Skip to main content

McGuirk, Pauline M. Senior Prof.

Senior Professor

  • Professor - School of Geography and Sustainable Communities 2016 -
  • Director - Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS) 2018 -
  • Co-Editor, Progress in Human Geography - Sage 2015 - 2020
  • Director, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies - University of Newcastle 2006 - 2015

Overview


I  joined the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities at UOW in 2016, after being Professor and Director of the Centre of Urban and Regional Studies and Head of Discipline (Geography and Environmental Studies) at the University of Newcastle, NSW. As an urban political geographer, I have worked with colleagues across economic, cultural and social geography as well as in sociology, planning, political science and international relations, and with practitioners and policy makers in state and local governments. I have been a visiting fellow at National University of Ireland (Maynooth), UBC (Vancouver), Trinity College (Dublin) and at the universities of Glasgow, Durham. Bristol and Sheffield. In 2016 I was elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. In 2019 I was awarded the MacDonald Holmes Medal (Geographical Society of NSW) (distinguished contribution in the field of geographical education in Australia).

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • I am an urban political geographer. My major interests revolve, broadly, around critical studies of urban governance, its changing geographies, material practices and politics, and the differential implications for urban places, communities, subjectivities and power. My work draws broadly on post-structural political economy approaches that seek to combine critical and generative orientations.  

    One major theme of my work has been analysis of the changing geographies and practices of neoliberalised urban governance.  Resisting universalized accounts, I have unpacked urban neoliberalism as a political project that is contingently performed and unevenly reproduced in diverse contexts. Empirically, I have developed this analysis through explorations of competitive urbanism, the private governance of urban neighbourhoods and, most recently, urban regeneration.

    A second theme of my research centres on the strategic role of cities in climate and energy governance. I have explored the evolution of the urban governance of carbon in Australian cities—across an array of state and non-state actors and multiple scales—teasing out its modes, practices, and political implications. In related work on urban energy transitions, I have traced how these transitions are being assembled, configuring and reconfiguring urban political interests as they unfold.

    My most recent work on the governance of ‘smart’ cities’ involves both empirical analysis of 'actually existing' smart city governance, as well as thinking critically and generatively about the urban politics of ‘smart cities', their promise and their peril.  

Available as Research Supervisor

Selected Publications


Other Research Activities


Impact Story


  • <p>In 2020, cities were positioned on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis in terms of transmission, impact, management and recovery. COVID-19  will alter cities, for better or worse. The pandemic exposed urban and policy vulnerabilities. But it also loosened institutional constraints and policy imaginations. It provided a mandate for change and deepening governance experimentation, shifting what is thinkable, feasible, and socially and politically acceptable.  </p><p> </p><p>At a key moment in the turn from emergency response to recovery from the pandemic, the research team on the Australian Research Council Discovery Project <em>Innovating Urban Governance</em>  (Pauline M<u><sup>c</sup></u>Guirk, Robyn Dowling, Sophia Maalsen and Tom Baker) posed the question: what are the implications of the pandemic for current and future cities and for the prospects for a just urban recovery?</p><p> </p><p>We invited a panel of leading Sydney-based urbanists together to start a conversation on these questions. Our aim was to cohere sets of ideas and aspirations to inspire city authorities, urban practitioners and communities and to empower them as agents in the post-pandemic urban recovery. </p><p> </p><p>Our (virtual) panel at attended by over 150 people nationally and internationally, drawn from academic, government, professional and community audiences. Panellists focused on the themes of: Economy, Housing, Mobility, Public space, Indigeneity, Planning, and Technologies and Data. In conversation with the audience, the panel discussed the pandemics’ implications for current and future cities; prospects for a just recovery;  the legacy of lockdown for urban inequality; how housing and economy might be reshaped;  the types of cities that might result from altered planning processes, new technologies, new ways of working and moving; implications for the settler-colonial city; and, finally, the opportunities the pandemic might provide to innovate, so as to ‘build back better’.</p><p> </p><p>The discussion provides a resource for urbaneducators, practitioners, communities and governments. It was recorded and produced as a podcast as part of the <a href="https://cityroadpod.org/2020/07/09/post-pandemic-cities/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">City Rd podcast series</a> and the full panel recording can be access <a href="https://soundcloud.com/user-283789701/post-pandemic-urbanism-a-just-urban-recovery" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p>

Available as Research Supervisor

Potential Supervision Topics


    • critical geographies of urban governance
    • geographies of smart urbanism (including sharing cities)
    • practices and politics of urban regeneration

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Sharing Cities: New Strategies for Communal Sharing Santala, Inka
    Doctor of Philosophy Making Things, Producing Culture, Housing People? Competing Visions of Industrial Land Use in the Contemporary City Lyons, Craig
    Doctor of Philosophy Tiny Geographies of Home: Downsizing the 'Great Australian Dream' Penfold, Hilton
    Doctor of Philosophy From experimentations to collaborative governance: The role and implications of experimentations in shaping Australian smart cities Santala, Ville

Keywords


  • Critical Urban Studies

  • Urban governance

  • Urban political geography

  • Urban theory

Full Name


  • Pauline McGuirk

Web Of Science Researcher Id


  • A-2302-2010    

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • I am an urban political geographer. My major interests revolve, broadly, around critical studies of urban governance, its changing geographies, material practices and politics, and the differential implications for urban places, communities, subjectivities and power. My work draws broadly on post-structural political economy approaches that seek to combine critical and generative orientations.  

    One major theme of my work has been analysis of the changing geographies and practices of neoliberalised urban governance.  Resisting universalized accounts, I have unpacked urban neoliberalism as a political project that is contingently performed and unevenly reproduced in diverse contexts. Empirically, I have developed this analysis through explorations of competitive urbanism, the private governance of urban neighbourhoods and, most recently, urban regeneration.

    A second theme of my research centres on the strategic role of cities in climate and energy governance. I have explored the evolution of the urban governance of carbon in Australian cities—across an array of state and non-state actors and multiple scales—teasing out its modes, practices, and political implications. In related work on urban energy transitions, I have traced how these transitions are being assembled, configuring and reconfiguring urban political interests as they unfold.

    My most recent work on the governance of ‘smart’ cities’ involves both empirical analysis of 'actually existing' smart city governance, as well as thinking critically and generatively about the urban politics of ‘smart cities', their promise and their peril.  

Selected Publications


Other Research Activities


Impact Story


  • <p>In 2020, cities were positioned on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis in terms of transmission, impact, management and recovery. COVID-19  will alter cities, for better or worse. The pandemic exposed urban and policy vulnerabilities. But it also loosened institutional constraints and policy imaginations. It provided a mandate for change and deepening governance experimentation, shifting what is thinkable, feasible, and socially and politically acceptable.  </p><p> </p><p>At a key moment in the turn from emergency response to recovery from the pandemic, the research team on the Australian Research Council Discovery Project <em>Innovating Urban Governance</em>  (Pauline M<u><sup>c</sup></u>Guirk, Robyn Dowling, Sophia Maalsen and Tom Baker) posed the question: what are the implications of the pandemic for current and future cities and for the prospects for a just urban recovery?</p><p> </p><p>We invited a panel of leading Sydney-based urbanists together to start a conversation on these questions. Our aim was to cohere sets of ideas and aspirations to inspire city authorities, urban practitioners and communities and to empower them as agents in the post-pandemic urban recovery. </p><p> </p><p>Our (virtual) panel at attended by over 150 people nationally and internationally, drawn from academic, government, professional and community audiences. Panellists focused on the themes of: Economy, Housing, Mobility, Public space, Indigeneity, Planning, and Technologies and Data. In conversation with the audience, the panel discussed the pandemics’ implications for current and future cities; prospects for a just recovery;  the legacy of lockdown for urban inequality; how housing and economy might be reshaped;  the types of cities that might result from altered planning processes, new technologies, new ways of working and moving; implications for the settler-colonial city; and, finally, the opportunities the pandemic might provide to innovate, so as to ‘build back better’.</p><p> </p><p>The discussion provides a resource for urbaneducators, practitioners, communities and governments. It was recorded and produced as a podcast as part of the <a href="https://cityroadpod.org/2020/07/09/post-pandemic-cities/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">City Rd podcast series</a> and the full panel recording can be access <a href="https://soundcloud.com/user-283789701/post-pandemic-urbanism-a-just-urban-recovery" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p>

Potential Supervision Topics


    • critical geographies of urban governance
    • geographies of smart urbanism (including sharing cities)
    • practices and politics of urban regeneration

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Sharing Cities: New Strategies for Communal Sharing Santala, Inka
    Doctor of Philosophy Making Things, Producing Culture, Housing People? Competing Visions of Industrial Land Use in the Contemporary City Lyons, Craig
    Doctor of Philosophy Tiny Geographies of Home: Downsizing the 'Great Australian Dream' Penfold, Hilton
    Doctor of Philosophy From experimentations to collaborative governance: The role and implications of experimentations in shaping Australian smart cities Santala, Ville

Keywords


  • Critical Urban Studies

  • Urban governance

  • Urban political geography

  • Urban theory

Full Name


  • Pauline McGuirk

Web Of Science Researcher Id


  • A-2302-2010    

Research Areas