Preface – Market Economy and Urban Change

Preface

 

Those driven by the ever-increasing demands of higher education in the UK will empathize with the protracted time that it has taken to complete this book. Roger Zetter acknowledges that it is largely through the persistence of the co-editor, Mohamed Hamza, that the book has seen the light of day.

The origins lie in a small round-table seminar which we convened at Oxford Brookes University several years ago. Entitled ‘From Welfare to Market’, the seminar examined the reconfiguration of the political economy of urban policy that had been taking place across much of the developing world during the preceding decade or so. The thematic concern was to investigate the links between international development agendas; local impacts on the urban sector in terms of critical variables such as housing and land policies; poverty alleviation and urban restructuring; and, finally, the mediating role of the state operating through national urban development strategies and policies. The macro-to-micro objective of our analysis attempted to bridge the gap in the literature, as we saw it, between political economy research on the urban sector and the welter of programmatic and project-based evaluation, which dominated the shelter and land sector. The interaction between external as well as internal forces driving urban-sector policies was what engaged us.

From these beginnings the book gradually took shape. The lengthy period since we first started exploring the issues has, at least, enabled the original contributors to that seminar – Cedric Pugh, Geoffrey Payne, Gareth A. Jones, Carole Rakodi and Mohamed Hamza – to review and develop new perspectives on their earlier papers to form chapters in this book. We have added new material from other researchers. In reconfiguring the material, we have retained the macro-tomicro perspective that we elaborated upon and refined at our original seminar; but, at the same time, we have integrated the book more closely within the neoliberal, market-enablement development paradigm, thus addressing a limitation of the earlier seminar. We have also reinforced and widened our substantive perspective. We have included new material on transitional economies (see Chapter 6), more detailed analysis of the processes of urban restructuring (see Chapter 8) and have reinforced the focus on the mediating role of the state (see Chapter 7).

We are privileged to dedicate this book to the memory of Cedric Pugh, with the permission of his daughter, Tania. Cedric provided, as usual, a searching and powerful discourse at our original seminar. Little did we realize that this was one of the last papers he was to write before his untimely death in 2001. Cedric's contribution to urban-sector research is prodigious in both quantity and the influence that he has had on the way in which so many scholars and policy-makers think about the sector, and housing and shelter, in particular. Although his last published book was Sustainable Cities in Developing Countries (Earthscan, 2000), it seems probable that the paper he presented at the seminar was one of the last pieces he was working on. We have not edited his paper; it remains as he presented it to the original seminar with only minor proofing and citation corrections.

Roger Zetter and Mohamed Hamza

March 2004