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Engineering Cities: Mediating Materialities, Infrastructural Imaginaries and Shifting Regimes of Urban Expertise

Björkman, L; Harris, A; (2018) Engineering Cities: Mediating Materialities, Infrastructural Imaginaries and Shifting Regimes of Urban Expertise. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research , 42 (2) pp. 244-262. 10.1111/1468-2427.12528. Green open access

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Abstract

This symposium opens up new critical insights and analytical perspectives into the relationships between power, politics, materiality and urban engineering. In so doing it demonstrates the central role of engineers in the production and negotiation of everyday life in the city. In contrast to the technocratic exercise engineering often professes to be, the contributors to this symposium argue that the assembling and choreography of cities through the myriad techniques, routines, standards and visions of engineers is inextricably bound up with broader socio‐cultural, material and political urban dynamics and processes. This necessitates investigating the multiple and competing social imaginations, forms of knowledge and regimes of expertise associated with urban engineering. The symposium's five articles, straddling disciplinary backgrounds in geography, anthropology, engineering and history, focus analytical and empirical attention on the figure of the engineer and on the work of engineering in the cities of Paris, Mumbai, Singapore and London. Engineering, we suggest, is a diagnostic for probing the shifting forms of mediation that animate and inhabit contemporary dynamics of urban change. The symposium thus opens up a new avenue for cross‐disciplinary and transregional research for urban studies while also suggesting innovative ways of conceptualizing urban transformation and contestation.

Type: Article
Title: Engineering Cities: Mediating Materialities, Infrastructural Imaginaries and Shifting Regimes of Urban Expertise
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12528
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.12528
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 The Authors. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd Under License by Urban Research Publications Limited. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: infrastructure, engineering, material politics, imagination, knowledge, expertise
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1539976
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