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Tag Archives: Urban Crisis





Urban research is pre-occupied with the implications of an enduring economic crisis, which poses challenges and threats to cities far beyond those directly caught up in the crash. Yet, comparative research on the urban dimensions of crisis is still at a premium. Inspired by the Urban Studies/Urban Studies Foundation mission to promote critical and comparative urban research, we invite contributions from established academics, early career researchers, graduate students and critical governors and activists worldwide, addressing our conference theme: ‘Interrogating Urban Crisis: Governance, Contestation and Critique’. How is crisis understood, narrated, governed, contested and researched from the perspective of cities and urban societies, in and beyond places directly affected by the crash? Can cities in the West learn from counterparts in the East and South about evading, contesting and overcoming crises – or vice-versa?

The conference mission is to conduct and facilitate far-reaching international comparisons. We encourage contributions undertaking comparison directly and indirectly, or otherwise addressing the problem of international, transnational and comparative relevance. Critical governors and activists are welcome to submit papers, but are also a vital experiential and evidential anchor for the event. We warmly welcome proposals for non-academic contributions, such as story-telling and critical policy forums. The conference will be organised into three parallel streams: governing, contesting and researching urban crises. Proposers are asked to highlight the most relevant for their contribution.

Stream 1: Governing Urban Crises

How are understandings of, responses to and defences against crisis constituted through urban governance?

– How do cities narrate and govern the economic crisis? In what context does urban government deploy crisis (or renaissance/resilience) narratives, of what kind? Where does it act strategically/reactively? Where does it drive, manage or subvert austerity?
– How are collaborative practices, such as public participation, co-production and governance ‘beyond the state’ changing in the face of crisis-governance? In what circumstances are they enhanced, maintained, transformed or undermined?

Stream 2: Contesting Urban Crises

What is the role of cities and urban societies in fostering resistance to the depredations of crisis – and to crisis narratives? What, in particular, is the potential for envisioning and enacting post-neoliberal urbanisms?

– How do urban governors relate to urban resistance? E.g. repressing, ignoring, recuperating, cultivating or internalising it?
– What kinds of claims for justice are made, tacitly or explicitly, in resisting austerity and disinvestment?
– To what extent is resistance confined to ‘critique’, or does it also prefigure/actualize alternative forms of urban governance or urban society?
– What can Western urban studies learn about post-neoliberal urbanism from cities in the East and South – and vice-versa?

Stream 3: Critical Research on Urban Crises

What are the theoretical and methodological challenges of conducting critical comparative studies of crisis-governance, resistance and transformation?

– What methodological, theoretical and empirical challenges do we face in advancing a comparative focus on crisis-governance, resilience and resistance in cities?
– How do academic/non-academic notions of urban crisis/resistance differ?
– Can critical urban scholars, governors and activists cooperate in fostering comparative research: is ‘critical co-production’ feasible?

Conference Proposals

Academic abstracts and suggestions for non-academic contributions of up to 300 words should be submitted to the conference administrator, Suzanne Walker, at , by Friday 29th March 2013. Proposals must include the following information: name(s), workplace, title of contribution, details of contribution (including the comparative contribution) and preferred stream (governing, contesting or researching). Decisions on proposals will be made in April 2013.

Urban Studies-Urban Studies Foundation Funding

Thanks to generous support from Urban Studies and the Urban Studies Foundation, we can offer free registration, subsistence and accommodation to those whose proposals are accepted. We are also able to part-subsidise travel expenses, with priority for contributors requiring long-haul flights.

Please contact if you have any questions or comments about the conference.


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David Harvey


David Harvey Lecture, Bristol, 19th July: Crises, Urbanization and the City as a Terrain for Anti-Capitalist Struggle


Bristol Institute of Public Affairs

Crises, Urbanization and the City as a Terrain for Anti-Capitalist Struggle

Professor David Harvey, Graduate Centre, City University of New York


David Harvey is one of the world’s most influential social scientists.  His many books include The New Imperialism; Paris, Capital of Modernity; Social Justice and the City; Limits to Capital; The Urbanization of Capital; The Condition of Postmodernity; Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference; Spaces of Hope; Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography, A Brief History of Neoliberalism and The Enigma of Capital.  His work also contributes to broader social and political debate; he is a leading proponent of the idea of ‘The Right to the City’, and in recent years he has become an internationally recognised ‘public intellectual’ in part due to the success of his very popular online lectures on Marx’s Capital  and superb public lectures.  We are delighted to welcome you all to this very special event.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011, 5:30pm

Peel Lecture Theatre, Reception to Follow

School of Geographical Sciences, University Road, University of Bristol




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World Crisis


The variegated geographical contours of the urban crisis

Sara Gonzalez (University of Leeds), Stijn Oosterlynck (Universiteit Antwerpen), Ugo Rossi (Università di Cagliari) and Ramon Ribera Fumaz (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

As part of the Sixth International Conference of Critical Geography


Details at: 

We call for contributions to a workshop where we will discuss how cities have been affected in different ways by the global financial crisis and what different reactions and policy responses are we seeing across the world. We are particularly interested in comparing and contrasting across different geographical locations to understand if and what general trends are emerging. Are we seeing the intensification of “unevenly evolving neoliberalization processes” (Brenner et al, 2010: 27) in urban spaces, glimpses of a post-neoliberal alternative or gradual return to business as usual? Are cities emerging as key arenas for (global) change or passive sites for implementation of policies? Can we appreciate different urban future scenarios?

Rather than a traditional paper based session we propose to have short presentations directly related to the questions above by participants bringing a particular geographical focus. In an interactive way we hope to start to draw the contours of how cities and capitalism itself are being remoulded in a geographically variegated way.

This session forms part of a wider research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust:

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