Reconstructing Urban Economics
Towards a Political Economy of the Built Environment
Zed Books 2016
In this interview, Carlo D’Ippoliti and Andrea Bernardi interview Franklin Obeng-Odoom who teaches urban economics and political economy in the School of Built Environment at the University of Technology, Sydney. In 2016, Dr Obeng-Odoom won the Patrick Welch Prize awarded by the Association for Social Economics. He also won the EAEPE-Kapp Prize 2017 for “Marketising the commons in Africa: the case of Ghana” Review of Social Economy 74 (4), 390-419. He has recently published Reconstructing Urban Economics: Towards a Political Economy of the Built Environment (Zed Books, 2016)
The shift of world populations into cities and the increasing concentration of activities in urban areas have generated new debates about cities as well as rejuvenating old debates, turning them into global concerns. The economics of cities and regions has, therefore, attained a particularly important status in the twenty-first century. Yet many writers on urban economic issues have never formally studied the subject. Many are mainstream economists who apply their general (equilibrium) economics to cities, but most of them have very little appreciation of the political economy of cities and much less understanding of the built environment, its history, complexities, and peculiarities. The result is the rise of a highly mathematical, mystical urban economics abstracted from critical political, institutional, and social processes at a time when real-world urban economics is urgently needed. This book seeks to offer a corrective to this state of affairs, and to generate further interest in critical real-world urban economics. Through the analysis, exposition, and critique of the urban world in which we live, the book shows fundamental contradictions in the wisdom that more mainstream urban economists have offered over the years. It offers clear alternatives that show that another urban world is possible.
Carlo D’Ippoliti is associate professor of political economy at Sapienza University of Rome, and editor of the open access economics journals PSL Quarterly Review and Moneta e Credito. Within EAEPE he is the research area coordinator of History of Political Economy; more info at his website www.carlodippoliti.eu.
Andrea Bernardi is Senior Lecturer in Employment and Organization Studies at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He holds a doctorate in Organization Theory from the University of Milan, Bicocca. He has held teaching and research positions in Italy, China and the UK. Among his research interests are the use of history in management studies, the co-operative sector, and Chinese co-operatives. His latest project is looking at health care in rural China. He is the co-convener of the EAEPEs permanent track on Critical Management Studies.