The art of parkour: misuse of The Monument

Originally posted on iQ Magazine:

Misuse of The Monument: The art of parkour and the discursive limits of a disciplinary architecture
By. Matthew D. Lamb
From. Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 1.1

IQ Overview

Parkour is an art form that does not conform to social expectations. In the eyes of a traceur (a parkour practitioner) stairs, walls and rooftops are not physical boundaries but instead they offer options to the individual – options for an alternative way to travel through an urban landscape.

In Lamb’s article, he explores the misuse of public space and asks whether parkour can be a practice of empowerment that challenges spatial expectations of use.

Parkour is ‘almost exclusively an urban practice’ (Mould 2009: 739). It is a seamless, free-flowing and improvised movement that offers a new way to move through an environment. Lamb compares the movement to the flow of water, ‘as water adapts and flows so too does the…

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CityLAB II – Urban Studies Summer School / 16-20 June 2014

CityLAB II – Urban Studies Summer School

Theme: Suburbanism

Organised by: Stijn Oosterlynck (OASeS) & Ilja Van Damme (CSG)

Date: 16-20 June 2014

Recent years have seen a revival of interest in the study of suburbs, suburbanization and suburbanism. Central to this revival is a concern with the empirical diversity of suburbs and processes of suburbanization as well as with the growing internal and spatial differentiation of suburbs due to the impoverishment, increased ethnic diversity, densification and sprawl of economic activities in an increasing number of suburbs. These concerns undermine established understandings of suburbanism and turn the study of suburbs into a promising field for conceptual renewal and interdisciplinary reflection.

The second edition of CityLAB, organized by the Institute for Urban Studies will explore both the empirical diversity of suburbs and their increasing internal differentiation from an interdisciplinary perspective. It will examine the complexity of suburban phenomena from insights deriving from sociology, history, economic geography, political sciences, architecture and urban planning. Its target group is PhD and early stage post-doctoral researchers who want to develop such multi-perspectival understanding of suburbs, suburbanization and suburbanism and become more sensitive to the diversity of actually existing suburbs. The CityLAB Summer School is explicitly international and interdisciplinary in orientation and will take full advantage of its location in one of the most (sub)urbanized regions in Western Europe, Belgium. The programme combines international and local speakers, and two field trips to explore the suburban diversity of the biggest city of Flanders, the sprawling port town Antwerp. Roger Keil (Faculty of Environmental Sciences, York University) and Mark Clapson (Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Westminster) will deliver keynote lectures, and engage in discussion with the participants on the basis of their own research.



SEEING LIKE A CITY: A Symposium at Queen Mary University of London [June 6-7]


A Symposium

Queen Mary University of London

Keynote Address: Professor Mariana Valverde (University of Toronto) and Michael McKinnie (Queen Mary University of London)*

Keynote: Friday 6th June 6pm (open to the public)

Symposium: Saturday 7th June (all day)

 How have infrastructures of performance shaped civic ideas and ideals in mundane and spectacular ways? How are these ideas and ideals contained, contaminated, revealed and concealed spatially, temporally, legally and historically through cultural activity? How does cultural activity shape and see the city?

Seeing Like a City is an interdisciplinary symposium centred on the relationships between theatre, performance and urbanism.  In the past, theatre and performance scholars including Marvin Carlson, Jen Harvie, D.J. Hopkins, Ric Knowles, Kim Solga, have seen the city as a fertile site for considering a range of urban performances. Seeing Like a City builds on this work; it invites researchers to take up the challenge of accounting for contemporary urban performance.

This event is inspired by Mariana Valverde’s article ‘Seeing Like a City’ (2009), which offers a reading of the urban that acknowledges the influence historically distinct ways of seeing contribute temporally and spatially to the negotiation of property, land and its uses in the contemporary moment. More recently, theatre studies scholar Michael McKinnie reconfigured Valverde’s ‘seeing like a city’ as ‘performing like a city’ in his analysis of London’s South Bank Centre (2013). McKinnie argues that the entrepreneurial performance of today’s South Bank relies on the performance of the building as a national and social welfare project. The Seeing Like a City symposium aims to provoke analysis and discussion that extends and challenges approaches by theatre and performance studies to ‘seeing’ and ‘performing’ the city as a complex and contingent entity.

Seeing Like a City encourages presentations from researchers at Continue reading

Uneven mobilities: Santiago de Chile, October 13-16, 2014 / Final call for papers March 31, 2014

Uneven mobilities. Access to activities, people and places in contemporary cities.

Santiago de Chile, October 13-16, 2014 / Final call for papers March 31, 2014
Organizers: PanAmerican Mobility Network and University of Chile

One of the most common problems faced by Latin American societies today is their patent and often invisible inequality. Many of these inequalities shape the way cities operate as well as the people’s ability to access opportunities. Currently urban inequalities and social exclusion are placed in most development agendas; however, research in this area is becoming increasingly complex, multidimensional and multispatial.

With the irruption of the mobility approach, the way cities and space are accessed has become crucial to understand current inequalities. These problems are not only present in Latin America, and can be observed in other places in the Americas, and in many cities and regions in developing and developed countries, even stretching through national borders.

The PanAmerican Mobility Network intends to connect the various mobility related research taking place in the Americas. In this context, although we welcome any paper on the broad theme of mobility research, we encourage papers to be presented in relation to the following questions:

1.     What methodological strategies can be used to research the production of uneven mobilities?

2.     How do citizen movements impact in the production of uneven mobility?

3.     How do transport and communication devices affect uneven mobilities?

4.     How do urban design and urban planning influence the production of uneven mobilities?

5.     What types of relations exist between migratory process and the production of uneven mobilities?

6.     What forms of experiences are related to the production of uneven mobilities?

7.     Other open questions.
Abstracts of approximately 250 words should be Continue reading

Call for Submissions: International Urban Design Conference

Originally posted on Price Tags:

Submit your abstract for an opportunity to present at the 7th International Urban Design Conference: Adelaide, Australia - September 1-3, 2014.

The Conference theme “Designing Productive Cities” will explore the framework required for creating today’s cities, the process of designing and shaping our cities to make them more functional, attractive and sustainable.

We will examine affordable housing and diversity for “Gen Y” who are interested in more compact design models. For the rapidly growing ageing population sector, we will discuss isolation, location, ease of transport, mobility and affordability.

You abstract may address:

• Visualisation
• Strategic Planning
• Whole City Thinking
• Urban Design Projects
• Active Transport
• International Design
• Issues in Construction
• Financing for Compact Cities

If selected for the Conference Program, you also have the opportunity to have your full paper peer reviewed and included in the book of proceedings with an ISBN number.

You can submit your abstract via…

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Fun Link Friday: Map Design by Yoshida Hatsusaburo

Originally posted on What can I do with a B.A. in Japanese Studies?:

Spoon & Tamago has a feature on the cartographer Yoshida Hatsusaburo (1884-1955) and his gorgeous, detailed maps. I love the Taisho- and early Showa-era design work on these, and how much they look like real towns instead of a contemporary “flat” map.
Yoshida's map of Gifu, via Spoon & Tamago

Yoshida’s map of Gifu, via Spoon & Tamago

Yoshida’s birthday was March 4, and there was a Google doodle on in his honor.

Check out more on Yoshida and his maps on Spoon & Tamago. Check out more of his work at the Maps Communications Museum‘s (地図の資料館) website (Japanese).

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The Market for Social Sciences and Humanities Publications


Continuing to think through the challenges facing scholarly publishing, some insights and a dose of healthy skepticism here regarding open access:

Originally posted on The Scholarly Kitchen:

Desiderius Erasmus (1466/69–1536) in a 1523 po...

Desiderius Erasmus (1466/69–1536) in a 1523 portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dan Strempel of Simba Information has kindly made available to me Simba’s recent report on the market for social sciences and humanities (SSH) publications, Global Social Science & Humanities Publishing 2013-2014. There are not many encouraging signs in this study for publishers, but it’s worthwhile to review the numbers and the structure of the market, some of which may be surprising to many readers.

Simba estimates the global market for SSH materials in all languages at $5.2 billion, a figure that is a fraction (perhaps one-quarter) of the STM market worldwide.  This is despite the fact that, right-wing politicians aside, almost everybody believes that everyone should have a grounding in the humanities (What is a democracy? What is the history of our nation?), but that education in the sciences beyond a certain level of literacy…

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