Landscape, Buildings, Castle, Oslo

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The EURA conference

The EURA 2020 conference "Contradictions Shaping Urban Futures" is relaunched to an online event 6 – 7 May 2021.

Poster: European Urban REsearch Assosiation, An International Network of Urban ScolarsDue to the corona virus outbreak in March 2020 and the development of the pandemic, the EURA 2020 conference in Oslo was cancelled.  The conference received a lot of papers, especially within track 2: Sustainable vs unsustainable urban development and growth vs degrowth. This has inspired us to find an alternative way of arranging Track 2 of the conference to present and discuss the engaging papers that were proposed in 2020. We sincerely hope that you are still interested in participating. All track 2 participants will get a personal invitation for this online event.

The pandemic situation has in many ways become a new “normality”, and international scientific collaboration is developing in new ways online. We therefore are happy to welcome participants in track 2 to an alternative online arrangement under the same conference theme.

Track 2: Sustainable vs unsustainable urban development and growth vs degrowth is chosen for the online event because it received most papers, approximately 180. Another reason is that changing everyday- and working life to combat the pandemic have brought forward new social divides and has shown that we have been able to rethink how to organize, allocate resources and reshape urban societies to pave the way for sustainability.

Presentation of papers at the conference is open for all participants who were enrolled in track 2, as first or second option, and with accepted abstracts. Since some of the proposed papers might have been published already, you are welcome to present new papers about the same topic.

Participation in the conference is free of charge and open for a wide audience, who register beforehand. The conference will be organized as a Zoom webinar.


Photo: Susanne Søholt

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) cities take in coping with contemporary challenges and contradictions. The EURA conference takes as its inspiration Robert A. Beauregard’s book (2018) ‘Cities in the urban age’ as well as increasing polarizations and protests in cities, accelerated by the pandemic, where different groups take to the streets to make their voice heard. Both the book, the protests and the ongoing pandemic underline that urban policies and issues matter, have impact beyond the urban sphere and are worth fighting over. With this starting point, the EURA conference seeks to focus on contradictions that are generative for urban life, and thus contributes in shaping urban futures. Although cities are facing many of the same contradictions, they are recognized, problematized, politicized and handled in different ways, and consequently also exert differing influences on urban life. Rather than focusing on how visions about urban futures are driving our cities, the objective of EURA 2021 is to better understand underlying contradictions that affect how the urban visions are materialized. Depending on political visions for a sound city and the power balance between urban actors, contradictions nurture urban development in different ways, benefiting some interests and groups, while possibly excluding and worsening the situation for others.

In this online event, on May 6 – 7, we will explore how contradictions related to sustainable vs. unsustainable urban development and growth vs degrowth, are shaping our cities. The contradictions are not fixed, but intersect and are contested among actors who seek, in their own ways, to shape their city.

Keynote speakers

Robert Beauregard is Professor Emeritus at Columbia University 

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Ayona Datta is Professor in Urban Geography at University College London

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Track 2. Sustainable vs unsustainable urban development and growth vs degrowth

Track chairs

Gro Sandkjær Hanssen, Research Professor NIBR, OsloMet

Per Gunnar Røe, Professor, Dep. of Sociology and Human Geography, Univ. of Oslo

Marta Lackowska, University of Warsaw, Poland

Sustainable urban development models, strategies, policies and tools are operating in nearly every geographical and political context around the world. Urban spatial development and growth measures of cities are essential as they influence economic performance, public health conditions, and determine social cohesion and segregation. These measures vary widely in different geographical contexts as regards available approaches, policy instruments and forms of implementation. Compact city policies, for instance, focus on reducing the negative impacts of urban development on the surrounding environment, while green cities place emphasis on green infrastructure and local self-supply within cities themselves. Differences in policy interventions and planning practices are largely due to the miscellaneous drivers that urban regions experience today: multi-locality of live-work arrangements, migration, economic pressures, concentrated growth and transport challenges.

EURA Conversations: The generative potential of urban contradictions – growth vs. degrowth

 In this conference we have explored the role of contradictions in shaping urban futures, with specific focus on contradictions between sustainable and unsustainable development, and growth vs. degrowth. In this final panel discussion, summing up the conference as a whole, we will start by zooming in on some of the contradictions in the growth vs degrowth debate. This will be the starting point for discussing more broadly how (and if) contradiction may provide a generative potential that enables us to develop alternatives to the status quo in the search for more social and ecologically just urban futures.


  • Ayona Datta, University College of London
  • Karen O’Brian, University of Oslo
  • Hugh March Corbella, Universitat OBerta de Catalunya
  • Moderator: Cecilie Sachs Olsen, NIBR


Published Jan. 28, 2021 3:14 PM - Last modified Aug. 15, 2022 2:15 PM