Urban Studies and the Challenge of Travelling Concepts and Comparative Methods / STREAM I – City-Regions relations

Convenor: Alberta Andreotti (University of Milan-Bicocca, IT); Alan Mabin (University of Pretoria, ZA).

Contact: alberta.andreotti@unimib.it, Alan.Mabin@up.ac.za

Most urban theories originate in the efforts to understand a specific urban locale. The experiences of English cities during the industrial revolution, of German cities at the start of the twentieth century, or Chicago a little later, or Los Angeles and New York more recently, become the basis of “theories” that are then applied elsewhere, and which are sometimes accorded a quasi-universal status.

Theories travel uneasily, however: whilst theories sometimes illuminate and reveal, they may also distract and obscure. This difficultly has become more striking in the early twenty-first century as the recent urban debate is showing. Appeals for ‘southern theory’ symbolize the state of argument.

Whilst urban sociologists and other scholars now collectively use a wider range of methods than ever before, not all methods are used equally in all parts of the world. Quantitative data is much more readily available in cities across the global North than in the cities of the global South. But are all methods equally valuable in different urban settings? How can we integrate different methods?

We welcome contributions that critically examine how theories travel around the world, how methods can be applied in diverse settings, and how the experiences and characters of diverse cities.

I2 Urban Studies and the Challenge of Travelling Concepts and Comparative Methods

Chairs: Alberta Andreotti (University of Milan-Bicocca) Alan Mabin (University of Pretoria)

Contact: alberta.andreotti@unimib.it Alan.Mabin@up.ac.za

Omar Sherif
Spatial Political Economy in Urban Design: The Case of Heliopolis, Cairo

Martin Lamotte
El Pueblo: Circulation of a concept and gang imaginaries of a common world: between the South Bronx, Barcelona, and Guayaquil

Wood Astrid
Adopting and adapting bus rapid transit: unpacking South-South cooperation in policy circulation

Mosselson Aidan
Johannesburg has its own momentum’: towards a vernacular theorisation of urban change


Distributed papers

Henderson Hayley
Taking on an ethnographic sensibility in comparative urban research

Peimani Nastaran
Travelling Theories: How Jacobs’ theory of a diverse city might apply in a Middle Eastern context?

Arnoud de Waaijer Dirk
The strategy of New Towns in practice in the greater Shanghai urban area.

Cvetinovic Marija
A multidimensional visualization of concepts and relations in post-socialist urban planning: what happens when the notion of agency, system and theory travel between disciplines


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