Productive tensions? The “city” across geographies of planetary urbanization and the urban age

Ricardo Martinez*, Tim Bunnell, Michele Acuto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


A shift away from the city as the default unit of analysis in urban studies is one of the widely agreed-upon advances brought about by the planetary urbanization thesis. Yet academic critique of methodological cityism has gained traction during a period when the city is not only globally prominent through the “urban age” discourse but has also been consolidated as a key scale of policy action in multilateral agendas. Rather than focusing on a new theory-policy disjuncture, this intervention identifies potentially productive tensions between aspects of the planetary urbanization and urban age theses. We argue that: (1) inclusion of the experiences of Southern cities in the formulation of multilateral urban agendas are openings to consideration of urban processes that extend well beyond the city; (2) the city as an established locus of ground-level political action provides a window onto the role of human dynamics in extended geographies of urbanization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1022
Number of pages12
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • critical urban theory
  • Planetary urbanization
  • the city
  • urban age
  • urban politics


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