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Title: The politics of urban expertise
Author: Robin, Enora
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 6507
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This doctoral research investigates the politics of urban expertise in the context of urban redevelopment schemes in Cape Town and London. Paying attention to the politics of scientific techniques and experts in particular sites, this research engages with contemporary urban scholarship looking at the role of expertise in the production of urban space and the politicisation of experts' activities. The analysis presented here introduces three analytical concepts that intend to capture the relationship between politics, expertise and spatial transformations, namely the concepts of abstraction, performance and maintenance. These three concepts form the theoretical backbone of the comparative analysis presented in this thesis, which looks at two urban redevelopment projects: King's Cross Central in London, and the Fringe in Cape Town. The empirical examination of the two cases reveals that the socio-technical conditions underpinning the production of urban expertise in both projects support the dominance of techno-financial expertise in the design of spatial interventions. This hegemony is supported by the institutionalisation of financial and economic valuation techniques as key instruments to assess the quality and credibility of the visions behind urban projects. Paradoxically, the research findings also shed light on the relative marginalisation of individual technical experts, whose ability to meaningfully influence the design of redevelopment projects is constrained by project timeframes and resource allocations. The extent to which the status quo can be resisted is also explored, as this research unpacks the mechanics of counter-expertise and discusses community groups' capacity to subvert dominant modes of expertise production and to generate alternatives to techno-financial expertise.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available