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The Politics of Policy Circulation: Unpacking the Relationship Between South African and South American Cities in the Adoption of Bus Rapid Transit

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Astrid Wood


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This paper utilizes the introduction of bus rapid transit (BRT) in South Africa to unravel the role of South–South connections in local policymaking. While the South African systems are unmistakably modeled after Bogotá's Transmilenio, whose accomplishments have been touted as the low-cost, high-quality transport solution, the process through which other Southern cities influenced the circulation of BRT remains underexplored. In so doing, this paper asks how and why certain cities are brought into conversation with one another and what happens as a result? This analysis suggests that policy circulation is never a rational survey of best practices but a political process through which policymakers select their sites of learning in accordance with wider aspirations, ideologies and positioning. Illustrating the way in which policymakers deploy different meanings of the global South and their position within this construct to justify local policy decisions adds a critical dimension to understandings of policy mobilities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wood A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Antipode

Year: 2015

Volume: 47

Issue: 4

Pages: 1062-1079

Print publication date: 01/09/2015

Online publication date: 11/12/2014

Acceptance date: 09/11/2014

ISSN (print): 0066-4812

ISSN (electronic): 1467-8330

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/anti.12135


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