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Urban Democracy and the Local Trap

Mark Purcell
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Mark Purcell: Department of Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington, 410 Gould Hall, Box 355740 Seattle, Washington, WA 98195-5740, USA., mpurcell@u.washington.edu

Urban Studies, 2006, vol. 43, issue 11, 1921-1941

Abstract: This paper argues against the local trap-the tendency to assume that the local scale is preferable to other scales. The local trap is an important problem in the recent explosion of research on urban democracy and citizenship. The paper highlights one strain of that literature, the work on 'the right to the city'. It is argued that the right to the city is highly susceptible to the local trap, although it is not inherently so. As we continue to search for innovative new ideas like the right to the city that can help to democratise cities, it is critical to think carefully and strategically about scale.

Date: 2006
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