Neil Brenner is Professor of Urban Theory and Director of the Urban Theory Lab at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. 

For further details about current work and recent publications, as well as videos of recent public lectures, please consult the website of the Urban Theory Lab-GSD:

Brenner's most recent book is the edited volume, Implosions / Explosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization (Jovis, 2014), which elaborates the conceptual foundations for the ongoing work of the Urban Theory Lab on contemporary forms of urbanization. 

In 2014, Brenner was selected as a Thompson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher (  Based on Web of Science data, his scholarly publications were ranked among the top 1% most cited globally in the general social sciences between 2002 and 2012. 

Along with his collaborators and students in the Urban Theory Lab-GSD, Brenner has recently produced an exhibition, Operational Landscapes: Towards an Alternative Cartography of World Urbanization, which explores the extension of an urban fabric into some of the world’s most apparently “remote” regions, including the Amazon, the Arctic, the Gobi desert, the Himalayas, the Pacific Ocean, the Sahara desert and Siberia.  The work has been exhibited at the Melbourne School of Design and the Yale School of Architecture, and will travel to the Shenzhen Biennale, “Radical Urbanism” in late 2014/early 2015.

Brenner is currently completing several books, including New Urban Spaces: Urban Theory and the Scale Question (New York: Oxford University Press); Planetary Urbanization (with Christian Schmid; New York: Verso); and Is the World Urban? Towards a Critique of Geospatial Ideology (with Nikos Katsikis; Barcelona: Actar).  A collection of his previous writings is forthcoming in Spanish in 2016 (edited by Alvaro Sevilla-Buitrago; Barcelona: Icaria).  Other collections are being planned for publication in Chinese (Beijing: Commercial Press) and Spanish (Santiago de Chile: ARQ ediciones).

Brenner’s previously published books include New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of Statehood (Oxford University Press, 2004), as well as several edited volumes, including Cities for People, not for Profit: Critical Urban Theory and the Right to the City (co-edited with Peter Marcuse and Margit Mayer; Routledge 2011); Henri Lefebvre, State, Space, World (co-edited with Stuart Elden, co-translated with Gerald Moore and Stuart Elden, University of Minnesota Press, 2009); The Global Cities Reader (co-edited with Roger Keil; Routledge, 2006); Spaces of Neoliberalism: Urban Restructuring in North America and Western Europe (co-edited with Nik Theodore; Blackwell, 2003); and State/Space: A Reader (co-edited with Bob Jessop, Martin Jones and Gordon MacLeod; Blackwell, 2002).  He has written many scholarly articles and book chapters on topics related to urban theory, territorial governance, spatial theory, spatialized political economy and method.  His scholarly articles and essays have been translated into many other languages, including Chinese, Croatian, Finnish, French, Hungarian, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. 

Brenner has held visiting professorships in several universities, including the Lim Chong Yah Visiting Professorship (Department of Geography, National University of Singapore), the Wibaut Chair of Urban Studies (Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan and Development Studies, University of Amsterdam), the Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professorship (Department of Geography, University of Bristol) and the Bard Prison Initiative Distinguished Visiting Professorship (Bard College). 

Prior to his appointment to the GSD, Brenner served as Professor of Sociology and Metropolitan Studies at New York University.  He previously served as Director of NYU’s Metropolitan Studies Program.  Brenner has co-supervised Ph.D. research in Sociology, Geography, History, American Studies, Law & Society, Urban Planning and Architecture, among other fields.  Brenner holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago (1999); an MA in Geography from UCLA (1996); and a BA in Philosophy, Summa Cum Laude, from Yale College (1991).   

People: Neil Brenner

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