Autor: Ernesto López-Morales
Introduction: The increasingly influential post-colonial approach to comparative urban studies helps us see with great detail the richness of an ample array of diverse urban regimes in the world. There are so many different politico-economic contexts and cultural attitudes to urban life in every corner of the (rapidly urbanizing) world that deserve careful scrutiny without necessarily drawing on imported theoretical preconceptions.
In this vein, authors like Robinson (2011) have been paramount in rejecting centralized urban theorizations and instead advocate for emergent and simultaneous theory construction, from different places at different times, thus making theorization more agile and flexible than before.
Post-colonial comparativist scholars (among others, see McFarlane 2010; Roy 2009) aim to constitute a collegial production of knowledge without the act of theory travelling, because the latter is, they say, a major imposition of knowledge, a colonial exertion of intellectual power that has to be detached from current urban studies. Some of them, like Robinson, even advocate for an extensive unlearning’ of what we have learnt so farm about cities, namely, dismissing ideas we
have already acquired from Western academic environments. According to some of these current urban post-colonial thinkers, gentrification in particular falls into this category of pre-established, Westernized thoughts and preconceptions.