A SpaceTime Oddity: Backward Planning in the Global South

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Bayside C, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Organizers: Ricardo Cardoso, Hun Kim
Chairs: Ricardo Cardoso


The narrative of “backward planning” is a familiar trope for students of urbanization in cities of the global South. Capturing the frustrations of those who attempt to forecast spatial development where so-called “irrational” processes dominate, it provides an account of urban phenomena where everyday practices and forms diverge from the plan in fundamental ways. It is under such conditions that planners report engaging in “backward planning;” that is, the Sisyphean act of returning to previous iterations of the future in order to update them to conform to a defiant past and present.

Setting ideal models against material realities, “backward planning” fixes space and time into specific ontological vectors that produce two notable effects. First, such a view orients global South cities to the logics of urban development of the North Atlantic. Second, this space-time orientation has the effect of concealing a whole range of processes and logics of development that can be more productive objects of analysis.

The papers in this panel address problems associated with the ontology of backward planning in the global South. Using case studies from a variety of contexts to generate new theory about planning and urban development, they reveal complex processes of social, spatial and temporal change: from the ways in which people use and claim public space in São Paulo, to the relationships between everyday life and the visionary urban planning in Mumbai or the politics of materials and institutions in Delhi’s waste management; from the plural logics of infrastructural development in Saigon and Hanoi, to the production of aesthetic consensus in Luanda.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Laura Belik*, University of California - Berkeley, The Minhocão Elevated Highway, São Paulo: A Case Study of Urban Transformation 16 8:00 AM
Presenter Dana Kornberg*, , Incinerators, A Love Story: How Informal Realities Frustrate Modern Plans in Delhi 16 8:16 AM
Presenter Hun Kim*, University of British Columbia, Reassembling Urban Infrastructure in Late Socialist Vietnam 16 8:32 AM
Presenter Claudia Gastrow*, University of Johannesburg, Parafictional Cities and Aesthetic Consensus in Luanda 16 8:48 AM
Presenter Vyjayanthi Rao*, , A New Plan for Mumbai: Public Participation and Conflicts over the Mumbai Development Plan 2034 16 9:04 AM
Discussant AbdouMaliq Simone 10 9:20 AM

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