African Centre for Cities (ACC) invites you to join us for an in-person seminar with Dr James Duminy, ACC Honorary Research Associate, and Lecturer at the School of Geographical Sciences, and Bristol Poverty Institute, at the University of Bristol. The seminar entitled Thinking problematically about the city: Planning as a site of innovation, takes place on Friday, 12 August at 12:00-13:15.
Urban innovation cannot be limited to the harnessing of technologies sourced from the private sector, civil society engagements, and the entrepreneurial spirit of informality within models of governance that position the city as a laboratorial site of experimentation. What government does, and what built environment professions do, in and through governance-related activities, including the establishment of durable procedures of government, must be incorporated into the purview of urban innovation. Yet, typically the place and role of the state within urban governance remains caught within a limiting critique of neoliberalism or a depiction of the state as incorrigible, at best, and oppressive, at worst. Planning, for its part, is presented in some critical accounts as a monolithic domain of state stasis; a procedural system for the reproduction of pre-existing and future inequalities. However, an alternative view of city transformation would place urban planning as a potential driver of governance innovation. Here we draw upon recent experiences of planning reform in South Africa, focusing on the development and application of a process known as the Built Environment Performance Plan (BEPP), to consider the implications of seeing the state as a site of problematization, and planning as a site of innovation in urban governance. Such a perspective draws attention to the temporalities of response, rupture, uneven institutionalization, and setback that attend acts and processes of innovation unfolding within the state. It highlights the demand for successful innovations to navigate cross-sectoral and multi-scalar imperatives, and draws attention to the enduring need to establish meaningful links between the fiscus and other modes and instruments of governance that can sustain or transform urban regimes.
WHEN | Friday, 12 August 2022
TIME | 12:00-13:15pm
VENUE | Studio 3, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Building, Upper Campus, UCT