Changing cities
Changing cities

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Changing cities

4.3 Living on the knife-edge

Described image
Figure 9 Urban development is a process of ongoing construction and reconstruction

In Harvey’s view of urbanisation, the ‘knife-edge’ negotiation between investment and devaluation leads to the generation of a whole host of crises:

  • environmentally unsustainable patterns of transportation, provisioning and energy use
  • financial collapse and insecurity
  • underinvestment in public goods of affordable housing, clean water and sanitation or public health.

To underscore the key point, in Harvey’s causal narrative, cities are not just the locations in which these crises and challenges are felt; they are the incubators in which the conditions of these crises and challenges are bred and disseminated. In this view, global problems are not externally produced, and then ‘impact’ on places. They are internally generated by place-specific processes and the modes of relationship between places through which causes and consequences resonate across space and time.

Harvey’s causal narrative of urbanisation makes a particularly strong case for two related dimensions of the agency of urbanisation processes: as the generative force in the production of a range of pressing contemporary issues; and also for thinking of place-based, urbanised movements and organisations as having special responsibility and potential for creatively addressing these challenges.

D837_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371