Space and Polity 14 (2):123-142 (2010)

Loren King
Wilfrid Laurier University
In a recent article in Space & Polity, Nezar AlSayyad and Ananya Roy draw suggestive analogies between medieval urban forms and troubling contemporary realities, such as gated urban enclaves and impoverished squatter settlements. Invoking the medieval city as an analytical device, they show how several prevalent urban practices of citizenship are in tension with, and sometimes flatly contradict, liberal complacencies and democratic hopes. However, this article suggests that there is another story to be told, using some of the medieval cities they invoke to critical ends. The narrative highlights the ways in which certain medieval spatial and civic forms might enrich liberal and democratic aspirations, helping us to re-imagine at least two core values of liberal democratic citizenship.
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