UCL Urban Laboratory


Annual Lecture Series with CITY 

This annual lecture series - a collaboration between the Urban Laboratory and CITY Journal, with the support of the UCL Bartlett School of Planning - ran between 2009 and 2014 and has provided an important focus for debates about critical urban theory, urban social movements, and the 'right to the city'. 

Gray Space and the New Urban Regime, Professor Oren Yiftachel, January 2014

Professor Oren Yiftachel (Ben-Gurion University, Israel) visited UCL for his talk titled 'Gray Space and the New Urban Regime: Between Liberalism and a Creeping Apartheid', focused on the causes of what he terms 'gray spaces' - the unregulated urbanisation of people who are neither integrated into nor eliminated from society, are on the fringes and grey areas of legality and at the will of metropolitan politics. 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). 

A full write-up of the event and full audio is available here.

Beyond austerity urbanism and creative city politics, Professor Margit Mayer, October 2012

Professor Margit Mayer's talk looked at urban politics and contemporary social movements that contest neoliberal urban development by invoking the right to the city. Her recent publications include Neoliberal Urbanism and Its Contestations: Crossing Theoretical Boundaries (2011, with Jenny Künkel) and Cities for People, Not for Profit: Critical Urban Theory and the Right to the City (2011, with Neil Brenner and Peter Marcuse). The lecture was followed by a seminar in the Bartlett School of Planning. 

Henri Lefebvre and Planetary Urbanisation, Dr Andy Merrifield, October 2011

Dr Andy Merrifield's presented on Henri Lefebvre, the right to the city and Asimov, and how to reclaim the metropolis as a theoretical object and political object of progressive struggle. Dr Andy Merrifield's recent publications have included  Metromarxism: A Marxist Tale of the City (2002), Guy Debord (2005),  Henri Lefebvre : A Critical Introduction (2006) and  Magical Marxism: Subversive Politics and the Imagination (2011).

Edward Soja: Seeking Spatial Justice, 2010

Critical Urban Theory to the Right to the City, Professor Peter Marcuse, October 2009

Peter Marcuse, Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at Columbia University, New York, argued in this lecture that the ultimate purpose of critical urban theory is to implement the demand for a Right to the City. 

Drawing on the work and witness of his father Herbert Marcuse, and on his own work and experience as a lawyer, planner and urban scholar and activist, he focuses on the differences between the crisis of 1968, which produced the demand for the Right to the City, and the crisis we confront today. He asks: "Is another world not only possible, but realistically attainable?"

Peter Marcuse has also taught in Germany, Australia, the Union of South Africa, Canada, Austria, and Brazil. He has written extensively on housing, urban development, the history of planning, the ethics of planning, racial segregation, and globalisation. He is currently involved in the debates about the implications of the "war on terrorism" on urban development globally. 

His recent work has also focused on issues of sustainability, the role of the state in housing development in less developed countries, and on globalism as an extension of Edward Said's concept of Orientalism.

His most recent publication at the time of his lecture was 'Cities for People, Not for Profit' edited jointly with Neil Brenner and Margit Mayer, a special issue of the journal City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy (13.2-3, June-September, 2009). His books include (with Ronald van Kempen) Globalizing Cities: A New Spatial Order? (Blackwell, 1999) and Of States and Cities: The Partitioning of Urban Space (Oxford University Press, 2002).