Streetscapes are part of the taken-for-granted spaces of everyday urban life, yet they are also contested arenas in which struggles over identity, memory, and place shape the social production of urban space. This book examines the role that street naming has played in the political life of urban streetscapes in both historical and contemporary cities. The renaming of streets and remaking of urban commemorative landscapes have long been key strategies that different political regimes have employed to legitimize spatial assertions of sovereign authority, ideological hegemony, and symbolic power. Over the past few decades, a rich body of critical scholarship has explored the politics of urban toponymy, and the present collection brings together the works of geographers, anthropologists, historians, linguists, planners, and political scientists to examine the power of street naming as an urban place-making practice. Covering a wide range of case studies from cities in Europe, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia, the contributions to this volume illustrate how the naming of streets has been instrumental to the reshaping of urban spatial imaginaries and the cultural politics of place.

chapter 2|16 pages

Reading street names politically

A second reading

chapter 4|18 pages

Revisiting East Berlin and Haifa

A comparative perspective on renaming the past

chapter 5|24 pages

“Armed with an encyclopedia and an axe”

The socialist and post-socialist street toponymy of East Berlin revisited through Gramsci

chapter 6|16 pages

Building a new city through a new discourse

Street naming revolutions in Budapest

chapter 8|18 pages

Toponymic changes as temporal boundary-making

Street renaming in Leningrad/St. Petersburg

chapter 10|17 pages

Nationalizing the streetscape

The case of street renaming in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

chapter 11|17 pages

The politics of toponymic continuity

The limits of change and the ongoing lives of street names

chapter 12|16 pages

Toponymic complexities in Sub-Saharan African cities

Informative and symbolic aspects from past to present

chapter 13|22 pages

Coloring “Rainbow” streets

The struggle for toponymic multiracialism in urban post-apartheid South Africa

chapter 15|15 pages

Street naming and the politics of belonging

Spatial injustices in the toponymic commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr.

chapter 16|16 pages

From number to name

Symbolic capital, places of memory, and the politics of street renaming in New York City

chapter 17|19 pages

Toponymic checksum or flotsam?

Recalculating Dubai's grid with Makani, “the smartest map in the world”