Aidan Mosselson's new book Vernacular Regeneration is out now

Vernacular Regeneration CoverVernacular Regeneration, the new book by Aidan Mosselson, is available now via Routledge.

The book presents a detailed, multi-layered account of the urban regeneration process currently taking place in inner-city Johannesburg. Its main aims are to propose new and alternative ways of reading processes of urban renewal generally and to deepen understandings of the process of urban change taking place in inner-city Johannesburg specifically. It engages with numerous actors involved in urban governance, the development of social and affordable housing and policing and security endeavours; it also presents the everyday experiences of residents living with and affected by processes of reinvestment and urban change.

In the book Dr Mosselson explores the diverse aims, ambitions, conflicts and agendas which have framed urban regeneration in Johannesburg and analyse the effects which competing imperatives and often contradictory approaches to urban revitalisation are having on the post-apartheid cityscape. He analyses the provision of social and affordable housing and the spread of private security through the lenses of neoliberal urbanism, gentrification, the privatisation of public space and revanchist policing. His work also interrogates these concepts and challenges their assumptions based on evidence emerging out of Johannesburg. Thus, the book proposes that critical urban studies needs to re-evaluate these concepts and their implied ways of seeing cities and demonstrates that more nuanced, adaptable and creative understandings and vocabularies need to be developed in their place.

The book combines broad-scale, comparative theorisation with grounded, specific detail. In this way, it seeks to contribute to theoretical and comparative approaches to understanding cities and processes of urban change, and also offers practical insights and experiences which may be of use to practitioners, policy-makers and planning students.

Of the book, Dr Mosselson said:

"This book is the culmination of several years’ work, starting with my PhD research, carried out between 2011 and 2015, and continued over the last couple of years.

"I hope that through the publication of this book I can add to debates in the fields of urban studies, comparative urbanism and post-colonial theory. It is my intention to use Johannesburg as a case which exemplifies the particularities of urban settings and the ways spatial and historical contexts shape processes change. At the same time, Johannesburg is a setting from which broader, more generalized theoretical insights and practical learnings can be drawn. I hope that the work proves valuable for researchers working to develop critical perspectives and vocabularies and that it contributes to creating more democratic, plural practices in urban studies."

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