Urbanisation, Planning and Development

Seminar Series

These research seminars are a series of expert-led discussions. Unless otherwise noted, the seminars take place at LSE on Tuesdays, 4:30pm-6pm in Clement House, room CLM 3.04. The seminars are open to all.

ShanghaiLondonDhakaMumba by J.Abichandani, 2008

Lent Term 2018

Tuesday 16 January

Dr Doyoung Oh (London School of Economics)
"Conceptualising the university in East Asian cities: Is it a state agency, social reformer, or real estate developer?"

The university is a multifaceted institution playing diverse economic, social, and political roles, and such roles have evolved. How can we conceptualise the university to understand such roles? This talk firstly offers a framework to conceptualise the university of the city. Then it investigates two East Asian universities’ recent urban development projects using the proposed framework. By doing so, this talk will highlight the process that East Asian universities are becoming financialised as an active urban development agent.

Tuesday 23 January

Dr kasia Paprocki (London School of Economics)
"Threatening dystopias: Development politics and the anticipation of climate crisis in Bangladesh"

In the global imaginary of climate change, Bangladesh holds a prominent position. Frequently described as the ‘world’s most vulnerable country to climate change’, the specter of Bangladesh underwater, wiped off the map by rising sea levels, has given birth to a crisis narrative that obscures the ways in which interventions in the environment and social life of the country have already transformed the landscape many times over. Today, development in Bangladesh is increasingly defined by and through an adaptation regime, a socially and historically specific configuration of power that governs the landscape of possible intervention in anticipation of climate change. It includes institutions of development, research, media, and science, as well as various state actors both nationally and internationally. The adaptation regime operates through the material and epistemic processes of imagination, experimentation, and dispossession. It is built on a vision of development in which urbanization and export-led growth are both desirable and inevitable. For the rural poor, this entails dispossession from agrarian livelihoods and outmigration. As this shift contributes to the expansion of production of export commodities such as garments and frozen shrimp, the threat of climate change and its associated migrations is reframed as an opportunity for development and growth.

Tuesday 30 January

Yimin Zhao (London School of Economics)

Tuesday 6 February 

Dr Ruth Craggs (King's College London) 
"Decolonisation, national development and the discipline of geography in Nigeria"

Wednesday 14 February 

Lynette Ong (University of Toronto) 
“Thugs-for-hire” and state repression in China

This paper examines “thugs-for-hire” as a form of state repression, particularly through the use of third-party violent agents. Local governments regularly deploy third-party violence to evict homeowners, expropriate land from farmers, manage illegal street vendors and deal with petitioners and protestors in China. This study contributes to the state repression literature by elaborating the role of thugs and gangsters as a repressive measure. Violence is effective and efficient in implementing unpopular and illegal policies. Third-party violence as a form of privatized repression also allows the state to evade responsibility for using violence and to maintain a veneer of legitimacy. However, it may encounter agency problem, run the risk of backfiring from the society and impose cost on state legitimacy.

Tuesday 20 February

Jordana Ramalho (London School of Economics)
"Governing through disaster risk management: Contradictions and contestations in Metro Cebu, Philippines"

Tuesday 27 February

Meredith Whitten (London School of Economics)
"Reconceptualising green space: Planning for urban green space in 21st-century London"

Tuesday 6 March

Ingrid Oviedo (UCL)


Michaelmas Term 2017

Tuesday 3 October

Dr Matteo Rizzo (School of Oriental & African Studies) 
“Taken for a Ride: Grounding Neoliberalism, Precarious Labour and Public Transport in an African Metropolis” (book launch)

How does public transport work in an African city under neoliberalism? Who has the power to influence its changing shape over time? What does it mean to be a precarious and informal worker in the private minibuses that provide such transport in Dar es Salaam? These are the main questions that inform this book – an in-depth case study of Dar es Salaam’s public transport system over more than forty years. 

Tuesday 10 October

Dr Patricia Noxolo (University of Birmingham)
"Reading Erna Brodber for gendered in/securities" 

This paper exists as part of a Leverhulme funded network that attempts to re-theorise the everyday negotiation between security and insecurity (in/security) by placing the Caribbean and its diaspora in the centre, and by connecting security with everyday creativity in the region.  Drawing on critical security theory, the project conceives of the concept of in/security as both a material and a politicised realm: through diverse forms of corporeal and other material practice (e.g. dance, art, as well as violence) communities negotiate how in/securities should be defined, prioritised, and addressed. From this starting point, the paper focuses on two novels by Erna Brodber, the Jamaican novelist, each of which features the everyday in/securities of women. The first, ‘Nothing’s Mat’, weaves fractal narratives of gender based violence into a multi-generational family story.  The second, ‘Louisiana’, weaves stories of political violence into a story of multi-spatial community. The paper argues that in each of these novels Brodber demonstrates how gendered in/security is negotiated through everyday material practice.

Tuesday 17 October

Pablo Navarrete (London School of Economics)
"From Survival to Social Mobility: Supporting the Informal Economy in Santiago de Chile"

Global trends show that the Informal Economy (IE) is here to stay, as its economic participation remains stable in Africa and is expanding in Asia, Latin America and Europe. The IE already contributes to 40% of the world’s GDP and provides two-thirds of global employment. Thus, the worldwide promotion of the first and eighth Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ‘ending poverty’ and ‘decent work for all’ means that the majority of required improvements in work quality must come from within the IE. Following the failure of decades of generally tolerant or actively oppressive policy approaches, there is a need to understand alternative visions that allow working with, rather than against, informal enterprises in the accomplishment of these SDGs. 

This research sheds light on an emerging alternative policy approach of “Supporting the IE”, answering the key urban development questions: Can supporting the efforts of poor entrepreneurs to escape poverty be a strategy to promote SDGs? If so, among the diversity of policies implemented, which supportive policies work?

Tuesday 24 October

Dr Johan Andersson (King’s College, London)
“Gentrification by genre: Hollywood cinema and the remaking of New York”

While the role of art and artists in the gentrification process has been studied since the early 1980s, cinema has only recently come to feature in these debates. This presentation gives an overview of this emerging field and looks specifically at the relationship between the romantic comedy and the gentrification of New York in the 1980s.

Tuesday 7 November

Dr Haeran Shin (Seoul National University, South Korea)
“From City of Blood to City of Culture: The territorialisation of memory in the politics of urban development in a second-tier Asian city, Gwangju, South Korea”

HaeRan Shin focuses on examining the politics of key actors in various development cases, including culture-led urban regeneration, new towns, and risk perception. By taking an actor-focused approach, she explores how specifically different actors form and develop power relations, knowledge mobility, discourses, and adaptive preferences. She also works on the issues of transnational migrants and their receiving communities. For her research on urban politics and migrant studies, she has used qualitative research methods including in-depth interviews, participant observations, focus groups, discourse analyses, and archival analyses. 

Tuesday 14 November

Professor Mustafa Dikeç (École d’Urbanisme, Paris)
“Urban Rage” (book launch)

This talk draws on material from Professor Dikeç’s recent book, Urban Rage: The Revolt of the Excluded (Yale University Press, 2017) to discuss urban riots in liberal democracies. The particular focus is on the context and political significance of these riots.

Thursday 16 November

Dr Sergio Montero (University of the Andes, Colombia) 
“Leveraging Cities: Sustainable Development, Global Philanthropy and the Increased Speed of Urban Policy Circulation”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is marked by the consolidation of sustainability as a key guiding principle for development and an emphasis on cities as a potential solution to global development problems. However, in the absence of an agreement on how to implement sustainable development in cities, a set of urban policy solutions and “best practices” have become the vehicles through which the sustainable urban development agenda is spreading worldwide. This article shows that the rapid circulation of Bogotá as a model of sustainable transport since the mid 2000s reflects an increasing focus of the international development apparatus on urban policy solutions as an arena to achieve global development impacts, what I call the “leveraging cities” logic.

Room: TW2.1.04 (Tower 2, 1st floor, room 0.4)

*Please note this seminar will take place on Thursday 16 November.

Tuesday 21 November

Dr Pádraig Carmody (Trinity College, Dublin & University of Johannesburg, South Africa) and Dr James T. Murphy (Clark University, USA)
“Pathways to Generative Urbanism in Africa”

Recently work in urban geography has begun to conceive of cities as socio-technical systems. In this paper we extend this perspective to argue that while this is true, cities as socio-technical systems can be disaggregated into production, consumption and infrastructure regimes. The nature of these regimes, their multi-scalar relations with outside actors and places, and the nature of inter-regime couplings substantially influence whether generative, parasitic or splintered forms of urbanism emerge. This paper explores this theorisation through application to African contexts and argues that in order for more generative forms of urbanism to emerge states and planners need to promote the development of production regimes through activist state policies which foster multiple axes of strategic coupling between relevant actors and synergistic inter-regime couplings.

This series is organised by Dr Ryan Centner. Contact r.o.centner@lse.ac.uk with any questions.