Handbook of Urban Geography
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Handbook of Urban Geography

Edited by Tim Schwanen and Ronald van Kempen

This collection brings together the latest thinking in urban geography. It provides a comprehensive overview of topical issues and draws on experiences from across the world. Chapters have been prepared by leading researchers in the field and cover themes as diverse as urban economies, inequalities and diversity, conflicts and politics, ecology and sustainability, and information technologies. The Handbook offers a valuable resource for students and researchers interested in cities and the urban in geography and across the wider social sciences.
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Chapter 27: Contextualizing neighbourhood activism: spatial solidarity in the city

Katherine B. Hankins and Deborah G. Martin


In much Global North urban geography, neighbourhood activism refers to propinquity-based solidarity among residents who share a district or part of a city. Solidarities are often formed through political demands of local government, including objections to nuisances or changes in land use, dubbed ‘NIMBY’ for ‘not in my back yard’. Neighbourhood activism may involve demands to local government for services in support of everyday life, e.g. roads, schools, water and utilities – what Castells termed collective consumption. Yet some neighbourhood activism is practiced and expressed through social relationships among neighbours, motivated by values and faith traditions, which emphasize social community. Investigation of contemporary neighbourhood activism highlights its multi-dimensional nature and diverse motivations. Outside of Western countries, the concept of neighbourhood as a place identity and therefore a basis for solidarity can be less resonant, which suggests the significance of political and cultural contexts in shaping the ontological basis of neighbourhood activism.

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