Robert Beauregard is Professor Emeritus at Columbia University where he taught urban planning in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Over his career, he has written mainly on urban development (with a focus on postwar U.S. cities) and planning theory. His most recent books are Cities in the Urban Age; A Dissent (2018) and Planning Matter: Acting with Things (2015), the latter a socio-material perspective on planning theory. He is currently writing a book on planning theory for a series titled Advanced Introductions to be published by Edward Elgar and a cross-national, historical study of the spatial dimensions of nationalism and nation-building tentatively titled Cities and the Moral Geography of Nations. Professor Beauregard also taught at New School University (NYC), the University of Pittsburgh, and Rutgers University and has been a visiting professor at the University of Tampere, Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University), and UCLA.
In his key-note speech, Beauregard will elaborate on the importance for understanding the dynamics of underlying urban contradictions when trying to make sustainable urban policy. For Beauregard, the city is a cauldron of haunting contradictions. He argues that only by recognizing the urban ambiguities and contradictions, can we begin to understand our moral obligations as well as possible paths towards equality, justice and peace in urban settings.
Ayona Datta is a Professor in Urban Geography at University College London. She has cross cutting expertise in postcolonial urbanism, smart cities, urban futures, and gender citizenship. Datta was awarded the Busk Medal from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in 2019 for her contributions to the understanding of smart cities through fieldwork.
Datta is the author of ‘The Illegal City: Space, law and gender in a Delhi squatter settlement’ (2012 Ashgate), co-editor of ‘Mega-urbanization in the global South: Fast cities and new urban utopias of the postcolonial state’ (2017 Routledge) and ‘Translocal Geographies: Spaces, places, connections’ (2011 Ashgate). She has authored over 40 articles in peer reviewed journals and several book chapters.