UCL Urban Laboratory


Urban Agency III: Towards a sustainable integration of disciplines in urban studies

4 March 2021

UCL Urban Laboratory is delighted to be consolidating its European partnerships as part of a successful research bid to the Flanders Research Foundation (FWO) for a new five-year Scientific Research Network.

University of Antwerp

Urban Agency III: Towards a sustainable integration of disciplines in urban studies. The initiative is led by the Urban Studies Institute, University of Antwerp.

Over the past decade, there has been an upsurge of strategic interest in the field of urban studies in universities in Europe and beyond. Fuelled by ‘urban age’ discourses (Brenner and Schmid 2015), university leaders are considering ‘urban studies institutes’ as a must have strategic asset to position themselves in local and global networks of knowledge production. Indeed, the past decade has seen an impressive rise of interdisciplinary platforms for urban studies research at universities, more often than not with strong support and even on the instigation of university leadership.

The new network therefore sets out to examine the relationship between the institutional embedding of urban studies and the orientation, nature and performativity of the research involved. The programme will (1) chart the differences and analyse the origins thereof, (2) examine the consequences of the institutional factors, and (3) identify good practices and develop scientific propositions and recommendations for policy makers.

Urban Lab’s participation in the bid was led by Andrew Harris (Geography) and Clare Melhuish (Urban Lab). The network’s kick-off meeting will take place on March 22nd.

The other centres participating in the network include: Brussels Centre for Urban Studies and Cosmopolis (Centre for Urban Research), Vrije Universieit Brussel; Leuven Urban Studies Institute, KU Leuven; Urban Academy, Ghent University (UGENT); EBXI, Université libre de Bruxelles; Department of Geography, Planning and International, Development, University of Amsterdam; Manchester Urban Institute, University of Manchester; Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies, Himboldt-University Berlin; ‘Cities are back in Town’ research group, Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics, CEE, Sciences Po/ CNRS; URBEUR – Urban Studies PhD Programme, University of Milan Bicocca; Institute for Urban Research, Malmö University; The Challenges of Urban Futures research platform, University of Vienna; Creativity, innovation and Urban Transformation (CRIT) research group, University of Barcelona; Metropolitan Research Institute Budapest; UCL Urban Laboratory, London; Centre for Urban Economic Development, University of Illinois at Chicago; The City institute, York University (Toronto).

For further information please contact andrew.harris@ucl.ac.uk