UCL Urban Laboratory


CITY and UCL Urban Laboratory lecture: Professor Oren Yiftachel, Gray Space and the New Urban Regime

30 January 2014, 6:30 pm

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UCL Conference Suite 05, 188 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7PH

In this lecture, 'Gray Space and the New Urban Regime: Between Liberalism and a Creeping Apartheid', Professor Oren Yiftachel (Ben-Gurion University, Israel) will analyse the impact of structural economic, identity and governance tensions on urban regimes and societies in the twenty-first century. It draws attention to the pervasive emergence of 'gray spaces', that is, informal, temporary or illegal developments, transactions and populations. 'Gray-spacing' has become a central feature of urbanism in most parts of the world, as well as a strategy to manage the unwanted/irremovable, as well as the wanted/uncontrollable. Urban planning is central to this process, given its ability to approve, deny, legitimate and criminalise urban development. Gray spacing enables the mobility of marginalised groups into privileged regions, often under the guise of liberalising economies. At the same time, this puts in train a process of 'creeping urban apartheid' under which the region is governed through the principle of 'separation and inequality'. These tensions and trends will be illustrated by highlighting research findings on the planning of cities around Europe, Africa and Asia, with special focus on the 'ethnocratic' cities of Israel/Palestine, such as Beersheba, Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. 

For reading on the concept of 'gray space' and the significance of Oren Yiftachel's work, please follow the link for free access to this paper by Marcela Lopes de Souza entitled 'Marxists, libertarians and the city: a necessary debate' (CITY, June 2012, 16.3). 

The lecture is organised collaboratively by CITY and UCL Urban Laboratory and will be introduced by Bob Catterall (founder and Editor-in-Chief, CITY) with a response by Professor Jenny Robinson (UCL Urban Laboratory).