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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

'Boring Innovations’: New and renewed forms and politics of urban health governance Seminar

12:00 - 13:00
14 December 2023
B44 Room 1087 and on Teams

Event details

Geography and Environmental Science Seminar


In times of intersecting crises – health, economic, social, and environmental – cities search for ways to mediate competing pressures on already strained systems. It’s no wonder then, that urban innovation has become a new buzzword for municipal governments which, as countless research has shown, have long acted as entrepreneurial actors (Harvey, 1989, Leitner 1990, Phelps & Miao 2020). What urban innovation means in practice however is often more iterative than truly paradigm shifting, despite what the notion of innovation may evoke in popular and political discourse. Nonetheless, there are progressive and radical models of urban governance that have emerged under intersecting crises. Perhaps most notably, new municipalism, a form of radical democratic decision-making focused on issues of social reproduction such as housing, sustainability, and health (Russell 2019). Drawing on preliminary findings from current research in Santiago, Athens and Manchester, this paper explores the co-existence of formalized routes of urban health innovations and grass-roots experimentation in order to increase access to health services for marginalized communities. I analyse the ways in which crisis policy-making has given rise to new and experimental forms of radical and progressive care work in cities, alongside ongoing projects of revanchist and reactionary public health politics (MacLeod 1999, Temenos 2022). This paper asks how the concept of innovation works through competing needs of having to demonstrate urban entrepreneurialism while providing public health provision amidst ongoing austerity?

Speaker Information

Dr Cristina Temenos

Dr Cristina Temenos is Reader in Human Geography and UKRI Future Leader's Fellow at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on the relational politics of public health and social reproduction in cities across the so-called 'global north' and 'global south'. Current work examines the effects of post 2008 austerity policies on public health services across Latin America and Europe. She has also studied the geographies of harm reduction drug policy in cities in Europe, North America, and the Caribbean, the ways that social movements produce and mobilize knowledge about health and human rights to advocate for policy change in cities, and the ways that policy mobilities (re)shape cities.

Recent publication: FROM BUDAPEST TO BRUSSELS: Discursive and Material Failure in Mobile Policy - IJURR

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