Urban Geography Research Group Conference 2016: Frontiers of Critical Urbanism

 

The Urban Geography Research Group are pleased to announce a two-day conference and open discussion organised by the RGS-IBG Urban Geography Research Group.

Dates: 7-8 April 2016 (half day Thursday and all day Friday)

Location: Cardiff University, School of Planning and Geography

 

Preliminary Call for Contributions

 

This year’s UGRG Conference will explore critical urbanism in relation to three key areas of concern: (1) consumption; (2) resilience; and (3) austerity. Critical urbanism may be defined by Brenner et al (2009: 179) as concerned with:

 

(a) analysis of the systemic, yet historically specific, intersections between capitalism and urbanization processes; (b) the changing balance of social forces, power relations, socio-spatial inequalities and political-institutional arrangements that shape, and are in turn shaped by, the evolution of capitalist urbanisation; (c) exposing the marginalisations, exclusions and injustices (whether of class, ethnicity, ‘race’, gender, sexuality, nationality or otherwise) that are inscribed and naturalised within existing urban configurations; (d) deciphering the contradictions, crisis tendencies and lines of potential or actual conflict within contemporary cities, and on this basis, (e) demarcating and politicising the strategically essential possibilities for more progressive, socially just, emancipatory and sustainable formations of urban life.

 

The focus on critical urbanism in relation to consumption, resilience and austerity in particular reflects their continued pertinence in the contemporary urban landscape, in both Global North and Global South contexts:

 

Geographies of urban consumption have developed a renewed significance in recent years, especially as cities have re-oriented their economies and spaces away from production, with important implications for justice, the right to the city and emergent post-welfare landscapes. As well, the fraught relationship between consumption and growing environmental precarity places urban hubs under ever-greater strain. In the post-welfare urban landscape, resilience has become a ubiquitous process in the global city (DeVerteuil 2015). Where gentrification and inner city displacement run rife, those who remain find themselves engaged with the task of both ‘holding on’ and ‘holding out’ for social, political and economic transformations that will see their sense of place within the urban landscape renewed. Particularly in the aftermath of global recession, austerity has become a political buzzword yet critically under-examined by academics. Key debates have centred on the role of austerity as a moralising process, normalising and reinforcing particular socio-spatial inequalities. Austerity is of particular pertinence in the urban context, exposing marginalisations, injustices and exclusions inscribed into the life of the city.

 

We invite contributions, both empirical and conceptual, relating, but not limited to, the following:

 

– The role of consumption in configuring the social, economic and political logics of the city

 

– The transformative potential of resilience as concept, particularly in the context of the gentrifying and ‘pop-up’ city

 

– The capability of resilience to be both a reinforcement of, and challenge to, contemporary socio-political urban structures

 

– The promise, practices and consequences of austerity’s emergent position as a normative urban condition

 

Papers are welcomed from researchers at any stage of their career (including PhD students). We will also be holding a ‘pecha-kucha’ session (presentations consisting of 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each). If you are planning on presenting in a pecha-kucha session, then please indicate this when submitting your abstract.

 

The conference will include three keynote talks, one for each topic:

 

Professor Gillian Bristow and Adrian Healy (Cardiff CPLAN) on resilience

Dr Crispian Fuller (Cardiff CPLAN) on austerity

Professor Mark Jayne (Cardiff CPLAN) on consumption

 

Abstracts (maximum 200 words) should be emailed to Melanie.nowicki.2013@live.rhul.ac.uk by no later than Friday 26 February 2016.

 

The registration deadline will follow within 3-4 weeks. Please register as early as possible, as places will be limited to a maximum of 50. Standard registration will be £75; for post-graduate students and unemployed, £40. To book your place, visit:

 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ugrg-2016-annual-conference-tickets-20462377522

 

If you have any further queries, please email Mel Nowicki (Melanie.nowicki.2013@live.rhul.ac.uk) or Ella Harris (ella.harris.2011@live.rhul.ac.uk)

 

Please visit the UGRG website for this information and further updates: http://urban-geography.org.uk/events/2016-conference

UGRG Sponsored Sessions at the 2016 RGS-IBG Annual Conference

Conference theme: Nexus Thinking (Conference Website)

Conference chair: Professor Peter Jackson (University of Sheffield)

Date: Tuesday 30 August to Friday 2 September 2016

Venue: Royal Geographical Society, London

The UGRG is pleased to sponsor the following sessions:

UGRG Committee Vacancies

Following a 3-year rotation, the RGS-IBG’s Urban Geography Research Group (UGRG) is looking to fill the following positions on its committee, to begin September 2015:

Secretary (minute meetings, prepare annual report, help coordinate the dissertation prize)

Conference/events coordinator (2) (would liaise with Chair to organize yearly conference; next one to be held in Cardiff in Spring 2016)

Early Career Representative (liaison with RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum)
Website manager (maintenance of website)

Elections to these posts will be held at the group’s AGM at this year’s RGS-IBG Conference in Exeter, Thursday 3 September, 4:50pm to 6:30pm, in rooms 1.2 and 1.3 in Peter Chalk.

The UGRG is an active and inclusive research group, committed to the support and promotion of urban geography as an intellectual field and sub-discipline.  We are committed to developing constructive dialogue between different analytical, theoretical and methodological traditions of urban geography and urban studies, and to increasing the profile of female and early career urban geographers.

Involvement on the committee provides an excellent opportunity to extend your networks in the sub-discipline, and is widely recognized as a “marker of esteem” in academic circles.  The current committee has a strong mix of post-graduate students, early career and established researchers, and committee posts are usually held for a period of 3 years.

The RGS requires that nominations for named posts should be in writing and include the names of the proposer and seconder.  Nominations can be accepted up to (and at) the beginning of the AGM.  If you would like to discuss these posts and what they involve, please do get in touch with me.

In the meantime, I hope these positions are of interest and look forward to seeing you at our AGM.

Best regards

Geoffrey DeVerteuil, Chair

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Unmasking the myths of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games

The UGRG is pleased to have sponsored: 

Fighting the Housing Monster: Film and Discussion Event 

Glasgow, Saturday 1st November

Event summary: 

The housing monster’s voracious appetite for land and rent has pushed the cost of living to breaking point. In Glasgow public housing has been eradicated since stock transfer in 2003. Rents in the ‘social housing’ sector inexorably move closer to private-market levels. Mortgage rates continue to rise disproportionately to people’s income, and housing isthe staple ingredient of the debt-based economy. Yet ‘the housing question’ seems strangely absent from current debates. This event places housing at the front of the agenda, creating a forum for debate, discussion, and resistance.

The day will comprise three films on housing which will be used to prompt discussion about the current state of housing in the UK and in Scotland more specifically. In the morning we will discuss the current (miserable) state of housing across tenures and in the afternoon we will discuss the forms of organisation around housing that might be possible or desirable in the current era.

We want to engage with a range of different groups. Not with the intention of generating a false unity, but with the hope that we can learn from each others’ struggles through discussion and find ways to challenge the housing monster in the present and future. It is our contention that these struggles will have to be undertaken at a range of different levels and that a plurality of struggles, both defensive and offensive, is welcome and necessary. All those with similar interests are warmly invited.

SCHEDULE:

11.00–12.00: Inquiry: The Great British Housing Disaster, (50 mins), Dir. Adam Curtis, 1984

This early Adam Curtis film scathingly examines the cost-cutting, shoddy construction of UK system-built council housing following the fabled inter-party ‘numbers game’ of the early 1960s. Then, competing political parties vied to produce the most council housing; now, the numbers game is based on demolition and privatisation. The film chronicles how construction firms, central government, and local councils were responsible for the great British housing disaster, rather than the errant behaviour of stigmatised tenants.

12.00-1.00: Open Discussion: The Current State of Public, Social and Private Housing

What state is housing in Scotland now? What kind of housing do we want to defend and fight for? How is housing planned and managed? Who for and who against? How does housing relate to capitalist development?

In this open discussion we want to understand where we are at currently in order to discuss where we would like to go. We want to hear about people’s experience across tenures, and find out where we have shared concerns.

1.00-1.30: Lunch Break: Lunch will be provided with home-made soup, sandwiches and snacks

1.30-2.00: Whose Town is it Anyway? Easterhouse People and Power (30 mins), Dir. Tony Freeth, 1984, Channel Four

A portrait of a working class community after 25 years on the receiving end of Labour Party urban policy. The film includes interviews with local activists, a meeting in a pub, workers with ‘The Voice’ community newspaper, and a discussion with unemployed young people. The film lucidly conveys their articulate sense of anger at the failure of the authorities to get to grips with the housing and social needs of their area.

2.00-2.30: Drumchapel: The Frustration Game (21 mins), Produced by De-Classed Elements, 1989

This film is an absolutely devastating portrayal of Labour Party duplicity, chronic housing conditions, and the sham of pseudo ‘community’ initiatives. It resonates profoundly in the current ‘big society’ era. Perhaps the angriest film ever made on a housing scheme in the UK.

2.30-3.30: Open Discussion: Beyond Mediation? Housing Struggle in the Present Era

What gets in the way of independent tenants and residents organisation? What kind of ‘soft’ governance measures do we face today? Who are the agents of this mediation? What are the limits of our struggles? How can we overcome these limits? Where are our struggles placed? How can they be generalised? How can more coherent struggles be developed?

3.30-4.00: Conclusion

The aim of this concluding discussion is not to provide a definitive outcome. We are aware that many people present are already active and we have no intention of enclosing the individual autonomy of groups – we are also not interested in a leadership role! However, if points of commonality have arisen during the day we would be happy to facilitate or be involved in further discussions.

The UGRG helped to sponsor an event on September 26th at the Tetley in Leeds which brought together 25 scholars from 10 Universities – Leeds, York, Sheffield, Hull, Manchester, Liverpool, Salford, Durham, Newcasle and Glasgow – to discuss the future of the urban north and the role of the urban studies academy in intervening in this future.

Co-sponsored by SURF / Mistra Urban Futures (Salford) and co-organized by Tim May and Beth Perry (SURF/Salford) and Colin McFarlane (Durham), the event generated a wealth of ideas for collaboration across research, pedagogic and institutional/political lines, along with insightful analysis of longstanding issues including links between identity, power, devolution, grassroots politics, infrastructure, and the North/South divide. It was the first event sponsored by a Regional Studies Association Early Career Grant held by Alex Schafran (Leeds) on the future of regionalism in the North.

For further information, you can contact Alex at A.Schafran@leeds.ac.uk

Undergraduate Dissertation Prize: Call for entries

 

Urban Geography Research Group Dissertation Prize 

*This years deadline has now passed. Winners to be announced soon.

The UGRG’s annual undergraduate dissertation prize is for innovative, original and high quality research in urban geography. No substantive area of urban geography is excluded from consideration: we welcome submissions which address any aspect of the social, cultural, economic or political life of cities. Additionally, dissertations may be based on secondary (archival) or primary data, addressing urban issues via a contemporary or historical focus.

The winner will receive a prize to the value of £75, and have their dissertation published on the UGRG website: http://urban-geography.org.uk/

The prize is open to any currently registered undergraduate student in a UK Department of Geography, Planning, Earth Sciences or Environmental Sciences. Whilst it is expected that most such students will be in their third year of study (FT), students in the final year of a 4 year program may be entered for the prize so long as the nominated dissertation has been submitted for an undergraduate (rather than Masters) degree. Entries from year 4 students will be assessed according to higher marking criteria.

It is customary for Dissertation Tutors or Heads of Departments to nominate outstanding urban geography dissertations for this prize. Departments may not submit more than one entry.

Please note only electronic submissions will be accepted and considered for the prize.

Please email a pdf file of the dissertation to Katherine Gilliam: katherine.gilliam@kcl.ac.uk
Deadline: 8th August 2014

UGRG-sponsored sessions announced for the 2014 RGS-IBG Annual Conference

Conference Theme: Geographies of co-production

Conference chair: Wendy Larner (University of Bristol)

Date: 26 – 29 August 2014 in London, UK

We look forward to sponsoring the following sessions:

“Abandonment and decline: ‘frontiers’ for new populations and opportunities for post-recession regeneration?” (co-sponsored with PGRG) Chloe Kinton, Darren Smith and John Harrison

“Changing cities, changing schools? Education, inequality and class in twenty-first century cities” Sol Gamsu and Julia Nast

“Cinematicity: City and Cinema after Deleuze” David B Clarke, Marcus A Doel and Richard G Smith

“Co-producing urban contestation across the world: a roundtable with academics and social movement activists” Sara Gonzalez, Stuart Hodkinson and Michael Janoschka

“Design as caring in an urban world” (co-sponsored with PERG) Charlotte Bates, Rob Imrie and Kim Kullman

“Learning from Small Cities: New urban frontiers in the global south” (co-sponsored with DARG and GJRG) Ayona Datta and Abdul Shaban

“Urban and suburban geographies of ageing” (co-sponsored with GHRG) Bettina van Hofen, Debbie Lager, Chiara Negrini and Tim Schwanen

“Vertical Worlds” (co-sponsored with SCGR) Andrew Harris and Richard Baxter

“What if the post-metropolis is…? Re-envisaging city dynamics” James Esson, Alan Latham and Katherine Gough

All container

2014 Event Fund

The UGRG (Urban Geography Research Group) has once again earmarked funding to help support early career researchers and post-graduate students in the organisation of events.

Funds up to the amount of £300 will be awarded to support activities such as seminars, workshops, group field-visits, reading groups, exhibitions and other possible projects that advance research in urban geography. Priority will be given to those events which are unlikely to receive funds from institutions and more conventional funding streams.

Interested parties should send the UGRG committee an overview of one page maximum that includes an outline of the proposed event including its aims, key persons likely to be involved, and details of how funds will be used. These should be sent via email to Regan Koch r.koch@ucl.ac.uk

The deadline for applications is May 1st, with events taking place anytime from then until the end 2014.

UGRG committee positions available

The UGRG has a new Chair, Events Co-Ordinator and Book Review Editor

The UGRG is pleased to announce three new committee changes:

Dr. Geoff Deverteuil (Southampton University) is our new Chair.

Luke Binns (Dublin Institute of Technology) is now Events Co-ordinator

Anna Plyushteva (UCL) has joined as Book Review Editor

Gabriel Silvester (Bartlett School of Planning, UCL) now co-ordinates the RGS-IBG Conference Sessions

Finally, as we bid farewell to Tom Slater, Andrew Harris and Justin Spinney, we would like to thank them for their work over these past few years.

 

Dissertation prize now open

We are accepting nominations for the Undergraduate Dissertation Prize from now until 26 August. Please contact Katherine Gilliam for questions or entries.