy movement and the international and national tendencies that informed the ways it sought to generate these new spaces and democratic practices. I then examine the ways in which Occupy was a concrete response, 238

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not only to a deep economic recession and austerity programs, but also to failures in political representation, the privatization of the public sphere, and the suffering that financialization and the rapid growth of debt had created. I conclude with some observations about the legacy of Occupy.

Occupy history and horizontalism The first occupation began on September 17, 2011, in the privately owned Zuccotti Park in New York City’s Financial District, and called itself Occupy Wall Street (OWS). The name and start date of the Zuccotti encampment were the result of a call the activist magazine Adbusters made via social media and email that summer. The call suggested the use of a “fresh tactic,” described as “a fusion of Tahrir with the acampadas of Spain” (Castells 2012: 159). The tactic was occupation, the place was Wall Street, and the suggested date was September 17, 2011. The decision to occupy the privately owned Zuccotti Park was a tactical decision made on September 17, after the New York Police Department preemptively blocked off several other possible spaces (Gould-Wartofsky 2015: chap. 3). The references in the Adbusters call were to the weeks-long occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo, which was part of a series of democratic uprisings in the region that came to be known as the Arab Spring, and to the encampments of Spain’s 15M (May 15) anti-austerity or Indignados movement (Castells 2012: 247–287).1 Among the most popular slogans of the Indignados were “They don’t represent us” and “We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers” (Nez 2016). An email with the call also included a quote from Raimundo Viejo, an Indignados participant, who situated the contemporary uprisings within a trajectory that began with the global justice movement years earlier: “The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people” (Balaguera Cuervo 2016: 101). Viejo was right to make this connection and to note an evolution in tactics and practices. For the past couple of decades, we have witnessed the diffusion of critiques and organizational structures that first developed in the networks, coalitions, and movements resisting neoliberalism in the 1990s and early 2000s – from the Zapatista uprising and the establishment of the Peoples’ Global Action and World Social Forum, to the massive international protests against trade agreements, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and multinational corporations (Smith 2016; Fisher & Ponniah 2003; Tarrow 2005). These uprisings and occupations happening in Mexico, South America, the Middle East, and Europe before Occupy, were, despite the local contours of their particular struggle, often part of a global resistance movement against neoliberalism, or what Subcomandante Marcos called the Fourth World War (1997). Marcos was the leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), which launched a rebellion in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, on January 1, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. Like other struggles, the Zapatista rebellion had goals particular to the region’s cultural, political, legal, and economic relations, while simultaneously resisting global forces seeking to impose a neoliberal economic model on disparate nations.2 “This is a planetary war, of the worst and cruelest kind, waged against humanity,” Marcos wrote (1997: 562). Fighting this war meant not only defending themselves against external threats, but also reorganizing social relations to make them less vulnerable to these threats and more attentive to the needs of the community.This involved a turning away from state institutions and political parties and toward popular assemblies, through which they would chart a new course. Thus, even a rebellion like the one that arose from Chiapas, Mexico, 239

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was simultaneously involved in building new social relations, which capacitated the communities involved in the struggle. Marcos spoke explicitly about this prefigurative turn among the Zapatistas, which he contrasted with the methods of past struggles: “What other guerrilla force has appealed, not to the proletariat as the historical vanguard, but to the civic society that struggles for democracy? . . . What other guerrilla force has struggled to achieve a democratic space and not take power?” (2004: 92). The move of the Zapatistas to generate alternative spaces for political will formation and even direct democratic self-governance inspired movements elsewhere (Nail 2013). “The Zapatista call to make the world anew without taking power,” writes John Holloway, “has found a remarkable resonance. This resonance has to do with the growth in recent years of what might be called an area of antipower” (2002: 20). Holloway is referring to the kind of power that capacitates communities to cooperatively problem solve and flourish, as opposed to exercising “power over” others – that is, domination. The community thus generates anti-power – sometimes referred to as “counter-power” or, in Hannah Arendt’s work, simply “power” – rather than take it from another (see Holloway 1996). In the prefigurative practices of these movements, the generation of such power was the goal and defensive measures to protect its cultivation were a necessity. Speaking of earlier prefigurative strategies of the workers’ movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, Carl Boggs identifies statism and authoritarianism as their two central obstacles. In general, he writes, such movements had three ongoing concerns: (1) that forms of hierarchical authority might be reproduced “under a new ideological rationale”; (2) that the centralized forms of power evident in unions and political parties could “reproduce the old power relations in a way that undermines revolutionary struggles”; and (3) that of central importance was a “commitment to democratization through local, collective structures that anticipate the future liberated society” (1977: 103). All three of these concerns inform contemporary prefigurative movements, including Occupy.3 In the wake of an economic crisis in 2001, anti-austerity movements in Argentina took a similar prefigurative path in their development of a horizontalist form of democratic practice (horizontalidad), which combined popular assemblies (asambleas populares) with occupations (tomas) (Gould-Wartofsky 2015: chap. 1; Sitrin 2006; Sitrin & Azzellini 2014). Workers took control of shuttered factories and brought them back to life. Neighborhood and popular assemblies proliferated throughout the country (Mauro & Rossi 2015). The assemblies were horizontally or non-hierarchically organized and addressed issues as local as basic services in the neighborhood and as global as resistance to the imposition of neoliberal reforms at the behest of international financial institutions. Martín K., a participant in a neighborhood assembly, describes horizontalism this way: “I understand horizontalidad in terms of the metaphor of territories, and a way of practicing politics through the construction of territory. It’s grounded here, and direct democracy has to do with this. It’s like it needs to occupy space” (Sitrin 2006: 60). Marina Sitrin, the sociologist who interviewed Martín K. and other participants in these assemblies, notes that horizontalism is more than merely a rejection of hierarchical relationships and representational politics. It also reflects a positive commitment to direct democracy, to consensus (or as close as consensus could be achieved) and “processes in which everyone is heard and new relationships are created” (2006: vi). These horizontalist assemblies spread throughout Argentina’s neighborhoods and occupied public squares, just as they would soon after in Greece (Schwartz, Sagris, & Void Network 2010; Kousis 2016), Israel (Perugorría, Shalev, & Tejerina 2016; Grinberg 2013), and Spain (Oikonomakis & Roos 2016), among other places. The United States had witnessed its own series of high-profile occupations in the years prior to Occupy Wall Street. In 2008, there was a worker occupation of the Republic Windows and 240

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Doors factory in Chicago (Denning 2014) and a student occupation at the New School in New York City, and in 2009 a series of student occupations throughout the University of California system popularized the slogan “Occupy Everything, Demand Nothing” (Clover 2012). A pamphlet circulating among the California occupations, Communiqué From An Absent Future, stated: “We must interrupt the normal flow of bodies and things and bring work and class to a halt.We will blockade, occupy, and take what’s ours” (Research & Destroy 2009: 15).4 In 2011, the brief occupation of the Wisconsin capitol building by labor unions electrified the Left, although more directly influential on Occupy Wall Street was the anti-austerity “Bloombergville” encampment outside City Hall in New York City in mid-June. Named after then Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and in the spirit of the “Hooverville” shantytowns that emerged during the Great Depression under President Herbert Hoover, the Bloombergville encampment was a local laboratory for horizontal organizing.5 Veterans of Bloombergville, together with other seasoned organizers, would become the New York City General Assembly and develop the organizational infrastructure for Occupy Wall Street a few months later (Gould-Wartofsky 2015: chap. 2; Marom 2012).These organizers had no connection to Adbusters, but given the date and general location publicized by the magazine, they strove to establish the groundwork for an occupation in the spirit of the anti-austerity and directly democratic movements discussed above (Graeber 2013: 99–108). Two weeks before the occupation began, the New York City General Assembly consented to the following self-description, which would prefigure the larger occupation to come: “NYC General Assemblies are an open participatory and horizontally organized process through which we are building the capacity to constitute ourselves in public as autonomous collective forces within and against representative politics, cultural death, and the constant crisis of our times” (Holmes 2012: 152). Less than a week after the initial occupation of Zuccotti Park, the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street released its “Principles of Solidarity,” which described the occupation as “direct and transparent participatory democracy” and “non-violent civil disobedience” intent on “building solidarity based on mutual respect, acceptance, and love” (Occupy Wall Street General Assembly 2011). The statement also contained the motto that would quickly reverberate across the country: “We are the 99%.” The following week, on September 30, a more substantial explanation for the occupation and list of grievances was released, titled “Declaration on the Occupation of New York City.” The structure of the text, like that the US Declaration of Independence, asserted the right of assembly and provided a list of injustices, beginning with illegal foreclosures. The text was not, however, addressed to political representatives, nor did it demand that the government address the grievances listed therein. Instead, it simply encouraged its readers “to assert your power,” to assemble, and to “occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone” (New York City General Assembly 2011: 149). After the establishment of the first encampment in New York City, hundreds soon sprung up around the country – from Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, and Denver, to Oakland, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle – and throngs of newcomers joined with experienced activists to build the movement and repurpose public spaces in their cities. The motivations of newcomers were varied. Some were intrigued by a political experiment happening in their city because they sensed something was wrong, but could not yet identify precisely what it was or how to address it. Others were already outraged by the bank bailouts and austerity measures and were seeking a means to resist. Many were drawn to the kind of community offered by the assemblies and working groups, which they lacked elsewhere. With representational politics offering little more than voting, campaigning, or donating, and with the public sphere increasingly reduced to commercialized zones of consumption and leisure, it was exhilarating to find an accessible, deliberative space to engage, learn, and creatively 241

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problem-solve with others. The occupations were highly visible and there were no barriers to entry, so a novice willing to adhere to the procedures could quickly become involved in meaningful deliberations and take on responsibility for collaborative tasks to satisfy community needs or movement goals. The foundation of all occupations was the General Assembly (GA), the autonomous space in which participants made decisions by consensus or near consensus. Indeed, space was occupied precisely in order to hold a GA, so when the police eventually retook those spaces by force, the GA model was difficult to sustain (Graeber 2013: 319–322). Assemblies were horizontalist in structure and operated with voluntary and rotating facilitators, who made the democratic process explicit and guided deliberation and decision-making. During assemblies a “stack keeper” assisted the facilitator by creating a list or “taking stack” of the participants interested in speaking. To actively support the contributions of participants from traditionally marginalized groups, a “progressive stack” was introduced, which prioritized their voices. Participants communicated the kind of contribution they wanted to make in the assembly through hand signals, which indicated, for example, a direct response to a question or comment, a clarifying question, a point of process, or simply speaking for or against a proposal. In the deliberative process, facilitators would do a “temperature check” of the assembly to gauge how close the assembly was to reaching consensus on a proposal. Participants communicated this by using hand signals to demonstrate approval (“twinkles,” or the American Sign Language sign for “applause”), disapproval (downward “twinkles”), or uncertainty (flat or horizontal hands) (Koford 2012). It was typically one of the various working groups associated with the occupation that brought proposals before the assembly. Working groups were democratic and problem-solving collectives formed around issues relevant to the movement, such as food, sanitation, housing, education, communications, accountability, anti-oppression, safety, facilitation, and art. In large assemblies – and large crowds generally – occupiers introduced the “people’s mic” to verbally communicate without electronic amplification.To initiate the people’s mic, a speaker would say “mic check,” which, in call-and-response fashion, participants repeated in unison until the attention of the assembly was focused on the speaker. The speaker would then divide up their comments into single statements that could more easily be repeated by and resonate through those assembled. Although the people’s mic was a practical solution to the lack of a police-issued permit for amplified sound, it soon became clear that there were additional benefits to this collaborative process. Amplification required attentiveness to the speaker and social cooperation, which fostered increased understanding and solidarity. This reliance on the assembled also created a greater sense of responsibility on the part of the speaker, encouraging one to speak with brevity and clarity. Because each voice was amplified equally, and the identity of the speaker often unseen to many in the assembly, the assessment of the content of the speech tended to be more egalitarian, mitigating traditional forms of epistemic injustice. Both in terms of access and projection, speech in the GA was therefore similar to what the ancient Greeks called isēgoria, or the equality of speech before the assembly, rather than merely freedom of speech. Finally, the idea that one voice could become a roar when people worked together was invigorating.These effects made the people’s mic a mainstay of the movement and a symbol of its democratic spirit.

Democracy against isolation and abstraction A central and motivating commitment of the Occupy movement was the critique of finance capital (and often neoliberalism generally), which endeavors to insinuate a creditor–debtor relationship into all aspects of social life and had destabilized the lives, homes, and neighborhoods 242

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of tens of millions of people. The launch of the Occupy movement in the Financial District of New York City is evidence of the centrality of this critique, as are the explicit grievances listed in its early communiqués and the slogans used by participants. The creation of the general assembly as a polis engaged in direct democracy and the formation of critiques of capitalism was also a critical response to the failures of representational politics, with its abstract model of isolated political subjects, who occasionally vote to legitimate state power. Inclusion within a representational political society entails no particular form of participation, deliberation, or association and therefore processes of individual self-realization and political will formation typically occur outside a political community. In this absence of real democracy, says John Dewey, there develops a “body of irreconcilables,” or individuals whose isolation renders them “aliens to that which should be their own commonwealth” (2008: 237). A “body of irreconcilables” is an appropriate characterization of Occupy assemblies.6 Representational politics and finance capital both played a role in precipitating the economic crisis of 2008, through financial deregulation and the related proliferation of asset-backed securities such as the collateralized debt obligation (CDO). The latter incentivized the predatory lending of high-risk (subprime) mortgages and fueled the housing bubble that burst in such a spectacular and devastating fashion.The response by investment banks and elected representatives – namely, allowing individual homeowners and struggling workers to bear the full weight of the financial industry’s maleficence – constituted a second failure, which led to a larger legitimation crisis and the Occupy movement. This was fertile ground for a project to revitalize direct democratic practices, which reclaimed urban spaces and challenged the prevalent and alienating forces of individualism and abstraction in political representation and capitalism more generally. The rapid growth of the financial sector resulted from the neoliberal policies of deregulation beginning in the 1970s, itself a response to stagnating profits in other sectors of the economy. Such stagnation was in part due to the dominance of large corporate monopolies and in part due to the power of organized labor to secure decent pay and benefits for working people. The response to these “problems” for capital accumulation included the outsourcing of jobs (“globalization”), attacks on unions, financial speculation, and, more recently, a burgeoning credit economy. Political representatives, whose constituencies were experiencing increasing precarity and unmet needs in an era of unprecedented economic inequality, facilitated these developments. As the financial instruments of capitalism unleashed by deregulation laid greater claim on the choices and future labor of individuals, their representatives appeared to express a political will increasingly distant from their constituents’ lived experiences. The root of the 2008 financial crisis was in the unregulated trade of mortgage-backed securities, which grew rapidly after the 1999 repeal of provisions in the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.The profitability of these securities was premised on assumptions about the housing market that were quickly disproven. Rather than steadily increasing, the value of homes dropped, and millions of homeowners suddenly found their homes to be worth less than the balance of their mortgages – that is, they were “under water.” If homeowners had a fixed-rate mortgage, they could possibly ride out the recession and hope the value of their homes returned. If they had an adjustable-rate mortgage, however, their rates increased, and mortgage payments often exceeded their means. Since they had negative equity, the banks would not help them refinance, which led to high default rates. The financial crisis thus quickly became a foreclosure crisis. Securitizing mortgages – that is, turning debt into tradable financial commodities – had produced a lucrative and high-risk unregulated market for investors, but profound housing insecurity for ordinary people. The home as a place of personal stability – in terms of daily respite and financial investment for one’s future – had become an abstract instrument for Wall Street gambling. The loss of homes 243

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and thus of wealth was particularly significant in communities of color.7 The foreclosure crisis was exacerbated by two additional factors. First, financial institutions were unable to calculate the risk and thus the value of these abstract and complex financial products. Second, due to poor regulation and simple avarice, banks were wildly overleveraged, which is to say, they did not have sufficient capital reserves to cover widespread losses. Although it was malfeasance on the part of financial institutions that instigated the economic crisis, which in turn produced a foreclosure crisis, elected representatives only supported massive state intervention and unprecedented financial bailouts for the financial institutions, leaving millions of homeowners in financial ruin. “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” was a popular chant in the Occupy movement. For those who were not directly affected by the foreclosure crisis, many were still burdened with unprecedented levels of student loans, medical costs, and personal debt. Nearly a whole generation of young people became deeply indebted in order to finance their pursuit of academic degrees said to be necessary for the new labor market. The entire trajectory of their lives was shaped by their debt obligations. Debt, writes Maurizio Lazzarato, “acts as a ‘capture,’ ‘predation,’ and ‘extraction’ machine on the whole of society,” redistributing wealth upward, while also functioning as a “mechanism for the production and ‘government’ of collective and individual subjectivities” (2012: 29). By the production of subjectivity, Lazzarato is referring to how a morality constructed on guilt and shame has insinuated itself into the self-understanding of a generation. Walter Benjamin describes capitalism as the first example of a cult, grounded in blame rather than repentance, which seeks to hammer blameworthiness into the consciousness of every individual (2005: 259; see also Graeber 2011). The financial institutions are unscrupulous in their extraction of value from the lives and livelihoods of working people, while those same people are made to feel ashamed of the debt they accrue in order to make ends meet. This is the intentional result of the process of financialization, which introduces credit as a necessary means for the satisfaction of needs. The Strike Debt project of Occupy Wall Street addressed this function of debt and the morality of shame it promotes in the 2012 pamphlet The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual, which was subsequently published in book form. It called for a collective act of resistance that “may be the only way of salvaging democracy because the campaign to plunge the world into debt is a calculated attack on the very possibility of democracy. It is an assault on our homes, our families, our communities and on the planet’s fragile ecosystems – all of which are being destroyed by endless production to pay back creditors who have done nothing to earn the wealth they demand we make for them” (Strike Debt 2012: 2). The manual provided detailed explanations of the debt economy and sketched a blueprint for a debt resistance movement with the slogan “You Are Not a Loan.” This effort was supplemented with a “Debt Resistors Organizing Kit,” which occupiers used to establish Strike Debt working groups around the country, and the “Rolling Jubilee” campaign, which purchased tens of millions of dollars in debt on secondary markets (for pennies on the dollar) in order to abolish it.The Rolling Jubilee was not intended to be a solution to the extraction machine, as Lazzarato called it, but rather to serve a creative example of an alternative morality – one of solidarity, based on forgiveness and mutual aid. Similarly, the Alternative Banking Group of Occupy Wall Street brought together Teamsters, students, lawyers, and former financial advisors and investors to develop critiques and alternatives to predatory financial institutions. Occupy Finance (Alternative Banking Group 2013) is a book-length pamphlet published in September 2013, which explains the financial crisis, financial products, regulatory legislation, and bailouts. “We know that the way it is is not the way it has to be. Economic arrangements, however complex, opaque, and interconnected, are created by human beings and can be changed by them – by us. Taking on this responsibility is 244

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daunting, but also exhilarating. It is the first step in the direction of economic justice” (Alternative Banking Group 2013: 3). Occupy Finance promoted the “Move Your Money” campaign, which encouraged people to transfer their savings from large banks to credit unions, and promoted the benefits of social lending, public banking, worker cooperatives, land trusts, and social enterprises.The work of Strike Debt and the Alternative Banking Group in cultivating critiques, alternatives, and resistance exemplified how the Occupy movement was a process of knowledge production and education as much as it was the lived experience of direct democracy. Direct democracy and the commons created by the General Assembly were antidotes to the abstractions and isolation characteristic of the politics of representation. Like debt, representation can act as a contractual mechanism of extraction to facilitate the accumulation of power. Benjamin Rush, a signatory to the US Constitution, wrote in 1787 that while all power is derived from the people, “they possess it only on the days of their elections. After this it is the property of their rulers” (1998: 3). Although it is now commonplace for liberal theorists to argue that representation facilitates democracy, giving rise to the notion of representative or electoral democracy, historically, representation was always contrasted with democracy. In the Federalist Papers, James Madison cautions against “the confounding of a republic with a democracy” (2008b: 68). Indeed, the republic employs a “scheme of representation” that serves as a remedy for democracy, which Madison claimed was full of “turbulence and contention” and “incompatible with personal security or the rights of property” (2008a: 52). The particular advantage of a representational republic, he argued, was precisely its ability to abstract from place – the commons – to which democracy was indelibly rooted (2008b: 68). This representational “substitute for the meeting of the citizens in person” not only transcends the assemblies of the demos, but according to Madison it is also a mechanism for distilling and promoting the true interests of the people. By passing them “through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country,” argued Madison (2008a: 53), the public’s views would be refined and enlarged. Alexander Hamilton added that the body of representatives should be merchants because the people’ interests “can be more effectually promoted by the merchant than by themselves” (2008: 165). This argument for representation is a very modern one because it presupposes an abstract, subjective right to speech and self-legislation that can be transferred to a representative, who is then authorized to speak and legislate on another’s behalf.8 This, in turn, presupposes an ahistorical concept of the person capable of bearing such an abstraction. The rights-bearing person was the outcome of long and often violent struggles – not unlike those involved in the privatization of the commons or the commodification of labor power – which uprooted personhood from the particularities of real communities and social structures. This process of universalizing personhood made representation possible and the social contract so appealing as a mechanism for political legitimacy and social order. The contractual model of political relations, and the concept of the rights-bearing person within it, informed the critique (in the Federalist Papers) of democratic will formation and decision-making in real assemblies. This model contributed to experiences of social alienation and isolation, as well as to structural inequality, both politically and economically. Moreover, the level of abstraction necessary to sustain the model of representational politics has led us to corporate personhood, the Frankenstein’s monster of our time, and money as constitutionally protected speech.The notion that corporations as artificial persons and money as artificial speech could participate as equals among natural persons in democratic assemblies is an absurdity, but in the representational system of the Federalist Papers and the US Constitution it is a reality. Although this reality was the culmination of incremental steps taken over more than a century, a significant and final step in its development immediately preceded the Occupy movement – namely, the landmark 245

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US Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010).9 The Supreme Court ruled that corporate campaign donations were protected under the free speech clause of the First Amendment. Although there were still restrictions on how much could be donated directly to a candidate, the decision opened the floodgates for unlimited corporate money to flow into elections.The incongruence of this decision, along with the bank bailouts, the foreclosure crisis, and unprecedented economic inequality, fostered a legitimation crisis. The increasing precarity and struggles experienced by so many rendered the argument that representation was superior to democracy – because democracy is too “turbulent and contentious” and “merchants” are better suited to identify true interests – thoroughly unpersuasive.

Conclusion The crises of neoliberalism and representational politics made the turn toward the democracy of the Occupy movement intuitively appealing. Unlike representational politics, however, the democratic polis – or what Arendt referred to as the “space of appearance” (1958: 198) – required a commons for the production of its power (Arendt 1958), or what Holloway (1996, 2002) refers to as anti-power.When Aristotle debated whether it was best to have things publicly or privately owned in a society, he concluded it was clear that at least one thing must be public – namely, a common place for the people. The origin of the word “republic” is “res publica,” Latin for a public or shared thing. Horizontalist movements around the world, including Occupy, sought to revitalize this notion (Brown 2011). As one activist and journalist in the Indignados movement stated: “Democracy will start to include . . . an open space for everyone, not a privatized space for those who have economic or political power, and certainly not a privatized space for professional politicians or activists, but a space open to everyone” (Sitrin & Azzellini 2014: 64–65). The polis is difficult to sustain, because it dissipates when spaces do not allow people to assemble or when violence is used against it. What our presence reveals in the polis can also be troubling, for it is through our participation that commitments to racism, sexism, heteronormativity, and pernicious privileges can be identified. Unlike the mechanisms of representational politics, which do not require deliberation, the participatory nature of democracy makes encountering critiques of one’s prejudices and privileges rather commonplace. It is often only through this disruption of our habitual ways of judging and inhabiting our world that we are called upon to interrogate ourselves. In the best of cases, challenges to these commitments prompt critical and transformative self-examination. However, this requires an openness to critique that can be difficult to sustain in the unsettling task of cultivating alternative habits. In the worst of cases, these enactments of “old power relations,” as Carl Boggs referred to them, are perpetuated and overburden the polis. Indeed, unchecked, they can be as detrimental to the polis as state violence. Although occupiers were forcibly evicted from their encampments in a coordinated, nationwide effort in late 2011, the movement continued for a few years and took different forms. Groups such as Strike Debt, Occupy the SEC, and Occupy Our Homes, which focused on foreclosure resistance, endured as direct offshoots.10 Similar to the anarchist-influenced Common Ground Collective that formed in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (crow 2014), Occupy Sandy emerged in response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Focusing on mutual aid in hard-hit communities in New York and New Jersey, Occupy Sandy volunteers established a motor pool and distribution centers with relief aid, as well as construction and mold remediation groups. In Turkey in May 2013, using the hashtag #OccupyGezi, what began as a small protest against a plan to turn Gezi Park into a shopping mall grew into a large-scale occupation of 246

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Taksim Square in Istanbul. Resisting neoliberal policies and growing authoritarianism, millions of people took to the streets and thousands set up camp in the square, before then–Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered deadly crackdowns the following month (Amnesty International 2013). Around the same time, the Black Lives Matter movement emerged in the United States. Although not directly related to Occupy, the movement’s leaderless (or leaderful) structure, focus on direct action, abolitionist and anti-oppression commitments, and use of the people’s mic situate it within the family of horizontalist movements discussed here. In August 2016, Black Lives Matter also organized the occupation of a park – renamed “Abolition Square” – across from City Hall in New York City, where some of the original organizers of Occupy Wall Street had set up their “Bloombergville” encampment in 2011. Similar Black Lives Matter occupations sprang up in Chicago (“Freedom Square”) and Los Angeles (“Decolonize L.A. City Hall”). The Occupy movement was a creative and prefigurative improvization. Although the polis that appeared within it proved ephemeral, its transient nature, Judith Butler argues, is related to its critical function. Such experiments in radical democracy are a means for articulating what a good or livable life might be (Butler 2015: 218). Occupy allowed for the cultivation of practical knowledge and political virtues necessary for participants to engage as democratic subjects, to organize their communities, and, for a time, to reclaim the commons. This knowledge and these virtues will continue to inform radical movements, just as Occupy was shaped by social struggles and horizontalist experiments of the past.

Notes 1 For helpful timelines of the Arab Spring, Indignados, and Occupy movements, see Castells (2012: 247–287). 2 In the case the of Zapatista rebellion, one of the goals was to protect Article 27 of Mexico’s constitution, the foundation of land tenure law and the outcome of the Mexican Revolution (1910–1917) led by Emiliano Zapata, namesake of the Zapatistas. Controversial changes to Article 27 in 1992, recommended by the World Bank, ended land distribution to landless communities and made a market in agricultural land possible (Kelly, Jr. 1994: 561). “An orthodox neoliberal model,” writes Mariana Mora, “considered the ejido [communal landholding] a source of uncertainty that hinders private investment and considered people who collectively owned lands to have limited access to the loans required to increase productivity” (2017: 116). 3 See Polletta (2004) on the history of prefigurative movements in the United States. On the influence of anarchism on Occupy, see Bray (2013, 2018) and Graeber (2013). 4 The pamphlet explicitly viewed student actions as part of a larger movement: “We have seen a new wave of takeovers in the U.S. over the last year, both at universities and workplaces: New School and NYU, as well as the workers at Republic Windows Factory in Chicago, who fought the closure of their factory by taking it over. Now it is our turn” (Research and Destroy 2009: 19). 5 Activists in Madison, Wisconsin, also created a “Walkerville” encampment near the state capitol building, named in honor of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, which inspired Bloombergville in New York. 6 Jacque Rancière describes such irreconcilability as “dissensus,” which he argues is the essence of politics. It is the disruption of the established order by those excluded from it. They make themselves and alternative futures visible in the present and thereby put “two worlds in one and the same world” (2010: 69). 7 According to the report “The State of Housing in Black America,” published by the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (2013), between 2007 and 2013, half of the net worth of the AfricanAmerican community in the United States was lost due to the foreclosure crisis and recession. 8 There are various theories of representation within political liberalism today, but it is common to distinguish delegation and trusteeship. A delegate represents the explicit interests of the represented, while a trustee exercises their judgment and thus need not act in a way that directly reflects the will of the represented. Philip Pettit (2009) identifies three basic modes – simulative (indicative), enactive,


Chad Kautzer and interpretive – and argues that the lack of explicit preferences by the represented on so many issues necessarily leads the representative to speak and act in an interpretive manner. 9 The first step was the wording of equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, adopted in 1868. It used the word “person” rather than “natural person,” thus opening the door to the possibility of nonnatural persons becoming constitutionally protected. This did not happen directly, but rather through a misleading summary or headnote for a decision, written by a court reporter in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886). Although the equal protection of nonnatural persons was not at stake, the court reporter (a former railroad executive) stated that it was and that Santa Clara County had extended the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment to corporate persons. Santa Clara County was later and mistakenly cited as precedent in other decisions. This constitutionally protected corporate person was more or less speechless until Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), the US Supreme Court decision that made money constitutionally protected speech, but with some restrictions. Citizens United (2010) lifted most of those restrictions. 10 As a participant in Occupy Denver, I organized with the education working group for years after the Denver encampment was forcibly removed. The Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition, founded by Denver occupiers and a local nonprofit, as well as the groups Boycott the Urban Camping Ban and Denver Homeless Out Loud, continue to embody the horizontalism, solidarity, and mutual aid of Occupy to this day.

References Alternative Banking Group (2013) Occupy Finance: A Project of Alternative Banking/Occupy Wall Street. Also available at . Amnesty International (2013) “Turkey: Gezi Park Protests: Brutal Denial of the Right to Peaceful Assembly in Turkey,” . Arendt, H. (1958) The Human Condition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Balaguera Cuervo, M. (2016) “Public Space Without Demands: Understanding Traveling Theory and Practice in Occupy and Transnational Protests,” in S. Alnasseri (ed.), Arab Revolutions and Beyond:The Middle East and Reverberations in the Americas, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 95–117. Benjamin, W. (2005) “Capitalism as Religion [Fragment 74],” in E. Mendieta (ed.), Religion as Critique:The Frankfurt School’s Critique of Religion, New York: Routledge, pp. 259–262. Boggs, C. (1977) “Marxism, Prefigurative Communism, and the Problem of Workers’ Control,” Radical America 11/12 (6/1), pp. 99–122. Bray, M. (2013) Translating Anarchy:The Anarchy of Occupy Wall Street, Alresford, Hants: Zero Books. ——— (2018) “Horizontalism,” in B. Franks, N. Jun, & L.Williams (eds.), Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach, New York: Routledge, pp. 101–114. Brown, W. (2011) “Occupy Wall Street: Return of a Repressed Res-Publica,” Theory and Event 14 (4), pp. 357–376. Butler, J. (2015) Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Castells, M. (2012) Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age, Cambridge: Polity Press. Clover, J. (2012) “The Coming Occupation,” in K. Khatib, M. Killjoy, & M. McGuire (eds.), We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation, Oakland: AK Press, pp. 95–103. crow, s. (2014) Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy, and the Common Ground Collective, Oakland: PM Press. Denning, M. (2014) “Occupying Occupations,” Transforming Anthropology 22 (1), pp. 13–15. Dewey, J. (2008) “The Ethics of Democracy,” in JoAnn Boydston (ed.), The Collected Works of John Dewey: The Early Works, 1882–1898,Vol. I, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, pp. 227–249. Fisher,W. & Ponniah,T. (eds.) (2003) Another World Is Possible: Popular Alternatives to Globalization at the World Social Forum, London: Zed Books. Gould-Wartofsky, M. (2015) The Occupiers:The Making of the 99 Percent Movement, New York: Oxford University Press. Graeber, D. (2009) Direct Action: An Ethnography, Oakland: AK Press. ——— (2011) Debt:The First 5,000 Years, Brooklyn: Melville House. ——— (2013) The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement, New York: Spiegel & Grau.


Occupy and the reappearance of the polis Grinberg, L. (2013) “The J14 Resistance Mo(ve)ment:The Israeli Mix of Tahrir Square and Puerta del Sol,” Current Sociology 61 (4), pp. 491–509. Hamilton, A. (2008) “Federalist No. 35,” in A. Hamilton, J. Madison, & J. Jay (eds.), The Federalist Papers, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 163–167. Holloway, J. (1996) “The Concept of Power and the Zapatistas,” Common Sense 19 (June), pp. 20–27. ——— (2002) Change the World without Taking Power, London: Pluto Press. Holmes, M. (2012) “The Center Cannot Hold: A Revolution in Process,” in K. Khatib, M. Killjoy, & M. McGuire (eds.), We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation, Oakland: AK Press, pp. 151–161. Kelly, Jr., J. (1994) “Article 27 and Mexican Land Reform: The Legacy of Zapata’s Dream,” Columbia Human Rights Law Revie, 25 (2), pp. 541–570. Koford, A. (2012) “Untitled,” in K. Khatib, M. Killjoy, & M. McGuire (eds.), We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation, Oakland: AK Press, p. 162. Kousis, M. (2016) “The Spatial Dimensions of the Greek Protest Campaign Against the Troika’s Memoranda and Austerity, 2010–2013,” in M. Ancelovici, P. Dufour, & H. Nez (eds.), Street Politics in the Age of Austerity: From the Indignados to Occupy, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 147–174. Lazzarato, M. (2012) The Making of the Indebted Man: An Essay on the Neoliberal Condition, Los Angeles: SemiotextI. Lefebvre, H. (1991) The Production of Space, trans. D. Nicholson-Smith, New York: Blackwell. Madison, J. (2008a) “Federalist No. 10,” in A. Hamilton, J. Madison, & J. Jay (eds.), The Federalist Papers, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 48–55. ——— (2008b) “Federalist No. 14,” in A. Hamilton, J. Madison, & J. Jay (eds.), The Federalist Papers, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 67–72. Marcos, S. (1997) “The Fourth World War Has Begun,” Nepantla:Views from South 2 (3), pp. 559–572. ——— (2004) Ya Basta! Ten Years of the Zapatista Uprising, Oakland: AK Press. Marom, Y. (2012) “Bloombergville to Occupy: Liberating the Impossible,” in K. Khatib, M. Killjoy, & M. McGuire (eds.), We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation, Oakland: AK Press, pp. 146–147. Mauro, S. & Rossi, F. (2015) “The Movement of Popular and Neighborhood Assemblies in the City of Buenos Aires, 2002–2011” Latin American Perspectives 42 (2), pp. 107–124. Mora, M. (2017) Kuxlejal Politics: Indigenous Autonomy, Race, and Decolonizing Research in Zapatista Communities, Austin: University of Texas Press. Nail, T. (2013) “Zapatismo and the Global Origins of Occupy,” Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 12 (3), pp. 20–35. National Association of Real Estate Brokers (2013) “The State of Housing in Black America,” . New York City General Assembly (2011) “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City,” in K. Khatib, M. Killjoy, & M. McGuire (eds.), We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation, Oakland: AK Press, pp. 148–149. Nez, H. (2016) “ ‘We Must Register a Victory to Continue Fighting’: Locating the Action of the Indignados in Madrid,” in M. Ancelovici, P. Dufour, & H. Nez (eds.), Street Politics in the Age of Austerity: From the Indignados to Occupy, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 121–145. Occupy Wall Street General Assembly (2011) “Principles of Solidarity,” in S. van Gelder & The Staff of Yes! (eds.), This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement, San Francisco: Berret-Koehler Publishers, pp. 69–71. Oikonomakis, L. & Roos, J. (2016) “A Global Movement for Real Democracy? The Resonance of AntiAusterity Protest from Spain and Greece to Occupy Wall Street,” in M. Ancelovici, P. Dufour, & H. Nez (eds.), Street Politics in the Age of Austerity: From the Indignados to Occupy, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 227–249. Perugorría, I., Michael Shalev, M., & Tejerina, B. (2016) “The Spanish Indignados and Israel’s Social Justice Movement:The Role of Political Cleavages in Two Large-Scale Protests,” in M. Ancelovici, P. Dufour, & H. Nez (eds.), Street Politics in the Age of Austerity: From the Indignados to Occupy, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 91–118. Pettit, P. (2009) “Varieties of Public Representation,” in I. Shapiro et al. (eds.), Political Representation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 61–89. Polletta, F. (2004) Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in American Social Movements, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Chad Kautzer Raekstad, P. (2017) “Revolutionary Practice and Prefigurative Politics: A Clarification and Defense,” Constellations 24, pp. 1–14. Rancière, J. (2010) Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics, trans. S. Corcoran, New York: Continuum. Research and Destroy (2009) Communiqué from an Absent Future, . Rush, B. (1998) “Address to the People of the United States,” in C. Sheehan & G. McDowell (eds.), Friends of the Constitution:Writings of the “Other” Federalists, 1787–1788, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, pp. 1–5. Schwartz, A., Sagris, T., & Void Network (2010) We Are an Image from the Future: The Greek Revolt of December 2008, Oakland: AK Press. Sitrin, M. (2006) Horizontalism:Voices of Popular Power in Argentina, Oakland: AK Press. Sitrin, M. & Azzellini, D. (2014) They Can’t Represent Us! Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy, New York:Verso. Smith, J. (2016) “Social Movements and Political Moments: Reflections on the Intersections of Global Justice Movements & Occupy Wall Street,” in M. Ancelovici, P. Dufour, & H. Nez (eds.), Street Politics in the Age of Austerity: From the Indignados to Occupy, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 205–226. Strike Debt (2012) The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual:A Project of Strike Debt/Occupy Wall Street, . Tarrow, S. (2005) The New Transnational Activism, New York: Cambridge University Press.




21 CITY AND COMMON SPACE1 Paula Cristina Pereira

Why should the city once again matter to philosophy? Philosophy and the city tell a parallel story. The polis, as political community, is a place of public discussion and deliberation, the condition on which the potential existence of humans as citizens is grounded, the place where common projects are built. The city is not, indeed, a new topic in philosophy. It traverses the historical-philosophical heritage of notions of the city up to the new public space of post-industrial society, ranging from the political reality of the polis and the medieval lack of differentiation between the public and private categories, to the normative rationality of the modern city and the link between the social and economic relations of the industrial city. Nonetheless, the question this chapter intends to answer is the following: Why is it crucial, today, for philosophy to once again take an interest in the city? The answer, which I will try to elaborate on, is: Our common future depends on the ability to think and make the city, which means, in this chapter, the growing need to think and make the city as common space. The answer may not be completely original, admittedly, but it requires complex tasks, because I believe it is one of the most important challenges that philosophy faces today. Otherwise philosophy runs the risk of being stranded at the city gates. The 21st century is clearly an urban century. In the Preamble to the World Charter for the Right to the City, we can read that “The new millennium dawned with half of the world’s population living in cities” and that the “forecast” is that “by 2050 the world’s urbanization rate will reach 65%.” The Preamble continues: “Cities are potentially territories with vast economic, environmental, political and cultural wealth and diversity” and “The urban way of life influences the way in which we link with our fellow human beings and with the territory” (World Charter for the Right to the City 2004: 1).2 If the world is increasingly urban, increasingly marked by the complexity that spans our cities, the construction of democracy requires we join the terms philosophy and city, the logos closest to the unique conditions of persons.The philosophies that remain are those that have been most attentive to their time, those that have contributed to humans’ understanding of his life, both historical and cultural. Thus, I believe that philosophical experience is manifested in the ability to translate what happens into what happens to us, into meaningful experiences, to think based on that which touches us, that which affects us, especially with regard to a “regulated and normalized” world, 253

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which has debilitated our experience of receiving and dwelling.The ability to receive is that which underpins an essential vulnerability within us, in our capacity to give and to grant, and which ensures our ability to endure strangeness, thus precluding the denial of experience. Cartesian philosophy focused on the interiority of humans, forgetting them in the multiplicity of their relationships; Kantian philosophy strove to find the universal, configuring the principles of reason. The subject ideal “of modern philosophy is a subject without belonging, without territory, universal, abstract, axiologically neutral, secular . . . who has no eyes to see precise and differentiated locations” (López Soria 2003: 4).3 However, if philosophy aspires to think about the contemporary world, if it wants to think about democracy and citizenship today and in the future, it has to start from the city, that is, it has to territorialize thought, to think based on the place in which I am, on the place in which we are and live; this requires a contaminated philosophy, which is mobilized by what happens. In the time we have been given to live, we are confronted with the need to rethink citizenship in light of today’s democratic deficits, exacerbated individualism, a declining sense of community in a society struggling to build itself politically, and in which the spaces for public deliberation are dwindling. A new spatial order has emerged, manifested essentially in the fragmentation of cities, a consequence of economic and social heterogeneities. There is an urgent need to rethink social and political philosophy undoubtedly rooted in theoretical knowledge, but also in practical knowledge, while actively fostering social participation. Philosophy is, thus, posed with the challenge of analyzing the impacts economic and social changes – generated by globalization – have had on the life of cities and, hence, on the construction and dissolution of public spaces. If philosophy of the city deals with considerations on the city and its transformations as objects of study, it also implies the need to build meaning from contemporary phenomena and events. Hence, philosophy comes forward as an agent of social development; that is, philosophical experience is taken into consideration when thinking about human affairs. Public space, the preeminent space of and in the city, is not only a physical space but a political space and common space established by humans, thanks to the public use of argumentative reason. Social development and human development depend on the construction of common life and the building of democracy. This means the need to increasingly reconcile a form of knowledge that does not separate knowledge (wisdom) from knowing how to live. Philosophical questions about human nature, about things and about the world are assured by our reality as beings in the world, which determines our way of thinking and acting, and which, in philosophical experience, does not separate intellectual activity from a realizing action. This requires special attention to a sensible order, to practical wisdom,4 to “know-how-to-say,” to “know-how-to-do,” to “know-how-to-live,” and to “know-how-to-act,” which are built around multiple positions that sustain respect for the diversity of political values, in order to combat monolithism. Articulating city and common space today raises the challenge of the primacy of social and political philosophy in philosophy of the city, in and with the city, supplanting the traditional opposition between life of citizenship and life of contemplation in a society marked by the decline of public space. Society is further afflicted by political and social instabilities that call for renewed methodological and philosophical perspectives that can give humans back to the city as citizens. As Sennett notes, “the city has served as a focus for active social life, for the conflict and play of interests, for the experience of human possibility, during most of the history of civilized man. But just that civilized possibility is today dormant” (2002: 340). These perspectives are required by new social practices and contemporary political phenomena, encouraging political philosophy to focus on an analysis of the city and a critique of power that can supplant the tendency of modern political philosophy to reduce the political to the 254

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institutional spheres and to the state. According to Foucault, philosophy plays a critical role in the practices of power that span social and governmental institutions. In his critique of power, Foucault takes a stand away from political philosophy as a discourse of truth, from a modern political theory, which is rooted in a legal-political model.5 The shift of political philosophy to the city in order to analyze phenomena where they take place, in urban space, implies not limiting reflection on democracy or justice to a legal and normative dimension, but also to consider the phenomena in the way they are presented. They can thus, more precisely, question the nature and order of domination and/or “normalization.” Shifting philosophy, particularly political philosophy, to the city also places the lens on the practice of the specific intellectual, who is locally oriented. Think specifically and act locally: For a long time, the “left” intellectual spoke and was acknowledged to have the right to speak as a master of truth and justice. . . . For some time now, the intellectual has no longer been called upon to play this role. A new mode of ‘connection between theory and practice’ has been established. Intellectuals have become accustomed to working not in the character of the “universal,” the “exemplary,” the “just-and-true for all,” but in specific sectors, at precise points where they are situated either by their professional conditions of work or their conditions of life (housing, the hospital, the asylum, the laboratory, the university, familial or sexual relations). Through this they have undoubtedly gained a much more concrete awareness of struggles. (Foucault 1977: 12) Philosophy of the city can also be understood as a practice of resistance: we are always free . . . there is always the possibility of changing . . . if there was no resistance there would be no power relations. Because it would simply be a matter of obedience. You have to use power relations to refer to the situation where you’re not doing what you want. So, resistance comes first, and resistance remains superior to the forces of the process; power relations are obliged to change with the resistance. So, I think that resistance is the main word, the key word, in this dynamic. (Foucault 1997: 167) It is above all in urban space that conflicts and social and political options stand out, but it is also here that the inadequacies of its organization are experienced when the unexpected occurs. Recall, for example, that for Marx and Engels, the city, which is the site of the production and reproduction of capital, “is the mother of the bourgeoisie” and “space/time where the exploitation of workers is evidenced” (Bastos 2012: 284).6 Capital is not only an object but it structures and hierarchizes social relations and labor; and the city will give rise to the possibility of a proletarian revolution. Weber seeks to understand the importance and role of the city in the development of capitalism by bringing together “a series of studies on Antiquity, on the Protestant ethic, on the spirit of capitalism, and on the economic morality of the great religions” (2012: 284).7 However, modern philosophy, of which we are all more or less heirs, has failed to think the city as it presents itself, as it gives of itself, since the city does not fit into a homogenizing rationality; the city is a world of fragmented rationality, a “set of interrelationships of spheres of culture, social subsystems and daily life. . . , rich spaces of urban life that develop in the interstices between the subsystems. . . , spaces of freedom . . . fighting against instrumental rationality” (López Soria 2003: 5).8 255

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The city is the prime stage for plurality and difference, as well as to social and political conflicts, containing a fruitful “social laboratory, to the extent that the events that occur within it serve to empirically and critically evaluate the political, economic and social theories on which it is organized” (Bastos 2012: 284).9 Thus, the endeavor of philosophy of the city necessarily implies a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach, since the problems that require thought, albeit not completely new, elicit renewed readings, with regard to their assumptions, purposes, and horizons, and have to be reflected upon in light of different economic, political, social, and cultural contexts. In recent years, there has been growing interest in issues which undoubtedly fall within the field of philosophy of the city. Some examples are: the right to the city; dwelling; cosmopolitanism; migrations; displaced persons; hospitality; population density; the impact of technologies on urban life, cyberspace, and cyberdemocracy; smart cities; the complexity of relations between public space and private space; real estate speculation, tourism and gentrification; pollution; the urban devices favoring more democratizing processes; urbanism and civility; transport and housing; citizenship, participation, civil society and social movements; local trade, agriculture and consumption; dynamics of territorialization/deterritorialization; exclusion and fear in the city; poverty and the new poor emerging from the fragmented and anonymous city; and utopian cities and dystopian cities. These and other issues/problems are part of a new generalized urban era that has definitely gone beyond the old city, amplifying our universal condition as citizens. It is no longer possible to avoid thinking of the human condition without taking into account the urban condition in its local, national, and global dimensions.10 This means urbanity has to be maintained. Urbanity, however, does not refer to a specific place, but to ways of thinking and making the city. As López Soria warns, it is a matter of thinking about the city – different ways of life, worldviews, the negotiation of one’s own identity and the establishment of a dialogical reasoning in human relations or cultural belonging – but also of (re)instating an urban life ethic. In other words, the “radicalization of the old idea of urbanity, now understood as the coexistence of diversities,” but which “does not refer to a divine order, as theology intended, nor to an order of being, as metaphysics and science claim, but to the historical fact of the coexistence of diversities that take place in the contemporary city” (2003: 12).11 The city can thus be the spatial form of philosophy, to be today the model on which philosophy needs to rebuild (Ibid.).

To make the city: to build the common (space) Many of the transformations in the contemporary world are associated with spatial phenomena:12 spatial configuration and concentration of production and wealth; mobility (spatial distribution of populations and the environment); networks of goods, information, and technology; relocations; migration flows; complexity between proximity and distance; widespread urbanization; commercialization of urban spaces; urban hierarchy and exclusion; and social movements – and these spatial phenomena appear to be articulated with global economic playing fields and with new geographies of power, manifested often in the lack of criticism, in the standardization of culture, or in the reduction of citizenship to consumer relations.The globalization of markets not only has an impact on economic space, but also on cultural, social, and political spaces. Economic imperatives cross all dimensions of human life, and it is increasingly difficult to articulate private interests and public interests, forgetting the common good as superior to the good of particular individuals and as a fundamental element of community cohesion. The city as urban space (the space most marked by the processes of industrialization and post-industrialization) becomes, itself, the agent and place of markets.The spaces of the city are appropriated as a commodity, in a process intensified by real estate speculation/tourism/gentrification.13 The city, and 256

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above all, contemporary public space, is deprived of its function as common space, since space, subject to financial dynamics, is shared and/or amalgamated between private and public uses, of which examples are some public-private partnerships vested in attracting investment and consumption.14 Public space, appropriated by capital or the capital-state, no longer fulfills its classical definition, as a democratic space, of citizenship and sociability. The consumption society of the neoliberal city has assigned everything (or almost everything) a (utilitarian) added value, thus transforming common goods into services or private resources (restricted to interest groups) or into goods regulated by the state, under the tutelage of the different powers that represent or negotiate with the state. But throughout the world, the common has gradually resurfaced, particularly within social movements, as resistance to neoliberalism, extending from the streets to virtual communities, intended to foster the autonomous and collaborative production of space and knowledge. The discussion on the common and common goods has, in recent years, achieved special relevance, linked particularly to the economic, social, and political crisis, as well as undoubtedly to market agitation in the context of the rise in privatization; the common as idea and concept acquires particular intensity as discourse and political principle, calling attention to new forms of more democratic social cooperation and as an alternative to the webs which the public and the private have interwoven, as well as to their dichotomies.15 The common good gains particular importance today thanks to the technological culture, whereby the commons emerges as a central concept. But common good and commons are not identical notions (Arnaíz 2011). The meaning of commons can refer to the notion of public as opposed to what is private, and it is translated as common, common production or space. Its use is related to the idea of ​​something that is done by all (groups and/or communities). The notion of commons also expresses features that are common. Yochai Benkler (2003) defines commons as a particular type of institutional arrangement that governs the use and disposition of resources. And its specificity (distinct from ownership) is that no one has the exclusive right to control the use and disposition of any particular resource. As Silveira notes: Benkler considers that commons can be seen from two parameters: first, their degree of openness and, secondly, the existence or not of regulation. Commons may be open to all, such as the oceans and air, or they may be restricted to a group or community. They can also be regulated or unregulated. For Benkler, the most successful regulated type of commons are the public thoroughfares. The existence of rules, norms, standards of conduct for drivers and pedestrians, and the need to license vehicles and drivers does not prevent the common and public use of streets and roads. Benkler’s theoretical reasoning on the commons does not come from any Marxist source. His thinking about the common and the collective is based on liberal ideology, that is, on the defense of freedom as the first principle of society. (2008: 51)16 However, according to Hardt and Negri, the common is more of a construction than a discovery that manifests itself in practices of interaction and sharing, in opposition to the public-private dichotomy. According to these thinkers, the common is, therefore, based: on the communication between singularities expressed in the collaborative processes of production. The authors want to overcome the concept of common that has links with the notions of community or public. . . . In addition to distancing themselves from the romantic community ideal, they simultaneously want to denounce with their 257

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logical construction the ideas of neoliberals, who defend the social dependence of market determinations. Hardt and Negri constructed a concept of common strictly linked to the idea of production accomplished by a multitude. (Silveira 2008: 55)17 And although the notion of multitude is not easy to define, it can be understood as formed by those who construct the common . . . completely plural, which precede individuation, and which are realized in its construction process. It is neither the people nor the masses. They appear to be nomads on a path that aggregates autonomous people. (Ibid.)18 According to Hardt and Negri: the multitude is not a social body for precisely this reason: that the multitude cannot be reduced to a unity and does not submit to the rule of one. The multitude cannot be sovereign. For this same reason, the democracy that Spinoza calls absolute cannot be considered a form of government in the traditional sense because it does not reduce the plurality of everyone to the unitary figure of sovereignty. From the strictly practical, functional point of view, the tradition tells us, multiplicities cannot make decisions for society and are thus not relevant for politics proper. (2004: 330) Social, cooperative, cognitive, and immaterial relations are biopolitical. The very concept of class, at the same time economic and political, is also biopolitical, and intersects with immaterial work (of services), characteristic of the passage from Fordism to post-Fordism, where consumption becomes the essential component of a new productive model. As Harvey explains: It rests on flexibility with respect to labour processes, labour markets, products, and patterns of consumption. It is characterized by the emergence of entirely new sectors of production, new ways of providing financial services, new markets, and, above all, greatly intensified rates of commercial, technological, and organizational innovation. It has entrained rapid shifts in the patterning of uneven development, both between sectors and between geographical regions, giving rise, for example, to a vast surge in so-called “service-sector” employment as well as to entirely new industrial ensembles in hitherto underdeveloped regions . . . it has also entailed a new round of what I shall call “time-space compression” . . . in the capitalist world – the time horizons of both private and public decision-making have shrunk, while satellite communication and declining transport costs have made it increasingly possible to spread those decisions immediately over an ever wider and variegated space. (1990: 147) Immaterial work is no longer only economic, and production implies the production of subjectivity; the very idea of communities of production is appropriated by capitalist production. The capitalist is the one who brings the workers together in productive cooperation, in the factory, for instance. The capitalist is a modern Lycurgus, sovereign over the 258

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private domain of the factory, but pressed always to go beyond the steady state and innovate. Schumpeter is the economist who best describes the economic cycle of innovation and links it to the form of political command. To sovereign exceptionalism corresponds economic innovation as the form of industrial government. A large number of workers are engaged in the material practices of production, but the capitalist is the one responsible for innovation. Just as only the one can decide in politics, we are told, only the one can innovate in economics. (Hardt & Negri 2004: 331) But where there is power, there is resistance. If capital exerts biopower on people’s lives, it is through biopower that individuals can also express resistance to the model of capitalist production. The common emerges, therefore, as an essential concept to understand the capitalist model of wealth production, but also as an impugner of capital. Contemporary capitalism focuses on all dimensions of life, and, above all, on the urban way of life. The city reflects the world market, and all its dimensions are surrounded by power. The contemporary city is not merely the multicultural city, as postmodernity has affirmed; in it, struggles for education, for identity, for health, for housing, for dwelling, for a better environment, and for difference, among others, are biopolitical struggles. For Hardt and Negri, the classes of contemporary society are not defined only by economic differences, but also by differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, geography, and so forth. The city is, in fact, a common good, in its material and/or immaterial dimension; both parks and streets are common goods, as are the cooperative capacity, instruments and energy needed to create institutions and to make the city. Goods are not mere artifacts but also cultural, social, and relational goods. The city, privileged space for all differences, as well as for its struggles, is a singular space for the development of a collaborative model that restores and preserves the vitality of spaces and common goods. To make the city can, then, be related to a mode of work, as a means to establish closeness and mutual help. For the city to become once again a space for genuine political organization requires a model of social participation, which implies an attitude of nonconformity and of resistance that surpasses the liberal economic rationale. Thus, greater openness to shared powers may be achieved, breaking with the hegemonic power. In other words, we can aspire to rebuilding an urban culture, through the renewal of political projects as experiences of the common, which should highlight dwelling as a demand for freedom.19 This means there is a need to understand the common as an attitude, as a position that supports the reappropriation of the public against privatizations. Recent social movements – for example, the Indignant, the Arab Spring(s), and Occupy – reveal how citizens are capable of rallying when there is a need to transform society and to rebuild urban spaces. In its technological dimension, these social movements, as experiences of the common, are also new possibilities as relevant spaces for the expression and life of citizenship. There are, certainly, many implications, but what matters here relates to the possibility that they involve the construction and reconstruction of reality, of the public sphere as support to the common good. Many of the communities related to social movement networks have common interests and goals which aim to improve the living conditions, by protesting, by complaining, by cooperating in solving problems, and/or through proposals for transformation and change; this implies that alongside the informative and communicative dimensions, we have the significant presences of the cognitive and reflexive dimensions necessary to consider the issues at stake, which will thus eventually lead to the interpretation of reality and the world. In looking for resolutions, in view of the imposed official positions, other discourses are drawn 259

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up, other practices and other senses are configured. It means, or can mean: to create, to think, to produce something distinct from the previous models; new ways of production, different concepts, and new ideas. The experience and defense of the commons not only have to do with an instrumental relationship with physical space (e.g., buildings, gardens, or other infrastructures), but with social practices linked to otherness and the possibility of human emancipation. To make the city thus converges with the right to the city, a right that is renewed by the experiences of the common. Henri Lefebvre, in his reflection on the ruling class and the state that reinforces the city as a center of power and political decision, concludes that this reinforcement ultimately fractures the city, since reinforcing the right to the city, as an analogous right to those stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is not only a right in the legal sense. According to Lefebvre, the right to the city opposes dehumanization, resulting from the economic exploitation of the land, fragmentation, social division, and exclusion.20 The right to the city, according to Lefebvre, is broadened to include the right to the oeuvre and to appropriation (distinct from property, but as a possibility to create and recreate the city), the city as oeuvre and usage (rather than as merely exchange value), with genuine participation and integration of difference. This means transforming industrial practice into urban practice: to dwell with the dimensions of individualization, socialization, and freedom. In this vein, Harvey argues: The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from that of what kind of social ties, relationship to nature, lifestyles, technologies and aesthetic values we desire. The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights. (2008: 23) To make the city – that is, to transform the city into common space – implies, therefore, common social practices and policies that undoubtedly involve changes in ways of thinking, producing, consuming, and living with regard to the capitalist model of continuous growth, development, and production.21 Other models have to be considered and devised to preserve material goods, but above all, to defend and promote the relational and immaterial goods of debate and freedom, the relational and immaterial goods of attention, concern, participation, shared knowledge, and creation of new spaces, as an alternative to excessive development and the model of progress we have inherited from modernity, exacerbated in a liquid modernity (Bauman 2000). Philosophy of the city may play, and surely does, a fundamental role in instigating, as López Soria says, an urban life ethic for the generalized urban era. There is a need to reconsider, in common, agriculture, energy, the economy, education, and democracy. Areas that concern the ecological balance, the production and transmission of knowledge, production and consumption, the democratization of health and education, social and labor relations, the redistribution of wealth, autonomy and diversity, and economic relocation – areas on which our survival and quality of life depend, on which our common future depends. To make the city implies, therefore, a clearly political task of construction of the common, that cannot forget the material and immaterial common goods, among which the city itself is a common good; the sharing or exclusion of common spaces; the relevance of social movements in more democratic forms of social cooperation; the reflective and practical potentialities of 260

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bringing the concept of common closer to and/or distant from commons (Benkler 2003); the lucidity of linking the concept of common good to the idea of ​​a production accomplished by the multitude (Hardt & Negri 2009); the design of common good in social movement networks and its social and political impact; the experience of the right to the city, to participation and integration of difference, transforming industrial practice into urban practice (Lefebvre 1996); and the right to the city as a common right, since the transformation of the city depends on a collective power (Harvey 2008).

Notes 1 This publication is funded with National Funds through the FCT/MCTES – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia/Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior (Science and Technology Foundation/ Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education), in the framework of the project of the Institute of Philosophy with the reference FIL/00502. This study results from research conducted within the Philosophy and Public Space Research Group, founded in 2007, in which the researchers have focused on the city as a concept and on the spatial repositioning of philosophy, through the critical analysis of the notion of public space framed by contemporary political and social representations and dynamics.This research is primarily based on the conceptual trajectory of the notion of public space in its correlation with the city, from the polis to its contemporary (global) version of the deterritorialization of political processes. 2 Social Forum of the Americas, Quito – July 2004; World Urban Forum, Barcelona – September 2004; and World Social Forum, Porto Alegre – January 2005. 3 Author’s translation. 4 It should be noted that phronesis is constituted on the basis of the experience of the other in the polis. According to Aristotle, practical wisdom is sustained in a distinct thought of demonstration, but which is regardless still rational. 5 See the chapter on “Foucault and Urban Philosophy.” 6 Author’s translation. 7 Author’s translation. 8 Author’s translation. 9 Author’s translation. 10 Studies on philosophy of the city are not limited to political philosophy, but cross, necessarily, the history of philosophy, philosophy of technology, ethics, and philosophical anthropology, for example, since reflection on human nature and, above all, on the human condition, on the new modes and figures of dwelling, require reflection on the city of men, the urban condition as object of study. Philosophy of the city also draws on other areas of knowledge, such as urbanism, architecture, ecology, geography, sociology, history, economics, political science, communication, and information sciences, which thus contribute, as mentioned previously, to a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach. 11 Author’s translation. 12 Others have already been mentioned previously in reference to some of the questions raised in philosophy of the city. 13 See the chapter on “Gentrification.” 14 A public-private partnership (PPP) implies a contract between the public sector and the private sector, in which the private company/institution provides a service for which the public sector pays. These contracts are almost always justified on the basis of increasing the quality of public services. It can be said that PPPs are a management model with an underlying political ideology that defends the presence of private sector activity in public services. 15 I do not intend to outline all the dimensions and currents of the common (because it is not my purpose, nor does it fall within the scope of this work), but rather to highlight the political relevance today of the rise of the common as part of the demand to make the city. However, other key contributions to the debate should be mentioned; see “Further Reading.” 16 Author’s translation. 17 Author’s translation. 18 Author’s translation.


Paula Cristina Pereira 19 Experience of the common good, intersected with the concept of biopolitical production, is a concept proposed by Hardt and Negri, which expresses collaboration and cooperation as essential to immaterial work. 20 See Lefebvre (1996 [1968]) as well as Loren King’s chapter in this volume, “Henri Lefebvre and the Right to the City.” 21 Degrowth is a radical critique of the Western model of production of growth, and is, therefore, the defense of diminishing levels of production and consumption (Serge Latouche’s proposal on degrowth). See “Further Reading.”

References Arnaíz, G.G. (2011) “Sociedad tecnológica y bíen común. A propósito de la cuestión de los commons,” in Argumentos de Razón Técnica, Revista española de Ciencia, Tecnología y Sociedad y Filosofía de la Tecnología, Universidad Sevilla, N° 14, pp. 13–36. Bastos, F.E. (2012) Arqueologia(s) do Poder – Espaço Público: Um Projecto Político, Antropológico e Poético, Porto: Afrontamento. Bauman, Z. (2000) Liquid Modernity, Cambridge: Polity. Benkler, Y. (2003) “The Political Economy of Commons,” The European Journal for the Informatics Professional 4 (3) (June), pp. 6–9. Foucault, M. (1977) “The Political Function of the Intellectual,” Radical Philosophy 17 (13), pp. 12–14. ——— (1997) “Sex, Power and the Politics of Identity,” in Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth, Vol. 1: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954–1984, New York: The New Press. Hardt, M. & Negri, A. (2004) Multitude:War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, New York: Penguin. ——— (2009) Commonwealth, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Harvey, D. (1990) The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultura Change, Cambridge, MA/Oxford: Blackwell. ——— (2008) “The Right to the City,” New Left Review 53 (Sept./Oct.), pp. 23–40. Lefebvre, H. (1996 [1968]) Writing on Cities, London: Blackwell. López Soria, J. (2003) “Para una Filosofía de la ciudad,” Urbes, Revista de ciudad, urbanismo y paisaje, Lima 1 (1) (April), pp. 13–28. Sennett, R. (2002) The Fall of Public Man, London: Penguin Books. Silveira, S.A. (2008) “O conceito de commons na cibercultura,” Revista Líbero, Programa de Pós-graduação da Faculdade Cásper Libero, Ano XI, n° 21, pp. 49–59. World Charter for the Right to the City (2004) . Accessed April 2019.

Further reading Other key contributions to the common’s debate include: D. Bollier, Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons (Gabriola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers, 2014). S. Foster & C. Laione “The City as a Commons,” Yale Law & Policy Review 34 (281) (2016), pp. 281–349. G. Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research 1 (3) (2009 [1968]), pp. 243–253. D. Harvey, “The Creation of the Urban Commons,” in D. Harvey, Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution (London/New York: Verso, 2012). Serge Latouche’s proposal on degrowth in S. Latouche, Le pari de la décroissance (Paris: Fayard, 2006). S. Latouche, “Sustainable Consumption in a De-Growth Perspective,” in E. Zaccai (ed.), Sustainable Consumption, Ecology and Fair Trade (London: Routledge, 2007). E. Ostrom, Governing the Commons:The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990). P. Pereira, Condição humana e condição urbana (Porto: Afrontamento, 2011). P. Pereira, Espaço público: Variações críticas sobre a urbanidade (Porto: Afrontamento, 2012).



The concept of public space has received increased academic attention over the past 20 years or so, prompted by recent events throughout the world – from Tahrir Square in Egypt, to Occupy Wall Street in the United States, to Gezi Park in Istanbul – that have made it clear that even in our digitally-saturated world, polities are ultimately grounded in physical space and democratic political action requires sites where people can assemble as citizens (Parkinson 2012). The renewed philosophical and theoretical attention to public space has emphasized its inherently political roots: public space is human-created (unlike “common space” such as rivers or forests) and demarcated from other spaces, often by law. Rather than existing outside of power relations or conceived of as extra-political, as the concept “the public sphere” often is, many contemporary thinkers have emphasized the power-laden roots of public space and the ways in which the “right” to such space is unequally distributed along racial, ethnic, class, and gender lines (Mitchell 2003). And although the concept of public space still implies distinction from other “space,” in particular “private” space, contemporary thinkers have emphasized the porousness and entanglement between the two, rejecting any overly simplistic opposition between public and private space. Originating with the Greek polis and agora, as well as the Roman forum, public space has been understood almost necessarily to connote urban space. Although the Greek demos fell far short of our standards of inclusivity, the seeds of contemporary understandings of public space as encompassing sites such as public squares, parks, and streets to enable the gathering of people from different classes and divergent cultural orientations, that provide the space for staging discussion and debate, is apparent in the Greek agora. In addition to the Greeks, and later the Romans, much contemporary theory on public space has been informed by 18thcentury thinkers such as Rousseau and Kant, whose conceptions were further developed by Jurgen Habermas, particularly in his The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Whereas some thinkers do not distinguish between public space, the public sphere and the public realm (Benhabib 1992), many recent accounts do so by emphasizing both the physicality of public space and the contested and conflictual nature of its creation and the activities that may occur within it. Contemporary accounts also highlight the fragility of public space, and in particular the ways in which the distinctive activities made possible by public space may be threatened by commercialism and consumption, turning public space into a site of spectacle rather than political participation (Kohn 2008) as well as the threats posed by surveillance (Low & Smith 263

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2006), chilling citizens’ willingness to engage politically in public space. Finally, the question of whether the online and virtual world should be included in any contemporary conception of public space has been much analyzed lately, as well (Sunstein 2017).

Brief history: the Greek agora and the Roman forum Scholars identify one of the earliest instances of what could be considered public space as the “agora” called in the second book of the Odyssey when Telemachus gathered an assembly of the Achaians to raise his concern with them of the numerous suitors attempting to woo his mother (Henaff & Strong 2001). As Marcel Henaff and Tracy Strong argue, while the agora in the Odyssey displays some key characteristics that this essay ultimately will identify with public space – it is human-created by Telemachus for the purpose of speaking to others on a matter he considers of general concern – it had yet to have a “fixed or institutionalized character” at this point in history (2001: 2). However, by the 6th century BCE, Athens – as well as other Greek cities – constructed permanent sites not only to accommodate a marketplace, but also a site dedicated to fostering the engagement of male members of society with each other, and especially with those who held political power. One can detect how features of the Greek agora have imbued the contemporary understanding of public space: the openness of the space allowed those who entered it to view others in the space, and they were viewed in turn, suggesting the importance of visibility and transparency in the contemporary understanding. The agora also provided a common meeting site for individuals from different perspectives to encounter and engage with each other, the outcome of which could not be foretold. Hannah Arendt highlights these characteristics in her Greek-inflected understanding of politics and “the public realm”; she contends that “the term ‘public’ signifies two closely interrelated but not altogether identical phenomena.” The first, “that everything that appears in public can be seen and heard by everybody and has the widest possible publicity;” and the second, she argues, is that the term is related “to the human artifact . . . as well as to affairs which go on among those who inhabit the man-made world together” (1958: 52). Arendt’s understanding of the public realm, and what went on within it, highlights the “publicity” of the “space of appearances” and the “simultaneous presence of innumerable perspectives.” Arendt’s account of politics also emphasizes the role of remembrance. In one of the few sentences in which she uses the term public space, she writes, “If the world is to contain a public space, it cannot be erected for one generation and planned for the living only; it must transcend the life-span of mortal men” (1958: 55). The Roman Republic replicated many of the elements of Greek public space, in which a main square was created that provided the physical space for social life, business, and politics. The Roman forum included formal buildings for the Senate to meet, as well as a building where representatives of the plebeians met and judicial proceedings were held. The forum also provided less formal spaces that allowed a market to thrive, as well as the unplanned gathering and engagement of inhabitants. Rooted in the Greeks and Romans, we can begin to observe the qualities a space must have in order for it to be considered “public” as opposed to falling under other categories of space; in particular, private or common. Arendt’s distinction between public and private (that distinction is discussed in greater detail ahead), rests on a series of related distinctions in which the public is associated with the polis, freedom, action, appearance, publicity, individuality, and the possibility of immortality through performing memorable deeds, whereas the private is associated with the household, necessity, and hence determinism, that which should be hidden, biological sameness and relatedly, the futility associated with being bound to one’s body (1958: 264

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22–78). The distinctions (as discussed ahead), are too sharply drawn in The Human Condition, and suggest a ranking of the public over the private, whereas elsewhere Arendt argues the two are mutually dependent (Pitkin 1998). In addition to these characteristics associated with the public, Arendt also refers to the public realm as “the common,” but she goes on in her text to refine her understanding in a manner that other scholars have clarified in drawing an important distinction between public space and common space. Common space, similar to public space, typically is neither privately owned nor privately controlled; the story told, for instance, in the “Tragedy of the Commons” is of natural resources being overused due to individually rational decisions leading to tragic consequences for all. However, whereas public space and common space both typically may be distinguished from private space and private ownership, it is public space where people may engage with each other politically, rather than use natural resources such as rivers or pastures or forests. And as the Greek agora and Roman forum make clear, public space is human-created rather than naturally provided. It needs to be made explicit, however, that in these historical examples, entry to these spaces is restricted to a very narrow social class recognized as free citizens, and the exclusion of women, slaves, and many other commoners contrasts with contemporary democratic ideals of inclusivity.

The Enlightenment, the bourgeois public sphere, and public spaces Just as the agora and the forum were the exemplary public spaces of the Greeks and Romans, cafes, salons, and coffeehouses may be said to be paradigmatic of the Enlightenment period. The marked differences between the agora and forum on the one hand, and cafes, salons, and coffeehouses on the other, make evident that public space takes different forms in different historical contexts. The public spaces of the 18th century in the West, as contrasted to the formal and governmentally created spaces of the Greek agora and Roman forum, were mainly informal, privately owned spaces that allowed private individuals to meet outside the home and workplace. Categorizing these spaces as public makes clear that ownership is not necessarily determinative of whether a space is public or not: privately owned spaces may be public, just as publicly owned spaces (such as prisons or military bases) may not be. As theorized by Jurgen Habermas, spaces such as cafes, salons, and coffeehouses, comprising the “bourgeois public sphere,” existed where private individuals came together to converse over, and debate matters of common concern (Habermas 1991). But for Habermas, what he calls the public sphere was less a physical space and more an analytical category rooted in the historical conditions of capitalism. As Habermas argues in this early work, as late capitalism eclipses earlier versions of capitalism, the public sphere has been transformed, degrading its possibilities for generating rational and critical public opinion as private individuals have been increasingly subject to mass consumption and entertainment (Calhoun 1992; Kohn 2003). This concern will be discussed in greater detail further ahead.

Definitional questions: distinguishing public space from the public realm and public sphere As noted previously, a number of related terms – the public realm or sphere – appear in contemporary philosophy and theory, and some thinkers use these terms interchangeably with the concept of public space. However, examining a few key questions will allow us to distinguish among these terms and begin to clarify the qualities a space must have in order for it to be considered “public.” As alluded to earlier, the first question to consider is whether the concept “public space” necessarily implies a physical location, the word “space” a synonym for place or 265

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site, or whether “space” is used metaphorically.This chapter, explained further ahead, argues that the concept of public space should be reserved for actual material locations such as streets, parks, and plazas, even though others have suggested the term should be understood more broadly and metaphorically, stretching to include the internet and social media. A second important question is whether particular sorts of activities or particular ways of being are supposed to occur within such spaces. Does public space entail anything more than a description of sites, either physical or metaphorical, or must certain sorts of public or political activities occur in these sites? That is, must “public life” occur in these spaces for them to be properly considered public? And if the activities that constitute “public life” do not occur within the spaces, then should we still refer to the spaces as public, or should we only reserve the term for sites in which these sorts of activities actually take place? Another way of posing these questions is whether the concept of public space is solely descriptive of certain sorts of sites, or normative, requiring that certain behavior must occur within the sites, or may the concept reside somewhere in between the descriptive and normative? Alastair Hannay, for one, argues that in our contemporary world that prioritizes privacy above all, public space has simply become an extension of private space and citizens remain private no matter where they are (Hannay 2005). If this is the case, then should we still call sites that once facilitated public life “public space,” or would we have to say that public space no longer exists in the contemporary world? Is it the physical site that determines the meaning of the term, or the activities and ways of being that may or may not occur within the sites? One may resolve these complexities by using the term “public space” to refer to physical spaces that may or may not meet specific normative content, and reserve terms such as “the public realm” or “the public sphere” to do the normative work. A number of contemporary thinkers, following Habermas, tend to use the term “the public sphere” to invoke a deliberative space that entails specific criteria. Public space, in contradistinction, may be thought of as not solely a normative concept, but a descriptive one that includes some normative content. That is, some spaces may be more or less “public,” while still falling under the category of public space. Hannay’s doubts as to the presence of public space in the contemporary world, as well as the broader questions posed earlier, speak to the nature of the relationship between public space and other sorts of space; in particular, in our contemporary world, private. When the term public space is used interchangeably with the public sphere or the public realm, what may be connoted is that the boundaries between public and private are well defined. As Hanna Pitkin writes, “A sphere . . . comprises a certain volume of continuous space; things are either inside it or outside. A realm comprises a certain contiguous territory subject to a single monarch; you are either inside the jurisdiction or outside” (1998: 244). Pitkin goes on to question whether words and concepts may be so clearly demarcated from each other, as well as whether it is best to think of semantic connections and contrasts in terms of boundaries and borders to be policed (Pitkin 1998). It is important in this exercise to examine the significance of linking the word “public” to “space,” and worth noting the ways in which the different nouns chosen to associate with “public” (space, sphere, or realm) each carry their own set of meanings and associations. A careful examination is warranted as to the differences among them. Linking the term sphere or realm with public connotes a sharper and more distinct boundary between public and private than does the term space; the fuzzier and more amorphous associations of space rightly suggests a porous relationship between public and private space, rather than rigid boundaries between the two. Following Pitkin, this chapter suggests it best to understand the concept of public space by thinking of it in relationship to other types of space – in the contemporary world, private space, or personal space, and in relationship to other sorts of space more prominent in other historical 266

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periods; in particular, common space (Henaff & Strong 2001). Pulling together a number of threads from earlier, then, this chapter argues that the concept of public space should be understood as in-between the descriptive and normative, and that spaces are neither intrinsically “public” nor “private,” but that the “publicness” of a space may be thought of as existing along a continuum, evaluated based on criteria associated with the concept whose meaning has accrued across different historical contexts by way of rhetorical and political contests (Deutsche 1996).

Recognizing public space: criterion Presently, when we think of “public space,” often we implicitly invoke its supposed opposite, the “private space” of an interior, as opposed to the busy exteriority of open, civic settings (Burton, Jackson, & Willsdon 2016: xv). But any simplistic distinction between the public and the private, or even among the public, private, and social, as Hannah Arendt attempts in The Human Condition, is misleading and obfuscating, suggesting distinct boundaries where they do not exist. Instead, it is best to apply various criteria to different spaces, which allows for an understanding of the relative “publicness” of particular “spaces” rather than a rigid either/or definition of particular sites (Kohn 2008). Hence, some spaces may appear public based on one criterion but private on another. This essay proposes the following criteria: •

Who appears in public spaces (accessibility and inclusiveness)? Spaces that are open to all allow everything to be “seen and heard by everybody,” and thus what is said and done in these spaces gains wide attention by the public. This criterion follows Arendt’s first sense of the public (1958: 50). Notice that the Greek agora and Roman forum fell far short of contemporary expectations of inclusiveness, and present-day thinkers have pointed out the ways in which homeless individuals, for instance, are often excluded from sites such as parks and town squares. What activities does one find in public spaces? Public spaces are ones in which diverse people come together, able to voice and display concerns about matters that have a general impact. Formal public spaces, such as the Roman forum, or today, government assemblies, provide sites in which officials engage in shared self-government and assume responsibility for matters that affect all. Less formal public spaces, such as streets, parks, and squares, allow heterogenous citizens to voice and display their concerns about these matters. These spaces may facilitate political expression and activity, including civil disobedience, in which the public is both actor and audience (Arendt 1969: 49–102; Allen 2004). This criterion makes clear the distinction between public spaces and common spaces; public spaces are humancreated sites conducive to political expression and action, whereas one may find people hunting or fishing or hiking in common spaces. Who owns these spaces? Government-owned places tend to carry a presumption that they are public spaces; formal sites such as city halls or capitol buildings, and less formal sites such as parks and town squares are exemplary in this regard. However, as noted earlier, ownership is not determinative, as not all government-owned places, such as military bases or prisons, allow wide accessibility, and would not be considered public spaces; whereas the cafes and coffeehouses of the Enlightenment, privately owned, would be public by virtue of the fact that they are open to a wide population with few restrictions (Pitkin 1991).

Pulling together, then, the criteria just listed, we can conceptualize the “publicness” of a space in the following manner: They are accessible sites with few if any restrictions on entry where diverse members of the polity may assemble to discuss, debate, and possibly make decisions 267

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over matters that effect their lives together. These sites are human-created – here, the distinction between common space (nature) and public is important. And, as Hannah Arendt stressed, although these sites are human-created and embody the desire to build something enduring, they are not intended to be univocal but rather provide a physical space to allow people to be exposed to the diversity of those with whom they share the political world, as well as the diversity of their views. When these sites are not inclusive – either in terms of who may enter and engage politically, or in terms of the issues that may be raised therein – where important matters that have widespread impact are not brought before the people and weighty decisions are decided in secret, or the public is not aware or informed of significant matters that have widespread impact, then the spaces must be judged to be less than “public.” The criterion of ownership does not imply that these sites need be government owned, or even government sanctioned. Government-owned spaces are not necessarily public – as noted previously, military installations and prisons typically are not considered public, and other government-sanctioned spaces may be designed to remind the populace of the overwhelming power of the state and to intimidate the populace or inspire within them fear (one can think of Kim Il-sung Square, for instance, where huge military parades typically occur). But such sites, intended by the state to instill fear rather than discussion and debate, can become public in extraordinary historical moments when and if the citizenry claim them as their own (here, one can think of Tiananmen Square and the protests of 1989 or the Gezi Park protests of 2013, for instance).

Public space and democracy Spaces that provide broad accessibility, publicly or privately owned, that allow citizens to be exposed to the diversity of people and views with whom they share the political world, play a special role within democratic theory. For some theorists (especially those who follow Kant, Rousseau, Dewey, or Habermas), the opportunity for speakers to voice their concerns about matters that have a broad impact, and for listeners to be exposed to a wide variety of opinions, nurtures the public use of reason, a central virtue of democracy (Dewey 2012). A contention is this experience may foster ways of thinking essential to democratic decision-making, and just as importantly, that “private” or “selfish” ways of thinking may be discouraged. For other democratic theorists, the sheer physical experience of formerly private people encountering each other and assembling together may allow for the development, generation, and performance of a public, a necessary element for collective self-rule. Democratic thinkers tend to argue that public spaces, then, have the potential to be transformative – but only the potential, rather than a guarantee. The hope held out is that through the experience of encountering and engaging with others, one is reminded of their shared fate as well as their potential collective power and that formerly passive individuals may become active citizens. But spaces of this sort, even if intended to encourage political action of this sort, do not determine it.

Future directions and concerns Commercialism and spectacle:We should be careful not to overly romanticize a pristine public space completely unpolluted by private desires. As Habermas makes clear in his analysis of the historical roots of what he calls the bourgeois public sphere, it was the relation between the private and the public that allowed the public sphere to function, rather than the absence of the private. As Habermas argued, an essential need for citizens to engage with each other is simply space and time to think. As Margaret Kohn notes, for Habermas, “rational-critical debate in the public 268

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realm became possible when individuals could develop distinctive views in private” (Kohn 2008: 478). Contemporary thinkers have raised concerns, however, about the consequences of the unrelenting encroachment of commercial forces, arguing that their reach is qualitatively different than that of prior historical periods. Margaret Kohn, for instance, writes when “the private sphere’s critical functions become colonized by the mass media and other forms of mass consumption,” it is no longer able to create individuals capable of exercising judgment on public matters. Following Habermas, she argues that: the public realm has become dominated by the mass media and other forms of mass consumption. . . . Citizens are related to each other not through dialogue or debate but rather indirectly as co-consumers of the same information and entertainment, viewers of the same spectacle. (2008: 479) Echoing concerns raised by Alastair Hannay, the fear here is that even if physical spaces may allow for individuals to interact with each other, the media and commercial forces that shape us may deprive us of the distinctive viewpoints and judgment required for such spaces to function in a truly public manner. The online world: Some contemporary thinkers herald the possibilities of online communication serving as a worldwide electronic agora, but others are less sanguine and have pointed out important differences between physical public space and the world of the internet and social media. Cass Sunstein is a thoughtful critic here – in his understanding of the legal concept of the public forum (streets and parks), he emphasizes that such physical sites provide both speakers and listeners with a bundle of goods, and most pertinent here, is that listeners are provided with opportunities to be exposed to a wide variety of people and views that were neither planned nor may not even be desired. Yet, these unchosen exposures, especially when shared with others, are intrinsic to his conception of democracy (derived from J.S. Mill, John Dewey, and Louis Brandeis, among others) in which citizens are challenged by new ideas, exposed to the strangers with whom they share their political world, and have shared experiences. The online world, by contrast, tends to be filtered, fragmented, and – for the most part – experienced on one’s own, the very opposite of Sunstein’s understanding of democratic public space (2017). Others, as well, have worried that the online world is yet another threat to civil discourse among equals, noting the ways in which communication becomes too easily a set of echo chambers in which individuals are driven to extremism, rather than greater understanding of the views of others, and the easy anonymity online degrades civility. Herbert Dreyfus, for instance, argues that the unbounded electronic agora is “precisely the opposite of the public sphere,” because presenting views online is nothing like participation in a debate. He writes, “As an extension to the deracinated public sphere, the electronic agora is a grave danger to real political community” (Hannay 2005: 128). Security concerns and surveillance: A final worry, much voiced in the aftermath of 9/11 in the United States, as well as terror acts throughout Europe, stems from the dramatic increase in surveillance (a concern regarding online activity, as well) of public spaces. Studies of the number of closed-circuit television cameras in London vary, but some estimates are as high as roughly 500,000 such cameras in 2017, or somewhere between one for every 14 to every 32 people in the city. One of the primary qualities associated with public space is visibility, related to transparency, often considered a key democratic ideal. Individuals engaging in public space should be visible to others, and they should be able to see with whom they are engaging; this quality is apparent in Arendt’s concept of the space of appearances in which individuals speak and listen to 269

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others. But this quality has been threatened in a number of ways. An earlier concern regarding commercialism was that when individuals enter public spaces to watch programmed spectacles rather than to engage with each other, they are shaped to be passive objects rather than active subjects. Under surveillance, when individuals are watched by government and private cameras, the videos possibly made accessible to government entities, then the spontaneity and freedom of the “space of appearances” may become instead an Orwellian eye.Visibility and transparency, then, are not unambiguous qualities of democratic public space in the contemporary world – much depends on the nature of the relationship between and among watchers and watched.

References Allen, D. (2004) Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Arendt, H. (1958) The Human Condition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ——— (1969) “Civil Disobedience,” in Crises of the Republic, San Diego/New York/London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, pp. 49–102. Benhabib, S. (1992) “Models of Public Space: Hannah Arendt, the Liberal Tradition, and Jurgen Habermas,” in C. Calhoun (ed.), Habermas and the Public Sphere, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 73–98. Burton, J., Jackson, S., & Willsdon, D. (eds.) (2016) Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Calhoun, C. (ed.) (1992) Habermas and the Public Sphere, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Deutsche, R. (1996) “Agoraphobia,” in Evictions: Art and Spatial Politics, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp. 269–327. Dewey, J. (2012) The Public and Its Problems, M.L. Rogers (ed.), University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. Habermas, J. (1991) The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Hannay, A. (2005) On the Public, London/New York: Routledge. Henaff, M. & Strong, T. (eds.) (2001) Public Space and Democracy, Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press. Kohn, M. (2003) Radical Space: Building the House of the People, Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press. ——— (2008) “Homo Spectator: Public Space in the Age of the Spectacle,” Philosophy & Social Criticism 34, pp. 467–468. Low, S. & Smith, N. (eds.) (2006) The Politics of Public Space, New York & London: Routledge. Mitchell, D. (2003) The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space, New York & London: The Guilford Press. Parkinson, J. (2012) Democracy and Public Space: The Physical Sites of Democratic Performance, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. Pitkin, H. (1991) “Justice: On Relating Private and Public,” Political Theory 9 (3), pp. 327–352. ——— (1998) The Attack of the Blob: Hannah Arendt’s Concept of the Social, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Sunstein, C. (2017) Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media, Princeton & Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Further reading D. Allen, Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004) is a beautifully written book arguing for a vision of democratic citizenship based on Aristotle’s notion of political friendship. H. Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958) is the classic work in which Arendt offers her Greek-inspired view of the public and private realm, labor, work, action, and the state of the modern world. A. Hannay, On the Public (London and New York: Routledge, 2005) is a brief and insightful account of the many meanings of the public and its related terms. J. Parkinson, Democracy and Public Space: The Physical Sites of Democratic Performance (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012) is a carefully-argued book examining both formal and informal democratic public spaces.



Planning, power, and cities Our cities today, whether “progressive” or not, have not been built by design. It is important that readers of pieces like this chapter not believe that the path to a progressive city is laid out by people such as ourselves, using as instruments only their own knowledge, their ideals, and their technical skills. Cities, with rare exceptions, have historically not been built by any individuals or groups setting out to design or implement a grand plan of development, an architectural design, or a pre-conceived notion of what a city should be like. Rather, historically, Farmer Brown’s cow, as it wandered looking for available pasture, established key transportation routes centuries ago; the cows moved along their path. Streets were gradually paved, and patterns were created that still survive. Even a city like New York City, with its famous grid pattern in most of Manhattan, was not planned as a whole to look one way or another, but rather to satisfy the desire of merchants to get from one side of the island to the other, and the desire of land owners and speculators to facilitate buying and selling on individual parcels clearly legally defined, in order to make money for themselves. Only a small handful of people are engaged full time in the occupation of planning what a city should look like, making rules that will govern its growth and development and the values that the city will incorporate, which run from efficiency to wealth creation, aesthetic pleasure, preservation of history, military power, and environmental quality. The Department of City Planning in New York City has a grossly inadequate work force if the goal is planning the city as a whole. Business people, led by privately motivated parties pursing their own interests – sometimes at a large geographic scale – and citizens working together, sometimes idealistically, sometimes out of necessity, are the real players doing what city planning is actually done, often negotiating with each other and then getting their compromises ratified by the city government. The logic Adam Smith described and the desire to make money in the private market through the buying and selling of – and control over – urban space, are far more the determinants of city structure than are the desires of planners, as professionals or as citizens. But professionals, researchers, and activists do play a role in what is actually done in the layout of cities, not so much in influencing the underlying powerful market, social, and political forces at play, but – although at the margins – in quite significant ways that affect the everyday lives of the city’s residents, and particularly in influencing the governmental policies that are invariably 271

Peter Marcuse

needed to result in the implementation of what those forces promote. Planners, professionals, and activists should have no illusions about the role their independent thoughts and desires play, but neither should they accept the fact that market-related forces will inevitably mold a city to their desires; whether – and how far – profit-maximizing market forces or human development concerns hold sway is a matter of contention. It is not always clear in advance whether outcomes will be conservative mainstream ones – surrendering to the result which the establishment, those in power, want and the mainstream considers “Good” Planning – or if they will move forward to pursue alternative “Progressive” measures. It depends on the outcomes of conflicts about ideologies and values, material interests, social values and social organizations, and, ultimately, on the distribution of power in the society as a whole. Planners and urban activists can play an important role in the struggles around these matters. The discussion that follows is devoted to clarifying the issues in those struggles and affecting their outcomes. It will look at the ideological and technical aspects of some concrete plans and proposals, and will briefly call attention to the economic, social, and political forces that that have the power to determine their outcomes.

Key terms This section provides explanation of key terms: “mainstream,” “bad,” “good,” and “progressive.” It examines what is actually being done and planned in the development of cities at the given time. It implies value judgments, but is intended at least initially to provide simply a description of the reality. Thus: Mainstream Planning may be bad or good, conservative or progressive, depending on the time and circumstances, and will vary even within longer time periods, and certainly among different places. Conventional planning, likewise differing in time and place, might be a synonym. It might include Bad Planning or planning held to be good at that time and place and, less likely, Progressive Planning. It will inevitably reflect the current power, political, social, and economic relationships. Bad Planning, rarely used here, is planning that holds itself out to be mainstream, but is ineffective in achieving its purposes. It may be considered bad by the eventual judgment of history (slave plantations, fascist enclaves, Jewish ghettos, deliberate racial segregation, causing environmental harm, etc.). It may be mainstream when undertaken (fascist Germany), or held to be good in the mainstream but later criticized by it (urban redevelopment with slum clearance, auto use facilitation, extensive highway construction, residential relocation, top-down authoritative planning decisions; à la Robert Moses in New York City, for instance). Good Planning, as used here, is simply what is considered as good and/or desirable, innovative planning in professional, governmental, and most establishment urban-focused circles today. The New York Times’ treatment of planning issues is used as representative of that view. It ultimately, if not always initially, has the support of the key established holders of decision-making power over its adoption. Its definition will vary over time and place.The phrase “Good Planners” is not intended to be a value judgment of the substantive quality of the work but rather its technical quality – does it efficiently accomplish what it states it wishes to accomplish? It will cover largely mainstream planners that do what is here narrowly called “Good Planning.” Many “Good Planners” are indeed often good planners who simply do “Good Planning” as part of their work, without larger aspirations or guiding principles (e.g., economic growth, social justice, and environmental conservation). 272

From Good to Progressive Planning

Progressive Planning, as used here, gives priority concern to issues of social justice. It is typically associated with concepts such as progressive redistribution, equality, rights to housing, spatial justice, pu