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Volume 72, issue 1
Geogr. Helv., 72, 65–76, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-72-65-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Special edition Social Geography: Expertisen und Raumpolitiken...

Geogr. Helv., 72, 65–76, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-72-65-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Standard article 02 Feb 2017

Standard article | 02 Feb 2017

Consulting completed: temporal aspects of expertise in urban development during times of fast policies

Anne Vogelpohl Anne Vogelpohl
  • Department of Geography, University of Hamburg, Bundesstr. 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. Consultants, especially management consultants with their expertise in markets and entrepreneurial thinking, have gained a new role in urban policy. Urban politicians, facing ever-increasing international competition as well as diverse urban crises, search for immediate solutions, at times drawing on professional advice. This paper introduces the role of management consultants in urban policy in the context of fast policies. These new policies are often both developed over short periods of time and built upon predesigned concepts. Taking six German cities as examples, I frame the impact both of the duration of consultancy projects and of the moment when the consultants leave as temporal aspects of expertise that significantly influence how the external knowledge eventually shapes local political practices. I show that short-term consulting first causes a stimulus for change but then primarily results in an ambivalent amalgamation of professionalization and selectivity as permanently fast modes of everyday policymaking.

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Management consultants like McKinsey or Roland Berger have gained a new role in urban policy since the millennium, whereas urban politicians search for immediate solutions for urban crises and recipes for being internationally competitive. Experiences from six German cities expose the diverse roles that management consultants play in urban policy today: short-term consulting causes a stimulus for change but often results in an ambivalent amalgamation of professionalization and narrowness.
Management consultants like McKinsey or Roland Berger have gained a new role in urban policy...
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