“Uber Urbanism” with Neil Brenner and Jesse LeCavalier



0:00 – Introduction and presentation by Dean Richard Sommer
19:57 – Neil Brenner presentation
41:16 – Jesse LeCavalier presentation
1:01:10 – Moderated discussion
1:25:20 – Q & A

What is a “global city”? Are distinctions such as urban and rural, society and nature, or city and suburb still useful? When almost all the earth’s surface is subject to human technological intervention, is it time for a new way of understanding urbanization?

Four decades ago, the French sociologist Henri Lefebvre prophesized that the complete urbanization of society was inevitable. Today, we have come to accept a process of global urbanization derived from a set of complex relationships — political, economic, environmental, among others — that bring diverse territories together. Yet, particularly for those who plan and design cities, there remains a deeply held belief in the value of making distinctions between “cities” as dense agglomerations of culture and capital, and other urbanizing territories.

Part of the Daniels Fora series, “Uber Urbanism” critically examined the central role that the concept of “city” has in framing how we understand (and study) urbanism, and whether or not cities are a unique “species” among the world’s geographies.

Featured speakers:

Neil Brenner is a geographer, Professor, and Director of the Urban Theory Lab at Harvard University, whose most recent publication is Implosions / Explosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization (Jovis, 2014). Together with the Urban Theory Lab, Brenner also recently produced an exhibition, Operational Landscapes: Towards an Alternative Cartography of World Urbanization, which explored the emergence of an urban fabric in some of the most “remote” regions of the world.

Jesse LeCavalier is a designer, theorist and member of the architecture faculty at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. LeCavalier’s work examines the logistical architecture of major actors in the new economy such as Walmart and Amazon, and he is the co-author of This Will _ This (Standpunkte, 2009), among other publications. His book, The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press.

The Daniels Faculty’s Richard Sommer, Dean and Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, moderated the discussion.

For more information about the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, visit us at http://www.daniels.utoronto.ca

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