UCLA Urban Planning Journal-Call for paper

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Militaristic Urbanism

Volume 19, Summer 2012

Deadline for submissions: Monday, 2 January 2012

Urban areas are major battlegrounds of economic, political, and social conflict.  Cities have long been sites for struggle; however, urbanization and globalization have intensified this strife. As the stakes of planning have risen in political, military, and economic affairs, so has the temptation to use coercive tactics in urban conflicts.

Government responses to terrorism, trafficking, piracy, and other forms of lawlessness have reflected this proclivity for violence. As worsening local economic inequality has spurred discontent in all parts of the world, governments have sought to acquire security through force. States have tightened the physical control of their borders, while implementing increased immigration enforcement within those borders. They have blurred the lines between military and police forces. They have even invaded and occupied territories seen as hostile to their national identity.

Militaristic transformations are not always so overt. Though frequently unobserved and sometimes forgotten, the specter of force wielded in the control of space is a primary structural component underpinning political economic systems. Moreover, militarism can have major indirect effects on society. Sub-national regions compete fiercely for the privilege to leverage military production as local development, significantly shaping politics, economic planning, and the built environment. The impulse to secure territory also features prominently in physical and social architectures, legal systems, police technology and tactics, security architectures, and residential patterns.

Yet, the state does not monopolize the use of force in the control of space. For example, powerful corporations and criminal organizations both may rely on force to advance their purposes. Nor is the control of space uncontested. Ordinary people are engaging in mass protests, violent and nonviolent, in the Middle East, in the Maghreb, in Southern Europe, in the United States, and elsewhere-not only to critique government policies, but also to resist and challenge the control of space. These social movements may portend a turn towards a more sustained progressive militaristic urbanism.

For its 19th volume, Critical Planning invites critical research papers, book reviews, essays, literary journalism projects, poetry, and artistic projects that investigate and enlighten the issue of the militarization of cities, or that address the question of how planning can respond to the challenge of militarization with improved social justice outcomes. Among others, possible topics include:

  • Policing, crime prevention, and surveillance
  • Military-industrial / military-metropolitan complex
  • Social movements and rights to space
  • War and occupation
  • Security and border control
  • Social control through design and architecture

Critical Planning is a double-blind peer-reviewed publication. Feature articles are generally between 5,000 and 7,000 words, while shorter articles are between 1,000 and 3,000 words. Essays range from 1,000 to 7,000 words. Poetry submissions should be fewer than 600 words or 4 poems, whichever is shorter. We encourage submissions that incorporate cross-disciplinary, multi-scalar, multi-sited, transnational, or mixed-method approaches. We also welcome submissions of photographs, maps, art, or design projects related to the topic of militarized urban spaces for publication in the journal.

Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis, and we highly encourage early submissions. Feel free to contact us by email to discuss your ideas. All academic submissions should be written according to the standards of the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition. Please follow the journal's additional style guidelines for submissions. Manuscripts should be submitted by 5 PM PST on Monday, 2 January 2012 as .doc attachments via email to, or mail two hard copies (postmarked by the same date) to:


Critical Planning

c/o Ian Elder and Nina Flores, Managing Editors

UCLA Department of Urban Planning

School of Public Affairs

3250 Public Policy Building

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656