The Cyberflâneur #28: Joan Subirats

Joan Subirats is a professor of political science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a frequent contributor to the Spanish media. He’s a leading voice on issues of city governance, public management and public policy. Moreover, Joan has turned words into deeds. He’s actively involved in Spanish politics – currently the Deputy Mayor for Culture in Barcelona – and the co-founder of the citizen platform Barcelona en Comú.

Joan’s selections from our stacks make for excellent reading for anyone interested in fresh perspectives and case studies on urban society and governance. The pieces drawing on areas such as “new municipalism”, metropolitan rebellions or “urban entrepreneurialism” are especially relevant in the context of our cities under assault from COVID-19.

For Joan’s Twitter and bio.

~ Evgeny Morozov

The selection tries to emphasize the potential of the local scale in a time of globalization of risks and problems. A scale, precisely, that generates much more proximity between issues and policies than urban diversity might lead us to think. The local is global.

Joan Subirats
A recent lecture by Joan on the issue of social exclusion exacerbated by COVID-19.

Joan’s Selections


What’s so New about New Municipalism?

Are there really innovative elements in the so-called “new municipalism”? What differential characteristics does it present?


Urban Governance and Political Change Under a Radical Left Government: the Case of Barcelona

What significant elements emerge from the experience of “Barcelona en Comú” during its first years of government in the Barcelona city council? Challenges and opportunities.


Municipalities as Enablers in Urban Experimentation

Despite the fact that the municipalities do not have the necessary competencies to address the scale and significance of the problems they face, it is important to understand the political capacities that they can deploy in an enabling logic.


Metropolitan Rebellions and the Politics of Commoning the City

The metropolitan areas as a field of intersection of processes of city making, city occupying and rights claiming.


New Angles on Inequality

A volume devoted to pose two critical questions with respect to inequality: the eruption of far-right politics and the geographic separation between haves and have-nots.


Re-Grounding the City with Polanyi: from Urban Entrepreneurialism to Entrepreneurial Municipalism

The case of Liverpool as an example of de-commodifying land, labour and capital using Polanyi framework.


La Colaboración Público-Comunitaria para Defender lo Común

Analysis of the limits and potential of the new municipalism, in part emerged after the movement of the “Indignados”, in Spain after the experience of government between 2015 and 2019, with a special emphasis on the public-community relationship.


Social Movements in Times of Inequalities: Struggling against Austerity in Europe

This article analyze the role unions have played in the struggles against austerity and increasing inequalities, particularly in the European periphery that suffered the recession’s consequences.


The Right to the City: Conceptual Transformations and Urban Struggles

This article presents a history of the concept of the right to the city.


The Everyday Politics of Urban Transformational Adaptation: Struggles for Authority and the Barcelona Superblock Project

As the vulnerability of cities to the effects of climate change and now with the Covid-19 crisis increases, so does the urgency of and interest in urban transformational adaptation. The question is how “everyday” urban politics shape the multi-scalar political constraints that prevent municipalities from implementing transformational adaptation. In this article they analyze the Poblenou superblock project in Barcelona as an effort to enact transformational land use planning linked with climate adaptation and post-Covid efforts.

More by Joan Subirats – from our Stacks

Our archive of high-quality content across text, video and audio – our “Living Syllabus” as we call it – has already reached over 20,000 items and grows larger every week.

Here are some recent pieces by or featuring Joan from those archives:

Other Cyberflâneurs

We’ve featured many fantastic individuals in this series: artists, musicians, academics, writers, journalists, politicians, and more. To see the full list and browse their selections, head over here.

A handful of our contributors so far:


  • Kaiser Kuo – Writer, Musician, Podcaster
  • Li Andersson – Finland’s Minister of Education and the Chairperson of the Left Alliance party
  • Ivan Krastev – Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna
  • Fabrizio Barca – Italian Politician, founder of Forum on Inequality and Diversity

More About our Cyberflâneur Series

To learn more about how this particularly eclectic edition of our syllabi works, head over here. Note that if you subscribe to any of our weekly syllabi, we’ll keep you posted on our latest cyberflâneurs too. Our subscribers also get a monthly Highlights From the Cyberflâneur edition.

If you’d like to propose a candidate for this series, please use this simple form.

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