A series of sessions on urban policy mobilities took place at the Association of American Geographers’ Annual Conference in Los Angeles, 9th-13th April 2013. Details of the sessions are available below. 

***LATEST NEWS*** The panel session has been written up into a series of short papers for the Debates and Developments section forthcoming in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. The content of this section is as follows:

  • Baker, T. and Tenemos, C. Urban policy mobilities: A brief introduction.
  • McCann, E. and Ward, K. Thinking through dualisms in urban policy mobilities.
  • Robinson, J. “Arriving at” urban policies: The topological spaces of urban policy mobility.
  • Cook, I. R. Policy mobilities and interdisciplinary engagement.
  • Kuus, M. For slow research.
  • Temenos, C. and Baker, T. Enriching policy mobilities research.

More details of the publication will be available on this website soon.


Intersecting with urban policy mobilities: Research agendas, critiques, possibilities (panel session)

Sponsored by the Urban Geography Speciality Group and the Socialist and Critical Geography Specialist Group

Date and venue Saturday, 4/13/2013, from 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in Beaudry B, Westin, First Floor

Urban policy mobilities research has seen a proliferation of conceptual and methodological engagements, increasing markedly in the last few years. Scholars have set about deepening understandings of policy mobility itself as well as extending its reach to other research domains, doing so through both post-structural and neo-marxist theorizations of the processes, people, and resources brought together to construct, advocate, mobilize and ground policies. Intersections with research on assemblages, comparative urbanism, and post-political geographies, for example, have resulted in mutually beneficial, generative engagements across academic debates and interests. This has, importantly, been tempered with cautious critique informing ongoing urban policy mobilities research, from the potential fetishization of mobility and the lack of attention to policy immobility to the history-discounting charge of presentism. In light of such proliferation, this panel session aims to take stock of urban policy mobilities research to date, while assessing its intersections with parallel interests in contemporary urban geography. The session provokes scholars whose work has contributed to, and been engaged by the expanding literature on urban policy mobilities to appraise its intersections, critiques and possibilities. In doing so the session aims to critically evaluate the achievements of urban policy mobilities research up to the present, while exploring ongoing and potentially new ways forward across the field.

Organisers: Tom Baker (University of Newcastle, Australia) and Cristina Tenemos (Simon Fraser University)

Chair: Cristina Tenemos (Simon Fraser University)

Panelists: Jane M. Jacobs (University of Edinburgh/National University of Singapore), Ian R. Cook (Northumbria University), Jennifer Robinson (UCL), Merje Kuus (University of British Columbia) and Eugene McCann (Simon Fraser University)


The multiple geographies of policy mobility (paper sessions x3)

Sponsored by the Urban Geography Speciality Group and the Socialist and Critical Geography Specialist Group

Date and venue Saturday, 4/13/2013, from 10:00 AM in Beaudry B, Westin, First Floor

Organisers: Tom Baker (University of Newcastle, Australia), Cristina Tenemos (Simon Fraser University) and Ian R. Cook (Northumbria University)

Under the broad banner of policy mobilities research, a small but growing number of studies have considered the ways that policies, understood broadly, travel. Attention has been paid to the ways in which policies move and mutate, the wider ‘informational infrastructures’ that support and shape such movement and mutation, and the place-based repercussions of policy mobilities.  Increasingly attention has also been given to the ways that social scientists should research these issues. The aim of these three sessions is to shed further empirical, theoretical and methodological light on the emergence of the multiple geographies of policy mobilities.

 Session 1: Informational infrastructures and expertise (10:00 AM – 11:40 AM)

  • From policy diffusion to policy mobility? Relational urbanism in energy transitions, smart city and LA21 policy-making. Kristine Kern and Ross Beveridge (both Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning) [abstract]
  • Ephemeral mobility: conference spaces, policy activism, and effects of informational infrastructures. Cristina Temenos (Simon Fraser University) [abstract]
  • Grounding the policy exemplar: territorial politics, global models and urban homelessness in Australia. Tom Baker (University of Newcastle, Australia) [presentation pdf] [abstract]
  • Embodying expertise: Transnational geographies of diplomatic knowledge. Merje Kuus (UBC) [abstract]
  • Policy mobility and the economies of expertise: Cultural consultants and the ‘creative economy’. Russell Prince (Massey University) [abstract] 

Session 2: Social-cultural policy mobilities (2:00 PM – 3:40 PM)

  • Constructing Bogotá’s Ciclovía: From urban experiment to international “best practice”. Sergio Montero (University of California, Berkeley) [abstract]
  • Fast money, fast policy: Philanthropy’s role in selecting and moving urban policies. Christopher Lizotte (University of Washington) [abstract]
  • The geographies of policy mobility: tackling urban violence through community intervention. Helen F. Wilson (University of Manchester) [abstract]
  • Win me! Mutating governance through international accolades. Laura A. Wenz (University of Münster) [abstract]
  • Artists moving in Europe: Culture of mobility and cultural mobility policies. Fabien Barthélémy (Joseph Fourier University) [abstract]

Session 3: Economic development policy mobilities (4:00 PM – 5:40 PM)

  • Re-constructing the city through transatlantic policy discourses and policy mobilities. Robert Krueger (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) and Markus Hesse (University of Luxembourg) [abstract]
  • Contradictories, resistances, failures: Business Improvement Districts as contested neoliberal urban governance travelling Germany. Christian Schwedes (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Maim) and Boris Michel (Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg) [abstract]
  • Chicago’s new redevelopment machine. David Wilson (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) [abstract] 
  • Moveable feasts: Food trucks and urban policy mobilities. Jessa Loomis (University of Kentucky) [abstract]
  • Peripatetic planning: Tracing the mobility of Bus Rapid Transit through South African cities. Astrid Wood (UCL) [abstract]