chapter  4
16 Pages

Opposing the postpolitical Swedish urban discourse

ByMoa Tunström, Karin Bradley

The city and the urban are today both significant and contested concepts and phenomena. Urban development is a subject of political debate. The city becomes a good for sale, marketed and branded, and cities are dissolving spatially through urban sprawl. European cities also are becoming increasingly multicultural and diverse in terms of lifestyle and socioeconomic conditions. Many European metropolises are seeing recurrent social uprisings – some being explicit in their actions for a “right to the city”, signalling frustration and disbelief in the capacity to find affordable homes, jobs and space in the city. Geographers Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift (2002) argue that it is impossible to agree on what the city or the urban is. It is a site, a historical monument, a settlement, a shopping centre and a home at the same time. Amin et al. (2000, pp. vi-vii) further emphasize the hybrid and agonistic nature of cities:

There is simply no point in imagining the future of cities in terms of a harmonious, consensual, ‘solution’ – a ‘state’ which can be arrived at. What we need are mechanisms for ensuring the democratic control and management of what will necessarily, by the very nature of cities, be a constantly contested, constantly changing, open future.