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Contested urban economies: representing and mobilising London's diverse economy

Taylor, Myfanwy Mary; (2017) Contested urban economies: representing and mobilising London's diverse economy. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis builds on the growing interest in the diversity of urban economies as a starting point for more inclusive approaches to urban economic development by exploring the mobilisation of diverse economic actors. Its central innovation is to use the notion of economic performativity and Gibson-Graham’s notion of economic politics to open up the politics of diverse urban economies. By combining activism with research, this thesis not only reveals and explores but also contributes to and strengthens some of London’s emerging economic alliances at metropolitan level and in Tottenham and the London Legacy Development Corporation area, located within two of the ‘Opportunity Areas’ earmarked to play a special role in accommodating London’s growth. The thesis finds that the global city growth model embedded in London’s metropolitan governance arrangements was stretched to its limits under Boris Johnson’s Mayoralty. It suggests that Johnson’s use of London’s low-cost workspace as a release valve for London’s escalating housing crisis accelerated its extension into a workspace crisis. The thesis argues that while the growing pressure on workspace poses a threat to the diversity of London’s economy, it has also mobilised small businesses, industrial firms, migrant and ethnic retailers, market traders and community enterprises and their allies to challenge and develop alternatives to plans and development proposals that ignore, marginalise or threaten to displace them. Through a collaborative action research method inspired by Gibson-Graham’s work, the thesis explores the generative and unfolding process through which diverse economic actors built common ground and solidarity, shared their knowledge and experience and developed visions and propositions for alternative, more inclusive approaches to urban economic development. It reveals that the economic evidence underpinning London’s metropolitan and local plans not only plays a role in supporting dominant approaches but has also become a terrain of contestation and struggle for alternatives.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Contested urban economies: representing and mobilising London's diverse economy
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10040423
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