201105 - Planning and Neoliberalism: what can be learned from the Belgian case?

Thu, 2020-11-05 12:30 - 14:00

Talk of the CEE Key Theme: The transformations of capitalism

Thursday 5 November 2020, 12.30 – 2 pm, Sciences Po, Via Zoom (Compulsory registration)

EvrardSpeaker:  Zoé Evrard, Sciences Po, CEE & MaxPo

Based on archival research and interviews, this thesis explores the role of the Belgian Planning Bureau to the neoliberal turn that took place in Belgium in the early 1980s and its consolidation in the 1990s. It seeks to explain the institutional conversion of the Planning Bureau (and with it that of the planning process), as well as the direct and indirect influence of the economic expertise it provided on policymaking. To achieve this aim, the institutional position and resources of the Planning Bureau are carefully situated in broader national and transnational networks. Domestically, the Planning Bureau was located at the crossroad of three fields: governmental politics, corporatist negotiations and academic economics. Transnationally, the Bureau positioned itself as the privileged and credible interlocutor of the economic policy committees of two important international institutions, the OECD and the EU. It was also well embedded into an informal network of European planners. The thesis examines the role the Planning Bureau played as mediator in the Belgian neoliberal turn, first by channeling ideas between these different fields and levels of governance and secondly, by contributing via its expertise to the emergence of consensuses between the main socio-economic elites of this fragmented and extremely unstable political context. Thereby, this thesis furthers our understanding of how economic ideas are changed and merged with indigenous ideas when traveling across contexts. Secondly, by underlying the flexibility of planning techniques to different political ideas and development models, it opens avenues for new research by suggesting, prima facie at least, that the neoliberalization of planning might be reversible.

Collective discussion

Compulsory registration

201105 - Presentation of the book Alpha City: How London Was Captured by the Super-Rich, Verso, 2020.

Thu, 2020-11-05 17:30 - 19:00

Seminar Cities are back in town

Thursday 5 November 2020, 5.30 – 7 pm CET, Sciences Po, Webinar (Compulsory registration)

Alpha City How London Was Captured by the Super-RichRowland Atkinson will present the main research findings from his latest book exploring the consequences of widening inequality on London’s urban landscape. The author defines London as the alpha city, characterized notably by the prominent role of the finance sector in its economy, its dominance over the world economy and the concentration of a super-rich elite in some of its neighborhoods. Throughout the book, Atkinson chooses to look into the lifestyles and behaviors of the wealthy to highlight important changes undergone by London since the 2008 financial crisis: he presents the history of London’s property market and its capture by its wealthiest inhabitants, identifies how real estate in the city has become increasingly accommodating to the wealthy, and underlines how this breeds exclusion from opportunity for its less fortunate residents. Alpha City questions the redefinition of the city’s functions and spaces as the metropolis is increasingly subject to the joint influence of capitalism and financiarisation.

Rowland AtkinsonSpeaker: Rowland Atkinson, Sheffield University, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Research Chair in Inclusive Societies

Rowland Atkinson is Research Chair in Inclusive Societies at the University of Sheffield. His research has focused on the spatial impacts of social inequalities, taking in work on gentrification and displacement, gated communities, public housing and social exclusion, fortress homes and, of course, the super-rich. Seeing the role of social science as bringing attention to social problems, his work has highlighted the need for social housing and attention to the invisible casualties of complex urban processes.

Discussants: Bruno Cousin, Sciences Po, CEE and María Luisa Méndez Layera, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, IEU

For more information: citiesarebackintown@sciencespo.fr

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