Urban policy travel

Isomorphic mimicry’ was a term I was pretty happy to come across the other year. However, I had never noticed ‘urban policy travel’, which seems to have some overlap in meaning.

So you can describe instances of policies framed in one place ending up trying to be realised in other places as ‘urban policy travel’, here is a quote from the article in which I first noticed the term.

‘The city is increasingly conceived of as relational and coconstituted (eg Amin and Thrift, 2002; Massey, 2005; 2007; 2011). The starting point of this relational perspective is that it is impossible to understand cities as territories prior to their engagements with other places (Massey, 2011). As Ash Amin (2002, page 397) has put it, the city “is a place of engagement in plural politics and multiple spatialities of involvement”. This has been demonstrated, for example, through literature on urban policy travel, for instance, in studies of the mobility of particular policies, ways of thinking the city, imaginaries of urban futures, urban plans, or military urbanisms [see, for contrasting examples, Graham (2010), King (2004), McCann and Ward (2011), Nasr and Volait (2003)]. Emerging work on what Eugene McCann calls `urban policy mobilities’ (eg McCann, 2007; McCann and Ward, 2009) is one important example here. This disparate work has considered, for instance, how certain cities draw on particular policy discourses of urban redevelopment in their plans for the city, whether in the circulation of urban policy knowledges, discourses of `knowledge cities’, or neoliberal, revanchist and punitive ideologies (eg see McCann and Ward, 2009; MacLeod, 2002; Peck, 2005; 2006; Peck and Theodore, 2010; Smith, 1996; Swanson, 2007; Wacquant, 2008; Ward, 2006).’ (McFarlane 2011 :663-664)


McFarlane C. 2011. The city as assemblage: dwelling and urban space. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 29:649-71


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