Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Emergence of Stateness in Urban Development

27 June 2024, 10:00 am–3:30 pm

Negotiated statehood and the state-effects of urban development

Please join us for a one-day workshop focusing on two seemingly ‘incompatible’ geographical locations—Africa and Eastern Europe. The workshop aims to encourage the analysis and contrast of urban governance structures in these regions and explore how states and institutions influence urban development processes.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Varvara Karipidou


IAS Common Ground
G17, ground floor, South Wing
UCL, Gower St, London
United Kingdom

This one-day workshop aims to bring together researchers from various disciplines to explore the complex interplay between the politics of urban development and the conception of the ‘state’ across different geographical contexts and conditions. We will engage with whether urban spaces are merely the material manifestations of planning policies and regulations or something more intricate.

Key questions include:

  • How do interactions between state institutions, public and private sectors, and state and non-state bodies shape or define urban development processes?
  • What are the diverse motivations and interests of state actors, and how do these contribute to the emergent nature of statehood?

Our goal is to transcend Eurocentric and Western perspectives, enriching the discussion with diverse contexts and expertise. By incorporating a wide range of experiences, we aim to deepen understanding and enhance the applicability of insights for all participants.

The workshop will challenge binary theorisations of formal/informal and state/non-state actors. Instead, we will uncover how actions from various actors reflect evolving notions of statehood, characterised by negotiated and fluid formations that produce differentiated, yet often similar, outcomes across seemingly disparate contexts.

By juxtaposing these two seemingly disparate locations, we hope to foster a dialogue that reveals both divergences and commonalities in urban development processes, expanding our understanding beyond conventional geographic and theoretical boundaries.

Join us to discuss emergent ideas of statehood, the diverse interests shaping contemporary cities, and the various scales of institutional organisation and policymaking that directly impact urban environments.


Session 1 – Eastern Europe 10:00-12:00 
Tauri Tuvikene, Urban Studies - School of Humanities, Tallinn University
Joanna Kusiak, King's College, Cambridge University
Mircea Munteanu (online), International Center of Urbanism (ICoU), KU Leuven
Aleksandra Milentijevic, The Bartlett, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment

Session 2 – Africa 13:00 – 15:00
Sam Hickey, University of Manchester
Abdifatah Tahir, University of Sheffield
Emmanuel C. P. Awohouedji, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Wilfred Jana, University College London (UCL)

edited Octagon logo
Please register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/928377029687

This event is funded by the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies Octagon Small Grants Fund and UCL’s Urban Laboratory Research Project: ‘Making Africa Urban: The transcalar politics of large-scale urban development’.

Complimentary to the workshop above, two Author-Meets-Readers seminars are organised to discuss and explore ideas relevant to the workshop’s sessions. These seminars are complimentary to the workshop but attendance is not compulsory to all or any of the events. 

  1. Author-Meets-Readers Seminar with Neil Brenner, University of Chicago.
  2. Author-Meets-Readers Seminar with Liza Rose Cirolia, African Centre for Cities.