UCL Urban Laboratory


At the frontiers of the urban: thinking concepts and practices globally

10 November 2019–12 November 2019, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Suspended urbanization in Murcia, Spain (Diego Garcia-Mejuto, 2019)

International conference exploring emerging themes and critical methodologies at the frontiers of urban theory and practice

Event Information

Open to







Jordan Rowe

Urban societies are undergoing immense changes; how are urban concepts and practices responding? This conference seeks to stimulate new conceptualisations of the urban by convening cutting-edge scholarship and dialogue resonant with distinctive urban experiences, especially those beyond the conventional euro-american heartlands of urban studies, but with scope to reach across different contexts.

Some starting points will be: how land, investment, finance, law and the state are reshaping urban spaces; or how processes of reproducing everyday life, identity politics, popular mobilization and contestation are remaking urban experiences; or how challenges of urbanisation, such as climate change, data, health, housing and poverty are redefining urban futures.


Sunday 10 November


TheoriSE? SouthEastern Approaches at the Frontiers of the Urban

This workshop will address the challenge posed by ‘southern’ and ‘eastern’ perspectives to urban studies, planning, geography and related fields. Participants include leading international scholars from most global regions. Participation is invite-only, but to request to attend, please contact Oren Yiftachel at yiftach@bgu.ac.il

17.30Conference registration opens

Opening reception: Thinking London from Elsewhere

Featuring Prof. Ben Campkin (UCL), Dr Suzanne Hall (LSE), Dr Rebecca Ross (Central Saint Martins) and Dr Myfanwy Taylor (University of Leeds). Welcome and introductions by Dr Clare Melhuish and Prof. Jennifer Robinson (UCL).

Monday 11 November

09.30Conference registration

Opening remarks and introduction with Prof. Christoph Lindner (UCL)


Plenary 1: Urban Co-ordinates

Featuring Prof. Susan Parnell (University of Bristol), Prof. Fulong Wu (UCL), Dr Gautam Bhan (Indian Institute for Human Settlements), and Prof. Raquel Rolnik (University of São Paulo). Chaired by Prof. Jennifer Robinson (UCL).

Read more about the plenary.


Day 1 afternoon streams

  • A. Dis/locating Urban Theory
  • B. Black and African Urbanisms
  • C. Extended Urbanisation: From the Outside-in
  • D. In/securities and Urban Violence
  • E/F. Thinking the Urban Globally
  • G. Transcalar Analysis

Parallel 1


Parallel 2


Plenary 2: Urban Extents and Limits: What are the Frontiers?

Featuring Prof. Christian Schmid (ETH Zürich), Prof. Partha Mukhopadhyay (Centre for Policy Research), Prof. Philip Harrison (University of the Witwatersrand), and Dr Michelle Buckley (University of Toronto). Chaired by Dr Pushpa Arabindoo (UCL).

Read more about this plenary. Tickets can be purchased for this session seperately on UCL Event Ticketing.

Tuesday 12 November


Parallel plenaries


Day 2 streams

  • 3A-1. Land and Legality
  • 3A-2. Shaping the Future City
  • 3B-1. Sharing Public Space
  • 3B-2. Collaboration and Participation: Experiences
  • 3C-1. Infrastructures
  • 3C-2. Alternative Futures

Parallel 1


Parallel 2


Parallel 3


Plenary 4: Before/After the Urban Frontier

Featuring Prof. Vanessa Watson (African Centre for Cities) and Prof. Hyun Bang Shin (LSE). Chaired by Prof. Jennifer Robinson and Dr Clare Melhuish (UCL).

Read more about this plenary. Tickets can be purchased for this session seperately on UCL Event Ticketing.

20.00Closing reception
  • Sessions marked with * are free for UCL students and staff without a conference ticket to attend
  • Full list of participants, including presenters, chairs and discussants

The conference steering committee includes Prof. Camillo Boano (UCL), Dr Clare Melhuish (UCL), Dr Susan Moore (UCL), Prof. Peg Rawes (UCL), Prof. Jennifer Robinson (UCL), and Prof. Oren Yiftachel (Ben-Gurion University). The conference coordinator is Jordan Rowe (UCL).

We gratefully acknowledge the support of The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL Centre for Critical Heritage Studies, UCL Global, UCL Grand Challenges, UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Toronto and IJURR in the co-funding of this conference.


The conference takes place across multiple rooms at UCL. All rooms are wheelchair accessible. For detailed access information please contact the Urban Laboratory office.

Further information


Scholars based in lower-income countries are entitled to register at a highly discounted rate (£20). The discounted rate is also open to students, academics on fixed-term contracts, and those who are unwaged. UCL staff and students are asked to contribute a small fee (£15) which includes full access to the conference.