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Changing times, changing places: urban development and the politics of space – time

  • Ecology
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science


Much of the writing on urban regeneration in the UK has been focused on the types of urban spaces that have been created in city centres. Less has been written about the issue of when the benefits of regeneration could and should be delivered to a range of different interests, and the different time frames that exist in any development area. Different perceptions of time have been reflected in dominant development philosophies in the UK and elsewhere. The trickle-down agendas of the 1980s, for example, were criticised for their focus on the short-term time frames and needs of developers, often at the expense of those of local communities. The recent emergence of sustainability discourses, however, ostensibly changes the time focus of development and promotes a broader concern with new imagined futures. This paper draws on the example of development in Salford Quays, in the North West of England, to argue that more attention needs to be given to the politics of space – time in urban development processes. It begins by discussing the importance and relevance of this approach before turning to the case study and the ways in which the local politics of space – time has influenced development agendas and outcomes. The paper argues that such an approach harbours the potential for more progressive, far-reaching, and sustainable development agendas to be developed and implemented.

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