Insurgent Urbanism in a Railway Quarter: Scalar Citizenship at King’s Cross, London
AbstractThis article links current debates on ‘glocalization’ and the politics of scale to the processes of urban revitalization in inner cities. It argues that inner-city revitalization can be seen as a scalar narrative, whereby new regimes of governance seek to reincorporate a locality into circuits of global capital; in effect, seeking to produce a ‘glocality’. Using the case of King’s Cross, London, a historic railway quarter and site of the imminent, international Channel Tunnel Rail Link terminus, this article demonstrates that resistance to urban revitalization can be understood as a counterpolitics where community activists seek to protect the current local scale. The efforts of the King’s Cross Railway Lands Group, which used community planning techniques to generate an ‘insurgent urbanism’ against the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and subsequent redevelopment, are described and analyzed in detail. While these efforts ultimately failed, it is suggested that the group’s utopian vision unleashed a powerful notion of local place that has earned King’s Cross a place in London’s contemporary emotional geography
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