Urban Crises: Urbanisation, Planning and Development seminar series announced for LT 2017

The Urbanisation, Planning and Development (UPD) Seminar Series, ‘Urban Crises’, for 2017 Lent Term begins on 11th January. These expert-led discussions are free and open to all. Confirmed topics and speakers for the series can be seen below. If you have any queries please contact Dr Romola Sanyal and Dr Austin Zeiderman.

Unless otherwise noted, the seminars take place at LSE on Tuesdays, 4:30pm-6pm in Clement House, room CLM 3.04.

In 1979, Stuart Hall argued that crises are historically formative. Yet the new historical formations they generate, Hall insisted, “do not ‘emerge’: they have to be constructed. Political and ideological work is required to disarticulate old formations, and to rework their elements into new configurations” (1979:15). Almost forty years later, we might say that crisis is now one of the dominant refrains of contemporary urbanism, broadly conceived. The internal contradictions of capitalist urbanization produce crises that relentlessly reconfigure the built environment, political institutions, social relations, and subjective dispositions alike. Ecological changes on a planetary scale render bodies and landscapes increasingly vulnerable to crisis. Violent upheavals throw certain regions into a permanent state of crisis. The power to frame the present as crisis forecloses certain futures while enabling others. Ideologies, interventions, and investments are justified by potential crises looming on the horizon. Crises produce affective states of fear, anxiety, exhaustion, and despair, but they can also spark the collective imagination and fuel outbursts of political mobilization. Categories such as the “urban” or the “public” are themselves in crisis as stable analytics that can guide theory and practice. How did this come about and what are the key elements of the crises reverberating throughout the contemporary urban world?

To diagnose this historical conjuncture, we invite empirically grounded and theoretically engaged reflections on crisis and its social, spatial, and political implications.

Lent Term Speakers


January 10
Steve Graham (School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University)
‘Life support: For a political economy of urban air’


January 17
Cassidy Johnson (Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London)
‘Perceptions of risk and crises and their influence on urbanisation and disaster management’


January 24
Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia (Sociology, Lancaster University)
‘Housing with, through and against Crisis: Between Production and Destruction of Homes in San Juan, Rio de Janeiro, and London’


February 7
Jonathan Darling (Geography, University of Manchester)
‘Asylum in Austere Times: Crisis, Endurance, and the Possibilities of Urban Belonging’


February 21
Sobia Kaker (LSE Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, London School of Economics and Political Science)
‘Circulating Uncertainty: Governing Everyday Insecurity in Karachi’


February 28
David Madden (Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science)
‘The Residentialisation of the Border: Migrant Tenants and the ‘Right to Rent’ in London’


March 7
Alex Nading (Anthropology, University of Edinburgh)
‘Zopilotes, Alacranes, y Hormigas (Scorpions, Vultures, and Ants): Animal Metaphors as Organisational Politics in a Nicaraguan Trash-Picking Community’

Urban Crises Seminar

Michaelmas Term Speakers:


4th October 2016

‘Smart Cities and Inequalities’

Ayona Datta (King’s College London)


11th October 2016

‘Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move’

Reece Jones (University of Hawaii, United States)


18th October 2016

Speaker TBD


25th October 2016

‘Economic Crises and Urban Governance Reforms in Istanbul’

Tuna Kuyucu (Bogaziçi University, Turkey)


8th November 2016

‘Survival and Social Exchange: The Relevance of Giving, Receiving and Reciprocating’

Mercedes González de la Rocha (CIESAS, Mexico)

Please note that this talk will take place in NAB 2.04 (New Academic Building, LSE)


15th November 2016

‘Urban Comparisons Across Time and Space’

Julie Ren (LSE)


22nd November 2016

‘Between the Cosmopolitan and the Parochial: The Immigrant Gentrifier in Koreatown, Los Angeles’

Geoffrey de Verteuil (Cardiff University)