No future. Punk planning, agonistics, and politics of exclusion

Authors: Sarah Gelbard*, McGill University School of Urban Planning
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Cultural Geography
Keywords: punk, placemaking, planning, planning theory, subculture, counterpublic, undercommons, future, futurity, inclusion
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Ambassador Ballroom, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


"Don't be told what you want /Don't be told what you need/ There's no future /No future /No future for you." (Sex Pistols, 1977). As planning theory continues the important work of interrogating who is included in their definition of the public, it continues to fail to consider those who are not included and what non-inclusion means for the city. Radicals, discontents, delinquents, undesirables: these are some of the non-public participants, or perhaps more-than-public participants in the city. Planners too easily forget that placemaking can, most frequently does, and historically has occurred through non-rational, non-deliberative, and non-prefigurative actions. While theories such as counterpublics (Fraser, 1990), subcultures (Hebdige, 1979), or undercommons (Moten & Harney, 2013) acknowledge nonconformity to the normative definition of public, they are still etymological prefixed and conceptually predicated on a spatial relationship to the politically-defined plane of the public realm. Beyond binaries, negation is an important space of subversion and difference. One potential dimension through which to consider why and how some of these non-publics are excluded from planning is through their negation of future. This temporal rather than spatial dimension of exclusion might force planning to confront its privileging of future and those who position themselves relative to (a shared imaginary of) the future (Muñoz, 2006). This paper works through critical auto-ethnography of punk placemaking to consider alternative ways in which what I call non-public placemaking positions an uncommon commons beyond political constitution of the public and back in everyday struggles of space, time, and human relationships.

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