In Search of Lost Cities: Imagined Geographies and the Allure of the Fake (2015)

Lion and the Hunter- Siobhan Lyons

‘Fake Paris’ in Tianducheng, China

The Diffractions Graduate Journal for the Study of Culture, run by the Lisbon Consortium, has published my article in their 5th issue: ‘Urban Imaginaries’ (Fall, 2015). Employing  Edward Said’s notion of ‘imagined geographies’  and Robert Alter’s notion of ‘phantasmagoria’, my new article ‘In Search of Lost Cities: Imagined Geographies and the Allure of the Fake’, looks at the portrayal of famous cities in popular culture and media, and discusses the touristic disillusionment with the ‘real’ city. Here is the abstract:

Despite audiences being aware of the way in which popular culture frames and invents history, places and people, these representations inevitably impinge on a viewer’s initial conception of various global landscapes and features, particularly the nature of an urban environment so often depicted through the lens of popular culture. It has been well established that the disparity between one’s expectations and the reality of a city’s layout…

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Antipode Intervention on Lefebvre – “Towards a Metaphilosophy of the Urban” by Andy Merrifield

Progressive Geographies

9781784782740_Metaphilosophy-max_221-d9511d939432421f42a472a0879ac7a2Antipode Intervention – “Towards a Metaphilosophy of the Urban” by Andy Merrifield. This piece discusses Lefebvre’s Metaphilosophy, forthcoming in English translation with Verso.

I suspect I’m not the only one thrilled by the prospect of seeing Henri Lefebvre’s great philosophical tract, Métaphilosophie, from half-a-century ago, finally make it into English. Thanks to the dedicated steady work of Stuart Elden, rapidly becoming Lefebvre’s Anglophone ambassador (I’m tempted to say an English Rémi Hess, but that wouldn’t be kind), and David Fernbach’s considerable translation skills, Metaphilosophy is due out next spring with Verso. This might well be the philosophical event of 2016. The translation has a wonderful postface essay by Marxist scholar Georges Labica, a former philo prof at Nanterre.[1] Labica says Métaphilosophie is a very important book, as important for us today as it was important for Lefebvre himself back then. Indeed, it’s perhaps Lefebvre’s mostimportant…

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The Urban Lens: Documenting Gentrification’s Toll on the Mom-and-Pops of Greenwich Village | 6sqft

new Journal of Urban Cultural Studies volume 2 issue 3 published

Volume 2 Issue 3

Cover Date: September 2015

Alternative geohistories of global cities in Salman Rushdie’s novels
Authors:  Madhumita Roy And  Anjali Gera Roy

Page Start: 221
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Imagine(d) space: Experiencing the urban phenomena of the gallery

Page Start: 237
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Polyrhythmia, heterogeneity and urban identity: Intersections between ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ narratives in the socio-spatial practices of Australia’s Gold Coast
Authors:  Zelmarie Cantillon

Page Start: 253
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Grotland explored: The fleeting urban imaginaries of post-war inner West London
Authors:  Jason Finch

Page Start: 275
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The twentieth-century city: Socialist, capitalist, modern

Page Start: 297
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Online story-telling and the non-fiction city: An interview with Cassim Shepard, Founding Editor of Urban Omnibus
Authors:  Sarah Barns And  Donald McNeill

Page Start: 307
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Touring ethnicity, race and multiculturalism in urban contexts
Authors:  Adam Kaul

Page Start: 317
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Homeless Projection: Place des Arts: An Interview with Krzysztof Wodiczko
Authors:  Marc James Léger

Page Start: 325
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‘Montreal might eat its young, but Montreal won’t break us down’: The co-production of place, space and independent music in Mile End, 1995–2015
Authors:  William Bedford

Page Start: 335
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To dock in on the future: Dystopic science fiction scenarios and urban sustainable visions

Page Start: 347
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Contested Cities conference in Madrid 4-7 July 2016

reposted from Georgia Alexandri via URB-GEOG-FORUM:
Please see below the links for the International Contested_Cities Conference to be held in Madrid, 4th-7th July 2016 (both in English and in Spanish).

The CONTESTED_CITIES conference will be a forum of radical academics, practitioners and activists from different theoretical, disciplinary and geographical backgrounds coming together to probe the multiple forms of urban injustice that shape cities across the world. Cities have always been contested spaces in which struggles over different political visions of urban development, planning and life take place; yet urban contestation is increasing. In recent years this has been manifested through austerity urban-ism, crisis politics and processes of financialisation. Millions of urban citizens are experiencing dispossession, displacement and expulsion on a daily basis; their ‘right to the city’ has been denied by diverse forms of neoliberal and authoritarian urban governance. At the same time there is growing global resistance and counter-strategies to these injustices, varying in form, scale and approach. The conference will develop counter-dialogues and perspectives, fighting against these injustices, in an attempt to go beyond neoliberalism.

CONTESTED_CITIES is a network of researchers from Europe and Latin America that researches and analyses the processes of neoliberalisation of space, gentrification and social contestation. Our research has involved methodological innovation in particular through audio-visual methodologies. At this conference we will present our findings and open up a dialogue with colleagues, practitioners and activists from across all continents. The conference will be structured around the following five streams:


For more info:

RC21 Conference: “The transgressive city”, Mexico City, 21-23 July 2016

[re-posted from URB-GEOG-FORUM]
Please find below a CFP for the forthcoming RC21 Conference: “The transgressive city”, Mexico City, 21-23 July 2016 (
You are warmly invited to submit an abstract for consideration, of no more than 400 words, to both Alicia Yon ( and Rosalina Babourkova ( by 31 January 2016. For more information on submissions, please go to

Stream title: Spaces of transgressive maternal practices in the city

Stream organizers: Rosalina Babourkova, Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL and Alicia Yon, University of Melbourne

Despite certain advances in gender equality and new formulations and performances of femininities and masculinities, the experience of urban motherhood remains a highly gendered and spatialised position. In most of the urban world, women are mothering under conditions of great material deprivation and political uncertainty. And, space is found to articulate the interplay between motherhood as a social and cultural construct and motherhood as a lived experience (Hardy and Wiemer, 2005). Notwithstanding considerable changes to norms and practices of urban motherhood over the past century and the complex set of relations between the city, space and motherhood, the socio-spatial dimensions of motherhood – as one of the most challenging and perplexing of all social institutions, have not received sufficient attention in the study of the reproduction of the global city.

Despite profound transformations in household and family structures driven by the forces of urbanisation, the spectre of the nuclear, two-parent family remains one of the hegemonic (but neglected in urban research) non-state forms of authority in the city, determining public norms and social values. Certain urban processes, such as suburbanisation and the privatisation of residential areas, have even been found to reinforce a return to a discursive patriarchalism that favours a nuclear family norm (Aitken, 2000). Additionally, the practice of mothering is bound up in powerful moral geographies that construct the meaning of what it means to be a good mother. Analyses of the intersections of race, class, marital status, immigrant status and sexuality illuminate women’s experiences and practices of motherhood through the continuation of patriarchy (Fenster, 2005). These experiences challenge the notion of the right to the city (Lefebvre, 1991). Also, gendered transgressive acts, such as open defecation in public spaces, baring oneself in public – for example scandalous breastfeeding (Young, 1990), and self-harm, are intricately tied to the intimate and the legal geographies of the city (Gandolfo, 2009; Datta, 2012). From the point of view of urban governance, such acts are transgressive as they challenge traditional conceptions about housing, welfare and childcare needs in the city and hence may shape the ‘ungovernability’ of the emerging global city.

This panel attempts to understand the depth and range of the lived experiences of urban motherhood in the emerging global city. The main aim is to examine the ways in which urban spatial inequalities, produced by variegated forms of capitalism and cultural ideologies, reverberate in women’s maternal life practices, forcing women to engage in transgressive maternities in order to sustain themselves and their families. The panel invites contributions analysing the various socio-spatially transgressive manifestations of contemporary urban motherhood and its psychological, material, infrastructural, legal, racialised and other discriminatory dimensions. Contributions are invited to capture the urban-political as well as intimate-emotional dimensions of urban maternities, and in particular those that intersect to look at the relationships between different dimensions of transgressive urban motherhood and their cumulative effects, by addressing these questions:

What kind of urban transgressions does the specific social position of motherhood produce? In what ways do issues of abuse, disability and other discriminatory factors within the family produce transgressive urban spatial practices of mothering? What are the socio-spatial implications of existing state support to materially deprived mothers across different urban contexts? How do right to the city violations socio-spatially affect maternal safety and safe mothering? How do deprived and marginalised mothers subvert technologies of government in order to sustain themselves? How can urban maternal struggles become a space for protest and enfranchisement? How are mothering practices affected by distinctly urban processes, such as renewal, gentrification or its antithesis, informalisation, illegalisation, marginalisation, or migration? What spaces of the city present particularly contested spaces of motherhood? What constitutes the 21st-century politics of motherhood (and fatherhood) in the emerging global city? How and to what extent are transgressive urban practices of motherhood oriented towards forms of ‘informal justice’?