Theme I: Ultra-neoliberal urban development

Facilitating investments, privatisations and dispossessions have always been central features of neoliberalism. Yet, in the context of the current crisis in Southern Europe, we can observe the persistence of an aggressive neoliberalism that steps upon the ‘emergency’ of the crisis to directly link the notion of the “public good” with the repayment of public debt. In this context, cities and urban land become privileged terrains for implementing relevant policies and measures. There is a coercive push for rapidly privatizing and/or selling state property and infrastructure, for increased deregulation of planning and weakening of public control, as well as for the development of mega-projects. These measures tend to be part of broader urban development agendas that are presented as “the” solution despite being strongly rooted in neoliberal doctrines, which themselves are causal factors for the current crisis. Against these rapid transformations, forms of resistance are emerging as well as efforts for challenging dominant growth models and establishing alternative practices of urban development.

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