Feb 19, 2014
Urban Theory Lab researchers were privileged this week to have a lunchtime seminar with one of the great urban theorists of our time, Manuel Castells, the author of many of the most foundational and influential books in our field, including The Urban Question (1972), The City and the Grassroots (1983), The Informational City (1989), The Rise of the Network Society (1996), Communication Power (2009) and Networks of Outrage and Hope (2012). Professor Castells' engagement with the Urban Theory Lab occurred admist a busy 2-day visit to the GSD, in which he also presented public lectures to larger audiences on "The Space of Autonomy: Cyberspace and Urban Space in Networked Social Movements" and "Urbanism in the Information Age: Places, Flows, Networks." Our research group was delighted to have the opportunity to dialogue with Professor Castells about his past and present research agendas, and to receive his feedback on some of our ongoing research projects. Along with the intellectual nourishment we received from his visit, we were all quite charmed by Professor Castell's personal warmth and intellectual generosity, and by his refreshingly joyful approach to scholarship, dialogue and debate. Thank you, Manuel Castells, for a wonderful and inspiring visit to the GSD!
Sep 26, 2014
During a very busy two weeks of teaching and lecturing at MIT-DUSP, our friend and colleague Professor Ananya Roy (UC Berkeley) very generously agreed to spend some time in dialogue with us at the Urban Theory Lab. Along with her podcast interview, Professor Roy led a wide-ranging discussion of her work with Urban Theory Lab researchers and other close associates during a lunchtime seminar. Key topics of discussion included her approach to postcolonial urban theory and “Southern” theory, the question of worlding cities, the status of theory in urban research, the nature of critique, the question of reflexivity, and recent debates in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research regarding the status of “the city” as concept and reality. This exchange was an extremely productive opportunity to brainstorm together about some of the many epistemological, substantive and political challenges with which the field of critical urban studies is today confronted. We look forward to continued dialogue with Professor Roy as she develops innovative new approaches to urban theory and research in the years ahead.
Sep 16, 2014
During a busy week of early semester events at the GSD, two members of our International Advisory Board—Professor Lukasz Stanek (Architecture Research Centre, Manchester University, UK) and Professor Stuart Elden (Politics, Warwick University, UK)—spent some time on campus in conjunction with a major conference on War and Urbanism. In this context, they generously agreed to dialogue with Urban Theory Lab researchers about their various research projects related to questions of urban theory and urbanization. Lukasz Stanek discussed his current work on the export of architectural expertise and design templates from Eastern Europe to the Third World during the Cold War, with particular reference to the case of Accra, Ghana. Stuart Elden discussed his recent thinking about territory in relation to urban questions, and offered a provocative critique of existing approaches to the urban-as-territory within urban studies. The seminar offered us a perfect stimulus to come together as a group early in the semester and to reflect on a number of issues that are of central import to our work in progress. We look forward to continued dialogue with Profs. Stanek and Elden as their respective projects continue to evolve.
Sep 04, 2014
UTL researchers Daniel Ibañez and Nikos Katsikis launched their recent volume, New Geographies 06: 'Grounding Metabolism', at the Loeb Library, Harvard GSD. This book aims to trace synthetic routes to design through a more elaborate understanding of the relation between concepts of urban metabolism and the formal, physical, and material engraving of metabolic processes across scales. The book is now available for purchase through Harvard University Press and popular vendors.
Sep 30, 2015
UTL researcher Ali Fard, in collaboration with our colleague, GSD DDes candidate Taraneh Meshkani, recently launched their new co-edited volume, New Geographies 07: Geographies of Information, in a lively gathering at the Loeb Library, Harvard GSD. Continuing the long tradition of cutting-edge research at the intersection between geography and design in the ongoing New Geographies project, this volume aims to explore and elaborate the spatial grounding of contemporary information and communication networks. It argues, in particular, that new information and communications technologies (ICTs) exert a critical influence on the ongoing process of urbanization, in a wide range of settings and across multiple spatial scales. The contributors to the volume examine the forms, imprints, places, and territories of ICTs through spatially grounded and nuanced investigations of diverse conditions in both advanced and emerging economies. The volume is now available for purchase through Harvard University Press and popular vendors