The conference programme for EURA 2020 in Oslo will be announced at a later date.
Theme: “Contradictions Shaping Urban Futures”
At a time when an increasing share of the global population is living in urban areas, there is a need to re-examine the role(s), which cities take in coping with today’s challenges and contradictions.
The EURA conference in Oslo 2020 takes as its inspiration Robert A. Beauregard’s book (2018) ‘Cities in the urban age’, as well as protests in European cities where groups like the “gilets jaunes” in France take to the streets to make their voice heard. Both the book and the protests underline that urban policies matter, have impact beyond the urban sphere and are worth fighting over.
With this startingpoint, the 2020 EURA conference seeks to focus on contradictions that are generative for urban life, and thus contributing to shaping its future. Even though cities are facing many of the same contradictions, they are recognized, problematized, politicized and handled in different ways, and consequently also have differing influences on urban life. Rather than focusing on how visions about urban futures are driving our cities, like “smart city”, “just cities”, “green cities”, “environmental healthy cities” etc., the objective of EURA 2020 is to better understand the underlying contradictions that affect how the urban visions are materialized.
Depending on political visions for the city and the power balance between urban actors, the contradictions nurture urban development in different ways – benefiting some interests and groups, while possibly worsening the situation for others. More specifically we want to explore how contradictions like wealth vs. poverty, sustainable vs. unsustainable urban development and growth vs. degrowth, representative democracy vs. network governance vs. populism, inclusionary and tolerant vs. exclusionary and intolerant urban policies, the multicultural urban community vs. the ethnically divided city are shaping our cities. The contradictions are not fixed – they intersect with each other and are objects of contestation among actors who seek, in their own ways, to shape their city.
With this point of departure, we want to invite researchers to consider five analytical tracks, each focusing on a pair of contradictions. There are interfaces and connections between each of the conference tracks, which will provide opportunities for productive discussions and conversations and help to address the overall theme of the Oslo Conference – Contradictions shaping urban futures. To approach the complexity of urban ‘wicked problems’ we include a sixth track focused on urban creative methods. We invite theoretical as well as empirical papers, comparative work is most welcome.
- Wealth vs. poverty
- Sustainable vs. unsustainable urban development and growth vs. degrowth
- Representative democracy vs. network governance vs. populism?
- Inclusionary and tolerant vs. exclusionary and intolerant cities
- The multiethnic urban community vs. the ethnically divided city
- Creative urban methods
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.