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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19210

Title: “A Capital Experience:” National Urban Renewal, Neoliberalism, and Urban Governance on LeBreton Flats in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Authors: Picton, Roger M.
Advisor: Hackworth, Jason
Department: Geography
Issue Date: 2-Mar-2010
Abstract: This thesis investigates both Keynesian and neoliberal urbanism on LeBreton Flats, a mixed working-class district deemed a “blighted” slum unfit for a national capital. By studying the time-delayed embourgeoisement of the Flats, this study considers the production of the modern capital as an “event” with significant “afterlives” – both backwards and forwards. Using a historical and comparative perspective, this thesis engages with the literature on neoliberal urbanism and neoliberal urban governance to show how the NCC has adopted and adapted neoliberal practices and strategies of New Urban Policy (NUP) to postwar modernist planning imperatives. The initial expropriation of LeBreton Flats in April 1962, and the dislocation of its marginalized, stigmatized, and racialized residents emerged from an ambitious state-led initiative to remodel Ottawa into a centennial showcase. The model urban redevelopment was part of national subject formation anchored in “pedagogies of the nation.” Although the Keynesian dream ultimately faltered, three decades later, a new project to fill the “empty” national space was initiated. The NCC’s updated redevelopment plan promised to re-write the script, this time governed according to the “Golden Path” of urban entrepreneurialism. The present-day state-led redevelopment of LeBreton Flats can be considered simultaneously as part of the imagined community of nation-ness and as a variegated form of neoliberal policy experimentation. Both federal interventions on LeBreton Flats are part of a longer project of state-led intervention in the National Capital. These backwards and forwards governance timelines exemplify the many ways in which neoliberalism is not a radically new project, and how the enforcement of dispossession is part of an ongoing process of socio-spatial displacement. However, there are important distinctions. In the contemporary neoliberal redevelopment, cultural logic has merged with economic rational. Discourses and images of nature and culture have been mobilized to create a site-specific redevelopment for the expression of the nation. In the synergy of capital investments and cultural meanings, this thesis provides evidence on how nature and national pedagogy are mobilized as part “naturalized” behaviour and practices of urban neoliberalism.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19210
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Geography - Doctoral theses

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