Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online.
A Polanyi-inspired perspective on social-ecological transformations of cities; by Richard Bärnthaler, Andreas Novy, & Basil Stadelmann
Based on a Polanyi-inspired research program, we analyze urban transformations as interrelations between infrastructural configurations, i.e. context-dependent material infrastructures and their multi-scalar political-economic regulations, and socio-cultural modes of living. Describing different modes of infrastructure provisioning in Vienna between 1890 and today, we illustrate how political-economic processes of commodification and decommodification have co-evolved with socio-culturally specific modes of living, grounded in different classes and milieus. We show how, today, two modes of living—“traditional,” established during postwar welfare capitalism, and “liberal,” formed during neoliberal capitalism—co-exist. In the current conjuncture of rising inequality, neoliberal urban regeneration, and accelerating climate crisis, these modes of living are not only increasingly polarized and antagonistic, but also increasingly unable to satisfy needs and self-defined aspirations. Therefore, we explore the potential of social-ecological infrastructural configurations as an alliance-building project for a systemic social-ecological transformation, potentially linking different classes, social segments and forces around a common eco-social endeavor.