Summer School on Comparative Urban Studies, Urbino, August 2015


4th RC21-IJURR-FURS Summer School in Comparative Urban Studies

Research Committee 21 (RC21) of the International Sociology Association, the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR), the Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies (FURS) and the University of Urbino Carlo Bo (Italy) invite applications for 25 places on our fourth collaborative School on Comparative Urban Studies, to be held in Urbino (Italy) from August 16th to September 2nd 2015. The School is being held in conjunction with the RC21 Conference on the theme of “The ideal city: between myth and reality. Representations, policies, contradictions and challenges for tomorrow’s urban life” to be held on August 27-29, 2015.

Date Morning (9 am – 1 pm) Early afternoon (2 pm – 4 pm) Late afternoon (4 pm – 6 pm or 5 pm – 6:30 pm)
Sunday 16 August Arrival & Welcome - Welcome – Social Event
Monday 17 August Welcome lecture Entering the city –ideal and real virtually and on foot Magalì Sarfatti Larson Participants presentations Tour 1: Discovering Urbino: new and old developments of the ideal city Peter Kammerer
Tuesday 18 August Session 1: The tools: mixed methods Jeremy Seekings / Yuri Kazepov / Eduardo Barberis - Participants presentations
Wednesday 19 August Workshop: Looking at the Ideal City through Visual Ethnographies Lidia K. Manzo / Scott Lizama Visual hunting Debriefing
Thursday 20 August Tour 2: Methodological challenges in cultural heritage product development Tour with Massimo Giovanardi Tour Tour
Friday 21 August Session 2: The making of the "ideal city" A historical and trans-cultural approach Laurent Fourchard   Group study Free
Saturday 22 August Session 3: Socializing the ideal city: the role of social networks Eduardo Marques / Alberta Andreotti Group study Debriefing
Sunday 23 August Free day Free day Free day
Monday 24 August Session 4: Participating in the ideal city Massimo Bricocoli / Jill Gross Group study Debriefing
Tuesday 25 August Session 5: Urban ethnographies Talja Blokland / Claire Colomb Group study Debriefing
Wednesday 26 August Session 6: Comparing (ideal) cities: Theories and Methods Jenny Robinson / Patrick Le Galès Group study Debriefing
Thursday 27 August Publishing (with exercises) Mike Raco RC21 conference: opening plenary RC21 conference reception
Friday 28 August RC21 conference RC21 conference RC21 conference
Saturday 29 August RC21 conference RC21 Tours Free
Sunday 30 August Session 7: Comparing north/south urban ethnographies Raquel Rolnik / Urban Studies and transdisciplinarity Alan Scott Group discussion -
Monday 31 August Fund-raising (with exercises) Yuri Kazepov / Eduardo Barberis - Farewell dinner
Tuesday 1 September Departure - -









Monday 17th August 2015

Opening lecture: Entering the city –ideal and real, virtually and on foot

TOUR_1. Discovering Urbino: new and old developments in the ideal city

Tuesday 18th August 2015

The tools: mixed methods

Mixed methods: Measurement, precision and causation

Abstract: Most advocates of one or other research methodology tend to exaggerate the merits of their method and the limits of others. Can we take a step back and think about the strengths and weaknesses of different methods – both qualitative (interviews, observation) and quantitative (including experimental work as well as the analysis of survey, census and administrative data)? What is ‘measured’, and how precisely? How is causality understood and demonstrated? How can methods usefully be combined? The class will illustrate this through studies of the changing nature of obligations between kin, neighbours and the state in cities in the global South.

Required readings

Pearce, Lisa D. (2012) “Mixed Methods Inquiry in Sociology” American Behavioral Scientist, 56.

Wyly, Elvin (2011) “Positively radical” in IJURR 35, 3.

Recommended readings

Blokland, Talja, and Julia Nast. “From public familiarity to comfort zone: the relevance of absent ties for belonging in Berlin’s mixed neighbourhoods.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38.4 (2014): 1142-11.

Muyeba, Singumbe, and Jeremy Seekings. “Race, attitudes and behaviour in racially-mixed, low-income neighbourhoods in Cape Town, South Africa.” Current Sociology 59.5 (2011): 655-671.

Alexander, Peter, et al. Class in Soweto. Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press (2013).

Seekings, Jeremy. ‘Perceptions of Class and Income in Post-Apartheid Cape Town’. CSSR Working Paper 198 (Cape Town: Centre for Social Science Research, University of Cape Town) (2007).

Neves, David, and Andries du Toit. “Money and Sociality in South Africa’s Informal Economy.” Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute 82.1 (2012): 131-149.

Harper, Sarah, and Jeremy Seekings. ‘Claims on and Obligations to Kin in Cape Town, South Africa’. CSSR Working Paper 272 (Cape Town: Centre for Social Science Research, University of Cape Town) (2010).

The vignettes technique for comparative research

Abstract: This down-to-Earth session will introduce you to the use of the vignette technique in comparative research as part of a mixed methods strategy. Vignettes are stimuli constructed in the form of short realistic descriptions with precise references to events and situations that the respondents could hypothetically encounter in their personal or professional lives and for which they are asked to simulate a decision-making process. The session will provide you with the strengths and weaknesses of the method and the advantages in using it when comparing institutionally different contexts. In particular we will show the fruitfulness of using it in combination (not juxtaposition) with other methods.  Examples will be provided from research projects in which we aimed at understanding rescaling processes of social policies and the increasing importance of local (urban) welfare systems in Europe.

Required readings

Barberis Eduardo (2010) Methods and Contexts in the study of Rescaling, In Kazepov Yuri (ed.) Rescaling social Policies towards Multilevel Governance in Europe, Ashgate Farnham, pp. 431-470.

Wednesday 19th August 2015

Workshop: Looking at the ideal city through visual ethnographies

Abstract: The workshop focuses on visual sociological methods and their uses in field research and ethnography to study the urban scene. We introduce a methodological framework for understanding urban social space that is visual in approach, and that capitalizes on the new technologies associated with contemporary photographic imaging.

A brief introduction will focus on how to maximize the tools in use; then, image-based research and contrasted streetscapes taken in different sites will be analysed.

We will debate what it means to research the city visually and how researchers can use contemporary technology to extend the possibilities of photographic data collection. By introducing the many apps for “geotagging” visual images as well as image mapping websites we will end with a photographic understanding of Urbino.

A final presentation and discussion of participants’ group works will be centered around the theoretical and ethical implications of extended visual research methods this way.

Required readings

Pauwels, Luc. “Visual sociology reframed: An analytical synthesis and discussion of visual methods in social and cultural research.” Sociological Methods & Research 38, no. 4 (2010): 545-581.

Harper, Douglas. “An argument for visual sociology.” Image-based research: A sourcebook for qualitative researchers (1998): 24-41.

Recommended readings

Bourdieu, Pierre. “Social Space and Symbolic Power.” Sociological Theory, Vol. 7, No. 1. (Spring, 1989), pp. 14-25.

Benjamin, Walter. “The author as producer.” Reflections, 229 (1978).

Thursday 20th August 2015

TOUR_2. Methodological Challenges in cultural heritage product development

Abstract: It has been almost three decades that marketing and branding phylosophies have started influencing the realms of ‘public’ and ‘spatial’ as principles for place management. The adoption of marketing perspectives and techniques by local managers have unfolded through often ambiguous and uneven governance processes, by leading to outcomes that have to a large extent disappointed commentators and scholars in the area of urban and regional studies.

The seminar illuminates on the methodological challenges that local managers face when they intend to leverage local resources for regeneration purposes, with particular respect to the physical and symbolic manifestations of cultural heritage. As such, the very notion of heritage, with its potential multiple interpretations within the same place, constitutes a sui generis ‘product’ to piece together and promote. The critical case of the Montefeltro historical region and its efforts to market itself as an area of culture provides valuable insights  for scholars and place managers about the main factors that may hinder culture-led regeneration processes in rural areas.

Required reading

Warnaby, G., Medway, D., & Bennison, D. (2010). Notions of materiality and linearity: the challenges of marketing the Hadrian’s Wall place ‘product’. Environment and planning. A, 42 (6), 1365.

Friday 21st August 2015


Beyond the ideal city: confronting archival sources, ethnographic methods and participant observation

Abstract: This session will look at the gaps between the rhetoric and policies of the ideal city and the development and functioning of the urban fabric in the colonial and postcolonial context of Africa. Over the past century, colonial and post-colonial planning, as well as the recent development of neoliberal urban projects, have all concurred in imagining, drafting and aiming to implement a specific vision of the perfect city, i.e. an orderly but also a segregated one along racial and social lines. Based on an ethnographic experience in poor neighborhoods of Lagos and Ibadan (Nigeria), Cape Town and Johannesburg (South Africa) as well as archival research in both countries, I will shed light on the official discourse on urban planning and urban order and the historical construction of a social stigma towards ‘native’, poor and informal neighborhoods. Looking beyond the model of a fully planned city, I will show through specific examples how and to what extent cities are often reinvented on a daily basis by poor residents who bypass the rules of the ideal city. The methodology will consist in confronting archival primary documents on policing the city and social engineering projects and ethnographic methods used in poor areas of large Africa’s metropolis.

Required readings

Carl Nightingale, Segregation a Global History of Divided Cities, Chap. 7 “The Outer Limits of Colonial Urbanism”, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 2012, pp. 192-226.

Severine Awenengo, Hélène Charton, Odile Goerg, ‘Urban planning, housing, and the making of ‘‘responsible citizens’’, Dakar, Nairobi,Conakry”, in Simon Bekker and Laurent Fourchard (eds.), Governing Africa’s Cities in Africa, Pretoria, HSRC, 2013.

Recommended readings

Laurent Fourchard, “Lagos, Koolhaas and partisan politics in Nigeria”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 35, 1, 2011, pp. 40-56.

Marie Huchzermeyer, “Tenement city; the emergence of multi-storey districts through large scale private landlordism in Nairobi”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 31, 4, 2007, pp. 714-732.

Recommended documentary movie

Louis Theroux, Law and disorder in Lagos, Documentary movie, BBC, 2011

Saturday 22nd August 2015

Social networks, and social capital in the city: methodological strategies.

The lecture will present the main origins of SNA (Social Network Analysis), both from a theoretical and methodological point of view. Examples will illustrate the visual and partly the technical elements behind the network analysis, and the operationalisation of social capital. Discussion of sociability, socialization and social assistances through empirical studies (in San Paolo and Milan) will lead the second part of the lecture.

Required readings

Mustafa Emirbayer (1997) Manifesto for a Relational Sociology, in  The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 103, No. 2, pp. 281-317.

General reference for the methodology: Hanneman and Riddle:

Recommended readings

Andreotti, A. (2006) Coping strategies in a wealthy city, in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol 30, Issue 2, 328-345.

Marques, E. (2012) Social Networks, Segregation, and Poverty in São Paulo, in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol. 36. Issue 5,  958–79

Monday 24rd August 2015

Participating in the ideal city

Abstract: The city of Urbino is an extraordinary context to discuss about issues concerning the architecture of participation. Its Art gallery hosts the renowned painting “the Ideal City” (logo to the RC21 conference), a renaissance masterpiece: it depicts an ideal city in which no human is to be seen. In a town dominated by the Ducal palace – “a city in the form of a palace”, as it was described in the 15th century – witnessing the power and the high humanist culture of the duke of Montefeltro, the XX century masterplan and the university campus was designed by Giancarlo de Carlo, among the most outstanding Italian architects of the period: he critically discussed the values which inspired modern architecture, supporting an active role of citizens in the design and organization of the urban realm (see also Tour 1 with Peter Kammerer on this issue).

In this session we will propose an overview of issues at stake in the meaning and forms of participation in the contemporary city, and a critical understanding of the different forms of collective action. In particular, the focus will be, on the one hand, on risks and concerns when participation is used as a normative dimension in planning and an instrument for the design processes; on the other hand, on new forms of sharing and collective action – i.e. urban gardening – that seem to extensively develop as a reaction to individualism and to a fragmented society. Whether these are forms of self-organisation grounded on affinities (thus with an exclusionary dimension, eluding the complexity of political participation) or do foster institution-building, capacity to aspire and city-making, will be discussed during the session.

Required readings

Arnstein S.R. (1969), “A Ladder of Citizen Participation”, Journal of the American Institute of Planners, vol. 35, n. 4, pp. 216-224.

De Carlo G. (1972) An architecture of participation. South Melbourne: Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

Recommended readings

Hirschman A.O. (1982) Shifting involvements: private interest and public action, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.

Morrill C., Snow D.A., White C. (2005), Together alone, University of California press, Berkeley.

Sennett R. (2012), Together. The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-operation, Yale University Press, New Haven.

Abstract: Cities have throughout history been associated with conceptions of democracy. Whether they are looked upon as stages for the performance of democratic acts, as institutionally proximate venues for political claims-making, or socio-economic environments which by virtue of density and proximity serve as grounds for the emergence of movements – the city has long been viewed as an ideal site for the incubation of ideas, actions and institutions. Recent history also shows us, that cities can just as easily be places of repression in which ideas are stifled, movements contained and elites dominate. How are we as researchers, to understand these divergent urban expressions? This session will examine political participation in the contemporary city, with a particular focus on building an understanding of physical places and political spaces. We will consider the ways in which the physical construct of a city – where people congregate, proximity and density, the structure of housing and public space – can help us to understand political participation. We will also explore the idea of political space, and the ways in which its construction – physically, institutionally and ideologically serve as an equally important mechanism that frames participation in the city. We will consider these topics comparatively, drawing upon examples from London, Dublin, Toronto and Guangzhou.

Required readings

van Deth, J. W. (2014). A conceptual map of political participation. Acta Politica.

Miller, B., & Nicholls, W. (2013). Social Movements in Urban Society: The City as A Space of Politicization. Urban Geography, 34(4), 452-473.

Recommended readings

Marc Hooghe, Bengü Hosch-Dayican and Jan W. van Deth, Symposium Conceptualizing political participation, Acta Politica (2014), 49, 337. doi:10.1057/ap.2014.7; published online 16 May 2014.

Zhu, Y. (2015). Toward community engagement: Can the built environment help? Grassroots participation and communal space in Chinese urban communities. Habitat International, 46, 44-53.

Gross, J. S. (2014) Migrant Integration and the Urban Crisis: A New Rhetoric for a New Reality. A paper presented at the City Futures Conference, Paris, 2014. Available on ResearchGate

Tuesday 25th August 2015

Urban ethnographies

Doing Ethnography: The Challenge of Seeing the World through the Eyes of Others

Abstract: This lecture first discusses the various ways in which ethnography as a method has been defined and used in the social sciences. Drawing on my field experiences in my research in deprived neighbourhoods in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and New Haven, USA, I then continue to reflect on the basic building blocks of ethnographic work: getting access and acquiring a position in the field, combining note taking and interviews, positioning oneself in morally difficult situations, becoming a person and the dilemma of engagement and detachment and the painful process of writing up an ethnography.

Required readings

Becker, H. (2001) The epistemology of qualitative research, in: Emerson R. (ed.), Contemporary Field Research: Perspectives and Formulations. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

Geertz, C. (2001) Thick Description. In: Emerson R. (ed.), Contemporary Field Research: Perspectives and Formulations. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

Recommended readings

Blokland, T. (2008) Facing violence: Everyday risks in an American Housing Project, Sociology, 42(4): 601-617

Urban policies and regeneration politics in the ‘ideal city’: conflicts, protests and resistance

Abstract: This lecture will focus on the tensions between the discourse on the “ideal city” pursued by urban elites and policy-makers through large-scale urban planning and regeneration projects and urban policies, and the (often contrasting) visions of the city as a living space held by local residents, community groups and citizens affected by such projects and policies. The conflicts, forms of protest and resistance and urban social movements which may arise as a result of different visions and projects for the transformation of urban neighbourhoods provide a fascinating terrain for urban scholars, who sometimes themselves engage in such mobilizations as citizens and activists. This session will offer a social-constructivist perspective on urban policies and will reflect on the opportunities and challenges arising from the study of the conflicts and social mobilizations surrounding such policies. It will discuss, first, the usefulness of (critical) discourse analysis as a way to analyze urban policies and as a tool to study and contrast various discourses on the city’s transformation. It will then look at the methods which can used to study urban conflicts, forms of protest and resistance in relation to urban policies. It will specifically discuss the question of the positionality of the researcher when doing research about, with or for community groups; the ethical challenges which arise when the researcher is also an activist and the opportunities for participatory and action research. The session will build on examples from past and ongoing research in London, Barcelona and Berlin.

Required readings

Jacobs, K. (2006) ‘Discourse analysis and its utility for urban policy research’, Urban Policy and Research, 24 (1), 39–52.

Breitbart, M. (2010) ‘Participatory research methods’, in N. Clifford, S. French, G. Valentine (eds) Key Methods in Geography. London: Sage, pp. 141-156.


Recommended readings

Lees, L. (2004) ‘Urban geography: discourse analysis and urban research’, Progress in Human Geography, (28)1, 101–107.

Cochrane, A. (2000). The social construction of urban policy. In: Watson, Sophie and Bridge, Gary eds. A Companion to the City. Blackwell Companions to Geography. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 531–542.

Wednesday 26th August 2015

Comparing (ideal) cities: Theories and Methods

Thinking cities/the urban with elsewhere: putting comparison to work for a more global urban studies

Abstract: In response to postcolonial critiques and the shifting locus of global urbanisation, urban studies today demarcates a rich field of analytical experimentation. This includes, comparative urbanisms; ethnographically-informed inventive conceptualisations; regional (or global South) strategic essentialisms; planetary urbanisation; assemblage approaches; and political economists committed to thinking with differentiation and hybridisation. There is much work underway which is establishing tactics for a more global urban studies. This lecture explores how a comparative imagination can contribute to this wider project. Comparison can offer some guidance on how to work across specificity and wider conceptualisations, which is a core concern for any attempt to theorise the urban beyond the single case, which is a special concern for urbanists. Mindful of the limits of conventional forms of comparison, especially the restrictions it places on comparability across diverse cities, this session will discuss how to develop a formulation of conceptualisation and research practice specifically relevant for urban studies. Building on the interconnected nature of urban outcomes across the globe (through for example policy circulation, investment in the built environment, design professions, transnational movements and global production networks) and the many repeated instances which make up cities (such as gated communities, suburbs, planning ideas, policies), we explore how we can put specific urban cases (outcomes, processes, experiences) into conversation with others in order to extend the ways in which we can understand and talk about the nature of the urban (in both its multiplicity and complexity). After introducing some suggested new methodological tactics, building through both Marxist and Deleuzian philosophical idioms, I will illustrate these with some of my own worked examples; we can discuss some experimental comparative studies in the field; and we will take some time to consider how participants might put a comparative imagination to work in their own research

Required reading

Jacobs, J. (2006) ‘A geography of big things’, Cultural Geographies, 13(1): 1-27.

Recommended readings

Simone, A. (2011b), The surfacing of urban life. City, 15, 3-4: 355-364.

Stanek, L. 2008. Space as Concrete Abstraction: Hegel, Marx, and modern urbanism in Henri Lefebvre, in Goonewardena, K., Kipfer, S., Milgrom, R. and Schmid, C. (eds) Space, Difference, Everyday Life: Reading Henri Lefebvre. London: Routledge, pgs 62-79.

The exciting ground of imperfect comparison

Abstract: the lecture will first identify the lack of comparative research in various urban studies tradition. It will then develop a series of proposition about comparing over time, space and scale. Some examples will be developed from past and most recent research.

Required readings


Recommended readings


Thursday 27th August 2015

Publishing (with exercises)


Friday 28th August 2013


Saturday 29th Saturday


Sunday 30th August 2015

Comparing north/south urban ethnographies


Finantialization of urban land and the political economy of housing

Abstract: Housing has been one of the most powerful new frontiers of financial capital during the last decades. From the outset of the financial crisis housing was converted into one of the main Keynesian strategies to recover from it. The commodification of housing, as well as the increased use of housing as an investment asset integrated in a globalized financial market, has deeply impacted upon the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing globally.

The belief that markets could regulate the allocation of housing as the most rational means of resource distribution, combined with experiments with ‘creative’ financial products related to it, has resulted in public policies that has abandoned the conceptual meaning of housing as a social good. Housing policies has shifted from being part of the commonalities a society agrees to share or to provide to those with less resources, a means to distribute wealth, into a means to accumulate individual wealth and generate financial gains.

Understanding transformations on social housing policies and their impacts over cities and patterns of socio-spatial segregation requires a methodological effort not only of understanding housing policies but also of analysing the role played by urban space in the contemporary processes of capital accumulation.

Changes in urban space production and consumption have figured as driving forces of the constitution of a new economic order, characterized by the deepening of the connections between financial market and real estate. Using the examples of different countries – particularly United Kingdom, US, Chile and Brazil, the lecture will focus on the challenges of comparative studies.

Required readings

HARVEY, David (2001), Globalization and the “spatial fix”. Geographische Revue – Zeitschrift für Literatur und Diskussion, ano 3, caderno 2.

ROLNIK, Raquel (2013), Late neoliberalism: the financialization of homeownership and rights. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, v. 37, n. 3.

Recommended readings

AALBERS, Manuel (2008). The Financialization of Home and the Mortgage Market Crisis. Competition & Change, v. 12, n. 2.

BRENNER, Neil, THEODORE, Nik (2002a). Cities and the geographies of ‘actually existing neoliberalism’. In: BRENNER, Neil, THEODORE, Nik (eds.). Spaces of neoliberalism: urban restructuring in North America and Western Europe. Oxford: Blackwell.

PAYNE, Geoffrey, DURAND-LASSERVE, Alain, RAKODI, Carole (2009). The limits of land titling and home ownership. Environment and Urbanization, v. 21, n. 2.

ROSSI, Ugo (2013). On Life as a Fictitious Commodity: Cities and the Biopolitics of Late Neoliberalism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, v. 37.3.

ROY, Ananya (2013). Slum-free cities of the Asian century: Postcolonial government and the project of inclusive growth. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, v. 35.


Urban Studies and the Reordering of the Social Sciences


Abstract: The inherited division of labour within the social sciences is not God-given, but rather the outcome of intellectual battles and debates, notably the so-called ‘methods dispute’ (Methodenstreit) in late nineteenth century Germany. Nor are the boundaries between disciplines completely stable. Currently, they are being challenged by two forces: (i) intellectual developments that cross disciplinary boarders (neo-institutionalism and Actor Network (ANT) provide prominent examples); (ii) the emergence of transdisciplinary fields such as STS, organization studies, and, of course, urban studies. This lecture will examine some of the implications of these developments and at the challenges, opportunities and excitement that working transdisciplinary fields, where the ‘field’ is defined along thematic rather than disciplinary lines, provide.


Required reading

RAMADIER, Thierry (2004) Transdisciplinarity and its challenges: the case of Urban Studies, FUTURES, v. 36, pp. 423-439.

Recommended reading

ANDERSON, L. (2003) Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the 21st Century. New York: Columbia University Press.

Monday 31st August 2015

Fund-raising (with exercises)


As in previous years, the School will focus on the interaction of theory and methodology in the study of the city. The School will address three broad themes:

  1. The value added of comparative research in urban studies and the changing nature of the urban question. How and why are cities across the world changing, and with what consequences?
  2. What new research tools and methodologies are appropriate to making sense of the changes occurring in contemporary urban society? How should we make use of or combine, ethnographic research and the analysis of quantitative data?
  3. Are our theories appropriate for the study of contemporary urban form and society, especially in the global South where we often apply theories of the global North without regard to the specificities of old and new urban contexts in the South?

Lectures will cover topics cutting across these themes considering the theory and practice of comparison, linking theory and method, and providing insights into quantitative and qualitative methods. Classes will focus on the global North and global South. Special attention will be paid to “the ideal city” and the way the physical and social form interact.


The School follows the precedent of the inaugural, the second and third Schools held in São Paulo in 2009, in Amsterdam in 2011 and in Berlin in 2013 in providing younger scholars with an opportunity to learn from established scholars, from diverse disciplines and parts of the world, through both formal classes and informal interaction. The School will also help younger scholars to present, discuss and prepare for publication their own work. Formal sessions will be spread across twelve days. Sessions will typically comprise presentations by two senior scholars, discussions, and student presentations. Participants will be required to prepare in advance and complete assignments during the School. In addition one day will be set aside for dedicated sessions of how to get work published (both as books and in journals) and how to raise funds for research. Participants will also be able to enrol on guided tours in Urbino and its surroundings, and time will be scheduled for them to meet informally with senior scholars for detailed comments on their assignments, with the goal of helping students to learn how to prepare and organize work for presentation at an international conference and publication in an international journal. Participants will receive an e-reader with the syllabus well in advance. The language of the School will be English. Students will also be required to present a paper at and participate fully in the RC21 conference.

Alberta Andreotti is research Fellow in economic sociology at the Department of Sociology and Social Research at the University of Milan-Bicocca. She teaches Economy, firms and society and Social capital and economic productive local systems. Her main research interests are: Social capital and social networks, local welfare systems, poverty and social exclusion, middle class, cities. Among her recent publications: (2015) Globalized minds roots in the city, Blackwell with P. Le Galès and F.J. Moreno Fuentes; (2014) Local welfare systems and the economic crisis, in European and Urban Regional Studies with E. Mingione; (2013) Controlling the Urban Fabric: The Complex Game of Distance And Proximity in European Upper-Middle-Class Residential Strategies, in IJURR, with P. Le Galès and F.J. Moreno Fuentes; (2009) Che cos’è il capitale sociale, Carocci, Roma.

Eduardo Barberis (MA sociology, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, PhD in Urban and Local European Studies, University of Milan-Bicocca), holds a post-doc position at the University of Urbino Carlo Bo, where he lectures on Immigration policy and cofounded a Centre for Applied Research on Transculturalism. He also works on antidiscrimination policy and research. His research interest include local and comparative governance of welfare and immigration policies. Among his recent publications: (2013, ed.) Il welfare frammentato. Le articolazioni regionali delle politiche sociali in Italia with Yuri Kazepov; (2014) Blurred Rights, Local Practices: Social Work and Immigration in Italy, in the British Journal of Social Work, 44.

Michael Blim (Ph.D. Temple University in 1987) is Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He specializes in issues of political economy, equality, and labour, with a focus on Southern Europe and the local dimension of economic activities. He is the author of Equality and Economy: The Global Challenge (2005) and Made in Italy: Small-Scale Industrialization and its Consequences (1990), and coedited, with Frances Rothstein, Anthropology and the Global Factory: Studies of the New Industrialization in the Late Twentieth Century (1992). He is currently preparing a book titled Clear and Present Danger: The Role of the Rich in American Life.

Talja Blokland studied sociology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and was a PhD student in social sciences at the Amsterdam School for Social Research from 1994 to 1997, and at the New School University in 1996. After her PhD, she was a visiting scholar at Yale University and Manchester University. She worked briefly as a lecturer at the Sociology department of the University of Manchester before returning to Holland as a Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of the Arts and Sciences (1999-2003). She was then appointed as part-time Gradus Hendriks Professor in Community Development at Erasmus University and became a senior researcher and program director at the OTB Institute for Urban, Housing and Mobility Studies at Delft University. She came to Humboldt-University to be appointed on the Chair of Urban and Regional Sociology in 2009. Her latest book is Urban Theory (Sage 2014, with Alan Harding). She has published widely on urban poverty, race and ethnicity in urban contexts, urban communities and social capital.

Massimo Bricocoli. After a MSc in Architecture (Politecnico di Milano) and a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning (IUAV Venice), Massimo Bricocoli has been for ten years tenure track Assistant Professor in Urban Policies at the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies of Politecnico di Milano and Faculty at the School of Architecture and Society (lecturing “Housing and Neighbourhoods” and “Urban Ethnography”). In 2009-2010 he was Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at Humboldt Universitaet zu Berlin and HafenCity University Hamburg, in 2014 he was awarded a Velux Visiting professorship at the Centre for Urbanism at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. In March 2015 he was appointed as Full Professor at the University of Luxembourg. His theoretical and empirical research interests focus on: a) Urban regeneration processes and housing policies in the context of the post industrial city, b) Social change patterns at the urban level and the restructuring of local welfare policies, c) Emerging forms of urbanity, dwelling and inequalities, d) the development of a theoretical contribution to urban research and to the innovation of teaching and research methods in urban studies.

Claire Colomb is Reader (associate professor) in Urban Sociology and Planning at University College London (UCL), the Bartlett School of Planning, where she has worked since 2005. She has a dual background as a sociologist and urban planner and has studied and worked in France, the UK, Germany and Spain. Her research interests cover planning and urban policies in European cities; the contested politics of urban regeneration, urban social movements and urban conflicts; European spatial planning; and the transformation of spatial planning cultures and systems in Europe. She was Secretary of RC21 between 2010 and 2014. She is an affiliate fellow of the Centre for Metropolitan Studies (Berlin, Germany), of the LSE Catalan Observatory (London, UK) and of the Research Group on Multi-Level Governance (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain). Her books include European Spatial Planning and Territorial Cooperation (co-authored with S. Dühr and V. Nadin, Routledge, 2010), Staging the new Berlin: Place marketing and the politics of urban reinvention post-1989 (Routledge, 2011) and Protest and Resistance in the Tourist City (edited volume with J. Novy, Routledge, forthcoming).

Laurent Fourchard is senior researcher for the Fondation Nationale des Sciences politiques (FNSP) at Sciences Po Bordeaux and Sciences Po Paris and was visiting fellow at University of Oxford and University of Cape Town. He holds a PhD in History from University of Paris 7 and a Habilitation in political science from Sciences Po Paris. He has authored several papers on violence, security, youth, informality, patronage and party politics in Africa’s metropolis. He has edited a book on Governing Cities in Africa: Politics and Policies (2013) with Simon Bekker. He has done historical and ethnographic fieldworks in Burkina Faso, Nigeria and South Africa in the past 20 years. He is member of the board of the following journals: Africa, Journal of African History, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Politique africaine.

Massimo Giovanardi joined the University of Leicester – School of Management as a Lecturer in Marketing in 2014. During his PhD training and post-doc experience he developed an expertise in the study of ‘place branding’ – an umbrella term for research in place marketing, destination image and place-of-origin effect. More broadly, his research approach takes sociological perspectives to understand the processes whereby places are marketed, communicated and consumed. His contributions have been published on Annals of Tourism Research, Marketing Theory, European Planning Studies, Journal of Public Affairs and other topical academic journals about territorial development. He is affiliated to the Stockholm Programme of Place Branding and has developed a rich teaching portfolio, including Public Marketing, Tourism and Hospitality Marketing Management and paper development workshops.

Jill Simone Gross is the Director of the Graduate program in Urban Affairs at Hunter College of the City University of New York. She was a European Union Fulbright Scholar in 2012, where she conducted research on the localization of migrant integration. She earned her PhD in Political Science from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and holds a Masters Degree from the London School of Economic and Political Science. Jill and has taught at Barnard College, Columbia University, New York University, Queens College and Brooklyn College. Dr. Gross’ primary areas of research and writing are in comparative urban politics, governance, migration and economic development in Western European and North American cities, with an emphasis on issues of equity. Her current work explores the implications of migration on urban governance and inclusion in West Europe, Canada, and China. Dr. Gross has published most recently in the Journal of Urban Affairs, Cities, and Urban Research and Practice. She is the co-author of Governing Cities in a Global Era (Palgrave MacMillan, 2007), and is currently completing her next book on the topic of migration in the face of austerity and crisis. She has served as an elected member of the governing board of the Urban Affairs Association since 2011, where she chairs the International Committee.

Peter Kammerer has been Professor of Sociology at the University of Urbino for many years. His research is concerned with migration and the labour market. A further research focus regards the interaction between art and politics. Together with Graziella Galvani, he translated works by Heiner Mueller and Franz Xaver Kroetz into Italian and works by Antonio Gramsci and Pier Paolo Pasolini into German. He was co-editor along with Enrico Donaggio of the anthology Karl Marx. Istruzioni per l’uso (Feltrinelli, 2007). His recent works include Franz von Assisi. Zeitgenosse für eine anderer Politik, written together with Ekkehart Krippendorff and W.D. Narr (Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 2008) and, as editor, Pier Paolo Pasolini: Afrika, letzte Hoffnung (Corso-Verlag, Hamburg 2011).

Yuri Kazepov, is professor of Urban Sociology and Compared Welfare Systems at the University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”. From March 1, 2015 he will be moving to the University of Vienna. In 1995-96 he has been Jean Monet Fellow at the European University Institute (Fiesole, I) and held visiting professorships at the University of Bremen (1998) and University of Lund and Växjö (2008) and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York (2014). He is a founding board member of the Network for European Social Policy Analysis (ESPAnet) and is the immediate past President of RC21 of the International Sociological Association. Among his publications we have (2005) Cities of Europe. Changing contexts, local arrangements and the challenge to social cohesion, Blackwell, Oxford (ed.), (2008) The subsidiarisation of social policies: Actors, processes and impacts. Some reflections on the Italian case from a European perspective, in “European Societies” (2010); Rescaling social policies towards multilevel governance in Europe, Ashgate, Farnham. He is currently involved as head of the Urbino team in three FP7 projects (Improve, on poverty and local social innovation; Inspires, on labour market resilience; Divercities, on the governance of social mix and community diversity in European cities).

Patrick Le Galès, is CNRS Research Professor of Politics and Sociology, at Sciences Po Paris, Centre d’études européennes. He is part time visiting professor at King’s College London (one term in 2010 and 2011. He is the head of Sciences Po ‘Cities and territories” research group. He is the former editor of the International Journal of Urban and regional Research. Among his research interests we have European cities and great global metropolis, the urban making of social order, mobility and rooting, urban politics, public policy and sociology of the state, networks, government and governance, decentralization, local and regional economies. Among his publications we have: (2002) European Cities: Social Conflicts and Governance, Oxford, Oxford University Press; (2010) Cities (with G. Therborn) in the “Handbook of European Societies”; (2010)“Governing cities”, in Handbook of cities, Sage. (2011) (with A. Andreotti and J Moreno Fuentes) Controlling the urban fabric. The complex game of distance and proximity in European upper-middle classes’ residential strategiesInternational Journal of Urban and Regional Research. (2015) Globalized minds roots in the city, Blackwell with A. Andreotti and F.J. Moreno Fuentes.

Scott Lizama is a visual urbanist residing in Brooklyn, New York. Currently pursuing a PhD in environmental psychology at the City University of New York-Graduate Center, his recent research focuses on visually based social media sites such as Instagram and their potential as visual research data to understand the construction of urban social space. Two of his most recent projects completed include a public visual projection in the Bronx, New York with the Morris Justice Project, a participatory action research group aimed at the injustices of NYPD stop and frisk policy, and a four-year visual study of the suburban landscape around Phoenix, Arizona before and after the economic crash of 2008. His photographic work has appeared in major publications such as Artnews, Art in America, British Esquire, and most recently in Photo District News. Lizama has a Master of Fine Arts in photography and is currently an adjunct professor in the Sociology and Urban Studies department at St. Peters University in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Lidia K.C. Manzo holds a Ph.D. in Sociology (University of Trento) and a MA in Political and Social Communication (University of Milan) where she performed urban research and a documentary on Milan’s Chinatown. Her ethnographic and visual work examines how the everyday co-productions of space and identity support or inhibit social, spatial, and economic justice. Manzo’s dissertation – defended in April 2014 – was focused on institutions, housing and lifestyles in the Super-gentrification process of Brooklyn’s Park Slope, whereby she has held a twenty-months long affiliation as Visiting Doctoral Researcher at the City University of New York. Recent publications include: Gentrificación de sensibilidades. Política y estética en un barrio en transformación de la Ciudad de Nueva York (Quid 16, 2013), On People In Changing Neighborhoods. Gentrification and Social Mix: Boundaries and Resistance (Cidades, 2012), and the edited book Culture and Visual Forms of Power: Experiencing Contemporary Spaces of Resistance (Common Ground Publishing, 2014). Currently, she is Italian partner member in the international research project HOUWEL – Housing markets and welfare regimes – coordinated by the University of Amsterdam and Contract Professor at Politecnico di Milano University.

Eduardo Marques holds a MA in Urban and Regional Planning, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (1993) and a PhD in Social Sciences State University of Campinas (1998). He is a Livre-docente professor at the Department of Political Science at USP and researcher and deputy director of the Center for Metropolitan Studies (Cepid/Fapesp). He is currently president of RC-21, trustee of FURS – Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies (UK) and corresponding editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR). He is also the coordinator of the Summer School “Concepts and Methods in Political Science” held by the International Political Science Association in association with the DCP/USP and IRI/USP.

Mike Raco is Professor of Urban Governance and Development in the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. He has published widely on the topics of urban governance, regeneration, sustainability, and the politics of urban economic development. Recent books include Building Sustainable Communities: Spatial Policy and Labour Mobility in Post-war Britain (Policy Press, Bristol), Regenerating London: Governance, Sustainability and Community in a Global City (with Rob Imrie and Loretta Lees, Routledge, London) and The Future of Sustainable Cities: Critical Reflections (with John Flint, Policy Press, Bristol). Much of his research is UK focused but he has also written extensively on the politics of urban regeneration in the EU and East Asia. Recent projects have examined post-recession planning in London, Hong Kong, and Taipei, the rise of aspirational citizenship in urban policy discourses in the UK, and the impacts of privatisation and PFI contracts on the Coalition’s Open Source Planning reforms. He is also heading a UCL team working on a new 6.5million Euro EUFramework7 research consortium on the governance of social mix and community diversity in European cities.

Yuan Ren is professor of demography and urban studies at Fudan University (China). He is steering committee member of Urban China Research Network (UCRN), board member of Urban Governance for Sustainable Cities Network (UGSCN) (2012-2015), and board member of RC21(2014-2018). He is fellow of New Century Excellent Talents award by Chinese National Education Commission (2012). He conducted researches and published on a wide range of topics that include population and development, aging studies, urbanization and migration, urban affairs and public management, global city and global-local nexus, low carbon cities, urban sustainability, and so on with a primary focus on China. His recent publication include co-editor of Reshaping Welfare Institutions in China and the Nordic Countries (Helsinki & Shanghai: 2014); co-author Migration and Urbanization in Contemporary China (Shanghai: 2013); author of Temporary Migrants’ Living Patterns and Their Social Integration in Urban China (Shanghai: 2012), co-editor and contributor of The Era of Global City-Regions (Shanghai: 2009) and a score of articles.

Jennifer Robinson is Professor of Human Geography at University College London and Honorary Visiting Professor in the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. She has also worked at the Open University in the UK and University of Natal, South Africa. Her book, Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development (2006) offers a post-colonial critique of urban studies, explaining and contesting urban theory’s neglect of cities of the global South. It argues the case for urban studies to draw on the diversity of urban experiences across the globe in developing more general accounts of cities. She is currently working on re-grounding comparative methods to support a more properly international urban studies, and developing a comparative research project on the politics of city strategies. On this theme she edited the IJURR virtual issue on “Comparative Urbanism” available to view free online:

Raquel Rolnik is a professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of São Paulo where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on urban planning, housing policies and urban issues. She is also the coordinator of LabCidade, a research center on the right to city. She also has over 30 years of practical experience in planning, urban land management and housing policies. In her career, she has held various government positions in Brazil including Director of the Planning Department of the city of São Paulo (1989-1992) and National Secretary for Urban Programs of the Brazilian Ministry of Cities (2003-2007) as well as NGO activities, such as Urban Policy Coordinator of the Polis Institute (1997-2002). She has advised national and local governments on urban policy reform as well as acted as a consultant for countries and international cooperation agencies. She is the author of several books and articles on urban issues in academic journals as well as in the media, in radio, TV and newspapers. In 2008 she was appointed by the UN Human Rights council as Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, mandate held until May 2014.

Magali Sarfatti Larson began to study sociology in Argentina in the late 1950s and graduated with an M.A. in 1961 from the University of Buenos Aires. After doing research in the sociology and politics of development in Paris (with Alain Touraine) and in Berkeley (with David Apter) and teaching at San Francisco State, she took her PhD in Sociology at Berkeley in 1974. She has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, at Temple University (where she also was department chair) and at the University of Urbino, as a Distinguished Professor. She has been a visiting professor at Harvard, New York University, the University of Calabria, the University of Buenos Aires and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris. Since her retirement from Urbino in 2001, she has been active with Latino immigrant organizations in Philadelphia, the city where she resides, and a committed participant in the civic life of her city. She is active in the discipline of sociology and its professional organizations, and is currently an elected member of the Eastern Sociological Society’s Executive Council. She is the author of four books and many articles; at present, her main interests are political culture and political sociology, with a particular emphasis on cities. Her better known books are The Rise of Professionalism (1974, C.W.Mills Award Honorable Mention; new edition 2013, Transaction Books) and Behind the Postmodern Facade: Architectural Change in Late Twentieth Century America (1994, Sociology of Culture Award, American Sociological Association and Excellence in Theory International Award, American Institute of Architects).

Alan Scott is Professor of Sociology at the University of Innsbruck (Austria) and Adjunct Professor at UNE (Australia). Currently he is also Vice President (for the Humanities and Social Sciences) of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). His research interests lie in the areas of social theory and political sociology. Recent publications include (as co-editor) The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology (2012). He is currently working on a book with a political theory colleague provisionally entitled Social Theory and Political Economy in the Neoliberal Era contracted by Routledge.

Jeremy Seekings is Professor of Political Studies and Sociology at the University of Cape Town (in South Africa), and is a regular Visiting Professor at Yale University (in the USA).  He has been co-editor of IJURR since 2005.  He is the Vice-President of RC21 for Africa. He is the author or co-author of several books, including The UDF: A History of the United Democratic Front in South Africa, 1983-2001 (2000), Class, Race and Inequality in South Africa (2005) and Growing Up In The New South Africa: Childhood and Adolescence in Post-Apartheid Cape Town (2010).  He has also written widely on South African cities, including on urban politics and violence, welfare policies, inequalities, identities, and the construction of community. He recently completed a project on the construction of community in new, racially-mixed low-income public housing neighbourhoods in South Africa.

Lamia Zaki has been working for the World Bank as an urban development specialist since 2011 and has been based in Marseille at the Center for Mediterranean Integration since April 2013. Between 2007 and 2010, she was a researcher for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain (IRMC) in Tunis, and was a Visiting Fellow at Georgetown University from 2010-2011. She wrote several articles on the political mobilizations of slum-dwellers in Morocco and edited two collective books related to urban issues in the Middle East and North Africa region: L’action urbaine au Maghreb. Enjeux progressionnels et politiques (2011) and (with Pierre-Arnaud Barthel) Expérimenter la “ville durable” au sud de la Méditerranée. Chercheurs et professionnels en dialogue (2011).



The fee for the course is Euro 1000. This amount covers the organizational costs and includes shared accommodation for 17 nights (in double rooms), a welcome reception, the e-reader, the final dinner, the registration fee for the conference and RC21 membership for 4 years. For those who do not need accommodation, the fee is 500 Euro. In order to be able to at least partly cover also participants from A countries, we applied for additional funding with FURS. However, given the uncertainty of the additional funding (the decision will be taken end of March), selected participants have to commit their participation at the current rules.

Funding from FURS and RC21 allows us to offer approximately 15 scholarships to students from developing countries (classified as B or C by the ISA, see: Scholarships will provide a flat rate contribution to travel expenses, local shared accommodation from 16 August (arrival) to 2 September (departure), fees for the School and the Conference, the reception and final dinner. The scholarships will not cover daily subsistence expenses (meals, local transportation costs, …), but includes access to the university canteen at subsidized prizes.


In order to participate to the fourth RC21-IJURR-FURS School on “Comparative Urban Studies” you have to:

1) Send in your application by filling in the online form [deadline passed]

2) Send in the documents listed below. 

3) Submit an abstract proposal for the RC21 conference both to the conveners of the session and in this application process.

When you send in your abstract please specify that you also apply for the school in “Comparative Urban Studies”.

Participation  fee

The fee for the course is 1000 Euro. This amount covers organizational costs and includes accommodation (17 nights in double rooms), a welcome reception, the e-reader, the final dinner, the registration fee to theRC21 conference and the RC21 membership. For those who do not need accommodation, the fee is 450 Euro. Selected applicants will be informed about the payment procedures.


The Scholarship covers the following costs:

1) Fourth School registration fee & RC21 conference fee
2) Accommodation in a shared double room for 17 nights
3) Flat travel costs contribution (up to a max level to be determined according to distance and available resources)
4) eReader accompanying the lectures
5) Welcome reception drink
6) Farewell dinner
7) RC21 4 years membership

All other costs (board, local transportation, etc.) have to be covered directly by you.

Scholarship eligibility criteria

In order to be eligible for a scholarship you have to come from a country classified under category “B” and “C” by ISA (see:


Application documents (for all)

All participants eligible for the scholarship or not have to provide the following documents:
a) Have an accepted abstract for the RC21 conference “The Ideal city: between myth and reality”. If your abstract will not be accepted this will NOT automatically exclude you from the School.
b) Send in two reference letters by scholars who know you best (by e-mail) to
c) Send in your CV in English (by e-mail) to
d) Fill in the online application form.
e) Send in the abstract you have sent for the conference specifying the session to which you submitted it.”

In order to apply, [deadline passed]

The Venue

Urbino is Unesco World Heritage for being a Renaissance jewel. The Duke Palace – today seat of the National Gallery of the Marche – host the famous painting “The Ideal City”. The picturesque walled town hosted the renowned Court of the Duke Federico and was hometown to the painter Raphael. The University, founded in 1506, hosts a School of Sociology and Social Work, legacy of half‐a‐century tradition of social studies.

Urbino had for long the ambition of being an ideal city. The special relationship between its’ rector Carlo Bo (in office for 54 years!) and the world renowned architect Giancarlo De Carlo (who defined the master plan of Urbino in the early sixties and built several important buildings) produced a unique context (or “project”) in which the City and the University are strongly intertwined. Discussing about the ideal city here acquires therefore a special meaning and an opportunity to rethink urban studies from the perspective of their interdisciplinary nature where the project and the built environment intersect with realities.