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En annan stad är möjlig!: En studie om rätten till staden och urbana sociala rörelser i Hamburg
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013).
2015 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Another city is possible! : A study of the right to the city and urban social movements in Hamburg (English)
Abstract [en]

The right to the city has lately become the rallying cry for many urban social movements all over the world to challenge neoliberal planning, gentrification, the privatization of urban commons and growing spatial and social gaps in city and society. This senior essay studies urban social movements that in different ways advocate the idea of the right to the city. The term right to the city was coined in the late 1960s by French urban theorist Henri Lefebvre, who promoted the idea of the city as a common, a space belonging to everyone. The right to the city is not “a return to traditional cities”, but “a right to urban life” (1996:158).This study focuses on the city of Hamburg. Hamburg makes an interesting case because the urban social movements are not only remarkably active and visible, but also lately many of them have joined together in a right-to-the-city-network that unites various movements in one umbrella concept. The purpose of my research is to illustrate what the right to the city is about, by examining the issues raised by urban social movements, their visions and strategies as well as their organizational forms.The collected data consists of in-depth-interviews with key actors from different urban social movements in Hamburg coupled with field observations. The interviews provide deep and nuanced insights into how the movements conceive, feel and perform the right to the city. The field observations complement the interview material by providing a spatial context or setting, and insights into how the movements go about their work on a daily basis.The study shows that while the urban social movements differ in the way they conceive or imagine and perform the right to the city, they all share the aim of a just city where everyone has the right to take part in shaping the city and thereby also in shaping their own life. The study found out that urban social movements have internal struggles on how best to ensure that the voices of all the citizens in the city are heard. The study also shows that urban social movements consist of a relatively homogenous and place bound group, implying that the voices of the most excluded groups or marginalized sections within the city are still not heard in the struggles for the right to the city. Urban social movements that have a horizontal network structure are more likely to make a stronger case for the right to the city as well as become more inclusive. Furthermore, the study shows that urban social movements uphold the “right to urban life” and keep alive the idea of a just city by constantly enacting and searching for new ways of living together in the city. They do so not by following a priori plans or clear-cut strategies, tactics and goals or advocating fixed ideas about how to attain the goal of a just city. Instead they rely on free experimentation, work in spontaneous and open-ended ways, spurred by the call “another city is not only possible, but also necessary!”.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 75 p.
Keyword [en]
the right to the city, neoliberal urban planning, urban social movements, Germany, Hamburg
Keyword [sv]
rätten till staden, neoliberal urbanisering och planering, urbana sociala rörelser, Tyskland, Hamburg
National Category
Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-36322OAI: diva2:819984
Subject / course
Human Geography
Educational program
Spatial and Social Planning programme (180 ECTS credits)
Available from: 2015-06-22 Created: 2015-06-11 Last updated: 2015-06-22Bibliographically approved

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