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Urbanism in the Global South: Building New Geographies of Development

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SG1, Alison Richard Building

7 West Road



United Kingdom

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Cities continue to play a defining role in shaping the landscapes, capital and people of our world today. Urban theory and policy have long attempted to define, quantify and explain the practices of everyday urbanity, as well as citizens' affect. Recent debates have forced a redefinition of 'cityness' and the agglomeration of the urban experience, especially in cities of the Global South. Ordinary cities have now come to contest the perceived dominance of global cities, where theorisation from the South seeks to deconstruct the hegemony of traditional urban epistemologies.

While critiques of area-based theorisation increase and 'planetary urbanisation' seeks to render Southern theory obsolete; the 'worlding' of cities has now come into force alongside calls to look at 'global urbanisation' as more than the sum of its parts.

Yet, in the face of international directives and Global Urban Agendas, cities of the South, have continually proven the necessity of localising interventions, countering blanket theorisations and creating innovative solutions from below. Cities such as Manila, Buenos Aires, and Johannesburg among others continually illustrate new forms of contention, governance and nature relationships that disavow accepted conceptualisations. As such, it seems imperative to understand organic trends of urbanism(s) that emerge from grounded empirical research.

This conference will thus bring together case studies, re-theorisations and snapshots of the urban experience designed to tackle pressing questions across Southern cities. These include- What are the new geographies of theory and development in these cities? How is the production of space realised by capitalist endeavours, networks of the marginalised and urban imaginaries? What forms of informal practices persist and co-produce new roles for the state and non-state actors? How are mobilisations disrupting the violent order of participation models?


9:00-9:20 Registration

9:20-9:30 Welcome Note

9:30-10:00 Debating Global Urbanisms: beyond the binaries in comparative urban politics

Keynote Speaker: Professor Jennifer Robinson, Department of Geography, University College London.

10:00-11:15 Urban Theory and Practice- Deconstructing Uneven Epistemologies, Hegemony and Southern Re-interpretation

Chair: Dr Aseem Inam, Cardiff University

Whose narratives on urban change? Decolonising the New Urban Agenda: A view from the borderland

Giulia Torino, University of Cambridge

Are slum dwellers poor? Does it matter? Evidence from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Alexandra Panman, University of Oxford

Reimagining the process of urban transformation: A discourse analysis of the 'smart city' socio-technical imaginary in India

Bipashyee Ghosh, University of Sussex

11:15-11:45 Coffee break

11:45-13:15 Informality, Urban Space and Neoliberalisation

Chair: Dr Maria Abreu, University of Cambridge

Discussant: Dr Felipe Hernandez, University of Cambridge

Below the radar

Dr. Tanya Zack, University of Witwatersand

Selfies, Streets, Sidewalks : Honour and Public Space in Pakistan

Nayab Jan, London School of Economics and Political Science

Urban and social imaginary: An unfinished project of autonomy

Samir Harb, The University of Manchester

The impact of redevelopment of urban villages on migrant labourers in China

Yang Song, King’s College London

13:15-14:15 Lunch Break & Photo Exhibition

14:15-15:30 Rethinking Urban and Regional Governance: The expanding role of state and non- state actors in cities of the Global South

Chair: Dr Graham Denyer Willis, University of Cambridge

Land in Lahore: Accumulation by Juridical Dispossession in LDA City

Aisha Ahmad, University of Oxford

Shadow Cities: Political Power and Urban Planning in Luanda, Angola

Claudia Gastrow, University of Johannesburg

Are 'Company Towns' Cities?: The Political Geography of CSR in India, Kenya and South Africa

Maha Rafi Atal, University of Cambridge

15:30- 15:45 Coffee break

15:45-17:15 Partici-polis”- Cities, Contestation and Citizenship

Chair: Dr Charlotte Lemanski, University of Cambridge

Insurgent Planning Practices and Normative Frameworks: The Case of Area C of West Bank and the New Urban Agenda

Dr. Ahmad El-Atrash, UNHabitat Palestine

The political opportunities of urban decentralisation: mobilising local governance in Buenos Aires

Dr. Sam Halvorsen, University of Cambridge

Whose Freedom Park? The continuous struggle for an urban commons in Cambodia

Micheal Reiche, Bauhaus-Universitat Weimar

Urban Collectives and Local Government in the Renewal of an Emblematic Square: The Case of Largo da Batata in São Paulo, Brazil

Pauline Niesseron, London School of Economics and Political Science

17:15-17:30 Closing Remarks

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7 West Road



United Kingdom

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