UCL Urban Laboratory


Return of the slum

24 June 2010, 12:00 am

Return of the slum

Event Information

Open to



UCL Urban Laboratory

UCL Urban Laboratory organised on 24 June 2010 'The return of the slum', a roundtable in honour of Professor Alan Gilbert's retirement. In his illustrious career of teaching, research and consultancy in the field of urbanization and development, he has addressed the challenges of urban poverty through detailed investigations of specific problems such as housing, infrastructure and employment. More recently, he has launched a thought-provoking criticism of the "return of the slum" as an epistemological shorthand for portraying the problems of urban poverty. The purpose of this roundtable is to engage with his concern about this emotive term not just creating dangerous stereotypes about the poor and the marginalised, but also glossing over a highly differentiated landscape of urban poverty. This roundtable, by drawing on a series of guest presenter's own research experiences, critically explored this argument. In doing so, we considered the extent to which Alan's work has influenced development research and how his recent provocative concerns about the return of the slum challenge or refine contemporary approaches to urbanization, specifically addressing whether the use of the term in any sense represents a danger for the poor and what its re-invention says about the relationship between policy making and academic research.  

Speakers include:

Professor Sylvia Chant, Department of Geography, London School of Economics

Dr Julio Davila, Development Planning Unit, UCL

Dr Gareth Jones, Department of Geography, London School of Economics

Dr Sunil Kumar, Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics

Dr Deborah Potts, Department of Geography, King's College London

Professor David Simon, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London