Surmounting City Silences: Knowledge Creation and the Design of Urban Democracy in the Everyday Economy


This essay presents segregation as a fundamental, longstanding and widespread problem that impedes democratic urban life and is intelligible from a critical geographic perspective. Ignorance is spatially produced by segregation at multiple scales so as to legitimize and perpetuate silence about problems among marginalized groups. This spatialized understanding explains inequality, problematizes and difference prompts an agenda that forefronts the creation of new social knowledges. The focus here is on the everyday economy as a crucial but commonly overlooked context for developing such knowledges. I re‐present a theory of knowledge creation developed for the pursuit of commercial competitiveness and reconfigure it to mesh socio‐political and economic goals. A central challenge is to change prevailing discourses by cultivating new practices that entail meaningful interaction among people otherwise segregated. Efficiency becomes a means to social as well as economic ends, as respect and trust grow from collaborative experience among people who might otherwise not interact.