Inclusiveness in Urban Theory and Urban-Centred International Development Policy


  • Tim Bunnell Asia Research Institute and Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent



New Urban Agenda, Habitat III, inclusion, social exclusion, postcolonial urban theory


Issues of inclusiveness are prominent today in both urban theory and in international urban development policy. Within the academy over the past decade, an influential strand of scholarship has sought to decentre urban theory from a relatively small and canonical set of cities, mostly in Western Europe and North America. This postcolonial urban studies work has argued that there is a need for 'new geographies of theory' that are more inclusive of the experiences of cities in other world regions (Roy, 2009). In increasingly urban-centred international development policy, meanwhile, inclusion is now rhetorically central to conceptions of better futures and appropriate ways of realizing them. The words 'inclusive', 'inclusion' and 'inclusivity' appear dozens of times across the 24 pages of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) document. In this paper, I consider what is understood by inclusiveness in both postcolonial urban studies and in the NUA, before examining the latter in the light of recent scholarly critique.

Abstrak. Masalah inklusivitas saat ini menonjol dalam teori perkotaan dan kebijakan pembangunan perkotaan internasional. Dalam diskusi akademis selama dekade terakhir, sejumlah penelitian penting telah berusaha untuk mendesentralisasikan teori perkotaan dari serangkaian kota yang relatif kecil dan kanonik yang kebanyakan bersumber dari Eropa Barat dan Amerika Utara. Studi perkotaan postkolonial ini berpendapat bahwa ada kebutuhan akan 'geografi baru teori' yang lebih inklusif terhadap pengalaman kota-kota di wilayah dunia lain (Roy, 2009). Dalam kebijakan pembangunan internasional yang semakin terpusat di perkotaan, sementara itu, inklusi sekarang secara retoris dianggap penting dalam konsepsi tentang masa depan yang lebih baik dan cara-cara yang tepat untuk merealisasikannya. Kata-kata 'inklusif', 'inklusi' dan 'inklusivitas' muncul puluhan kali di sepanjang 24 halaman dokumen Agenda Baru Perkotaan (NUA). Dalam makalah ini, saya menelaah apa sesungguhnya yang dimaksud sebagai inklusivitas dalam studi perkotaan pascakolonial dan NUA, sebelum membahas NUA dalam konteks kritik ilmiah baru-baru ini.

Kata Kunci. Agenda Baru Perkotaan, Habitat III, inklusi, pengucilan sosial, teori urban pascakolonial.

Author Biography

Tim Bunnell, Asia Research Institute and Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent


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