Reframing urban regions through comparative urbanism / STREAM I – City-Regions relations

Organizers: Jennifer Robinson (University College London, UK); Christian Schmid (ETH Zürich, CH).


Cities and regions are now deeply indistinguishable in many parts of the world, blurred through various processes of extended urbanization, for example, by the extension of both informal and speculative developments in peri-urban and ex-urban areas and villages, by various processes of industrialization leading to the disintegration of the hinterlands, by the rearticulation of urban centralities and the merging of formerly monocentric cities into polycentric configurations, and by the numerous connections and physical links stretching through and beyond delimited regions. As different urbanisation processes operate to produce a wide variety of forms of spatial developments across the world, a comparative perspective is essential.

This session will explore, firstly, the different drivers of the spatial re-articulation of urban areas and regionalisation. Beyond the conventional argument concerning urban regions as platforms for global economic competitiveness, this session invites presenters to consider the diversity of processes and consequences of current spatial reconfigurations. Governance structures and incentives, opportunity seeking by village communities, new industrial formations, migration trajectories and housing demand, overlapping authority structures including traditional or rural authorities, and transnational speculative developments offer some of a range of dynamics for a more global theorisation of the shifting recalibrations of “city” and “region”. Secondly, the session is eager to attend to the diverse conceptualisations of these sociospatial formations emergent in different contexts. Urban regions are pulled into wider imaginations by urban populations, practitioners and scholars, through a variety of different political and spatial concerns perhaps as wider regions deeply fractured by concerns to protect privilege or political power, or perhaps as distinct modular urban centres. Papers should seek to adopt a comparative approach to these questions, either reflecting these questions across more than one case or context, or drawing out the consequences for wider interpretations from a specific context or urbanisation process.

I1.1 Reframing urban regions through comparative urbanism

Chairs: Jenny Robinson University College London) Christian Schmid (ETH Zürich)


Luděk Sýkora, Ondřej Mulíček
Residential dispersal, job concentration and reconfiguration of postsocialist urban regions

Sofia Pagliarin
Multi-scalar governance processes of the sprawling city: Reconfiguring housing functions in the urban regions of Barcelona and Milan

Carola Fricke
Europeanization of Metropolitan Regions? City-regional Policies in Supra-national and Sub-national Contexts

Christina Culwick
Social justice and sustainability transitions in the Gauteng City-Region

Matteo Del Fabbro
Conceptualizations and representations of Milan urban region. A critical review

distributed papers

Neha Singh
Waterscape: Urban & Rural reconfigured

Nat Marom
Conceptualizing and Comparing Urban Regions: Visions, Speculations and Activisms in/between Mumbai and Cape Town




I1.2 Reframing urban regions through comparative urbanism

Chairs: Chairs: Jenny Robinson University College London) Christian Schmid (ETH Zürich)


Barbara Heer
Urban elites, the local state and private developers: Comparative ethnography of drivers of neighborhood transformation in African urban conurbations

Ozan Karaman
Comparing urban processes: an experimental approach

Pierre Hammel, Roger Keil
Suburban World: Comparing the governance of globalizing regions from the outside in

Rodrigo Viseu Cardoso
Localising extensive urbanisation: comparing the emergence of second-tier urban regions in Europe

Seth Schindler
Urban planning in an era of “genomic development”

Distributed papers

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