P60 Whose right to the city?

At a time when people are reclaiming access to public spaces (the Occupy Movement, for example), we see that the presence of all citizens in public spaces is not taken for granted. Various authors have focused on the emergent punitive regulation of public spaces that affects the homeless (Smith, 1996; Mitchell, 1997), street vendors (Crossa, 2009), prostitutes (Hubbard, 2004) and youth (Malone, 2002). Moreover, the idea of being a citizen has made way for that of being a consumer, as pointed out by Santos (1987). In order to explain and contest the disputed place of low-income people and minorities in public spaces, Lefebvre’s concept “right to the city” (1968) has been used, abused, and acquired different meanings in the literature and in everyday discussions (Souza, 2010). It has become a slogan for politicians and is considered as a positive virtue in urbanism. But when residents of a neighbourhood reclaim their “right to the city”, it can be in conflict with the right of the homeless to stay in those public spaces. Making the city more democratic and equal for everyone can result in the exclusion of different groups. The implementation of the “right to the city” can lead to conflicts, and reveals that, depending on the groups, there are different visions of what is the “right to the city”.

We welcome submissions that apply or discuss the validity of the concept of the right to the city and we particularly encourage papers on, yet not limited to, the following themes:

  • Social movements and protests;
  • Privatization and private uses of public spaces (including privatization of security);
  • The use of public spaces by youth;
  • Homelessness and other social and ethnic minorities;
  • Mobility (for example the conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and drivers);
  • Informal uses of public spaces (street vendors, artists, musicians, graffiti makers);
  • Prostitution and sex-workers;
  • Gender and conflicts in public space;
  • Segregation and gentrification;
  • Policing and surveillance of public spaces;
  • Consumerism and the right to the city;

Crossa, Veronica. 2009. « Resisting the entrepreneurial city: Street vendor's struggle in Mexico city's historic center », International journal of urban and regional research, Vol 33, No 1, pp. 43-63
Hubbard, Phil. 2004. « Cleansing the Metropolis: Sex Work and the Politics of Zero Tolerance », Urban Studies, Vol 41, No 9.
Lefebvre, Henri. 1968. Le Droit à la ville, Paris: Anthropos.
Malone, Karen, « Street life: youth, culture and competing uses of public space », Environment and urbanization, Vol 14, No 2, 2002, pp. 157-168.
Mitchell, Don. 1997. «The Annihilation of Space by Law: The Roots and implications of Anti-homeless laws in the United States », Antipode vol 29, no 3, p. 303-335.
Santos, M. 1987. O Espaço do Cidadão. São Paulo: Nobel.
Smith, Neil. 1996. The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City, Routledge.
Souza, Marcelo Lopes de. 2010. Which right to which city? In defence of political-strategic clarity. Interface: a journal for and about social movements, 2 (1): 315 – 333

Whose right to the city? (1)
Room F
Monday, 31 August 2015
Whose right to the city? (2)
Room F
Monday, 31 August 2015
Whose right to the city? (4)
Room F
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
Lucas De Melo Melgaço
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
lucas.melgaco [at]
Antonin Margier
University of Lille 1
antoninm [at]
Miklós Dürr
Eötvös Loránd University
m.j.durr [at]
Gergő Kollár
Blanka Kruzslicz
Eötvös Loránd University
kruzslicz.blanka [at]

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