David Mountain

David Mountain
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
To be held virtually via Zoom
Research Lunchtime Seminar Series Spring 2020
Towards a new analysis of urban neoliberalism: containment, extension and recentralisation in post-war British urban planning history
David Mountain
PhD Candidate, Manchester Architecture Research Group
University of Manchester

Zoom Meeting ID: 207-907-057
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Through archival and interview-based research, this research project elaborates a nascent historiography of the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC)—long seen as emblematic of neoliberalism—as at the end of the post-war new towns movement. The primary aim of this is to more adequately situate the historical premises of critical urban theory and its conception of recent urban and ideological history.

This paper presents the historical framework within which this analysis is developed; the paper re-assesses post-war planning in Britain through an urban-theoretical framework which responds to recent discussions of Planetary Urbanisation. This paper is split into three sections which follow three dominant moments of urbanisation: an exposition of post-war planning through the philosophy of containment and its discontents; the critique of the concept of the neighbourhood as manifested in the innovative new town of Milton Keynes as a moment of extension; and the ‘crisis of the inner city’ in the 1970s as the formative moment of recentralisation. This framing or contextualisation is not simply a chronological historical exposition, but is more importantly an articulation and exploration of three spatial and political moments. These moments articulate changes in the relationship of state and society, and intellectual history and ideological change; relationships which hold significance for present-day conceptions of urbanisation and urban change.


David Mountain is a PhD Candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant in Architecture at the University of Manchester, supervised by Dr Lukasz Stanek and Prof Kevin Ward. He previously completed an MSc in Urban Studies at the department of Geography at University College London, and a BA in History of Art at the department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. His Master’s dissertation concerned the rise of the adaptive reuse of infrastructure in the London Docklands; its theoretical slant was extended for publication in an edited volume that arose from participating at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference in 2016. This book, “Emerging Urban Spaces: A Planetary Perspective”, was recently published in Springer’s Urban Book Series.

All interested are welcome.