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Governing urban vacancy in post-crash Dublin: contested property and alternative social projects

O’Callaghan, C and Di Feliciantonio, C and Byrne, M (2017) Governing urban vacancy in post-crash Dublin: contested property and alternative social projects. Urban Geography, 39 (6). pp. 868-891. ISSN 0272-3638

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Abstract

© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The scale and severity of property crashes following the global financial crisis has made vacancy a more visible and politically significant feature of cities. Although research has focused on urban experiments in vacant spaces, there has been less emphasis on how the contested property relations around vacancy remake urban governance. In this paper, we argue that debates about vacancy have been a central concern in post-crisis urban governance. In the first part of the paper we draw two conceptual approaches into a dialogue and apply them to an analysis of vacant space: that of Nicholas Blomley on property and Elizabeth Povinelli on “alternative social projects”. In the second part of the paper, we critically analyse how three groups discursively construct the need to “activate” and “re-use” vacant spaces in Dublin: grassroots groups, urban policy-makers, and financial actors. We argue that governing vacancy will be a key feature of post-crisis urbanisation.

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