Refocusing urban disaster governance on marginalised urban people through right to the city

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10 Citations (Scopus)


In contemporary neoliberal regimes, urban disaster governance typically emphasises resilience of cities and their inhabitants. Marginalised urban people, most vulnerable to disasters, are thereby expected to exhibit self-organisation. Yet cities tend to be (re)constructed for capital, prioritising exchange-value, while the use-value is comparatively under-prioritized. In order to conceptually refocus urban disaster governance on justice for and power of marginalised urban people, we define and discuss three conceptualizations of the Right to the City (RTTC) – institutionalised, Harveyan and neo-Lefebvrian. The institutionalised RTTC is congruent with neoliberal urban disaster governance, but the other two may be used to challenge this conceptualisation. Striving to reclaim decision-making over capital accumulation in the city, a Harveyan RTTC-inspired disaster governance would prioritise addressing the processes of urban marginalisation through democratisation, rather than focusing solely on preparedness for and response to hazards. In partial contrast, a neo-Lefebvrian RTTC-inspired disaster governance would be mainly focused on bottom-up efforts to protect and recover the use-value of the city, particularly for disaster-vulnerable populations. We conclude that a combination of the latter two conceptualizations, expressed through a struggle on multiple terrains involving local self-organisation, formal democratisation and mobilisation of global networks, could make possible a more socially just urban disaster governance.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalEnvironmental Hazards
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)187-208
Publication statusPublished - 28.10.2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Urban disaster governance
  • right to the city
  • neoliberalism
  • justice
  • resilience
  • marginalisation

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising
  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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