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View of Docklands development from London Bridge, 2011 (photo by Jennifer Robinson)

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From Left to Right: View of new Town Centre development, Shenzhen, 2010; View across Singapore River towards Battery Road, Singapore, 2013 (photos by Jennifer Robinson); Sommershield II, Maputo, Mozambique, an upper-class complex built in 2000 by SOMOCOL on a piece of land occupied by informal settlements (photo by Fabrice Folio, 2005)

Comparative urbanism has been a core feature of IJURR’s editorial agenda since its founding. This virtual issue comprises 30 articles reflecting IJURR’s contribution to comparative urbanism, reinforced by the growing postcolonial insistence on a more global scope for urban studies widely aired in this journal. The introductory article by Jennifer Robinson discusses the contemporary potential of comparative urbanism to contribute to a more global urban studies and considers some of the key insights for this project which can be gleaned from early contributions to the journal, including comparing across cities jointly shaped by the uneven development of the world-economy, thinking across socialist and capitalist cities, and the important role of world cities approaches in shaping the scope of urban comparisons. The articles in the section on the ‘tactics and terms’ of comparison reflect on the methodological, analytical and political challenges involved in building a more global urban studies. In the ‘composing comparisons’ section there are examples of classic and more recent variation-finding comparisons, and innovative analyses which consider variations amongst cities within and across regions, including comparisons which challenge or bypass Northern or Western reference points. More experimental comparative methods associated with tracing connections across cities are reflected in the third section, beginning with the seminal world cities analyses and building on more recent interest in policy mobilities. The final section draws together a series of articles which demonstrate the scope for building analyses from specific contexts for wider theoretical interrogation: ‘launching and engaging concepts’. These articles reflect the best traditions of IJURR’s editorial practices which have encouraged contributions from authors around the globe whose work disrupts and extends prominent analyses but who are also eager to initiate new theorizations through attending to the specificity of their case studies and situations. Here we see, for example, the concept of ‘informality’ emerging in studies of cities in Africa, to be put to work in the final contribution to the issue, in the USA.

Jennifer Robinson
IJURR Editorial Board
April 2014

Jennifer Robinson (2014)

Tactics and Terms of Comparisons

Comparative Urban Analysis and Assumptions about Causality
Chris Pickvance (1986)

How to Study Comparative Urban Development Politics: A Research Note
Paul Kantor and H. V. Savitch (2005)

Cities in a World of Cities: The Comparative Gesture
Jenny Robinson (2011)

The Comparative City: Knowledge, Learning, Urbanism
Colin McFarlane (2010)

Colonialism, Urbanism and the Capitalist World Economy
Anthony D. King (1989)

Slumdog Cities: Rethinking Subaltern Urbanism
Ananya Roy (2011)

Practising Urban and Regional Research beyond Metrocentricity
Tim Bunnell and Anant Maringanti (2010)

Composing Comparisons

Institutional Logics and Local Economic Development: A Comparative Analysis of Eight American Cities
Susan E. Clarke (1995)

City Business: An International Perspective On Marketplace Politics
H. V. Savitch and Paul Kantor (1995)

Controlling the Urban Fabric: The Complex Game of Distance and Proximity in European Upper-Middle-Class Residential Strategies
Alberta Andreotti, Patrick Le Galès, and Francisco Javier Moreno Fuentes (2013)

The City in the Transition to Socialism
Pearse Murray and Ivan Szelenyi (1984)

Municipal Neoliberalism and Municipal Socialism: Urban Political Economy in Latin America
Benjamin Goldfrank and Andrew Schrank (2009)

Spaces of Modernity: Religion and the Urban in Asia and Africa
Mary Hancock and Smriti Srinivas (2008)

Gentrification in Spain and Latin America — a Critical Dialogue
Michael Janoschka, Jorge Sequera and Luis Salinas (2013)

Tracing Connections

World City Formation: An Agenda for Research and Action
John Friedmann and Goetz Wolff (1982)

Economics, Politics and Development Policy: The Convergence of New York and London
Susan Fainstein (1990)

‘Fourth World’ Cities in the Global Economy: The Case of Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Gavin Shatkin (1998)

Comparing Transnational Production Systems: The Automobile Industry in the USA and Japan
Richard Child Hill (1989)

‘Policies in Motion’, Urban Management and State Restructuring: The Trans-Local Expansion of Business Improvement Districts
Kevin Ward (2006)

The Spread of a Transnational Model: ‘Gated Communities’ in Three Southern African Cities (Cape Town, Maputo and Windhoek)
Marianne Morange, Fabrice Folio, Elisabeth Peyroux, and Jeanne Vivet (2012)

Participatory Budgeting in Europe: Potentials and Challenges
Yves Sintomer, Carsten Herzberg, and Anja Röcke (2008)

Launching and Engaging Concepts

Do the Urban and Regional Management Policies of Socialist Vietnam Reflect the Patterns of the Ancient Mandarin Bureaucracy?
Nguyên due Nhuân (1984)

Industrialization and the Regional Question in the Third World: Lessons of Postimperialism; Prospects of Post-Fordism
Michael Storper (1990)

Governing Morocco: Modernity and Difference
Paul Rabinow (1989)

Not Depoliticized but Ideologically Successful: the Public Housing Programme in Singapore

Beng-Huat Chua (1991)

Urban poverty and Marginalization under Market Transition: The Case of Chinese Cities
Fulong Wu (2004)

Straddling the Divides: Remaking Associational Life in the Informal African City
Abdoumaliq Simone (2001)

How the People of Butembo (RDC) were Chosen to Embody ‘the New Congo’: Or What the Appearance of a Poster in a City’s Public Places can Teach about its Social Tissue
Kristien Geenen (2012)

From Los Angeles to Shanghai: Testing the Applicability of Five Urban Paradigms
Cathy Yang Liu (2012)

Understanding Urban Processes in Flint, Michigan: Approaching ‘Subaltern Urbanism’ Inductively
Seth Schindler (2013)