Beyond bare-bones survival? Service hubs, social infrastructure and the commons

Authors: Geoffrey Deverteuil*, cardiff university
Topics: Urban Geography, Social Geography, Asia
Keywords: commons, service hubs, Japan, voluntary sector
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Blue Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Global city-regions are marked by social polarization, where increasingly only the very rich and very poor remain. The focus here is on how the very poor have maintained their occupation and access to prime central urban space via service hubs, that is conspicuous concentrations of voluntary sector organisations that help the vulnerable survive. Service hubs constitute an important social infrastructure, and tend to be in highly-accessible locations that are both spatially resilient but also enable social and collective resilience. And yet, service hubs could also constitute more than just bare-bones survival - they could be potential commons, that is non-commodified and collective spaces that exist beyond capitalism but always threatened it. A case study of the Kamagasaki service hub in Osaka, Japan reveals an incremental commons built up across a variety of voluntary sector organizations, but also one which is beset by street-level bureaucracy that attempts to ration welfare services.

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