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The post-political state? The role of administrative reform in managing tensions between urban growth and liveability in Brisbane, Australia

Urban Studies, 1 December 2018, Vol.55(16), pp.3545-3562 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    The post-political state? The role of administrative reform in managing tensions between urban growth and liveability in Brisbane, Australia
  • Author: Clarke, A. ; Cheshire, L.
  • Found In: Urban Studies, 1 December 2018, Vol.55(16), pp.3545-3562 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: Development ; Governance ; Local Government ; Place Branding ; Politics ; Population Growth ; Post-Politics
  • Rights: Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
  • Description: The article investigates how governmental responses to problems arising from urban population growth contribute to the post-political governance of cities. It does this through a case study of the city of Brisbane, Australia. Brisbane markets itself as a medium-sized metropolis that balances economic growth with a level of urban liveability not found in larger cities. Yet, there are signs that rapid population growth and consolidation are undermining liveability in some Brisbane neighbourhoods, as evidenced by a rise in urban nuisances and neighbour complaints reported to the City Council. Drawing on theories of urban post-politics, we analyse how the Council recasts these symptoms of urban overload as a ‘techno-managerial’ problem that can be addressed by improving efficiency and ‘customer focus’ within its compliance branch. This strategy both eschews political questions about the compatibility of growth and liveability, and promotes an economic and transactional conception of urban citizenship that downplays urban politics more generally. This strategy is significant as it relates to the local state’s internal administrative practices and relations with its citizens, rather than the forms of governance-beyond-the-state that are usually associated with urban post-politics. We conclude that the identification of government-centred depoliticisation strategies indicates that urban post-politics is more comprehensive and multifaceted than previously thought.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 00420980 ; E-ISSN: 1360063X ; DOI: 10.1177/0042098017753096

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