This article argues that punk urbanism is best understood as the attempt to paradoxically conceive of and organize cities as unorganizable, contested, and heterogeneous spaces; the consolidation of a stable and coherent urban community is challenged within punk urbanism by the constant disruption of any identifiable and stable urban meaning. More precisely, sections of London punk in the 1970s revealed that a cultural geography based around a coherent urban meaning creates an ‘other’ that does not accord with and that is subsequently (attempted to be) eliminated or contained by the policing of that dominant urban meaning. In contrast to common theories of insurgency that seek to organize urban ‘others’ into an identifiable and affirmative collective identity–instead of being a mere negative of a hegemonic urban meaning–that will then replace the dominant culture of an urban space, punk seeks to maintain the moment when that ‘other’ interrupts and undermines that dominant urban culture. In other words, punk urbanism proposes what is usually identified as an urban ‘crisis’ as a new form of collective urban life.
- cultural geography