The Urban Fringe: Offline / #Online Politics, Identity and Spatial Practices (II)

Type: Paper
Theme: Ethnonationalism and Exclusion Around the World
Sponsor Groups: Political Geography Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2020
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Plaza Ballroom E, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Organizers: Jason Luger
Chairs: Jason Luger


The urban fringe –the zone between city and rural, sometimes known as outer-suburb, sometimes as periphery or the peri-urban - is a vast and complex geography. There has been a recent focus on the global suburb as a crucial lens for exploration (Dines and Vermeulen, 2013; Keil, 2017; E.K. Wyly, 2018). Meanwhile the revanchism (Smith, 2005) of the inner-urban and inner-suburb have led to new patterns of suburban marginalization and increasing poverty – a trend long seen in informal settlements of the Global South and the banlieues of Western Europe, but now observed in North America as well (Ehrenhalt, 2012; Brookings, 2016). Political eruptions, such as right-wing populisms and new forms of authoritarianism, have been generated from the urban fringe: from Brexit’s heartlands to Trump’s exurbs. Questions of fringe identity are central to these movements, and these identities are anchored both in the built environment and via digital networks: from the ‘crabgrass frontier’ (Jackson, 1985) to the #crabgrassfrontier.

Thus, the urban fringe emerges as an important site of politics, identity formation, and spatial practices. Changing economic and social geographies have given rise to new alienations and feelings of resentment and otherness between ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ urban. Sociological frameworks such as Rachel Heiman’s (2015) exurban class anxieties and Elijah Anderson’s (2011) ‘cosmopolitan’ versus ‘ethno’ invite extensions to / from Global South and non-Western contexts (e.g. KP Tan’s 2008 exploration of ‘cosmopolitan’ versus ‘heartlander’ in Singapore; or L. Fernandes’s 2004 survey of Mumbai’s suburban political economy).

Lefebvre (1991) suggested that centrality is movable. Maybe the urban fringe is no longer the fringe; perhaps the crabgrass frontier is a new center.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Roger Keil*, YORK UNIVERSITY, “For the People” -- The Politics of horizontal and vertical sprawl in Ontario 15 9:35 AM
Presenter Farrell Stucky*, University of North Texas, App Stole my Gayborhood: Gentrification, Homonormativity and the Commodification of Queer in the Era of Neoliberal Urbanism 15 9:50 AM
Presenter Sarah Farmer*, Prof., Staking Out Rural Demands in the Urban Fringe: The Roundabout Revolt of France’s gilets jaunes 15 10:05 AM
Presenter Austin Ablo*, University of Ghana, Urban Enclaving: Private city development and the transformation of Africa’s urban fringes. 15 10:20 AM
Discussant Jason Luger University of California - Berkeley 15 10:35 AM

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