Theoretical notes on 'gray cities': The coming of urban apartheid?

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The author analyzes the political geography of globally expanding urban informalities. These are conceptualized as 'gray spaces', positioned between the 'whiteness' of legality/approval/safety, and the 'blackness' of eviction/destruction/death. The vast expansion of gray spaces in contemporary cities reflects the emergence of new types of colonial relations, which are managed by urban regimes facilitating a process of 'creeping apartheid'. Planning is a lynchpin of this urban order, providing tools and technologies to classify, contain and manage deeply unequal urban societies. The author uses a 'South-Eastern' perspective to suggest the concept of 'planning citizenship' as a possible corrective horizon for analytical, normative and insurgent theories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-100
Number of pages13
JournalPlanning Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Apartheid
  • Colonial relations
  • Gray space
  • Informality
  • Urban regime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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