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Fellow 2023/2024David Wilson

Fellowship Term: 08/2023 – 12/2023

David Wilson is Professor of Geography and Urban Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, affiliated with the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. He earned his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1985 and holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany, which he completed in 1978. Recent publications include "Toward a Dracula Urbanism: Smart City Building in Flint and Jakarta” (D. Wilson and E. Wyly, 2023), “Silencing, Urban Growth Machines, and the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago's South Side” (T. Schwarze and D. Wilson, 2022), "The People as Infrastructure Concept: Appraisal and New Directions, Urban Geography” (D. Wilson and A. Jonas, 2022), “People as Infrastructure Politics in Global North Cities: Chicago's South Side” (D. Wilson, 2022), L. and D. Wilson, 2022 "Planning the City for People of Color. In D. Pojani (ed.) Alternative Planning Theory (London: Routledge), "Decline Machines and Economic Development: Rust Belt Cities and Flint, Michigan” (Heil, M., Turner, L. and D. Wilson, 2022),  "Economic Development and the New Immigrant Segregationist Politics in Suburban Chicago” (Wilson, D., 2020).

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In the spotlight: David Wilson

David Wilson

Fear Redevelopment and Apocalyptic Urbanism

Intensified neoliberal redevelopment in European and Asian cities is alarming in its massive human afflicting. My work recognizes this issue's importance and examines a provocative concept recently applied to understand city redevelopment in Europe and Asia: “narratives of fear redevelopment.” This concept, recently invoked to identify "Frankenstein urbanism and “Dracula urbanism” as co-linked city redevelopment processes, now attracts increasing attention in urban studies, the social sciences, and the humanities. My proposed work generates important understandings about this fear narrative's current operations in European and Asian cities. Inspired by Warwick's (1999) notion of the “resilience of apocalyptic thought,” I examine the degree to which city governances in Europe and Asia push forward image-rich fear redevelopment (e.g., ensembles of exploding slums, abandoned downtowns, minority-turbulent streets) which link to Frankenstein and Dracula sensibilities (subterranean forces that lurk in the city, out-of-control processes that are no longer under human direction, infectious processes embedding in the city"s cracks-and-crevices). I thus excavate the full dimensions and intensity of what can be termed “apocalyptic urbanism.”