Podcast "Urban Political"

The Podcast on Urban Theory, Research, and Activism

The {Urban Political} delves into contemporary urban issues with activists, scholars and policy-makers from around the world. Providing informed views, state of the art knowledge and unusual insights, the podcast aims to advance our understanding of urban environments and how we might make them more just and democratic. The {Urban Political} provides a new forum for reflection on bridging urban activism and scholarship, where regular features offer snapshots of pressing issues and new publications, allowing multiple voices of scholars and activists to enter into a transnational debate directly.


the Far Right and the City

With the research network Territorialisations of the Radical Right (Terra-R).

In this discussion, members of the Terra-R (Territorialisations of the Radical Right) network examine the developments of the radical right in Germany beyond simplistic urban-rural and East-West attributions, and outline the current and future challenges for academia and civil society alike.

Erschienen: 09.02.2024
Dauer: 00:53:40

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Rent Strike Series Episode 3

The third in an ongoing series hosted by Mathilde Lind Gustavussen

This is episode three of the Rent Strike Series, focusing on the Veritas Tenants Association’s ongoing multibuilding rent strike in San Francisco to demand a say in the terms of sale of their buildings. In November 2023, the Prado Group assumed ownership of 20 Veritas-owned buildings, while on January 18, 2024, Ballast Investments and their partner Brookfield Properties took over the remaining 75 buildings in the largest-ever sale of rent-stabilized units in San Francisco. Meanwhile, the rent strike has expanded to six buildings, and some of the strikers have secured concessions through collective bargaining, including a 75 percent reduction in rent over 12 months, cancellation of a scheduled rent increase, and dismissal of eviction lawsuits. In this episode, we get an update on these developments from Brad Hirn, lead organizer with the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.

Erschienen: 01.02.2024
Dauer: 00:27:07

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Episode 71 – Book Review Roundtable: Lively Cities: Reconfiguring Urban Ecology

Lively Cities departs from conventions of urban studies to argue that cities are lived achievements forged by a multitude of entities—human and nonhuman—that make up the material politics of city making. Generating fresh conversations between posthumanism, postcolonialism, and political economy, Barua reveals how these actors shape, integrate, subsume, and relate to urban space in fascinating ways. This podcast is produced in collaboration with the Urban Geography Journal.

Erschienen: 20.01.2024
Dauer: 01:00:40

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Cosmopolitan Solidarity

A talk on Hope, Affection, and Welcoming the 'Other'

To live in the age of precarity is a tolling, everyday struggle. It erodes one's strength to carry on, live another day, and keep the hope for a modicum of prosperity due to come in some vague future. And when things get unbearably harsh, when the hegemony of neoliberalism has individualised the problems and told those who sustain life by the skin of their teeth to keep their head above the surface without having an eye for care from the retreating state that sees no obligation towards the lesser-able citizens, and when the politics of fear buffets on the anxiety evoked by the physical proximity of the Other, refugees —the most vulnerable of all living in the city— are scapegoated for all the problems befallen on daily life. Refugees are easy targets. They, on principle, lack most forms of capital to claim status; they look different and sound different with sometimes an uncanny unbeknownst culture that attracts all forms of shaming and stigma; they are 'foreigners', somebody else's 'problem' who happened to be dropped at 'our' doorstep; and they are easy to blame for everything that goes amiss, be it housing shortage, street violence, economic stagnation or what have you. However, we all have witnessed the compassion, solidarity, and affection given to refugees and all those who found little option but to flee from prosecution, war, climate disasters, and countless other unfortunate conditions that make one's life in her own home unbearable. We all can remember people congregating in Frankfurt, Munich and Humburg's Hauptbahnhof to welcome the war-stricken. We do remember protests, mass gatherings, the signs hung behind the windows to denounce the dehumanisation of the refugees, and countless families took in Ukrainians before they could find permanent residency. We remember the giving, hosting, embracing, and naturalising. We do remember the host society forcing itself to acculturate to new shapes of living. And we do remember hope. Yes, there were, and still are, heinous facets of hate. But there are hopes for cosmopolitan solidarity, too, and in this episode, we will talk about the latter.

Erschienen: 12.01.2024
Dauer: 01:02:38

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Property Rights Versus Tenants in Poland

Beata Siemieniako on the restitution of housing and tenants' struggles

Unregulated restitution of property to prewar owners (or rather their legal successors) remains a major source of conflict over housing in Poland, most notably in Warsaw. This episode features Beata Siemieniako, a Warsaw lawyer and urban activist who has been supporting tenants in their struggle against ruthless developers for years. In her book „Re-privatising Poland. The History of a Great Scam“ (Reprywatyzując Polskę. Historia wielkiego przekrętu, Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej 2017), she tells the story of conflicting claims to urban property and reflects on the pitfalls of restituting past property orders while neglecting present-day social rights. Florian Peters has talked to her about law, grassroots activism, and the impossibility to achieve justice by trying to turn back time.

Erschienen: 30.11.2023
Dauer: 00:26:17

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Rent Strike Series Episode 2

The second in an ongoing series hosted by Mathilde Lind Gustavussen.

This is episode two of the Rent Strike Series, focusing on the Veritas Tenants Association’s ongoing multibuilding rent strike in San Francisco to demand a say in the terms of sale of their buildings. On August 30, corporate landlord Ballast Investments won the auction for Veritas Investments’ delinquent debt and will take over 75 Veritas-owned buildings. And on September 1 the strike expanded. In this episode, we get an update on these developments and the implications for the strike from Brad Hirn, lead organizer with the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.

Erschienen: 21.09.2023
Dauer: 00:24:37

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Book Review Roundtable: Against the Commons: A Radical History of Urban Planning

Against the Commons underscores how urbanization shapes the social fabric of places and territories, lending awareness to the impact of planning and design initiatives on working-class communities and popular strata. Projecting history into the future, it outlines an alternative vision for a postcapitalist urban planning, one in which the structure of collective spaces is defined by the people who inhabit them.

Erschienen: 01.09.2023
Dauer: 01:10:26

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Rent Strike Series Episode 1

the Veritas Tenants Association’s (VTA) in San Francisco

The first in an ongoing series hosted by Mathilde Gustavussen

Erschienen: 25.08.2023
Dauer: 00:48:12

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Book Review Roundtable: How Cities Can Transform Democracy

Ross Beveridge, Philippe Koch and their critics

We live in an urban age. It is well known that urbanization is changing landscapes, built environments, social infrastructures and everyday lives across the globe. But urbanization is also changing the ways we understand and practise politics. What implications does this have for democracy? This incisive book argues that urbanization undermines the established certainties of nation-state politics and calls for a profound rethinking of democracy. A novel way of seeing democracy like a city is presented, shifting scholarly and activist perspectives from institutions to practices, from jurisdictional scales to spaces of urban collective life, and from fixed communities to emergent political subjects. Through a discussion of examples from around the world, the book shows that distinctly urban forms of collective self rule are already apparent. The authors reclaim the ‘city’ as a democratic idea in a context of urbanization, seeing it as instrumental to relocating democracy in the everyday lives of urbanites. Original and hopeful, How Cities Can Transform Democracy compels the reader to abandon conventional understandings of democracy and embrace new vocabularies and practices of democratic action in the struggles for our urban future.

Erschienen: 01.08.2023
Dauer: 00:59:30

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Book Review Roundtable: Migrants and Machine Politics

Adam Auerbach and his critics

As the Global South rapidly urbanizes, millions of people have migrated from the countryside to urban slums, which now house one billion people worldwide. The transformative potential of urbanization hinges on whether and how poor migrants are integrated into city politics. Popular and scholarly accounts paint migrant slums as exhausted by dispossession, subdued by local dons, bought off by wily politicians, or polarized by ethnic appeals. Migrants and Machine Politics shows how slum residents in India routinely defy such portrayals, actively constructing and wielding political machine networks to demand important, albeit imperfect, representation and responsiveness within the country’s expanding cities. Drawing on years of pioneering fieldwork in India’s slums, including ethnographic observation, interviews, surveys, and experiments, Adam Michael Auerbach and Tariq Thachil reveal how migrants harness forces of political competition—as residents, voters, community leaders, and party workers—to sow unexpected seeds of accountability within city politics. This multifaceted agency provokes new questions about how political networks form during urbanization. In answering these questions, this book overturns longstanding assumptions about how political machines exploit the urban poor to stifle competition, foster ethnic favoritism, and entrench vote buying. By documenting how poor migrants actively shape urban politics in counterintuitive ways, Migrants and Machine Politics sheds new light on the political consequences of urbanization across India and the Global South.

Erschienen: 01.07.2023
Dauer: 01:00:16

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Podcast "Urban Political"