Robert Beauregard is Professor Emeritus at Columbia University where he taught urban planning in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Over his career, he has written mainly on urban development (with a focus on postwar U.S. cities) and planning theory. His most recent books are Cities in the Urban Age; A Dissent (2018) and Planning Matter: Acting with Things (2015), the latter a socio-material perspective on planning theory. He is currently writing a book on planning theory for a series titled Advanced Introductions to be published by Edward Elgar and a cross-national, historical study of the spatial dimensions of nationalism and nation-building tentatively titled Cities and the Moral Geography of Nations. Professor Beauregard also taught at New School University (NYC), the University of Pittsburgh, and Rutgers University and has been a visiting professor at the University of Tampere, Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University), and UCLA.
In his key-note speech, Beauregard will elaborate on the importance for understanding the dynamics of underlying urban contradictions when trying to make sustainable urban policy. For Beauregard, the city is a cauldron of haunting contradictions. He argues that only by recognizing the urban ambiguities and contradictions, can we begin to understand our moral obligations as well as possible paths towards equality, justice and peace in urban settings.
Ayona Datta is Professor in Human Geography at University College London, UK. She works on the intersections of postcolonial futures, gender citizenship and the politics of urbanisation, focusing on new configurations of gender-power relations in the digital-territorial margins. Her research is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant, Swiss National Science Foundation, ESRC, AHRC and British Academy.
Datta is the author of ‘The Illegal City: Space, law and gender in a Delhi squatter settlement’ (2012), and co-editor of ‘Mega-urbanization in the global South: Fast cities and new urban utopias of the postcolonial state’ (2017) and ‘Translocal Geographies: Spaces, places, connections’ (2011). Her work has had high translatability into policy and public knowledge and has gained international recognition through invited presentations in UNCTAD, UN ECOSOC and UN-Habitat. She is known for her participatory research and arts-based co-production of songs and films with marginalised communities as well as numerous contributions for ConversationUK, The Guardian and openDemocracy. In 2019, Datta was awarded the Busk Medal from Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) for her work on smart cities in the global south. She is currently a member of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 Geography subpanel in the UK.
Ayona’s keynote is titled ‘The distant-time of the future city’.