UCL Urban Laboratory


Urban Geopolitics book launch: Rethinking Planning in Contested Cities

20 November 2017, 6:00 pm–8:15 pm

Nairobi (Credit: Liza Cirolia)

Event Information

Open to



UCL Roberts Building G08 Sir David Davies LT, Torrington Place, London WC1E 7JE

Urban Salon hosts the book launch of Urban Geopolitics: Rethinking Planning in Contested Cities (Routledge, 2018) edited by Jonathan Rokem and Camillo Boano.

Moving away from loosely defined urban theories and contexts, this book argues it is time to start learning from and compare across different 'contested cities'. It questions the long-standing Euro-centric academic knowledge production that is prevalent in urban studies and planning research. Urban Geopolitics: Rethinking Planning in Contested Cities brings together a diverse range of international case studies from Latin America, South and South East Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East to offer an in-depth understanding of the worldwide contested nature of cities in a wide range of local contexts. It suggests an urban ontology that moves beyond the urban 'West' and 'North' as well as adding a comparative-relational understanding of the contested nature that 'Southern' cities are developing.

In this event the editors and some of the chapter authors will present the book's overarching themes and engage with selected cities.


18.00 Welcome and introduction

Jonathan Rokem (UCL Geography) and Camillo Boano (The Bartlett Development Planning Unit / UCL Urban Laboratory) 

18.15 Book chapter presentations

The tale of ethno-political and spatial claims in a contested city: the Muhajir community in Karachi
Sadaf Sultan Khan, Kayvan Karimi and Laura Vaughan (UCL)

The Embodiment of the Ideology of 'Development' in the Practice of Marketplace Coordination in Jakarta
Pawda F Tjoa (Cambridge)

The Camp vs the Campus: Revisiting the contested landscapes of an urban Mediterranean encampment in Famagusta, Northern Cyprus
Moriel Ram (SOAS)

The Medellín's Shifting Geopolitics of Informality: The Encircled Garden as a Dispositive of Civil Disenfranchisement?
Catalina Ortiz and Camillo Boano (UCL)

19.00 Discussants

Matthew Gandy (Cambridge) 
Sara Fregonese (Birmingham)
Sobia Ahmad Kaker (Goldsmiths) 

Followed by a Q&A with the audience and a drinks reception.

The event is hosted in collaboration with the The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL. 

No booking required.

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Image: A tenement development in Nairobi. Credit: Liza Cirolia