Ordinary Cities in

Exceptional Times

24 - 26.8.2022


Authors can submit their abstract to one of the following panels:

01. Conceptualizing temporalities of crisis and action in European cities. The case of conflicts and debates around urban development models

Conveners: Deborah Galimberti, Marc Pradel | Centre Emile Durkheim (Sciences Po Bordeaux), France

Description: Political change in cities is usually theorized as the outcome of exceptional times, economic, social, fiscal, environmental or health crisis that might alter the status quo and open the possibilities for political entrepreneurs as well as subordinated groups to advance their grievances and ideas. European cities have encountered in the last 15 years a long period of crisis, and different contributions have analyzed how political and social emancipatory movements can stem out from such moments. However, a reflection on how to conceptualize times of crisis is missing. In this session, we are particularly interested in theoretically as well as empirically ground contributions that take seriously the question of how to conceptualize the relationships between temporality and action. Theoretical contributions might focus on a processual perspective, which considers change as the usual condition of action and therefore strive to explain continuity and persistence over time, or on perspectives emphasizing the mechanisms of incremental change. Empirical contributions might analyze strategies and conflicts for economic development in the post-covid scenario in European cities, and how they are  framed by conceptions of normality and crisis used by insiders and outsiders of urban policy-making. In the post-covid scenario cities are developing agendas for growth and inclusion with growing attention to sustainability as a key strategic issue. These debates and strategies are often framed by the ideas of crisis as ‘normality’ and of ‘going back to normal’ excluding alternative approaches to development. In this regard, a long-term situation of crisis can become ‘normalized’ and internalized by actors, reducing the space for debate and conflict. Finally, the ecological crisis and its effects have brought new debates on city development, bringing questions on emergency and adaptation as cornerstones of future local actions. Thus, analysis of conflict around the definition of development strategies, normality and crisis are also welcome.

02. Contested property relations: Landed property regimes and housing precarity amid the Covid-19 pandemic

Conveners: Marianne Maeckelbergh, Christina Sakali | University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium

Description: The Covid-19 pandemic has accentuated the importance of stable and adequate housing and helped to expose the extent of the ongoing global housing crisis. Through the direct effects of the pandemic, long-standing processes of financialization and marketization of housing became more visible than ever. Faced with mounting challenges and increasing hurdles to housing security, national-states and local governments have stepped in as central actors, not only to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on households, but also to redistribute protection and vulnerability among different groups through new and preexisting narratives of blame and worth.This panel explores how evolving national and local landed property regimes, that is, sets of policies, legislation, market mechanisms and moral discourses that regulate access to land and housing engender different expressions of housing precarity and become (somewhat) different manifestations of global financial processes. We explore how government policy in response to the COVID-19 crisis seeks to create new categories of citizens and to differentially distribute access to a secure housing tenure, by both reinforcing and changing previous structures of inclusion and exclusion, previous categories of “worthy/unworthy” citizens and previous conceptions of “vulnerability”.How can the COVID-19 crisis be a lens into the question of how evolving categories of vulnerability and precarity are institutionally induced through policies and moral narratives across different property regimes? What are the material effects of various property regimes and how are they being contested? In this session we welcome contributions that explore how the moment of crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the structural transformation of property regimes, the effects of such dynamics on peoples’ everyday lives, and what it can tell us about housing precarity beyond the pandemic itself. We particularly welcome papers that emphasize processes of contestation, subversion and redefinition of the categories and moral discourses to which people are subjected to and/or through which people mobilize as property regimes and structures of housing precarity shift.

03. Cultural flagships: pathways, practices and politics of an urban intervention

Conveners: David Gogishvili, Julio Paulos | University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

Description: Not least since the perceived success of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, iconic cultural flagship institutions have become a coveted intervention for cities around the world that serve multiple aims: pushing urban (re)development, staking claims to cities' world-classness, accruing cultural capital. Between 1990 and 2019 more than USD 60 billion have been invested in realizing iconic concert halls, libraries and museums like Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Oslo Opera House or Walt Disney Concert Hall -  just to name a few. This recent boom and shifting geography of cultural flagships calls into question the nature of governing and making the ‘iconic city’, that is, the variegated pathways, practices and politics of cultural flagships. They increasingly (i) apply cultural practices of urban policy in parallel to strategic urban development agendas , (ii) mediate cultural infrastructures as promises of future urbanisms, and (iii) reorient fixed modes of urban governance to distributed global networks.Building on the above observations, this session aims to bring together works focusing on the cultural assets that iconic metropolitan buildings provide in an era of fragmented globalisation. We are particularly curious to create space for debating perspectives on cultural institutions from the Global South and the East investigating their prominence for policy and practice as an urban intervention.We invite papers from diverse conceptual, geographic and empirical perspectives on themes including, but not limited to: - Cultural institutions and Urban Governance-in-the-making- Cultural values and urban change- Digital arts and urban futures- Discourses and legitimations of cultural flagships- Global forms of cultural urbanism(s)- Global networks and cultural urbanism(s)- Policy mobility and cultural flagship projects- Star architecture companies and cultural flagships- Interrogating daily practices of cultural flagships.

04. Decolonising urban knowledge(s): an ordinary imperative in extraordinary times

Conveners: Catalina Ortiz | University College London, London, United Kingdom, Penny Travlou | ESALA, Edinburgh College of Art/University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Elizabeth Sweet | University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, United States, Giulia Testori | Joint Research Centre - European Commission, Sevilla, Spain, Raksha Vasudevan | Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, United States, Marina Toneli Siqueira Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil

Description: This panel intends to bring together transdisciplinary research and practice on the avenues to decolonise urban knowledge(s) and foster epistemic justice around city making. Epistemic justice refers to counteracting practices of silencing or devaluing alternative forms of knowing and living that do not conform with assumptions about the ‘authority’ of scientific knowledge (Castan-Broto and Ortiz, 2021).  Urban scholarship has been complicit in perpetuating a western superiority in our understanding of city making processes. In response, Jennifer Robinson’s notion of ordinary cities (2006) provided a fierce critique to the spatial division of academic theorization. However, less attention has been given to the repertoires used across ordinary cites to counteract the epistemic violence of Western superiority when framing theories, methods and engagement with city makers.  We invite papers that engage with multiple forms of decolonising urban knowledges. We have the imperative to foster epistemic justice in urban scholarship (Ortiz, 2020). We are interested not only on the critiques of how urban knowledge(s) production is intertwined with the coloniality of power and being deployed constantly in the geopolitics of the neoliberal university system; but also on the practices that cultivate cultural humility (Sweet, et al. 2019), ethics of care, trans-local solidarity and critical pedagogies. We wish to interrogate how urban knowledge(s) played a role in the pandemic, as it has amplified  the multiple systems that sustain territorial inequality -such as capitalisxdm, patriarchy, colonialism and racism-, but also if it the extraordinary times of the pandemic gave rise to innovative urban methods and engaging with urban knowledge(s) otherwise. We welcome contributions that speak about:

• The city and epistemologies of the South
• Decolonial urbanism
• Counter-hegemonic planning practices
• Decolonial critical urban studies
• Pluriversal urban thinking
• Inventive urban methods
• Feminist decolonial urban praxis
• Urban Activism
• Pedagogies for trans local solidarity
• Ethics of care and solidarity in urban research

05. De-Privatizing Municipal Services and Public Infrastructures: Instituting Urban Commonfare?

Conveners: Markus Kip, Silke van Dyk | University of Jena, Jena, Germany

Description: For the past 40 years, public services and infrastructures, from public housing to water; health care, education to long-term care, have been targeted for privatization by neoliberal reforms and austerity measures. Several countermovements have contested this trend propagating a more democratic sense of public ownership (Cumbers 2012; O'Neill and Williamson 2012) that is inspired by ideas of instituting the commons (Dardot and Laval 2019). In this struggle, cities across the world have become frontrunners around remunicipalizing essential services, public procurement procedures, the promotion of circular economies and local economic development, the expropriation and socialization of housing assets, or the guarantee of social rights beyond citizenship status (Thompson 2020). This session invites contributions that offer a closer analytical look at the institutional struggles and municipal strategies as well as the consequences (intended or unintended):

• How has democractic decision-making around these services and infrastructures been mobilized? How has it been ensured on a long-term basis, ie. beyond the charismatic phase of the movement?
• What do we know about the class, gender and racialized positions of the participants in public-commons or public-civic partnerships? To what extent are intersectional strategies seriously engaged in such partnerships?
• How do city governments navigate the challenge of collaborating with civic initiatives, while also steering clear of nepotism and favouritism?
• In what ways do cities maintain a cosmopolitan ethic in a context where “local economic development” is to be prioritized?
• Where and under what conditions do these de-privatization efforts challenge the existing relations of property? And when they do, what can we learn from the struggle with powerful private property interests?
• How can we conceive of municipalities’ room of manoeuvre around de-privatizing and socializing essential services in the context of multi-scalar legal and political apparatuses and austerity regimes? What does it mean for city authorities to govern in order to disobey imposed rules and regulations (around public procurement, for example)? What kind of mark have inter-municipal contestations made on these regimes?

06. Discretionary at work in urban/local contexts: street level bureaucrats between institutional and organizational constraints and their individual agency

Conveners: Alberta Andreotti, Diego Coletto | Departement of Sociology and Social Research, University of Milan - Bicocca, Milano, Italy

Description: Both in ordinary and in global cities, the pandemic has brought to the attention the role of Street Level Bureaucrats (SLBs) in the implementation of public policies (Lipsky 1980). The core issue is the discretionary power (discretion) that SLBs hold, and how it is used as this affects the access to public policies, the benefits and sanctions related to them. In Urban Studies,  the role of SLBs and their discretion have been few explored. The current pandemic crisis can be a driver to investigate more this issue, and to create a bridge between different streams of research, specifically the SLBs literature and the urban governance. While the understanding of public policies does not occur only through the analysis of institutions, but also through the SLBs daily practices, it cannot even take place regardless the institutional context analysis. Institutional contexts are quite often urban contexts, both ordinary and not. It is thus necessary to consider the reciprocal relationship between the discretionary power of the SLBs (agency) and the structure, the institutional system they are embedded at the different scale levels. It is the combination of the two which can support in understanding how the city is governed.This opens the way to a dialogue between the SLBs literature - which mainly focuses on the micro practices - and the urban governance studies, with their need to look at the different institutional scales and the discretionary spaces opened at those levels. Considering those levels allow us to better grasp the constraints and the opportunities for the discretionary room at the SLBs level, which is the last, but not least important, level of the command chain.With this general aim, papers dealing with any aspects of SLBs’ discretionary power, its implementation and the effects arising from the intersection of regulatory, institutional, relational, and cultural frameworks (besides individual behaviours) are welcomed. Empirical studies using a variety of methods - if it is possible, also comparative - coming from all local contexts are welcomed.

07. Documenting and representing the infrastructuring of arrival in ordinary cities

Conveners: Bruno Meeus, Karel Arnaut | University of Leuven, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Leuven, Belgium

Description: When documenting and representing the nexus of migration and urbanization, urban studies in Europe, the UK and the US have long relied heavily on the Chicago School model of the transition zone and particularly the neighbourhood of transition. Although the neighbourhood still has an important social and spatial ordering function, this focus on neighbourhood logics also tends to continue locating migrants' 'transition processes' or ‘becoming otherwise’ more generally in larger metropoles where such neighbourhoods can/could develop. The side effect of this is that solidarities-in-diversity that develop outside of large cities are also less readily seen, let alone that they are linked to solidarities that develop in the metropole. Nevertheless, there is reason to assume that the 'migrant metropolis' being created by 'the disruptive and incorrigible force of migrant struggles that dislocate borders and instigate a rescaling of border struggles as urban struggles' (De Genova 2015: 3), is not exactly limited to the familiar list of metropolitan neighbourhoods. Recent work by among others Kleinman (2014), Xiang & Lindquist (2014), Burchardt (2016), Hall et al (2017), Meeus et al. (2020) and Wajsberg & Schapendonk (2021) suggests the possibility to escape the territorial trapping of the neighbourhood imagination and conceptualize migrant infrastructures, migration infrastructures, arrival infrastructures and social infrastructures not only as networked objects but also as an ‘infrastructuring practice’. The question is however whether our research methods, our definition of research ‘sites’ and our forms of representation are ‘fit’ for such a conceptual shift towards infrastructure – as object and as practice. In this paper session, therefore, we want to take stock of existing and explore the potential of new strategies to document and represent infrastructures and infrastructuring practices/work in ordinary cities.

08. Entrepreneurialism from below: governance and neoliberalism in the peripheries

Conveners: Mara Nogueira | Birkbeck, University of London, London, United Kingdom, Gareth A. Jones, Aiko Ikemura Amaral | LSE, London, United Kingdom

Description: In response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of bottom-up initiatives emerged across the auto-constructed peripheries of the Global South. These grassroots emergency responses showcase the resourcefulness and agility of the urban poor, who are often portrayed as “heroic entrepreneurs'' (de Soto, 1998) in development debates. Part of wider neoliberal shifts in the relationship between the state, markets and people, the discourse and practice of entrepreneurship has expanded beyond development circles to merge with and transform everyday practices of urban living. In her work on Barbados, Carla Freeman has examined how a “neoliberal logic” is (re)produced through multiple practices and spaces that nurture everyday forms of sociability and subjectivity, creating “entrepreneurial selves”. Focusing on popular economies in Argentina, Veronica Gago has described how marginalised  groups constantly contest, appropriate and reinvent neoliberalism from below. In this session, we contribute to the task of building theory from the margins by investigating how entrepreneurial discourses are taking root in urban peripheries of the Global South as a means of appropriating but also contesting neoliberalism. We explore the rise of an ethos of entrepreneurialism from below, which incorporates and re-signifies long-existing economic, political and social practices in these spaces. The panel will consider how new forms of entrepreneurial governance aim to unleash the social, economic and creative potential of peripheries. The discussion will focus on new ways of approaching and understanding the relation between (and roles of) individuals and communities, private- and third-sector actors, as well as the state and the market in these spaces. We invite contributions that consider the relationship between entrepreneurialism and race, gender and class politics; empowerment discourses; religious organizations; popular and vernacular culture; political subjectivities and other themes relevant to the debate across urban peripheries in the Global South.

09. Everyday crisis, beyond the eventful

Conveners: Ifigeneia Dimitrakou, Julie Ren | University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland

Description: The pervasive nature of ongoing, perpetual crises seem to convert it from an event with a clear end towards a definitive condition of urban life. Distinctions between crisis and a broader sense of uncertainty are becoming increasingly blurred. The distribution of actually existing geographies of crisis complicate the dichotomous portrayal of extraordinary crisis as an event triggering action in some places and ordinary crisis that must be coped with in other places. Instead, inaction reigns, and the ubiquity of precarious life facilitates new epistemological possibilities by bringing distant/different cities into relational dialogue (Massey, 2011). With “everyday crisis” we aim to compile perspectives on the experience of this condition. Beyond the emerging scholarship on survivalism (See eg Tsing, 2015; Barker, 2020), we invite papers that address the question of how this condition is experienced, and explore what the inaction buries within it. For instance, how can coping be framed in terms of avoidance, disconnection, distanciation, anesthetization (Bissell, 2021), stuckedness (Hage, 2009) or diminishing expectations (Battacharyya, 2015)? What is the implication of these detachments for understanding the broader consequences of everyday crisis on crisis-shaped subjectivities (Berlant, 2011) or collective lives (Bhan, et al, 2020)? How could these seemingly passive framings of coping that entail non-heroic, banal or less visible forms of agency facilitate a different reading of resistance? How is time segmented and punctuated, and how does the irregularity of events, these intermittent disruptions, shape experiences of temporality (i.e., presentness, ongoiness)? How do these experiences of temporality in turn shape feelings of crisis or crisis atmospheres? We welcome papers addressing any of these questions and hope to bring into dialogue a range of approaches: ethnographic, conceptual/theoretical, affective/psychoanalytic and creative/visual.

10. Everyday infrastructural negotiations: Ordinary people and exceptional struggles in the Southern cities context

Conveners: Leon Felipe Tellez Contreras | The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom, Debapriya Chakrabarti | The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

Description: The presence of infrastructure has often been associated with the notion of development and shaping lives of people associated with these. On the one hand, exceptionally few “first world-class” infrastructures are used as emblems of globality for a small number of cities.  On the other hand, the ordinary conditions of a large number of cities are described in terms of infrastructural absence, failure, and poverty (Amin & Thrift, 2018). Moreover, infrastructure remains fragmented, as has been widely discussed in relation to Southern cities (Amin, 2014; Simone, 2004). Infrastructure provision, maintenance and transformation is contested and immensely politicised, where factors such as gender, class, caste, religion, informality and marginality play a key role (Datta & Ahmed, 2020; Fredericks, 2018). It is important therefore to understand the human-infrastructure interactions in their complexity (Angelo & Hentschel, 2015), as infrastructure could be both enriching and exclusionary.

Urban infrastructures are central in shaping our understandings of the exceptionality and ordinariness of cities. The moral and political attributes of exceptionality and ordinariness are both used to define the infrastructures themselves and the people associated with them. Thus, ordinary people adapt, appropriate and negotiate with broken infrastructural systems and networks.

In this session, we aim to problematise the everyday negotiations and interactions of ordinary people whose lives and livelihoods are impacted by infrastructure or the lack thereof. We welcome papers focusing on lived experiences of ordinary people and/or documenting their exceptional struggles in places of disjointed infrastructures. Contributions can be on but not limited to the following themes:

• the economic, political, social, and cultural logics that render both urban infrastructures and actors as ordinary or exceptional; 
• the everyday discourses and practices that shape the ordinariness and exceptionality of infrastructures and cities; and
• the implications of disjointed infrastructures in (re)shaping people’s informal practices and livelihoods.

11. (Extra)Ordinary lives between the camp and the city. Refugees’ mobilities and translocality in and beyond Europe

Conveners: Ms. Eva Papatzani | National Technical University of Athens, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Athens, Greece, Benjamin Etzold | Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC), Bonn, Germany

Description: Since the so-called migration crisis in 2015, camp-like reception facilities have proliferated across Europe in the context of transforming migration governance. The camp system, which in many cases was formulated as ‘exceptional’ and ‘temporary’, has become the new ‘ordinary’ order in refugee reception. Many camps have been set up not only at the geographic margins of the European Union (e.g. the ‘hot spots’ in Greece and Italy), but also at the margins of European cities, usually in isolated or segregated spaces. The asylum-seekers living in the camps are subject to vast rules that control their lives and pose significant restrictions on their mobility. The ‘exceptionally’ enclosed life in camp is, however, often transcended by ‘ordinary’ mobilities and translocal relations that reach far beyond the camp. Evidence from recent research in Greece and Italy, for instance, indicates that mobilities from the camps towards the city (or cities), evolve at multiple scales (small-scale, local, national, EU-wide), and play a decisive role on the everyday lives of camp residents. Beyond Europe, refugees’ continuous mobilities and established translocal relations and networks between multiple sites are far from ‘exceptional’, as research on urban displacement and IDPs’ (Internally Displaced People) mobility in East Africa, for instance, shows.This panel (with four presented papers) aims to focus on the mobilities and translocal lives of asylum-seekers and refugees (initially) accommodated in camps in order to investigate a) the new understandings emerging on the relationships between the camp and the city, and b) the transformations of both the reception regimes and urban space(s). We invite paper presentations from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, using various methods and conceptual approaches. Empirical examples are not limited to Europe, but could also cover other countries and institutional settings, which would help to set refugees’ (extra)ordinary lives between the camp and the city into perspective.

12. Failing urbanisms: Everyday life in the neighborhoods of incomplete urban regeneration projects

Conveners: Bahar Sakizlioglu | Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam, Netherlands, Ebru Soytemel | Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Description: Urban regeneration projects have served as important tools for entrepreneurial urban governments to furnish their cities with glossy skyscrapers, fancy tourist attractions, Olympic stadiums, penthouses etc. Often pursued by public and private partnerships, these property-led developments are announced as successful spatial interventions bringing in investments, tourists, physical upgrading etc. However, research both in the Global South and Global North  shows that most fail in terms of delivering social and spatial justice: they bring about massive displacement, impoverishment of social networks, declining infrastructures for social reproduction, rising rents, property prices etc. (see Elliot-Cooper et.al 2020; Sakizlioglu 2014; Soytemel 2017; Wallace 2020; Watt 2013 among others).

In this panel,  we would like to focus on the geographies of failed/ failing regeneration projects to to gain more understanding of how these projects are decided, designed, implemented; how and why large-scale urban regeneration projects fail; what project failure (or success) means to and brings about for different actors involved. Our aim is to  have a collective discussion on how failing urbanisms construct everyday life in ordinary cities; how different actors respond to exceptional situations (such as project failures, disruptions in everyday life, dispossessions etc.).

We would like to invite papers which explore:
1- impacts of the failing or incomplete projects on the everyday life of diverse affected residents still living in or lived for extended periods of time in these project areas. 
2- processes of unhoming, dispossession, displacement
3- tactics or strategies of different actors: dwellers, private/public sector actors etc. 
4- temporalities and externalities 
5- contestations or consent generating processes. 

We particularly welcome papers mapping failed or long-term incomplete projects from underrepresented cities or areas as well as the experiences of under-researched groups.

13. Global Corporate Landlords and Tenants’ Struggles in the Post-pandemic City

Conveners: Javier Gil, Lorenzo Vidal, Miguel A. Martínez | Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Description: New forms of housing financialization emerged in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. Housing evictions and non-performing loans, as well as a global situation of excess liquidity, enabled new flows of financial capital to be redirected towards residential real estate. In the process, global investment funds, such as the notorious Blackstone, have acquired large international portfolios of residential property. As global corporate landlords (GCLs), they have pursued aggressive property management strategies in order to gain higher returns on their investments. As a result, tenants in their properties have often seen their contracts terminated or faced abrupt rent increases. At the same time, we observe growing resistance to the actions of GCLs across different types of cities worldwide, especially subject to different impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this panel we welcome contributions that provide new theoretical approaches and empirical analyses that help to understand the above processes and their economic, social, political, and urban impacts by addressing questions such as the following: How do GCLs alter housing regimes? How are the links between capital markets and residential housing reshaped due to the action of GCLs? What relations between GCLs and other financial institutions (banks, pension funds, ‘bad banks’, central banks, etc.) are being fostered? How is the ‘buy it, fix it, sell it’ business strategy evolving? How do state policies encourage this type of transnational real estate investment? To what extent has the Covid-19 pandemic interfered in this type of housing financialization? What are the socio-spatial effects of this asset restructuring? What types of tenant’s resistances and strategies are GCLs facing? How effective are these housing struggles against GCLs?

14. Homelessness since Covid-19

Conveners: Hilary Silver | George Washington University, Washington, USA, Laura Colini | Tesserae Urban Social Research, Berlin, Germany

Description: The 2022 RC21 conference Concept Note emphasizes the dialectics of exception versus rule or ‘normalcy’ both in urban theory and on the ground.  The Covid-19 pandemic is widely regarded as an exceptional worldwide shock to institutions and urban life in the status quo ante, radically reconfiguring practices and policies in global and ‘ordinary’ cities alike.  From the international to the local scale, the pandemic induced governments and organizations to change their policies and practices in response to the ongoing rise in visible ‘homelessness’ in its many manifestations around the world, both in the Global North and Global South, and in cities of all sizes.  Many halted evictions and expulsions, even as lockdowns or shelter closings drove many to move elsewhere.  Indeed, in some places, urban migrants were forced to return to their villages at great risk and personal cost.  From Mumbai to Los Angeles, NGOs reached out to provide information, basic services, hygiene supplies, and vaccines.  Some cities moved people to hotels or less crowded locations to allow for distancing and quarantine.  New emergency rental assistance or rent freezes were occasionally instituted.  Now advocates are trying to make some of these crisis arrangements permanent, rejecting a return to 'normalcy' that includes homelessness and housing insecurity.  This session will consider papers that analyze homelessness and housing insecurity in the broadest sense since the onset of Covid-19. Laura Colini and Hilary Silver propose to serve as co-conveners and co-chairs of the panel(s) and will select the papers.  We will also comment on them at the session.

15. Housing hybridity in the ‘North’: decoding the ordinary informality in the conventional housing systems

Conveners: Jakub Galuszka | Technical University Of Berlin/University Of Oxford/LAVUE, Berlin, Germany

Description: Facing the ongoing housing crisis, the reading of informalities in the so-called North has increasingly disrupted the conventional understanding of local cities as fully regulated, well structured and formal. This debate brought a better understanding of the state’s role in the creation of housing informalities, the scale of phenomena, as well as an insight into the issues of agency embedded in everyday practices of the ordinary people. However, the latter tend to be typically positioned as a ‘reactive’ rather than ‘proactive’ force in city making processes and are seen as having limited capacities to affect official housing solutions. This session seeks to expand this framework by recognising that the state and real estate powers are confronted on an everyday basis by the ordinary people who constantly reinterpret and co-create hybrid housing systems in the ‘North’.

In this reading, informal/formal hybridity may be conceptualised as existing within a majority of housing formats and across all strata of society. Even though heavily controlled in centres of the largest metropolises, emerging accounts suggest different trajectories of development in more peripheral contexts. Practices like sub-renting, short-term lets, houses in multiple occupation, extensions/reuse of spaces as well as temporary and micro-living practices are silently interwoven into formal modes of usage of space. Sometimes, for better or worse, they also cross the boundaries of (il)legality and emerge within official deregulation programmes, real-estate strategies and architectural practices. Papers exploring such phenomena and documenting the role of ordinary informality in shaping, subverting and constituting contemporary hybrid housing systems and policy landscapes are invited to this session. While focusing on the ‘North’, cases from all contexts with a high proportion of ‘formal’ housing markets are equally encouraged, including topically unrepresented locations, such as peripheral districts of large metropolises, secondary cites as well as post-socialist/Global East contexts.

16. Housing systems and their implications in the Global North, South, and East

Conveners: Oksana Zaporozhets | Faculty of Urban and Regional Development Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, Daria Volkova | Institute for European Urban Studies, Bauhaus University Weimar, Weimar, Germany

Description: "The studies of housing systems and their interdependence with various economic policies and welfare regimes (Kemeny, 2001; Lowe, 2011) have been rapidly developing in the last decades through cross-national comparative research (Stephens, 2017). Important developments in this field are related to the widening of the research geography and the search for connections between housing systems and other urban phenomena. The most recent model was presented by Arbaci (2019) and based on the comparative study of European and Anglophone countries in the mid-90s. It describes four housing systems: socio-democratic, corporatist, liberal, and familistic. The introduction of the familistic system, embedded in the networks of kinship and informal relations, was possible due to the inclusion of the Southern European countries in the analysis. Following this path, other scholars applied this framework to countries outside of Global North.

Our session is aimed at further diversification and elaboration of the housing system theory in two ways. First, we suggest going beyond ‘Global North – Global South’ dichotomy and adding cases from the countries of Global East to the comparison. Cities of Global East, the former ‘second world’, are considered either as exceptional, due to their ambiguous history and current state, or too ordinary and ‘grey’ to trigger researchers’ interest (Galuszka, 2021; Müller, 2020). Which of the existing models do those eastern national housing systems fit into? Or do they represent an alternative model? Second, we encourage to look at interconnections between housing systems and other urban and housing phenomena, especially at individual and micro levels. For instance, how does a local housing system manifest itself at specific residential pathways of people and families? How does it affect the social mobility of different people, including their education and career trajectories? How does it influence specific forms of discrimination and exclusion in the housing market?

17. Intersectionality and housing struggles: Liberating housing at the intersection of race, gender, class and other forms of structural inequalities

Conveners: Ana Vilenica | Radical Housing Journal, Pančevo, Serbia, Michele Lancione | Polytechnic of Turin, Turin, Italy

Description: Housing is a matter of economic, cultural, ecological and material intersections, therefore being a critical juncture of conflicting forms of power. These intersections have been shown by the feminist critique of the patriarchal foundations of ‘home’ (Blunt and Dowling, 2006), which intersects the foundational work of Marxist scholarship on the extractive groundings of housing (Rolnik, 2019), and more recently by scholarship looking at the racialised logic of proprietorship structuring housing (Gibbon, 2018; Roy, 2017; Kotef, 2020). Grassroots organising has often conceived the struggle for just housing as a gateway for a broader form of intersectional liberation. ‘Radical housing’, in this sense, can be understood as that praxis grounded in a liberatory understanding of the ‘use value’ of housing, that is, in the conceptual and active practice of fighting for a differential form of ‘being at home in the world’ against racism, capitalism, patriarchy, ecological extractivism, and more (Lancione 2020).

In this paper session, we welcome:
I. Theoretical contributions grounded in concrete direct-actions;
II. Historical reconstructions of intersectional urban housing struggles;
III. Empirically based reflections on long-term engagement with specific contexts of action;
IV. Conversations amongst scholars and activists based on a politics of reciprocity and solidarity;
V. Video material

We are interested in how this approach is implicated in housing struggles in ‘ordinary cities’ during ‘exceptional times’ around the world. We are particularly interested in hearing from scholars writing outside the canons of Western academia, and we are ready to offer concrete support to those for whom English is not their native language. This session is organised by the Radical Housing Journal. It is our intention to produce a special issue out of this panel. For this reason, we ask authors to commit to the production of draft papers to be submitted to the journal in advance of the conference.

18. Law and Ordering the Urban

Conveners: Sahil Sasidharan | Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, United States, Gaurav Mittal | Ambedkar University, Delhi, India, Chetan Anand | Department of Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India

Description: The relationship between critical, non-positivist conceptions of law and its interpretations with the creation, shaping, management and negotiation of urban orders has been explored at length across urban studies, political and legal geography (Blomley 2004; Clark 1989; Needham 2006; Prytherch 2012; Varsanyi 2008). However, unlike before where the executive directly influenced urban processes and outcomes, today we increasingly find that this burden of (re)ordering the urban has shifted to the juridical-legal arms of the state. In settler and post-colonial societies, historical relationships of law, property rights and land use planning continue enabling the judiciary to draw new lines and (aesthetic) sensibilities around socio-spatial divisions (Blomley 2017; Ghertner 2015), while the blurring of lines between informalities, illegalities and illegitimacies is increasingly done through courts rather than bureaucracies (Bhan 2016).

Furthermore, in the urban technologies of the state, law and order have become intertwined like never before, and as Foucault (1988) already saw in his conceptualization of biopolitical power, this order-making function of the state is external to modern law, as in it is never completely able to overlap with the ends of the legal apparatus and more often than not stands in contradiction to the ends of law, at least to the extent that it stands for rights-based frameworks. Similarly, it has already been suggested by many scholars that illegality is the dominant production of orders in urban practices (housing, land practices, transportation, education etc.). It is in this context that we see the judiciary and courts becoming direct actors enforcing and managing these informalities/illegalities.

Thus, on one hand, we see law as a mode of resistance, and on the other, it becomes a direct tool through which urban orders are managed and negotiated. Ayona Datta (2012) has already explored how the legal is a fiction through which different kinds of illegalities are placed together in our cities to be managed while Agamben’s (2005) work shows us how law now functions through its exception. This session hopes to continue along such explorations.

19. Migration and the right to housing: Racial capitalism, dispossession and contested urban space

Conveners: Sophie  Gonick | New York University, New York, The United States of America, Caio Teixeira | University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italy

Description: Housing struggles and immigrant activism against dispossession are subject to increasing scrutiny in contemporary urban scholarship. Research about the right to housing and its illegal and marginal practices highlight the ways our socio-spatial relations are being remade and transformed (Martínez 2020), especially in the context of the intensification of the housing crisis. Scholarly work has examined the housing-migration (Dadusc, Grazioli and Martinez 2019; Stevens 2019), many aspects of immigrant place-making (Lombard 2014), the intersection of homeownership and immigrant activism (Gonick 2021), and immigrant squatting practices within abandoned urban spaces (Belloni 2016). Immigrant housing struggles contribute to urban politics but are also lived experiences shaped by the everyday homemaking practices of people on the move who have been racialized, illegalized, or otherwise oppressed (Menjívar 2021; English, Grazioli and Martignoni 2019). At the same time, radical struggles can also reproduce the same dynamics of exclusion they seek to denounce (Gonick 2016, Hansen 2021). Attention to migrant housing struggles is relatively new, and leaves open many avenues of inquiry. For example, we know little about how migrant housing practices and struggles influence broader movement organizing and tactics of resistance, or how housing itself becomes a key vehicle to advance and/or contest racism and racialization, particularly in spaces and contexts outside of the United States. As such, we seek a range of perspectives that examine housing and its contestation as they produce and confine immigrant lifewords. Scholarship that examines these questions outside the frame of Western left radicalism is particularly welcome, such as Martins (2018) and Bastia et al (2018). The purpose of this session, then, is to engage feminist, queer, postcolonial, and anti-racist scholarship on collective organizing, identities, and everyday practices of resistance to explore the relation between housing, immigration, and activism, particularly in a moment of crisis.This session aims to explore how these relations play out and manifest in everyday lives, seeking empirical, theoretical, or methodological papers that situate immigrants’ struggles over housing at the center of urban democracy.

20. More-than-human urban politics

Conveners: Rivke Jaffe | University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Francesca Pilo | Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands

Description: Everyday urban life is constituted not only by relations between humans, but also through their interactions with a range of non-human entities: from biophysical flows and animals to infrastructures and technological devices. This entities often play an important intermediary role in the relationships between different urban residents and governance actors. This panel seeks to advance our understanding of more-than-human urban politics, exploring how non-human entities mediate or co-produce urban activism, policy-making and other political processes in everyday life, in domains ranging from security and public health to energy and transportation. It is particularly interested in understanding how seemingly ordinary objects can become political in the context of exceptional events.Connecting insights from science and technology studies (STS) and urban political ecology, we seek to highlight the political dimension of such more-than-human relations. We approach political processes as the result of distributed agency, as emerging from the relations between human and non-human entities. What is the role of specific technologies, construction materials, animals or viruses in the formation of urban conflicts, solidarities and inequalities? How are political outcomes mediated through the specific material-technological or biological affordances of such non-human actants? How do they feature in the everyday negotiation and imagination of current and future urban socio-political orders? We invite papers that address these questions ethnographically, and seek to include cases from cities across the world in order to diversify the geographies through which we theorize more-than-human urban politics.

21. Negotiating the pandemic city: the precariously housed and their practices of inhabitation during COVID-19

Conveners: Ratoola Kundu | Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai, Mumbai, India, Paroj Banerjee | Development Planning Unit, University College London, London, United Kingdom

Description: The imposition of national lockdowns in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic wreaked havoc across cities in different geographies. Heightened surveillance and policing of cities in the name of public health destabilized social life, debilitated economies and upended the normal rhythm of cities. In these extraordinary circumstances, the ordinary space of the “home” was designated as the safest to shelter from the virus. Public spaces were declared as off limits. What then became of those ‘invisible’ groups of labouring urban poor who are not adequately housed and live precariously in liminal urban spaces?

We contend that the lockdown exposed the intersecting vulnerabilities of the precariously housed groups and the tenuousness of their everyday living arrangements. Furthermore, the sudden hypervisibility provided the opportunity to remove these groups from the streets and contain them within shelters, in continuation with neoliberal revanchist measures.  This stems from the perception that the bodies of the  urban poor are carriers of disease. Paradoxically, in some cases, the involuntary uprooting and dislocation of the precariously housed groups was justified as a preventive measure - to keep them ‘safe’ from the virus itself. The precariously housed have therefore been hurled into a vulnerable situation where along with the loss of livelihoods they have had to re-negotiate the ways they inhabit the city. Through the panel we will explore ways in which the pandemic produced extraordinary measures that further exacerbated the precarity of these ordinary citizens by treating them as exceptions to the body politic and how this was resisted and negotiated.

We welcome papers that focus on the precariously housed population in cities (global North and South) during the pandemic with reference to:
(i)Governance mechanisms using bio-political strategies to police the precariously housed
(ii)Alliances, solidarities and negotiations through which the precariously housed asserted agency in coping or resisting displacement and evictions
(iii)Co-produced forms of shelter arrangements 
(iv)Critical questions of safety, identity, dignity, space attachment, home and place-making, with respect to the shelter arrangements of the precariously housed

22. Neighbourhood residents in vulnerable circumstances: Crisis, stress and coping mechanism

Convener: Peer Smets | Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Description: Today many cities have to deal with multiple crises such as the financial crises, housing crisis, climate crisis, food crisis, and the Covid-19 pandemic. Living in such a city is often characterised by insecurity concerning finding a safe living space and obtaining sufficient income-generating activities. Moreover, there is a growing gap between the poor and the better-off. In low-income neighbourhoods, individuals have to cope with for instance a shortage of (financial) means and inadequate housing. This causes stress about how to survive, which often creates a short-term perspective which obstructs planning for the future. Many poorer sections of society got stuck in poverty stress, while others have developed skills enabling them to escape from poverty. These coping mechanisms can be more or less successful.

In low-income neighbourhoods people may join hands to improve their living conditions. Moreover, there are social workers who work with the poor with the aim of improving their vulnerable circumstances. For these interventions different kinds of methods are used. Some methods are linked to neoliberalism, while others fight against this and may focus on different kinds of community development. The aim of this session is to better understand the positions of neighbourhood residents in contemporary vulnerable circumstances, analysing the viewpoints of both the better-off and the poor. Contributions from the Global North and Global South are very welcome.

Topics of interest are listed below, but other suggestions will be taken into account:
• Safety and unsafety in low-income neighbourhoods
• Health issues of the poor
• Slum housing 
• Survival strategies in the labour market
• Collectives or commons as a way of coping with poverty 
• Vaccination and the government: a matter of distrust
• The impact of crises and stress on different groups of neighbourhood residents

23. Nurturing urban solidarities in exceptional times

Conveners: Stijn Oosterlynck, Lise Dheedene, Elisabet Van Wymeersch | University of Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium

Description: "Over the past decade, national systems of social solidarity have been shaken to their core by a series of unpredicted geopolitical and economic events and the ensuing wide-spread domestic political turbulence, including a global financial-economic crisis, so-called ‘migration crises’, the covid-19 pandemic, the rise of right-wing populisms and the waning of democratic ideals. All this has placed considerable pressure on institutionalized forms of solidarity, particularly as they are seen to cross racial, ethnic-cultural and religious boundaries. The increasingly successful capture of the notion of solidarity by radical right-wing, anti-liberal democratic forces is particularly worrying in this respect as is the rise of welfare chauvinism.

This session aims to bring together contributions from a variety of theoretical traditions and empirical analyses from a wide range of geographical contexts that explore alternative forms of solidarity that address directly or indirectly the limitations of territorialized, culturalized and increasingly disciplinary forms of national solidarity. The session is particularly concerned with the (ordinarily) urban as a site for the production of place-based and/or networked forms of solidarity. The challenge in these exceptional times is to identify the conditions under which solidarities can be nurtured in spatial and temporal registers that are different from the nation-state and its penchant for cultural assimilation and historical continuity.

We welcome papers that address (but are not limited) to one of the following topics:
• the emergence of religious solidarities in post-secular cities;
• transnational solidarities generated through digital platforms;
• tensions and/or complementarities between institutionalized welfare provisions and redistributive social policies on the one hand, and bottom-up, civil-society driven forms of solidarity in cities and neighbourhoods on the other;
• urban arrival infrastructures and place-based solidarity networks for newcomers;
• intersectional solidarities in locally rooted social movements;
• self-governed spaces of urban solidarity (cooperatives, squats, social centers).

24. Ordinarily Massive: Revitalizing Approaches to Large Scale Urbanization

Convener: Abdoumaliq Simone | The Urban Institute, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom

Description: For those of us who live and work as researchers in the largest urban regions of the so-called Global South, we are always a grappling with salient conceptualizations, practices of engagement, and strategic positionalities capable of addressing and enduring the oscillating, volatile compositions of space and time. While genealogies of constitutive forces at work in producing specific conditions are certainly useful in tracking the logics and forms of socio-spatial transformation over time, the profusion of seemingly contradictory trajectories of change, of the multiple “real” that characterizes the simultaneous coherence and chaos of these regions as territorial entities compels researchers to continuously reformulate critical questions, let alone recalibrate analytical lenses. The shape and speed of volumetric expansions, the heterogeneities of life situations and livelihoods, and the fractal replication of built environments that require singular adjustments to ensure even limited viability combine to make navigation through a plethora of institutions, scales, registers, and narratives always a bricolage of fragments. The availability of specific territories to discordant dispositions, to an obdurate endurance of built environments and ways of life, to sudden, arbitrary evictions, to continuous upgrading, to a constant deferral of hegemonic development agendas, to being the playground of geopolitical games,  to institutional gridlocks or rapid interventions, all intersect in ways in which it is difficult to figure out the proportionality or efficacy of the factors at work in any disposition.

Instead of invoking massive urbanization as a descriptor for some inchoate, fundamentally messy process, how might we engage the massive here as an ordinary atmospheric condition, pointing to an expansive density of operations and sensibilities at work in the continuous re-composition, repair, and renderings of large scale urban regions. What kinds of conceptualization, practices, and tools can be deployed to effectively work with such ordinariness?

25. Ordinary urban political institutions and the multiple exceptionalities of our times

Conveners: Eduardo Marques | Center for Metropolitan Studies/University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, Walter Nicholls | University of California Irvine, USA

Description: The politics of cities has always depended on the relations between political institutions, actors, and conjunctures. These elements were ever-dynamic, but in recent years change and rupture have been especially intense. In many countries, processes of decentralization and recentralization reinforced the multilayer dimension of urban politics and policies. In addition, local actors (both from the State and civil society) have been changing intensely due to transformed social structures, public policies, and migration, restructured economies, as well as the rise of ultra-conservative right-wing forces.  Finally, economic crises and the Covid pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to the local scene. Worldwide, local governments interacted with these changing conditions, connected (and reacted) differently with mobilized social forces, and developed diverse policies.How have the governments of cities been facing these transformations? What were the effects of diverse national and local processes, actors, and institutional formats in these local answers? What were the effects of different fits between local institutions and civil society and the role of political leadership and social actors? How local cases, in both the so-called North and South, dialogued with existing theories of politics and policies?This section welcomes contributions that discuss these elements through empirically grounded research and conceptual pieces, considering the different socio-demographies, political actors, institutional arrangements and government formats that mark the urban globally.

26. Peripheralisation: The production of ex-centric places as an ordinary process of extended urbanisation

Conveners: Christian Schmid, Metaxia Markaki | ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Description: How do “peripheries” form? And how does urbanization generate processes of peripheralization? Today, urban research is increasingly confronted with processes of extended urbanization that unfold far beyond cities and agglomerations: novel patterns of urbanization are crystallizing in agricultural areas and in remote landscapes, challenging inherited conceptions of the urban as a bounded and dense settlement type. While certain territories of extended urbanization experience strong economic growth, others are affected by processes of peripheralization, particularly less accessible and sparsely populated areas, mountainous and archipelagic regions, and territories with weak regional centralities. As a consequence, many regions experience deep socio-economic and ecological restructuring, the loss and relocation of economic activities, selective emigration, resulting in economic marginalization and depopulation, whereby permanent settlements are eroding and seasonal or sporadic movements of people to and from central urban areas are becoming more pronounced. The production of such territories is strongly put forward through moments of economic, ecological or health crisis, offering the pretext for politics of exception, which eventually become a permanent condition and often are reinforcing processes of extended urbanisation and peripheralisation.

These observations advocate for a radical reconceptualization of the experience of periphery at various spatial scales. Peripheralization is not a static spatial condition but emerges as a dynamic process that is shaped by uneven urbanization and complex multi-scalar relations. This panel session invites contributions that investigate such processes in different scales and geographies and discuss both their socioeconomic and ecological implications, as well as the emancipatory potential in ex-centric territories in times of exception. It further asks for investigations that challenge and renew extant methodologies and forms of theory building, and encourage de-centred perspectives on the urban.

27. Queering Urban Space – Instability, Displacement, Resistance

Conveners: Christian Haid | Technical University Berlin and Poligonal Office for Urban Communication, Germany, Lukas Staudinger | POLIGONAL Office for Urban Communication,, Germany

Description: "On the one hand, queer places and infrastructures serve multiple functions for marginalized LGBTQIA+ groups: as sites of political discourse and safe(r) spaces sometimes necessary for survival, as spaces of solidarity, sociability, and care, as locales for cultural exchange, as meeting points for social and sexual encounters, and as networks for economic livelihoods. These infrastructures are essential to many marginalized groups of our urban societies, however their role is often excluded or only marginally considered in urban development - which is precisely why they are vulnerable, endangered, and often short-lived.On the other hand, on a more informal but also general level, queering space is a practice of resistances against normative, capitalist urban conditions. Processes of queering urban spaces support issues of self-determined lifestyles and habitation by queer individuals, and at the same time establishes communities defining themselves via voluntary kinship, social and cultural life–and indeed political demands (Doderer 2011). There is also a temporal element to the process of queering space, and space becoming queered since queering space does not exist in perpetuity (Red 2021). Rather queering space is volatile, unstable, fleeting, and highly mobile – at best in a state of permanent instability at worst threatened to be evicted or erased by normative understandings of urban space.

For this panel session, papers from all contexts of the globe are invited that theoretically advance and/or empirically investigate one or more of the following issues: • queer and queered spaces under threat of displacement and the causes why they disappear(ed)• practices of queering (public) space and queer activism as forms of resistance against capitalist and normative spaces• formal forms of urban queer spaces (spaces produced by and for queers) and more informal practices of queering urban and public space• queering space practices by marginalized groups within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum (eg. older, poorer and more socially excluded, FLINTA*, PoC, etc. individuals and groups)• connecting queer theory and queer intersectionality with urban theory• queering space in contexts where LGBTQIA+ communities are criminalized

28. Reimagining Urban Infrastructure through Spatial Occupation

Conveners: Raktim Ray | University College of London, London, United Kingdom, Ufaque Paiker | Ashoka University, Sonipat, India

Description: The panel seeks to unsettle the normative understanding of infrastructure by unpacking the invisibility of certain infrastructures. To do so, the panel conceptualises ‘people as infrastructure’ and explores how such a framework is useful to identify certain counterhegemonic practices. Resistance movements across the globe highlight spatial occupation as an important praxis to exert rights. Here occupation becomes essential as firstly it heightens the visibility of a movement that brings 'right to resist' to a broader political imagination. Secondly, occupation also counters dominant spatial logics of hegemonic appropriation of power. However, in the discussion of infrastructure, we often ignore what infrastructures are required for such resistance and spatial occupations. Simultaneously, the pandemic has exposed the vulnerability and paradox of infrastructure through its simultaneous presence and absence in cities. In one way, the inadequacy of physical infrastructure was visible where vulnerable groups got more affected by the pandemic. In another way, new forms of infrastructure evolved during the pandemic through ‘networked mobilisation’ of social capital where the community self-mobilised and provided support to communities. This panel aims to bring such invisibility and paradox of urban infrastructure into popular discussion. By doing so, it not only defines infrastructure as networked mobilisation of resources but also broadens our imagination about urban infrastructure.

To broaden our understanding of urban infrastructure, this panel invites paper to reflect on accompanying challenges:
• Infrastructure of Resistance: How does community self-built infrastructure for spatial occupation? What are the resource mobilisation strategies for creating infrastructure for urban protest? How do solidarity networks practice politics of care through certain infrastructures? Papers on infrastructure and solidarity networks, infrastructure and urban violence, infrastructure for urban resistance can fall under this theme.
• Infrastructure of difference: How do gender, race, religious and sexual identity create differences in infrastructure? Papers on queer and minority infrastructure, gendered and racialised infrastructure are welcomed under this theme.
• (Post)pandemic cities and infrastructure: What are the new forms of infrastructure that are emerging in (post)pandemic cities?

29. Reorganising Work: On the spatial fragmentation of work and new flexible work infrastructures in small and medium-sized cities

Conveners: Janet Merkel, Dimitris Pettas, Vasilis Avdikos | TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Description: In the past decade, coworking spaces have spread in cities and regions worldwide and highlighted the specific social and spatial needs of the rising numbers of independent workers who must organize and manage their labour on their own in uncertain economic environments (Grazian, 2020; Mariotti et al., 2021; Merkel, 2019; Reuschke et al., 2021). Yet research on these flexible workspaces draws mainly on metropolitan cities in the European and North American context, with little attention on coworking spaces in smaller cities, towns, villages or in other geographical contexts. Thus, the theoretical and conceptual formulations of shifts in the social and spatial organisation of labour and work are mostly based on a small sample of extreme cases.

Jennifer Robinson (2006) introduced the notion of ordinary cities to call for an urban studies that places all cities on a leveled analytic field and encouraged a comparative lens to all urban theorizing. She proposed that instead of further entrenching a spatial division in theorization in urban studies with the focus on selected few cities in the global North, we should extend our view beyond these contexts. While Robinson is mainly concerned with building a postcolonial critique, we want to look across other spatial divisions and epistemic dichotomies in urban studies: namely the urban-rural and big-small cities to compare the phenomenon of coworking across different urban experiences. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated migration patterns of remote workers from big cities (Bähr et al., 2020; Nathan & Overman, 2020; Rodríguez-Pose & Storper, 2020). Subsequently it is assumed that coworking spaces in smaller cities and rural areas will grow as an alternative to the home office situation for remote workers. Yet we know little about similarities and differences and how the concept of coworking “travels among different contexts around the world” (Call RC21 2022).

30. Resilience and research in ordinary cities during crises

Conveners: Nidhi Subramanyam | University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, Taru Taru | University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States

Description: The recent pandemic has exposed extreme fragility in urban areas all over the world - especially within territories already struggling with limited resources and infrastructure. Although research is still emerging, residents of ordinary cities and small towns in low- and middle-income countries have suffered deep impacts. These ordinary places have limited state infrastructure in the form of health and emergency services or institutions to regulate and distribute social welfare relative to their metropolitan counterparts. State-mandated lockdowns and global economic slowdowns have further cut off the residents of these places from essential goods and services. Journalistic reporting and people’s experiences reveal that community action, non-state, informal social networks, and diasporic remittances have played an important role in creating ad hoc systems of support and resilience in these ordinary places that were left to fend for themselves. Whereas ordinary cities and towns house a large proportion of the world’s urbanites, they have largely remained peripheral within urban studies, which reflects prevailing urban hierarchies(Robinson, 2006).  Metrocentric epistemologies affect practice (Bunnell & Maringanti, 2010) because there is little documented knowledge about ordinary cities or ways to intervene in them. Such invisibility of people and practices in ordinary cities gets exacerbated during crises, challenging meaningful responses. Pandemic-imposed constraints on travel further made research and mobilization from afar difficult, even as it spurred creative responses to crises within these cities as residents leveraged support from various networks.

This panel invites papers that highlight the ways in which the residents of these ordinary cities experienced and responded to crises by leveraging various relations and networks. We also welcome reflections on efforts by researchers, planners, and activists to mobilize and intervene from afar in the face of many limitations, either by making visible the unknown impacts of the crises on marginalized groups or by supporting ongoing recovery efforts within these cities. Whereas reflections on the pandemic are encouraged, we are also open to studies responding to other kinds of crises.

31. Shrinking but Livable? Local agency and bottom-up initiatives in shrinking cities

Conveners: Alla Bolotova | Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland, Maria Gunko | Institute of geography, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia

Description: While some places concentrate resources and power, others end up being devaluated by capital and abandoned by the state. These parallel processes of concentration and de-concentration, growth, and shrinkage constitute the contemporary uneven spatial development (Harvey, 2006; Sassen, 2014). Thus, perceiving both growth and shrinkage as “ordinary” trajectories of urban development is univocally important for urban theory-building. Urban shrinkage is becoming a worldwide phenomenon (link). It is both characteristic for large and small cities; however, scholars tend to concentrate on larger places (e.g. Detroit, Leipzig, Sait-Etienne among most prominent case studies), overlooking the processes taking place in their smaller counterparts. Both in research and in the media, small shrinking cities are portrayed either through “glorification” of “best practices” or a “sense of doom”. However, both are inadequate to the realities in these places and can even be dangerous when they convey wrong messages and ideas.

This panel aims at exploring pathways to increase the liveability of shrinking cities through research of local agency and bottom-up initiatives in collaboration with local actors and policy-makers. Instead of drawing on popular representations, we urge for the trivialization of shrinkage and argue for a more empirically grounded approach toward the analysis of local practices of co-creation and placemaking, embroiling them into the regional and national planning strategies of dealing with shrinkage in different contexts. By engaging with local knowledge and activism we hope to contribute to enhancing the dignity of these, communities through raising their self-respect and fostering self-determined solutions. The panel will contribute to the development of a community-led approach for stimulating context-sensitive decisions and fostering social innovations in order to enhance liveability and facilitate connections between local initiatives and policy-making.

32. Starting from the queer: LGBTQi+ spatialities as commons

Conveners: Phevos Kallitsis | University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom, Loukas Triantis | Technical University of Crete, School of Architecture, Chania, Greece

Description: Contrary to a linear narrative of progression regarding LGBTQi+ activism, rights and emancipation, which has been reflected in the literature of queer urban studies and geographies, there is a rich body of work which moves beyond the metropoles and the global cities, revealing a more complex matrix of relations and spatialities. The examination of the queer experiences in smaller cities of the West, cities in central and east Europe or Asia brings to the foreground contradicting spatialities of gender and sexuality in relation to tradition, social institutions and cultural representations, everyday practices, practices of sexual desire, global neoliberal development, revanchist neo-conservative tendencies and different levels of legislative protection/suppression of sexual orientation and gender identity. The session  aims to explore how starting from the queer - as a conceptualisation of critical (un)intentional practices which question heteronormativity - and focusing on Robinson’s calls ‘ordinary cities’ - as a framework that considers all cities to be ‘ordinary’ - reveals a multiplicity of contradicting dynamic spatialities.

This session seeks papers offering explorations of the fragmented and diverse queer urban experience and how this is formed by dynamics of different scales -the global, the local, the national. The notion of queer spatialities as commons draws on critical theory to discuss about spaces open to collective use (beyond the public-private dichotomy), against dominant neoliberal trends of enclosures and commodification or trends of policing and surveillance. Papers may illustrate the creation of temporary or more established grassroot queer spaces or explore networks of queer practices and activities as urban commons, functioning in parallel/or against the homonormative and commercialised realm, and despite the lack of legal recognition. Papers may highlight the dovetailing spatialities of specific characteristics, the wider and the more intimate social implications, the interaction of current challenges and crises with the accumulated histories of a place, and explore spaces of everyday practices, along with their impact on ordinary cities in exceptional times.

33. The Challenge of Urban Poverty in Cities of the Global South and of the Global North

Conveners: David Benassi | University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Enrica Morlicchio | University of Naples - Federico II, Naples, Enzo Mingione | University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy

Description: “Ordinary cities” are grappling with the impacts of the pandemic, natural-disaster risks and climate changes, and the urban poor are the most adversely affected, especially low educated women, children, refugees, and discriminated minorities. Urban riots, protest movements and populist parties have called into question the capacity of Western urban areas to integrate new urban residents -especially new immigrants - and to give voice to those who have suffered most as a result of those recent crises. Although spatial inequalities across and within cities can also be found in cities in the Global North, it is the depth and breadth of such inequalities in the cities of the Global South that are of concern. The aim of this session is indeed to discuss some of the emerging issues that cities, both in the Global North and in the Global South, confront during those exceptional times, with particular attention to the spread of poverty.

We welcome contributions adopting a comparative and/or longitudinal perspectives as well as case studies giving in-deep description and addressing (among others) the following topics:
a) dimensions and main features of urban poverty in their context (groups most affected, urban areas of concentration, etc.)
b) social and political processes producing urban poverty (forms of discrimination, institutional conditions, features of the local economy, existing vulnerability) 
c) poor people coping strategies and social mobilization (i.e. forms of adaptation to the increased climate variability) 
d) political implications for poverty reduction and forms of backlash (like for examples emerging welfare chauvinism).
e) the scaling of inequality and the role of medium and small sized or secondary  towns as transition areas to large cities in a stepwise migration processes of dispossessed people 
f) the contradiction involves the relationship between political recognition and the distribution of resources within the metropolis.

34. The right to housing in exceptional times

Conveners: Stavros Stavrides | National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece, Ioanna Piniara | Architectural Association, London, United Kingdom

Description: Neoliberalism has become a new paradigm of spatial order. Neoliberal housing may be considered as a set of planning and policy patterns that shape housing production according to this paradigm: On the one hand, the study of urban housing policies and housing architecture reveals a common ideology in the organisation of everyday life as the most intimate level of exploitation, which is not exceptional in capitalism. On the other hand, such projects demonstrate contextually specific interactions between market-oriented principles and inherited urban landscapes. This session invites a reading of neoliberal housing both as a form of urban planning and as a crucial factor of governmentality. In such a reading, exception (in the form of historic particularities including crises) becomes the driving force of urban governmentality.

How does the dominant neoliberal approach to housing produce enclaves of “exception” in contemporary metropolises? How does normalized spatial exception become an instrument of planning and design for housing areas? (enclaves of the poor – enclaves of the affluent). Is enclave urbanism further promoted in the current period of crisis? Do privacy, home-ownership and relevant “rights” become reconfigured in the context of neoliberal planning? Is gentrification further promoted by emergency measures that corroborate policies of discrimination? How has the current pandemic crisis exacerbated normal (normalized) injustices concerning access to decent housing? Did the global campaign ‘stay home stay safe’ trigger further spatial injustices converting “home” into a forced experience of enclosure? What kinds of struggle explicitly target policies of an urban state of exception that promotes the commodification of housing (including struggles against foreclosures, zero evictions campaigns, homeless movement demands and initiatives against housing megaprojects f.e. Ellinikon Project in Athens, Belgrade Sava Waterfront project, Rio de Janeiro “Marvelous port” project etc.).

35. The right to housing in exceptional times: struggles for more equitable housing

Conveners: Dimitris Balampanidis | Harokopio University, Geography Department, Athens, Dimitra Siatitsa | Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

Description: Since the outburst of the global financial crisis, housing has emerged as a critical issue in central political agendas. Consecutive crises, austerity regimes, housing system transformations, as well as the continuously intensified speculative real estate investment and financialization of housing have rendered housing less affordable, more precarious and unequal. More recently, the covid-19 pandemic has made existing housing inequalities and hardships more visible, revealing once again the importance of housing as “more than ever a life or death situation” as stated by the former UN Rapporteur for the right to housing. All over the world, struggles and claims highlight the need for more social and affordable housing, empowerment and support for community grassroots initiatives, as well as for more transparency and democratic control of housing markets. For instance, movements and municipal authorities in Europe advance with efforts towards rent and Airbnb control regulations, the de-commodification of housing, or new forms of collective and cooperative housing.

In this session, we would like to invite papers that focus on bottom-up initiatives contesting housing inequalities, suggesting collective and common housing solutions, and struggling for more equitable housing policies. We are particularly interested in grassroots initiatives that lead to institutional changes (alternative housing practices and/or progressive housing policy reforms), as well as in struggles that problematize and bring to the fore the new housing challenges intensified by the covid-19 pandemic, thus contributing to new understandings of the right to housing. The proposed session will be organized as a 90-minute panel, including 4 papers and chaired by the conveners. Presentations will last for 10-15 minutes and will be followed by short discussion.

36. The role of the spatial in struggles to belong for racialized and ethnicized persons

Conveners: Christine Barwick, Jean Beaman | Europa Universität Flensburg, Flensburg, Germany

Description: During the past few years, the Black Lives Matter movement, continued police violence and racial profiling, and initiatives to de-colonize cities have put Europe’s relation with its colonial history and its dealing with race at the forefront of public discourse. While the existence, and hence effects, of racism were denied in most European countries, the aforementioned events are just a glimpse of the struggles that racialized and other ethnicized groups engage with on a daily basis. The struggle against violence, against colonial remnants (such as street names), and other forms of material and symbolic racism and other forms of discrimination have a strong urban dimension. While the diverse struggles to belong are primarily mediatized in large cities, they take place in all types of cities, with their specific temporal and spatial reconfigurations and situatedness. The respective city’s history, its population size and diversity, or its geographic location may influence the quest for belonging (and justice). Within cities, specific places (neighborhoods, streets, buildings) can take on particular significance. As Thompson (2020) has shown with the example of Paris, “space and race are related in the context of struggles against racial imagery and representations” and “the spatial plays a crucial role within current black struggles”. 

In the panel, we therefore want to focus on the spatiality of struggles to belong, of racialized persons, as well as other ethnicized and migrant populations – in conjunction with other categories such as gender, class, or age. We thus invite papers that expand urban studies, adding a postcolonial perspective, or insights from critical race theory, and/or critical whiteness studies. While we encourage papers from all methodological angles, we particularly invite papers that also explore new ground methodologically, for example through methodologies that explore the sensory aspects of struggles to belong or processes of racialization/ethnicization.

37. Towards new urban economies in the post-pandemic society? Digital and social infrastructures for the embeddedness of the urban economy

Conveners: Alberta Andreotti | Departement of Sociology and Social Research, University of Milan - Bicocca, Milan, Ivana Pais | Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Laura Sartori | Università degli Studi di Bologna, Bologna, Italy

During the “extraordinary” pandemic period, the flows of people and goods have been redesigned in all urban and non urban contexts. The use of the digital has reconfigured the nexus between short and long networks, allowing a significant, although very differentiated and unequal share of service workers to work remotely, some groups of consumers to access goods and services through ecommerce platforms and some through online neighbourhood or community groups. In the debate on the post-pandemic city, a comprehensive reflection on its relationship with the surrounding and rural areas has become crucial. Scenarios of abandonment of urban centres and repopulation of rural/internal areas and/or the enhancement of a polycentric city, with distributed services aligning with the model of the “15 minutes city” are taken back the stage and open for discussion.

The session examines the role of digital and social infrastructures in the design of new urban economies. Short-chain ecommerce platforms with territorial grounding, neighbourhood hubs for the exchange of goods and services, cooperative platforms - so far related to niches of critical consumers and active citizens -, complementary currencies, neighbourhood coworking, civic crowdfunding are some examples of urban socio-economic innovation practices that spread to reconnect to and build a ""new normalcy"" in some ordinary and global cities. The session aims at critically analysing these practices, with particular attention to: the territorial and relational embeddedness in digital platforms, the analysis of urban movements that promote these practices, the scaling up of these practices and their inclusive or exclusive power, the redefinition of public and private spaces coupled with the redefinition of belonging and proximity; the (political and social) conditions at which these practices contribute to the urban or local economy. Particular attention should be paid to the new forms of social exclusion that these practices bring about, and the social and territorial inequalities risking to produce and amplify. The session welcomes empirical studies using a variety of methods, if possible, with a comparative perspective, coming from all local contexts.

38. Transnationalizing Deindustrialization Studies: Causes and Impacts in Ordinary Cities

Conveners: Neha Sami | Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore, India, Seth Schindler | University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Description: "Deindustrialization is often conceptualized as an economic problem for cities in the industrial heartlands of the OECD, which resulted from global economic restructuring (i.e., ‘unbundling’ of industrial agglomerations and offshoring of production to low- and middle-income countries). The narrative is one of loss – of livelihoods, economies and employment – and is commonly accompanied by a trope that depicts ‘Southern’ countries as having benefitted from the late-20th century international division of labor. These assumptions – that deindustrialization is an OECD problem and that Southern countries benefitted from offshoring – have been undermined by recent scholarship that demonstrates:
1. Industry offshored from the OECD has been concentrated in a very small number of countries;
2. Many countries in the South experienced significant deindustrialization as producers were forced to compete against highly productive global value chains.

This session takes these premises as a starting point and advocates an inductive approach to transnational deindustrialization studies that attends to its diverse nature and manifestation in ordinary cities. Rather than focus either on cities in the OECD or the South, it seeks to lay the groundwork for transnational deindustrialization studies rooted in contemporary urban lifeworlds.

Contributions could focus on, but are not limited to:
1. The impact of deindustrialization on local manufacturing;
2. The reallocation of local capital, perhaps in land and/or real estate, or the ‘reprimarization’ of the national economy and the concomitant impact on cities;
3. De-/Re-coupling of value chains in the context of geopolitical rivalry, and emergent geographies of deindustrialization driven by (geo-)economic restructuring;
4. Use of former industrial land, rent gaps and the global financialization of real estate;
5. Influence of deindustrialization on the gendered division of labor within cities;
6. The relationship between deindustrialization and urban populism, organized labor and social movements;
7. The commemoration of industrial history and the preservation of industrial heritage

39. Twisting territorial stigmatization

Conveners: Cristina Mattiucci | University of Naples "Federico II" - Dept. of Architecture, Naples, Italy, Anke Schwarz | Technische Universität Dresden, Germany

Description: Deriving from the seminal Wacquant’s works (1992, 1993), many scholars have study territorial stigmatization as a key concept in urban studies, and as a way to understand and discuss territorial Othering and exclusion, negotiation and stabilization, as well as fragmentation of power, via (urban) space. In this panel, we propose to further twist the gaze on the well-known concept in order to deepen a perspective to understand territorial stigmatization. We ask: Which kinds of actors and practices are being stigmatized in which kinds of places - rather than: Who/which territories are being stigmatized? The panel assumes that instances of territorial stigmatization in the ordinary city have been taking new shapes and become increasingly common-place under current conditions of planetary crisis, which smooths the polarizations among social, economic and living conditions, but strengths conflicts and ways to build the Otherness. So, the panel’s topic is proposed as a way to deepen one of the categorizations of exception versus the ‘normalcy’, which shapes many aspects of the urban life and influences the urban governmentalities. We are particularly interested in contributions exploring cross-cutting themes to twist territorial stigmatization in local urban cases, as well as conceptual papers. The panel aims to connect to ongoing debates in the fields of urban and political geography, critical race studies, urban planning and geographies of the law, and it is proposed as a contribution towards a further decentering the urban studies.

We welcome both conceptual and empirical contributions from a wide range of (inter)disciplinary backgrounds with a strong urban baseline. The planned format is of 3-4 selected papers of 10-15 minutes each, followed by a panel discussion between paper presenters and conveners. The discussion will aim to identify ruptures and cross-links between the presented concepts and cases, with a view to requirements for further collaborative and comparative research on the topic.

40. (Un)exceptional Neighbourhoods: Transforming, Contesting and Reclaiming the Socialist-Modernist Large Housing Estates

Conveners: Sara Nikolić, Sanja Iguman, Dušanka Milosavljević | Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

Description: After the socio-economic transition, post-socialist cities continue to undergo significant changes. These changes are distinctly visible in transformations of socialist-modernist large housing estates (LHE). Living in LHE’s is one of the dominant features of urban housing in post-World War II Europe, especially in the former socialist republics, where almost 40% of the urban population lives in this type of settlement (Dekker et al. 2005). Due to the LHE’s widespread, they possess an “ordinary” character. However, representing a deviation from the dominant urban fabric, they are exceptional too. Planning and constructing these settlements strived to provide housing to a large number of people and meet both their individual and social needs, inheriting the modernist aesthetics and principles of the Athens Charter. In addition to standardised construction of residential buildings, the Charter implies equally significant shaping of the gathering space, understanding the neighbourhood not only as a  territorially limited area but a complex network of social relations.

Today, these estates, both at the level of individual housing units and entire settlements, are undergoing a process of privatisation and commodification. The open green spaces, socially and symbolically rich, are considered undeveloped, depicting the investor’s priorities to the detriment of the residents’ needs. These processes result in changing attitudes towards housing and the needs it is designed to meet. Within this session, we want to target four separate but interconnected sub-topics. First, we are interested in the study of transformations of modernist LHE’s in terms of the built environment, urban regulations and policies, and the demographic structure. Second, the session focuses on the constructed marginality of socialist-modernist LHE’s and residents’ perceptions of such discourses. Third, we seek to explore and discuss the limitations and benefits of the growing trend of socialist urban legacy and heritage protection and revitalisation. Fourth, this session invites to explore processes of collective and local struggles and resistance to investor urbanism, which disrupts the urban fabric of socialist-modernist LHE’s.

• Transformation of socialist-modernist LHE
• Constructed marginality 
• Socialist-Modernist legacy 
• Spaces of conflict

41. Up and around. Climate change, élites and ecological gentrification

Convener: Magda Bolzoni | University of Turin, Torino, Italy

Description: We find ourselves in the midst of exceptional times, in which global epochal phenomena, e.g. climate change and Covid-19 pandemic, have been changing our everyday life, narratives and frame of references, also affecting our relationship with space, nature and urbanity. Within the theoretical frame of planetary urbanization and alpine/coastal/rural gentrification, the session aims at discussing processes accelerated and magnified by these global phenomena. In particular, we refer to multi-local dwelling, lifestyle mobility and property acquisition by the middle-upper classes, rich and super-rich (i.e. transnational élites) in mountain, coastal and/or naturally rich areas. Within the climate change process and narrative, mild climate, access to fresh air/water, spaces with scarce anthropic pressure and, more generally, natural amenities and resources appear progressively more crucial and desirable commodities. Covid-19 pandemic, platform economy and the improvements in (IT and hard) infrastructures intertwine, e.g. by increasing the material and symbolic relevance of such commodities and making remote work and multi-dwelling lifestyle and mobility possible for some. Against this background, gentrification processes are on the rise across mountains/natural reserves worldwide, involving both established prime locations and new frontiers of exploitation. Mountains and naturally rich areas are increasingly settings where new lifestyles and class distinction take place and these processes reproduce forms of dispossession and inequalities that, while taking place outside the traditional dense urban areas, present an urban character.

Within this frame, the session welcomes contributions analysing: dynamics, features and actors of alpine/coastal/rural gentrification; new emerging lifestyle and mobility practices of (transnational) élites; how natural spaces are shaped through the material and symbolical power exerted by the social actors involved; how the symbolic value of such commodities and the legitimacy of such responses are constructed and mobilized; implications in terms of social inequalities, privatization, land-grabbing and the reproduction of class distinctions. It invites contributions drawing on empirical researches in mountain/coastal/naturally rich areas worldwide, theoretical papers on the interconnections between climate change, pandemic and transnational elites, as well as methodological reflections on doing research in contexts of privilege.

42. Urban insecurity: illegal markets and informal governance

Conveners: Gabriel Feltran | University of Sao Carlos, Sao Carlos, Brazil, Sébastien Jacquot | Paris I - Sorbonne, Paris, France

Description: An increasing sense of insecurity is reaching urban spaces all over the world. Forms of urban securitisation, previously only observed in the violent metropolises of the global South, are now also present in cities of the North. Attempts to explain urban insecurity refer to very different dimensions of urban life such as migration policies, social and ethnic conflicts, gendered illegal markets (drug or arms trafficking, sex work etc.), structural racism or the impact of a pandemic virus. This panel will take a qualitative-quantitative look at the urban impact of increasing transnational illegal markets and informal governance to urban insecurity. Different actors - the state, civil society, informal and even criminal groups - try to manage or combat urban insecurity, creating a complex governance landscape. Selling cocaine in the green spaces of Görlitzer Park in Berlin or in a favela in Sao Paulo requires a very different risk calculation. Cars stolen in the US are resold in the streets of Accra. Berlin is a much safer city than New York; Accra is much safer than Sao Paulo. However, the drug trade and the car trade in these cities are enmeshed in the same market chains. What are the factors that create a safer city in times of illegal markets and transnational criminal organisations? Illegal markets and their forms of urban governance are still little discussed in urban research. Normative and empirically fragile approaches have been replaced by solid research on this topic in several countries around the world. Insecurity in cities limits public space and even contributes to the advance of far-right political narratives. How can we think about urban security from a democratic perspective?

This panel invites contributions that address the problem of contemporary urban insecurity, as well as contributions that seek to understand its hybrid governance and material foundations, which are often rooted in illegal markets.

43. Urban migrant citizenship and (post)covid-19

Conveners: Tatiana Fogelman | Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark, Henrik Lebuhn | Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, Nir Cohen | Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel

Description: Covid-19 pandemic has had widely differential impacts on a variety of population groups. One of the most important outcomes of research about the pandemic has been an increased awareness of how the pandemic exposed and increased structural and situated inequalities between differently positioned groups and subjects in most countries. Vulnerable migrants as well as more marginalized residents with migration background have been in many contexts amongst those groups especially negatively impacted by the pandemic. This might have been due to the severe economic challenges and even loss of livelihoods due to the shutdown of sectors of labor markets they are predominantly represented in, or inversely, due to their increased exposure to the virus due to their service jobs. Likewise, in many places their access to resources had become even more limited as scarcity of resources increased. Finally, echoing older racist discourses many non-white migrants have faced stigmatization and have been blamed for being the prime spreaders of the virus.  

This session explores specifically urban aspects of the impact of the pandemic on migrants and approaches the topic through the concept of citizenship. We understand citizenship as a socio-political relation between the subject and the political community, shaping the extent of rights, access to resources and services, as well as symbolic recognition - regardless of formal legal status. In this session we are interested in how this relation has been impacted by the pandemic specifically in cities and through city-specific practices or policies, with papers addressing such potential topics as:
• Municipal (vs national scale) approaches to migrants under the pandemic
• Migrants’ access to urban space under pandemic
• Impacts of lockdowns on migrant-serving organizations in cities
• Migrant-heavy neighborhoods under pandemic
• Practices of solidarity in cities
• Neighborhood resources and local networks under the pandemic 
• Anti-migrant harassment and migrant stigmatization in cities

44. Urbanization of the Commodities Boom: Across Local/Global and Urban/Rural Divides

Convener: Giselle Mendonca Abreu | University of California, Berkeley, United States

Description: During the early twenty-first century, global food and energy price crises alongside a global commodities boom have led to a rapid and intense expansion of export-oriented resource extraction and large-scale farming, particularly in the global South. This exceptional conjuncture of global trade and production has not only affected agrarian land and labor regimes—for example, by triggering a process of corporate “land grabbing” (McMichael 2012)—, but has also deeply impacted ordinary small and mid-sized cities around the world. In China, for example, investment in energy production and mineral extraction is leading to the growth of inland “frontier boomtowns” (Woodworth 2013); in Tanzania and other African countries, small villages are rapidly urbanizing and becoming “agro-processing centers” (Lazaro et al. 2019); and in Brazil, non-metropolitan towns in interior states are turning into corporate “agribusiness cities” (Elias 2011). 

This panel invites empirically-rich contributions that examine these emerging processes of urbanization unfolding in the context of the expansion of globalized production of food and energy. We welcome analyses of particular dimensions of these processes, such as rural-to-urban land transitions, new migration patterns, rising environmental challenges, the changing nature of work in agroindustrial and extractive economies, challenges to urban planning practices, among others. Importantly, moving beyond an understanding of such socio-spatial transformations as simply a passive outcome of global capitalism, this panel aims to convene research that takes historically- and geographically-specific institutions, actors, and practices seriously—and how they recombine with or resist global forms and dynamics. In doing so, we hope to take these spaces and processes of urbanization as productive sites for (re)mapping connections, articulations, and assemblages between local and global, urban and rural, and also—as suggested by this conference’s theme—between ordinary and exceptional.

45. Variegated densities; politics of density discourse in peri-urban regions

Conveners: Vafa Dianati | University College London, London, Katayoun Karampour | University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Description: The ordinary cities are becoming sites of exception, replacing the global cities of the actually existing neoliberalism era through showcasing their distinctiveness, uniqueness, and local specificities. The ordinary cities located in buffer zones around global cities, undermined institutionally, overlooked theoretically, and under-examined empirically, are the sites with hybrid spatiality and identity swinging between the state of normalcy and exception. Such cities and towns are not distant enough to be considered peripheral, and not close enough to be at the centre. The ever-increasing proportion of the world population living in peri-urban regions make such cities exceptional sites of inquiry to explore urban density discourse.

The aim of this session is to draw attention to the multiple urban density discourses within the ordinary cities across the globe. In line with the growing calls for a peripheral turn in urban studies, this session encourages contributions to de-centre the discourse of density by looking at ordinary cities as agglomerations and co-locations of people, encounters, opportunities and artefacts. We welcome critical re-readings of urban density as a generative practice incorporating different actors with conflicting interests and specifically encourage contributions to look at urban density at multiple scales, from local governance structures, policies and plans, to the lived experiences at the everyday level. We are therefore looking for papers reflecting on the following issues:
• The intersection between planning practice and the wider dynamics of density discussion;
• The role of politics, public policy, and/or governance systems and the law in shaping urban density discourse;
• The multiple planning tools shaping/managing/governing density;
• The interface between real estate markets, finance, and planning regimes that shapes density discussion;
• The parallel lived experiences of urban density and densification within ordinary cities, and beyond;
• The interconnections between planning policies and lived experiences of density at the everyday level;
• The power dynamics and struggles at the local level to contain, adapt to or appropriate top-down density policies;
• The future of density discussion in ordinary cities.

46. “What’s law got to do with it?”: the formal and informal regulation of urban dynamics

Conveners: Danielle Chevalier | Leiden Law School, Leiden, Michiel Stapper | Tilburg Law School, Tilburg, Netherlands

Description: "Cities and city life are regulated by a myriad of ideas, norms, rules and directives. The regulation operates at all levels, from Goffmanian micro encounters in everyday settings to the urban governance of mega-cities at the macro level. One possible denomination of regulatory dynamics is the word ‘law’, a concept the field of urban studies tends to skirt around. This panel puts the concept law centerstage; what is the role of law in ordinary cities, what is the role of law in exceptional times?

Law, however it is substantially defined, is generally viewed to fulfill four functions: as an organizational principle, as an instrumental tool, as a normative communication and as a means for conflict resolution. The status of regulations varies from formal law, ranging from state law to municipal law to local council law, to informal rules, ranging from customary law to group norms. Different regulatory frames are often active in one particular setting, and rule-creating occurs both top-down and bottom-up. At the receiving end, regulation is at times (with conviction or grudgingly) complied with, sometimes (overtly or covertly) contested, sometimes simply ignored. Law can be both a means of suppression and a tool for liberation. This panel invites contributions that engage with the question: “What’s law got to do with it?’ Contributions formulate an answer to this question. Submissions can work with their own definition of ‘law’, and focus on any particular facet of urban dynamics. Presentations grounded in empirical work are especially welcomed, in-depth legal analysis is not required. Overarching theme is how urban dynamics are governed by regulatory frames, and the dangers and possibilities that lie therein. The panel organizers are grounded in urban planning and urban sociology, but share an interest in all urban studies.

47. Youth’s making, shaping and reclaiming urban spaces

Conveners: Ebru Soytemel, Yildirim Senturk, Ben Perasović | Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Description: This panel aims to explore young people’s cultural engagements outside the institutionalised cultural institutions (e.g., museums, galleries, theatres, music halls, or heritage sites). Drawing on research with young people creating, reclaiming, appropriating, using public and private spaces in cities in extraordinary times, presenters will trace how youth’s reconfigurations of culture are issued forth in multiple modalities, ranging from temporarily occupying spaces (occupy protests, youth-led pop up events, squats, street dance, game clubs etc) to using existing institutional and/or local spaces such as parks, underpasses. We are particularly interested in comparing original research findings around (i) how young people use or reclaim spaces informally, often with self-organised activities, (ii) how these differential spaces are often very diverse and provide young people opportunities to explore, encounter others, to discuss or learn/talk about inequalities and/or sensitive matters or to meet people who are not like themselves and/or to practice cultural activities of new genres such as street dance, rapping, skating, graffiti etc. Attending to these diverse pathways, we strive to comprehend how young people's practices shape space and how space, in turn, structures their experiences and themselves, actualising questions on power, (in)equalities, gendered bodies and (sub)cultural identities. 

We are especially interested in research perspectives shedding light on ongoing changes in young people's encounters in space and with space during pandemics, austerity, technological advances, and economic restructuring across informal, grass-root, spontaneous bottom up youth-led or self-organised groups: Who were these youngsters and why did they prefer spaces outside institutional places? How exclusive or inclusive are these youth-led spaces? How do young people and their cultural practices relate or differ from the existing cultural offer, cultural heritage and cultural participation discourses? What do these spaces indicate us about under-representation or non-presentation of some of the youth groups?

Important Dates 

  • Open call for paper abstracts: 20th December 2021
  • Deadline for paper abstracts: 11th February 2022
  • Notification of acceptance: 8-15 March 2022

 Should you have any questions about the process, please contact us at abstracts@rc21athens2022.com.