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Alistair Cole and Renaud Payre

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Cities as Political Objects

Historical Evolution, Analytical Categorisations and Institutional Challenges of Metropolitanisation

Edited by Alistair Cole and Renaud Payre

Focusing on the city’s role as the nexus for new forms of relationships between politics, economics and society, this fascinating book views the city as a political phenomena. Its chapters unravel the city’s plural histories, contested political, legal and administrative boundaries, and its policy-making capacity in the context of multi-level and market pressures.
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Hubert Heinelt and Karsten Zimmermann

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Jacques Caillosse

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Jennifer Kitson and Jonathan Bratt

Humans are at the forefront of twenty-first-century urban discourse, from pedestrian-oriented development to anthropogenic-caused climate change, yet few urban practitioners are meaningfully investigating the city through bodily, sensory experience. In this chapter we outline a framework, under the banner of “sensual urbanism,” for twinning aesthetic or sensory-based scholarship with urban theory and praxis. Our sensory approach to urban practices springs from the assertion that the sensing body perceives with other bodies, objects, and environs. This aesthetic stance stems from recognition of the world as material, affective, and dynamic, and from recognition of the human as one type of body among others participating in that world at the level of sensate experience. Importantly, these aesthetic concepts shape ethical and practical imperatives toward sustainable urban communities and environments. Quotidian methodologies serve as guide in exploring the nuanced social and psychological effects of city environs through methods of careful observation and documentation of the infra-ordinary, techniques of art and enchantment to make the ordinary strange, and experiential modes of walking and mapping the city. These aesthetic modes of urban experimentation are increasingly being reoriented through the senses in generative ways. A survey of contemporary urban sensory practices reveals sensible solutions to the making of just, happy, and sustainable cities.

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Lisa Benton-Short, Melissa Keeley and Jennifer Rowland

In recent years, US cities have begun to develop sustainability plans. The approach, content, and foci of these plans vary dramatically, and no template or articulated best practices exist for the creation of these plans. Green spaces such as parks, trees, and urban gardens can play a central role in sustainable planning exercises and the inclusion and use of urban green space in municipal planning is one way for municipalities to address multiple environmental, economic, and social sustainability issues simultaneously. We have utilized content analysis and coding of 20 municipal sustainability plans to gain insight into how US cities conceptualize urban green space. The chapter will examine the ways in which green space is organized in sustainability plans, the language used to discuss green space, how cities value the benefits that green spaces provide, and how cities integrate issues of social equity in green space planning. We conclude that many plans value green space for primarily environmental benefits, while issues of economic and social benefits and the equity with which they are distributed are less articulated. The chapter will also highlight selected best practices as a way to guide more effective green space planning. Keywords: best practices in planning, green space, parks, street trees, sustainability plans, urban gardens