Susanne Heeg, Marit Rosol: Neoliberal urban policy in the global context. A review. The paper gives firstly, a summary of the literature on neoliberal urban governance of the past decade – especially on the “entrepreneurial city” - and more recent tendencies like the renewed focus on local communities. In the second part we show some important processes and phenomena of urban development in the global south – from the consequences of structural adjustment programs on the urban up to violence economies, gated communities and social urban movements – without claiming that that would encompass all of them and without the necessary distinction between different countries and localities. Finally, we open the discussion on the implications of these developments for critical urban theory and practice.
Eric Töpfer, Volker Eick, Jens Sambale: Improvement Districts – New Instrument for Containment and Exclusion? Lessons from North America and Britain. Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are territorial subdivisions of a city in which property owners or businesses decide to self-impose an additional tax meant for the promotion and development of the area through services such as garbage collection, street maintenance, and security patrols. They were created in North America since the late 1960s and, though they embody many of the powers and privileges of the state, bear none of the responsibilities and limitations of democratic government. Since the early 1990s BIDs found their way due to a fast policy transfer across the Atlantic: First to the UK and now finally to Germany. Here they are regarded either as an offer the local business community cannot afford to refuse (i.e. some Chambers of Commerce) or as “civil society in action” (parts of the Green Party). Others regard them as questionable under constitutional law and as an instrument to privatize cities (the civil rights movement) or as “the next step towards further exclusion” of disadvantaged groups (i.e. churches and homeless service providers). We analyze these claims and offer empirical evidence from North America and Britain and eventually assess the prospects for Germany.
Henrik Lebuhn: Social-Spatial Conflicts in the Entrepreneurial City: A Case-Study from Berlin about Urban Politics 'from below' under the Conditions of New Public Management. Entrepreneurial urban politics not only aim at up-grading a locality for inter-urban competition. Under the label of New Public Management, they also remodel the city administration according to economic criteria of efficency. As a result, the political arena for urban social movements is undergoing severe changes. In the case of Berlin, New Public Management reforms seem to disadvantage grassroots groups that protest the privatization of public space, and lead to a political gap between social movements and left political parlamentarians
Claudia Liebelt: Appropriating the ‘Black City’. Illegalisation, Transnationality and Migrants’ Struggles in Tel Aviv’s Cosmopolitan Urban Space. After the ousting of Palestinians from an ethnically segmented labour market, Israel has recruited large numbers of non-Jewish labour migrants to fill the country’s low wage sector. As elsewhere, restrictive migration policies could not hinder migrants from staying on, organising, and collectively struggle for their rights. Within the urban space of Israel’s most cosmopolitan centre, the so-called ‘White City’ of Tel Aviv, they have appropriated a space with a long history of social, economic, and cultural exclusion from Israeli mainstream society, the southern ‘Black City’. In 2002, Israel adopted a deportation campaign of migrants who had become ‘illegals’. As subsequently tens of thousands of Tel Aviv’s residents were forced to leave the country within a short period of time, Israel, and in particular migrants’ main residential area in southern Tel Aviv, became an increasingly unhomely space. In the wake of this change, migrants’ everyday lives in Israel were ‘transnationalised’, and orientations shifted towards the ‘greener pastures’ of Western Europe and Northern America. Within this process, Tel Aviv became one of the Mediterranean’s ‘border cities’, a transnational gateway, which the notion of ‘global city’ cannot fully grasp.
Matthias Bernt, Malte Daniljuk, Andrej Holm: Neighbourhood organizing as a form of government: Participatory urban renewal in the Barrios of Caracas. Although “informal urbanisation” is a main characteristic of many cities in the global south, and extensively discussed by a growing number of publications, many contribution fail to take it’s political side into account. With this background the article discusses the changes in the relation between the state and the squatter-settlements in Caracas. Major attention is paid towards innovative instruments that have been introduced by the Bolivarian government to foster the development of a “participative and protagonist democracy” in the slums of Venezuelas capital.
Britta Grell: Immigrant Rights Campaigns, Transnational Migrants as Agents of New Urban Social Movements in the USA. With 15 millions new migrants the 1990s are the decade, in which the USA had the most migrants in its history. This changed deeply the character of the cities. The US-American cities were not only confronted with a deepening in social-spatial disruption and economic polarization, they also became centers of new social movements and organizing efforts. Los Angeles and Chicago serve as examples for explaining and discussing immigrant rights campaigns.
Martin Kronauer: Revolte in the French Banlieues. Comments From the German Perspective. The article critically confronts the response of German media to the revolte in the French banlieues of November 2005. It outlines differences between the living conditions and legal status of youths with migration backgrounds in France and Germany, stresses the chance that the struggle of the youngsters for respect offered to the French society and how this chance was destroyed by the repressive actions of the government. It finally argues that Germany might even miss such a chance and in its own way risks to alienate and exclude people with migration background.
Robert Brenner: Why Iraq? The politics of Bush II. If we look at the Iraq war in terms of the economic and geopolitical interests that drove US imperialism throughout the postwar epoch, the current adventure of the Bush administration in the middle east remains inexplicable. Instead, we have to understand the current US-foreign policy in the context of domestic class struggles and the emergence of the far right in the US.
Andreas Fisahn, Regina Viotto: Shifts in the constitutional compromise from the German state constitutions to the European reform treaty. Hesse was the first state in Germany after the second world war, with a new constitution. This constitution differs in many ways from the German Grundgesetz and more from the European reform treaty. The Hessian Constitution prefers a democratic control of the economy, the Grundgesetz follows a neutral concept concerning the economy which means the democratic process is in charge to define the relation of society and economy. The significant difference of the European reform treaty is its radical market oriented concept of the economy.
Zu den Autoren
Matthias Bernt ist Politikwissenschaftler und arbeitet am Helmholtz Zentrum für Umweltforschung in Leipzig
Robert Brenner lehrt Geschichte an der University of California, Los Angeles
Malte Daniljuk studiert Kommunikationswissenschaften, arbeitet als freier Journalist und hat verschiedene Projekte in Lateinamerika betreut
Volker Eick ist Politikwissenschaftler in Berlin
Andreas Fisahn lehrt Öffentliches Recht an der Universität Bielefeld
Britta Grell ist Politikwissenschaftlerin und Mitglied des International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA)
Susanne Heeg lehrt geographische Stadtforschung an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt
Andrej Holm ist Sozialwissenschaftler und arbeitet an der Humboldt Universität Berlin
Martin Kronauer lehrt Gesellschaftswissenschaft an der Fachhochschule für Wirtschaft Berlin und ist Mitglied der PROKLA-Redaktion
Henrik Lebuhn unterrichtet Urban Studies am San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) und ist Mitglied in der PROKLA-Redaktion
Claudia Liebelt ist Ethnologin und arbeitet als Forschungsassistentin am Centre for Law, Gender and Society in Keele, UK
Marit Rosol arbeitet am Institut für Humangeographie der Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt
Jens Sambale ist Politikwissenschaftler in Berlin
Eric Töpfer ist Politikwissenschaftler und arbeitet am Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft der TU Berlin
Regina Viotto ist Juristin und arbeitet an der Universität Bielefeld im Bereich Öffentliches Recht