A new commentary by Jim Merricks White and Rob Kitchin, ‘For or Against ‘The Business of Benchmarking’,’ has been published in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. It is a response to a paper by Michele Acuto, Daniel Pejic and Jessie Briggs.
This short response does two things. First, it argues that urban benchmarks have
specific and structural limits not identified in the principal essay in this intervention, which
curtail the kinds of constructive and critical work such benchmarks might be expected to
perform. ISO 37120 is discussed as an example. Second, it proposes a pluralistic approach
to engagement and offers six suggestions for how academics might take urban benchmarks
and their makers seriously without becoming fully embedded in their business. These
are: ethnography, discourse analysis, self-reflexive critique, critical urban benchmarking,
alternative publication channels and scholarly debate.