High Stakes, High Hopes

Urban Theorizing in Partnership

Title Details

Pages: 180

Illustrations: 21 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 09/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6501-5

List Price: $22.95


Pub Date: 09/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6500-8

List Price: $114.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

Published with the generous support of University of Cape Town

High Stakes, High Hopes

Urban Theorizing in Partnership

Collaborative urbanism engages multiple publics and politics across the city

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  • Description
  • Reviews

High Stakes, High Hopes tracks the building of urban theorizing in a decade-long urban research and teaching partnership in Cape Town, South Africa. An argument for collaborative urbanism, this book reflects on what was at stake in the partnership and its creative, and at times, conflictive, evolution. High Stakes, High Hopes explores what changed in learning when teaching and assessment occurred in university classrooms, township streets, and ordinary people’s households. Oldfield explores how research and assessment were reshaped when framed in neighbourhood questions and commitments, and what was reoriented in urban theorizing when community activism and township struggles were recognized as sites of valid knowledge-making.

Oldfield traces the multiple personal and political relationships at play, exploring the shifting patterns of power in this productive, yet always negotiated, collaboration. This innovative methodology reveals the ways in which activists, residents, students, and the author experienced and reworked the differences between them. High Stakes, High Hopes shares forms of practice, grounded in teaching, to train a next generation of urbanists to engage the city embedded in multiple publics and politics across the city. The book builds upon an archive of alternative kinds of urban knowledges, experiments which work to inspire more varied forms of urban theorizing.

Decolonizing urban studies demands radically different methods and modes of theory building. Oldfield and her interlocutors have gifted us a brilliant guide that shows this practice, forged through patience, reflexivity, partnership, care, and evocative writing. High Stakes High Hopes is vital reading and a generative pedagogic tool for those passionate about the just city under construction.

—Edgar Pieterse, founding director of the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town

High Stakes, High Hopes is a powerful praxis, a painstaking archive, a profound pedagogy, and a committed celebration. Sophie Oldfield takes us on a journey with her urban co-theorists to offer a new aesthetic of creation, reflection, and narration in partnership. With Gertie, Mina, Dan, Zaida, Koekie, Suki, Rosemary, Naomi, and many more comrades, she not only shows us an alternative way of doing urban theory but she also inspires us to reimagine the possibilities of humanistic social sciences .

—Richa Nagar, author of Hungry Translations: Relearning the World Through Radical Vulnerability

The stakes of this powerfully argued and beautifully written book are indeed high. They are about what I call research justice: the making of deep-rooted partnerships as methodology and epistemology such that we can imagine and create spatial justice in highly unequal cities. Drawing on the long arc of such work, Sophie Oldfield shows us a different embodiment of urban theorizing and archiving, one that shifts the knowledge geographies of our disciplines and makes possible a transformative mode of knowledge relations.

—Ananya Roy, director, UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy

Sophie Oldfield answers the call for more relational and embodied theorizing, including (and especially) from cities in the global South. She contributes to the contemporary impulse to reimagine scholarship as a community-engaged practice and to experiment with narrative form.

—Geraldine Pratt, coauthor of Migration in Performance: Crossing the Colonial Present

High Stakes, High Hopes is a compelling read. The text is very well crafted, with a lively and personal style. But it does not sacrifice critical or analytical rigour in the process. . . . The book's highly original contribution rests on the proposition that urban knowledge, and urban theory, can arise from a collaborative, community-based methodology, including innovative pedagogical practices developed in the context of a long-term, richly rewarding community partnership.

—Jennifer Robinson, author of Comparative Urbanism: Tactics for Global Urban Studies

About the Author/Editor

SOPHIE OLDFIELD is a professor in City and Regional Planning at Cornell University and in Environmental and Geographical Science at University of Cape Town. She has authored and coedited more than ten books, including What Is Critical Urbanism? Urban Research as Pedagogy and The Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South.