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Heritage, memory and place: contesting sustainable urban development 

Often there are linear narratives of urban development processes in cities, with models of ‘success’ being replicated across different city contexts. This project examines the role of contestation and dissent in sustainable urban development projects, based on the premise that dissensus must be valued as part of democratic urban politics, which is always taking place even if not recognised.

Specifically, it seeks to value contested citizens place-based knowledges through creating an exhibition as intervention, giving voice to citizens’ memories, or other ways of knowing (than conventional development or place narratives). The project will identify two cases where there has been contestation over planning and spatial development decisions. Two community forums will be invited into an active process of enquiry, through which the process of making exhibitions will unveil contested narratives of urban development. The project contributes to MUF overall themes through a reflection on the importance of intangible heritage in realising just cities and the value of different methodological approaches. Through this, it will contribute to understanding the role and value of citizens’ place-based knowledge in sustainable urban development.

Project members

  • Victoria Habermehl

    Victoria is a Research Associate in the Urban Institute and works on the ESRC Whose Knowledge matters? As part of the international MISTRA Urban Futures. Her research to date has focused on Latin American Cities where she researched how the economy is understood and reshaped through crisis, narratives of economic informality and everyday economic practices such as economic solidarity initiatives, autogestion and popular economy.

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Beth Perry

Professor Beth Perry is the Director of the Sheffield Manchester Local Interaction Platform for Mistra Urban Futures.

Mark Burton

Mark Burton is a scholar-activist, working on a variety of environmental, economic and political issues.