UCL Urban Laboratory


The Urban Question: The Wild City or The Right to the City

28 June 2012, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Event Information

Open to



Room G07, Pearson Building UCL Department of Geography Gower Street London WC1E 6BT

UCL Urban Laboratory/Spatial Fix -  Reading group and discussion

with Professor Andy Merrifield (University of Manchester) & Dr. Pushpa Arabindoo (UCL Urban Laboratory/Geography) (and other speakers to be confirmed)

In the 1970s Manuel Castells' book 'The Urban Question' brought critical attention to the relationship of the production of urban space to the global crises of late capitalism. At the heart of 'The Urban Question' was the notion that the provision of collective public services (everything from sewers to schools), and the production of cities at regional scales, had become integral to - what he called - a "new and sinister" neoliberal urbanism,'The Wild City'. Weighing in the balance was this dilemma - can the localised class struggles of urban social movements scale-up to resist the new market logics of urbanisation ?

This event offers an opportunity to reflect on the urban question and its transformation in relation to the current global state of economic crisis and urban unrest. To do this we intend to discuss Castells' 1974 essay 'The Wild City' - a short piece which encapsulates the problematic of 'the urban question' - and consider the questions and themes raised in this rich but perhaps now forgotten essay.

The urbanists Andy Merrifield and Pushpa Arabindoo will offer some reflections on the text to help stimulate discussion.

Places are limited so if you'd like to take part can you email Louis Moreno (l.moreno@ucl.ac.uk ) by Friday 8 June - electronic copies of The Wild City essay will be circulated in advance to participants

This event is sponsored by the UCL Urban Laboratory