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The city as a machine for learning

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Despite its centrality to urban politics, economies and life, learning remains a neglected and undertheorised domain in urban geography. In this paper, I address this by exploring a politics of learning through two key sites: tactical learning and urban learning forums. I offer a conception of learning based on three processes: translation, or the relational distributions through which learning is produced as a sociomaterial epistemology of displacement and change; coordination, or the construction of functional systems that enable learning as a means of linking different forms of knowledge, coping with complexity and facilitating adaptation; and dwelling, or the education of attention through which learning operates as a way of seeing and inhabiting the world. I then consider this conception of learning in relation to tactical learning, i.e. the resources marginal groups use to cope with, negotiate and resist in the city, and urban learning forums, i.e. the possibilities for progressive forms of learning between different constituencies in the city. I conclude with an outline of a critical urbanism of learning.

Keywords: critique; knowledge; marginality; participation; tactics; urban learning

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00430.x

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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