Neil Brenner to provide keynote lectures at Oxford University and in New York City

Neil Brenner, professor of urban theory, will give the keynote lectures at the upcoming Flexible City Symposium at Oxford University’s Future of Cities Institute on 24 October, as well as at the upcoming Creative Time Summit in New York City on October 25, 2013. 

Flexible City Symposium“Urban theory without an outside”
October 24, 2013

Professor Brenner’s lecture at Oxford University’s Future of Cities Institute titled “Urban theory without an outside,” reports on his developing theory of planetary urbanization, as well as on the Urban Theory Lab’s ongoing research on the “extended urbanization” of the earth’s most remote locations. The other keynote speaker at the conference is Professor Matthew Gandy of University College London. Read more about the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities.

Abstract for “Urban theory without an outside”:
In what sense is the 21st century world “urban”? In this lecture, Neil Brenner critiques contemporary ideologies of the “urban age,” which confront this question with reference to the purported fact that more than 50 percent of the world’s population resides within cities. Against such city-centric understandings, which relegate much of the world to a putatively non-urban “outside,” Brenner excavates Henri Lefebvre’s notion of generalised urbanisation for conceptual and methodological insights into the 21st century planetary urban condition. He argues that the geographies of urbanization can no longer be conceptualized only or primarily with reference to cities, metropolitan regions or even megalopolises, but today encompass diverse patterns and pathways of land-use intensification across the planetary socio-spatial landscape, from Manhattan to the Matterhorn, from the Pearl River Delta to Mount Everest, from the Nile River valley to the Pacific Ocean. This variegated urban fabric, composed of both agglomerations and their extended operational landscapes, must become a central focal point for new approaches to urban theory, strategies of collective intervention and imaginaries of built environments.

Creative Time Summit, “Place, capitalism and the right to the city”
October 25, 2013

Place, capitalism and the right to the city  

On October 25, Professor Brenner will give the opening keynote lecture at the upcoming Creative Time Summit in New York City, where his lecture is titled, “Place, capitalism and the right to the city.” This lecture explores the possibilities and the limits of “place-making” as a strategy for promoting social justice within cities, regions and territories under early 21st century capitalism. Other keynote speakers at the conference are Rebecca Solnit and Lucy Lippard.  The conference will be broadcast via livestream and will be documented via twitter, instagram and youtube.

Abstract for “Place, capitalism and the right to the city”:
Place can be a powerful basing point and arena for progressive and radical social transformations. But a place-based agenda can also entrap or seriously constrain those who aim to revolutionize society, economy and everyday life: it may limit the impacts of transformative projects; and it may be vulnerable to annihilation, appropriation or co-optation by institutions committed to the status quo. This lecture outlines some of the dangers, traps and vulnerabilities which place-based progressives and radicals confront in contemporary capitalist cities. A radical concept of place must illuminate, politicize and contest processes of dispossession at all spatial scales, within and beyond cities.