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Seminar on the definition of the urban

Alongside People and Plans and The Urban Revolution, Whose City? ushered in a significant sophistication of urban theory. Yet, ironically, the question of which city has become one we less often ask ourselves these days. The two questions – of whose city and which city – are hardly separate. Yet rarely is the city treated as anything other than a single undifferentiated unit in contemporary analysis. Adopting a suburban perspective, this paper suggests we ought to pay more attention to the spatially differentiated character of the urban if we are to advance urban theory under contemporary conditions that otherwise might be rendered in universal or nomothetic terms.

Where and when: 11 November 2019 12:00pm–1:00pm, Room 518/519, Chamberlain Building (#35)

Speaker: Professor Nicholas Phelps.

Nicholas Phelps is Professor and Chair of Urban Planning in the Melbourne School of Design, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning and is also Visiting Professor at the School of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, China. He was previously Professor of Urban and Regional Development in the Bartlett School of Planning and Pro Vice Provost Regional (Southeast Asia) at University College London. He currently sits on the editorial boards of Economic Geography and Journal of Economy Geography. His research and teaching interests cover the planning and politics of suburbanization, the economics of urban agglomeration, international planning, entrepreneurship, informality and economic development, and the economic geography of multinational enterprises and foreign direct investment, with research funded by the British Academy, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, National Geographic, The Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Town Planning Institute and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors among others. He is author of over 80 international peer reviewed journal articles, five books including Interplaces (OUP), An Anatomy of Sprawl (Routledge), Sequel to Suburbia (MIT Press) and Post-Suburban Europe (Palgrave-MacMillan). He is also editor of five books including The Planning Imagination (Routledge), International Perspectives on Suburbanization (Palgrave MacMillan) and Old Europe, New Suburbanization (University of Toronto Press).

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