Planetary Urbanisation: Decentering Perspectives on the Urban
Welcome to the next seminar in the series Cities & Society. Christian Schmid from ETH Zürich / Future Cities Laboratory Singapore will present first results of the research project “Territories of Extended Urbanization” that explores and analyses a range of very different case studies across the globe.
The concept of planetary urbanisation has recently become a widely debated topic. It starts from the observation that urbanisation has got a planetary reach in the last decades. The boundaries of the urban have been exploded to encompass vast territories far beyond the limits of even the largest mega-city regions. Novel, extended patterns of urbanisation are crystallising in various environments, in agricultural areas, in the space of seeming wilderness and in the oceans, challenging inherited conceptions of the urban as a bounded zone and a dense settlement type. New concepts and terms are urgently required that would help us, both analytically and cartographically, to decipher the differentiated and rapidly mutating landscapes of urbanisation that are today being produced across the planet. This means first of all decentering the focus of analysis and adopting an ex-centric position, one that looks from the periphery and asks where to find “the urban.” This contribution presents first results of the research project “Territories of Extended Urbanization” (ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore) that explores and analyses a range of very different case studies across the globe.
Christian Schmid is Professor of Sociology at the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich. He has authored, co-authored, and co-edited numerous publications on theories of the urban and of space, on Henri Lefebvre, on territorial urban development, and on the comparative analysis of urbanisation. Together with architects Roger Diener, Jacques Herzog, Marcel Meili and Pierre de Meuron he co-authored the book “Switzerland: an urban portrait”, a pioneering analysis of extended urbanisation. He currently works together with Neil Brenner (Harward GSD) on the theorisation and investigation of emergent formations of planetary urbanisation, and he leads together with Milica Topalovic (ETH Zürich) a project on the comparison of territories of extended urbanization.