Interrogating urban crisis: Cities in the governance and contestation of austerity

BAYIRBAĞ M. K. , Davies J. S. , Muench S.

URBAN STUDIES, vol.54, no.9, pp.2023-2038, 2017 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 54 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0042098017706336
  • Journal Name: URBAN STUDIES
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.2023-2038
  • Keywords: contestation, crisis, governance, resistance, urban, SPAIN


The meaning of urban crisis', and its applications in concrete struggles to govern and contest austerity urbanism, remains under-specified analytically and poorly understood empirically. This paper addresses the lacuna by opening up the concept of urban crisis to critical scrutiny. It begins by exploring how urban crisis-talk' tends to over-extend the concept in ways that can render it shallow or meaningless. The paper looks, second, at different applications of the terminology of crisis', disclosing key framings and problematics. In the spirit of critical urban studies, it focuses, third, on practices of crisis-resistance and crisis-making. The paper concludes by summarising the six urban crisis framings linked to six urban problematics, in order to inform future studies of austerity urbanism and assist in developing more reflexive approaches to the concept.