Regenerating the City: People, Politics, Power and the Public Sphere

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The transformative potential that has come to be associated with network- ing in all areas of social, economic and political life, not least initiatives designed to tackle urban deprivation, is premised upon the idea that better outcomes prevail when state, market and civil society actors work together in partnership to agree and implement change. Such a perspective is informed by two underlying and related assumptions; first, an understanding of democracy as being essentially deliberative in nature; second, an understanding of social and political change as being essentially consensus based. An agonistic model and alternative explanation questioning these assumptions and the ‘transformative’ claims made on behalf of partnership is presented in this article. In contrast to what is termed a ‘neo-liberal orthodox’ approach an alternative interpretation of regeneration located within a radical conceptualisation of civil society is proposed. Regeneration, it is argued, is better conceptualised in terms of contestation between state, market and third-sector interests with better outcomes for communities prevailing when third-sector actors develop the legitimacy and power to engage politically within the context of a contested public sphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalLocal Government Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2014


  • Urban regeneration
  • neo-liberalism
  • community organising
  • public sphere
  • power
  • politics

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