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The Urban Politics of Mega-Events

Grand Promises Meet Local Resistance

John Lauermann

This article reviews recent scholarship on the urban politics of mega-events. Mega-events have long been promoted as drivers of urban development, based on their potential to generate beneficial legacies for host cities. Yet the mega-event industry is increasingly struggling to find cities willing to host. Political arguments that promote mega-events to host cities include narratives about mega-event legacy—the potential for events to generate long-term benefits—and mega-event leveraging—the idea that cities can strategically link event planning to other policy agendas. In contrast, the apparent decline in interest among potential host cities stems from two political shifts: skepticism toward the promises made by boosters, and the emergence of new kinds of protest movements. The article analyzes an example of largely successful opposition to mega-events, and evaluates parallels between the politics of mega-events and those of other urban megaprojects.

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Reclaiming the streets

Black urban insurgency and antisocial security in twenty-first-century Philadelphia

Jeff Maskovsky

This article focuses on the emergence of a new pattern of black urban insurgency emerging in major US metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia. I locate this pattern in the context of a new securitization regime that I call “antisocial security.” This regime works by establishing a decentered system of high-tech forms of surveillance and monitory techniques. I highlight the dialectic between the extension of antisocial security apparatuses and techniques into new political and social domains on the one hand and the adoption of these same techniques by those contesting racialized exclusions from urban public space on the other. I end the article with a discussion of how we might adapt the commons concept to consider the centrality of race and racism to this new securitization regime.

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pARTiCI[TY]pate?!

Negotiating the City at the Intersection of Art, Research and Urban Politics

Judith Laister and Anna Lipphardt

Over the past decades, ‘participation’ has evolved as a key concept in a multitude of practice fields and discursive arenas, ranging from diverse political and economic contexts, through academic research, education and social work, urban planning and design, to arts institutions and artistic projects. While participation originally is a political concept and practice, it has long set out as a ‘travelling concept’ (Bal 2002). This special issue focuses on its travels between three fields of practice: the city, the arts and qualitative empirical research. Each of these practice fields over the past decades has yielded distinct understandings, objectives and methods in respect to participations, yet they also increasingly intersect, overlap and fuse with each other within specific practice contexts. What is more, many of the individual actors engaging in these initiatives on behalf of the city – from temporary projects to long-term collaborations – are not situated in one practice field only. Along with Jana König and Elisabeth Scheffel we understand them as ‘double agents’ (König and Scheffel 2013: 272–3) or even ‘multiple agents’, with simultaneous entanglements and commitments in more than one practice field.

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Conflicting Visions of Urban Regeneration in a New Political and Economic Order

The Example of the Former Bicycle Factory ROG in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Kornelia Ehrlich

This article analyses the phenomenon of urban regeneration and development in the context of globalisation and processes of Europeanisation with a focus on culture and creativity. It asks how the process of negotiating EU-rope is being reflected in places situated at the 'edge' of the European Union and which actors are involved in these processes of negotiating EU-rope, its culture, values and urban regeneration. The author presents an empirical example from Ljubljana, Slovenia. The focus lies on negotiating the usage and development of an abandoned industrial site. Here, different ideas of negotiating and developing the city in the context of globalisation and Europeanisation come to the fore: top-down approaches that follow the image of a creative city as well as bottom-up initiatives that develop anti-global and anti-capitalistic criticism with the help of social-spatial and cultural practices.

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This special focus issue, guest edited by Jutta Helm, features articles

on German cities and urban politics. We are delighted to furnish

Helm and her colleagues with a forum to publish their research on a

crucial area of modern German politics and society. Additionally, we

invited Russell Dalton, a member of our editorial board and among

the most distinguished experts on German elections, to offer his

keen insights on Germany’s landmark parliamentary election in September

1998. We hope you enjoy the issue.