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2015 Programme


UCL Main Campus: Pearson Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Closest tube: Euston Square, but also walking distance from Euston, Warren Street, King’s Cross-St.Pancras.

For further location information, visit:


Lunch and coffee/tea breaks are catered for on both days at Mac II Room, Pearson Building. On Monday evening (30th March) we have booked the upstairs of The Jeremy Bentham (31 University St, Euston, London, WC1E 6JL) where we can go for drinks (optional). This will be followed by dinner (optional) at Ciao Bella (86-90 Lamb's Conduit St, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3LZ).

Presentation Format:

All attendees will present on the first day within their track. Time allocated for each presenter is 40mins, which should be roughly divided into 20mins of presentation and 20mins for discussion. A projector and laptop will be available in each room. You can bring your presentation, if any, on a USB stick or email it to your track chair in advance.

The nature of this conference is that of a workshop, where participants present works in progress and are able to propose ideas not fully formed. It is expected that each participant will collaborate reciprocally, providing critical yet supportive feedback and discussion around other participants’ work. There is no need to submit any material in written form.

Day 1: Monday 30th March

9.30–10.00: Welcome, coffee, introductions (Pearson Building G07)

10.00-17.40: Track presentation sessions

17.40: Drinks at The Jeremy Bentham (optional)

20.00: Dinner at Ciao Bella (optional)

Track presentation sessions

Track 1: Urban transitions towards sustainability: Visions and realities (PB G07)

10:00 – 10:40: The discursive dimension of sustainable building transitions

Bérénice Preller, Université du Luxembourg

10:40 – 11:20: Community Currencies: A response to dire economic circumstances, or promoters of urban sustainable development?

Phedeas Stephanides, University of East Anglia

11:20 – 11:40: COFFEE/TEA

11:40 – 12:20: Re-municipalisation of energy utilities in Germany

Jonas Torrens, SPRU University of Sussex

12:20 – 13:00: The socio-spatial politics of sustainable transitions: Linking sustainability initiatives to urban regeneration and gentrification

Irene Håkansson, Kings College London

13:00 – 14:00: LUNCH

14:00 – 14:40: Discourses, images and imaginaries; towards a post-car world?

Farzaneh Bahrami, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

14:40 – 15:20: Sustainable mobility in the city – a study of Basel, Göttingen and Odense

Paul Fenton, Linköping University

15:20 – 16:00: Urban cycling in transition – A case study of London

Fanny Paschek, University of Greenwich

16:00 – 16:20: COFFEE/TEA

16:20 – 17:00: Alternative Food Networks, the agro-food system and relocalization: sociotechnical perspectives in Ile-de-France

Raphaël Stephens, l’Institut national de la recherche agronomique

17:00 – 17:40: Discussion:

Chaired by Paul Fenton and Fanny Paschek

Track 2: Presenting the past in the contemporary city

Session A (PB 304)

10.00-10.40: Markets in Brixton in uncertain times

Sam Barton, Department of Geography, University College London

10.40-11.20: Thoughts on local identity in post-war Liverpool

David Kmiot, School of Histories, Languages and Cultures, University of Liverpool

11.20-11.40: COFFEE/TEA

11.40-12.20: Green Peace? Multicultural Sarajevo, ‘greening’, and post-war urban processes

Kristen Hartmann, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

12.20-13.00: Making sense of ruins: urban reconstruction and coming to terms with the past in Belgrade and Sarajevo

Gruia Bǎdescu, Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, University of Cambridge

13.00-14.00: LUNCH

14.00-14.40: Navigating through the urban memoryscape: mobility practices and creation of places of memory in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Nikolaos Olma, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen

14.40-15.20: Urban Berlin: memories of a city

Laura Bowie, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh

15.20-16.00: Mobilizing heritage in post-war Beirut

Katarzyna Puzon, Anthropology, University College London/Polish Academy of Sciences

16.00-16.20: COFFEE/TEA

16.20-17.00: Discussion:

Chaired by Sam Barton

Session B (PB 305)

10.00-10.40: Notes on Skopje: hegemonic and speculative urban narratives

Ivana Sidzimovska, Faculty of Design, Bauhaus University Weimar

10.40-11.20: What is acoustic heritage? Counter-mapping sound maps and sonic memories

Paul Tourle, Institute of Archaeology, University College London

11.20-11.40: COFFEE/TEA

11.40-12.20: Tracks of experience: visiting routes in sub-urban space

Maximi Papathanasiou, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Ghent University

12.20-13.00: Imagining the landscapes of the First World War in modern Britain

Amanda Phipps, Department of History, University of Exeter

13.00-14.00: LUNCH

14.00-14.40: Arts of memory, landscapes of memory: remembrance and ruination in experimental art on Beijing’s urban fringe

Murray Mckenzie, Department of Geography, University College London

14.40-15.20: ‘Get to they labours at the mills and leave me to my wrath’: Derek Jarman, urban cultural memory and dereliction

Alexandra Parsons, Department of English, University College London

15.20-16.00: Non-locality, the valise and the exhibition

Jean Hui Ng, History of Art, University of Oxford

16.00-16.20: COFFEE/TEA

16.20-17.00: Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities: memories, urban perceptions and mind

Francesco Migliaccio, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università di Torino

17.00-17.40: Discussion:

Chaired by Murray Mckenzie

Track 3: Conceptualizing the urban through difference in comparative studies (PB G03)

10.00-10.40: Tehran as a Scene of modernity: The urbanization and modernization of Tehran since mid-19th century until today

Azadeh Mashayekhi, Faculty of Architecture, Spatial Planning and Strategies, Delft University of Technology

10.40-11.20: Guwahati: A melting pot of disaster risks in rural-urban divide

Sneha Krishnan, Civil, Geomatic and Environmental Engineering, University College London

11.20-11.40: COFFEE/TEA

11.40-12.20: Towards Sustainable Streets - Transforming Processes and Space in New York and Berlin

Annika Levels, Centre for Metropolitan Studies, TU Berlin

12.20-13.00: International dreams, African realities: A comparison of new towns in Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam

Frances Brill, Department of Geography, University College London

13.00-14.00: LUNCH

14.00-14.40: Creative Cities Beyond Compare?: Making the case for a comparative perspective in urban cultural policy and planning

Kerri Arthurs, School of Cultural Studies and Humanities - Leeds Beckett University

14.40-15.20: Assembling Cities: A situated inquiry into the modes of comparison

Julio Da Cruz Paulos, CASE (Research Centre on Architecture, Society and the Built Environment), ETH Zurich

15.20-16.00: Disassembling connections: Placing local political actors in their telling of slum upgrading histories in São Paulo and Durban

Camila Pereira Saraiva, IPPUR (Institute for Urban and Regional Research and Planning) - UFRJ / Department of Geography, University College London

16.00-16.20: COFFEE/TEA

16.20-17.00: Discussion

Chaired by Frances Brill and Camila Saraiva

Tract 4: Cosmopolitanism’s referential dissonance (PB 301)

10:00-10.40: Modernity, Representation and Everyday Life in “the biggest city you've never heard of”

Asa Roast, Geography, University of Leeds

10.40-11.20: From defence of the border to ‘Opening up the West’: making the urban in rural Inner Mongolia, China

Thomas White, Anthropology, University of Cambridge

11.20-11.40: COFFEE/TEA

11.40-12.20: Tajik Lost Cities, Mute Dreams and Deep Play

Aeron O’Connor, Anthropology, University College London

12.20-13.00: Ageing and the City: Urban Resilience and Socio-Spatial Marginalisation of the Elderly in East London

Theodora Bowering, Architecture, University of Cambridge

13:00-14:40: LUNCH

14:40-15:20: Brussels Quartier Midi: Enacting Transnationalism and Debating Cosmopolitanism

Katherine Prater, Architecture & Urban Studies, University of Cambridge

15.20-16.00: British Deaf Diaspora: musings from the field on roadblocks, (dis)integration, and interconnections

Kelly Robinson, Anthropology, University College London

16.00-16.20: COFFEE/TEA

16.20-17.00: Discussion

Chaired by Aeron O’Connor

Track 5: Class and Urbanisation (PB 116)

10.00-10.40: Fractured mobility: SkyTrain and the politics of the middle class in Bangkok

Petchpilai Lattanan, Department of Geography, University College London

10.40-11.20: The Luxury – Places Development

Li Fang, Urban Studies, University Paris – Est

11.20-11.40: COFFEE/TEA

11.40-12.20: An Ethnographic Study of the Social life of Shennan Road, Shenzhen, China Ximin Zhou, Department of Anthropology, University of Manchester

12.20-13.00: Everyday Walking: Unequal Lived Experience

Soledad A. Martinez Rodriguez, Department of Geography, UCL

13.00-14.00: LUNCH

14.00-14.40: Critical Urban Approaches: Social Justice and the Right to the City

Volgaridou Eva, Department of Architecture, D.U,Th, Greece

14.40-15.20: Struggle with Leisure Class: Tourism and Gentrification

Agustin Cocola Gant, School of Planning and Geography, University of Cardiff

15.20-16.00: Young South Europeans Heading North: Class – specific Patterns of Migration in Contemporary Berlin

Stefania Animento, Department of Sociology and Social Research, Urban and Local European Studies, University of Milan – Bicocca

16.00-16.20: COFFEE/TEA

16.20-17.00: Discussion

Chaired by Petchpilai Lattanan

Day 2 – Tuesday 31st March

9.30-9.45: COFFEE/TEA

9.45‐10.30: Review of Day 1 (PB G07)

10.3011.30: Keynote (PB G07)

In pursuit of more emancipatory forms of urban planning: motivations and experiences of participatory and action research in London

Professor Michael Edwards Bartlett School of Planning, UCL and Myfanwy Taylor, PhD candidate, Geography, UCL

In this talk, we discuss our motivations and experiences in doing participatory work in pursuit of more emancipatory forms of urban planning in London. In different ways, our work aims to (i) help unpack (de-mystify) the dominant discourse of neoliberal urban triumphalism; (ii) assist in the everyday formation and operations of relevant social movements; and (iii) begin to develop alternative narratives and proposals for cities and city planning. Our talk draws on Michael’s 30+ years experience in supporting significant urban struggles in London, including Covent Garden, Tolmers Square and Kings Cross, as well as our more recent collaboration with the Just Space Economy and Planning group.

11.30-11.45: COFFEE/TEA

11.4513.15: Breakout sessions (1)

Creating urban stories (PB G07)

Dr Amita Murray, Leverhulme Writer-in-Residence, Human Geography, UCL

Amita writes stories about people and places. She has published in The Front View, Writing Disorder, Brand, Inkspill, and others.

In this writing workshop, we will experiment with writing about the urban. The best, most creative non-fiction uses techniques of story telling to create an atmosphere, to evoke an experience, and to help the reader visualize. How can academics that study the urban utilize these techniques in their writing? How can you as an academic develop a story that is based on “truth” and the “factual,” but tell it in a way that your reader is pulled into your narrative and seduced by it? In this workshop, we will think of how to write about the urban, develop a voice, and experiment with storytelling techniques. We will also reflect on how writing is a methodology, rather than just a retelling. Come prepared to write! 

Thinking through how to use Actor-Network Theory to study neighbourhood commercial centres (PB 304)Thinking through how to use Actor-Network Theory to study neighbourhood commercial centre

Dr. Yvonne Rydin, Bartlett School of Planning, UCL

The material turn in the social sciences is gaining considerable traction. Actor-Network Theory is in the vanguard of this ‘turn’ but there are other related approaches from socio-technical studies as well as other disciplines. The methodological implications of this ‘turn’ often trouble researchers with the maxim of ‘follow the actor/actant’ not providing sufficient guidance. This session will consider how to use an ANT-inspired approach to investigate a particular research problematic: the sustainability of local commercial centres. Which elements of ANT give the greatest insight into the sustainability of these neighbourhood shopping/services streets? How can a methodology be operationalised to provide data for such an analysis? Following a short presentation, the group is asked to consider this issue.


Participants should think about a local/small shopping street that they know (perhaps near where they live) and think about how they would research its sustainability (broadly understood) taking the materiality of the street and its built environment into account. Have a coffee or tea in a local café (if there is one), watch how people use the street and buildings and think this problem over!

Ethnography and Urban Theory (PB 305)

Dr. Austin Zeiderman, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics

This breakout session will create a productive tension between ethnography and urban theory. It is intended for researchers committed to the ethnographic method who also seek to make contributions to conceptual debates in urban studies. We will discuss how, as ethnographers, we engage with concepts from urban theory, and what we hope to achieve (conceptually) with our fieldwork. Our goal will be to push towards an empirically grounded, theoretically inspired approach to research that refuses both narrow particularism and inflated universalism. We will explore ethnography as a provocation to question our analytical certainties. Participants should come prepared to briefly present their research topics and to discuss the concepts in urban theory that inform them.

The following short reading is recommended: Mahmood, Saba. 2005. Selections from “The Subject of Freedom” (pp. 1-17, 36-39). In Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and The Feminist Subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

13.15-14.15: LUNCH

14.15-15.45: Breakout sessions (2)

Doing Interviews (PB G07)

Dr. Regan Koch, Department of Geography, UCL

Among the most common methods used in qualitative research, interviews provide a readily intelligible and effective way of finding things out. Yet anyone deciding to put interviews at the centre of their research needs to think carefully about some difficult issues, not least questions of epistemology, ethics and value. This session will provide an introductory focus on these topics, and cover a range of practical matters that need to be considered. It will also explore different ways that interviews can be used in the research process.

Using photography to examine the ‘hidden’ within the contemporary city (PB 304)

Max Colson, Leverhulme Artist-in-Residence, UCL Urban Laboratory

Beginning his photographic career as a photojournalist documenting different subcultures in London, Max now uses a performative mode of photography to blur the lines between fact and fiction in his investigations of the covert infrastructure of security and surveillance in the contemporary UK city.

This workshop will discuss theoretical, methodological and visual photographic approaches used to examine hidden areas of the city. Please ensure that you bring any thoughts stemming from your own photographic research with you to this session.

Walking spaces: Art, mobility and urban research (PB 305)

Dr David Pinder, Department of Geography, Queen Mary University of London

David Pinder is an urban and cultural geographer who has written extensively on utopian thinking and the urban aspects of twentieth century modernist and avant-garde practices in Europe. Drawing on the situationists and more contemporary artists, he has also experimented with the possibilities for walking and exploration as tools for urban research, thinking and interventions. The political implications of mobility constitute an enduring thematic concern in this work.

This session is concerned with ways of researching the urban on foot. Drawing on work in arts practice and performance as well as urban studies, it considers walking as a means of exploring, sensing and knowing urban spaces. Recent interest in these themes are set in their historical and geographical contexts, to consider their varied paths and some of the stakes involved. Selected cases are then considered, with particular interest centring on the potential of walking practices to address the pasts of places and to engage with the haunted qualities of the urban. Participants will be encouraged to think about the implications of the themes for their own research and for their own ways of sensing and engaging with the urban, whether on foot or through other mobile means.

Dr David Pinder (QMUL Geography)Mobility and art-based methods (title TBA) 

David Pinder is an urban and cultural geographer who has written extensively on utopian thinking and the urban aspects of twentieth century modernist and avant-garde practices in Europe. Drawing on the Situationists and others, he has experimented with the possibilities for walking and exploration as tools for urban research, thinking and interventions. The political implications of mobility constitute an enduring thematic concern in this work.