The production of space in metropolitan regions: A Lefebvrian analysis of governance and spatial change
Buser, M. (2012) The production of space in metropolitan regions: A Lefebvrian analysis of governance and spatial change. Planning Theory, 11 (3). pp. 279-298. ISSN 1473-0952
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1473095212439693
The language of relational geography now permeates the field and literature of planning, with phrases such as ‘fuzzy boundaries’ and ‘flows and networks’ being commonly used to express the complexity of socio-economic and governance relations. However, recent research suggests the so-called ‘relational turn’ is not only far from complete, but is unable to account for the bounded reality of urban processes. Following from these debates, this article seeks to redirect the study of urban change away from relational and absolute interpretations of space in favour of a more robust consideration and critical reflection on the social production of city-regions. Towards this objective, the author introduces an approach situated within Lefebvre’s The Production of Space to examine strategies of metropolitan regionalism in the Capital District, New York (United States). Interpreting the city-region as a social product reflecting the co-constitutive relationship of conceived, perceived and lived space spatial elements, the paper argues that the silences of lived space within metropolitan regionalism are indicative of a post-political condition where hegemonic vision, discourse and ideology deny a robust urban democracy. It is this ability to engage with the dynamism of social change and the relationships between spaces which makes Lefebvre’s spatial theory immensely valuable for the study of emerging and shifting structures of governance.