South Asian Suburbanisms

The South Asian Suburbanisms cluster co-organized an international workshop titled, "Tracking Transformations in Agrarian-Urban Hinterlands of South Asia.” The workshop was held from February 23 to 25, 2017 at the Convention Center in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. It was collaboratively organized by the Center for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Jindal School of Governance, Sonepat.

On the first day of the workshop, a day-long tour of Delhi’s suburb, Gurgaon was organized. On the second and third day, sixteen papers were presented. The papers focused on the new and changing forms of peripheral urbanization in the agrarian-urban hinterlands of eight cities in South Asia, including Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Dhaka, Hyderabad, Karachi, Kathmandu, Kolkata, and Mumbai. In keeping with the mandate of the MCRI, seven different panels interrogated the reach and valence of categories like rural, urban, and suburban in the South Asian context and examined how the transformations in the agro-pastoral hinterlands offer a critical vantage point for understanding sub-urbanization in South Asia. Some of the key themes and questions that emerged during the conference were: the new regimes of land and property, changing nature of work and livelihood, the shifts in sense of place and subjectivity, the practices and politics of exclusion and belonging that are taking shape in this political, spatial, and economic conjuncture.

The workshop was very well attended and attracted local students, faculty members, and researchers and urban policy makers. At the round-table session at the end of the workshop, it was decided that proceedings will be submitted for publication in a South Asian journal.


The full conference program can be downloaded here.


Retrofitting Suburbia with Ellen Dunham-Jones

Please join us for our second Towards Suburbia seminar with sub/urban design scholar, Ellen Dunham-Jones, Wednesday April 12, 12:30pm- 2:00pm, Atkinson Room 109 (Harry Crowe Room)

Retrofitting Suburbia for 21st Century Challenges

Co-author of the award-winning book, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs, (Wiley, 2009, 2011) Ellen Dunham-Jones will share new case studies and research on how retrofits of prototypical suburban property types throughout North America are helping suburbs address 21st century challenges they were never designed for. She will draw on her database of over 1400 examples of dead malls, big box stores, office parks, garden apartments, etc., that have been, or are being, retrofitted into more sustainable, more equitable, and more resilient places.

Ellen Dunham-Jones is a professor of architecture at Georgia Tech and director of the MS in Urban Design degree. Her teaching and 60+ published articles address the intersection of contemporary theory and real estate practice. A leading authority on suburban redevelopment, she lectures widely and conducts workshops with municipalities. She and co-author June Williamson wrote Retrofitting Suburbia; Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs (Wiley, 2009, 2011, mandarin edition 2013). The award-winning book’s documentation of successful retrofits of dead big box stores, malls, office parks, and other suburban property types into more sustainable places has received significant media attention in The New York Times, PBS, NPR, Harvard Business Review, Urban Land, TED and other venues. The Retrofitting Suburbia Case Studies: Designs for 21st Century Challenges is forthcoming.

This seminar series is presented by the Major Collaborative Research Initiative Global Suburbanisms as a lead up to the project's final conference, "After Suburbia: Extended Urbanization and Life on the Planet's Periphery."

Launching Towards Suburbia Seminar Series with Paul Maginn

Join us for our first installment in the Towards Suburbia seminar series with Australian planning scholar Paul Maginn, Monday April 3, at 2:30 pm in 280 N York Lanes.

Rockin’ the Suburbs: From Spaces of Domesticity to Spaces of Perver(c)ity?

The suburbs have long been portrayed as a space of conformity, domesticity, safety and security for women and children; it’s separation from the city, home ownership and the white picket fence were emblematic of a deep sense of territoriality and protection from the ills and vices of the city. Conversely, the city was framed as a space of economic activity, informality, and risk; combined with its phallic architecture the city was thus perceived as a masculine and sexualized space. This seminar reflects on the geography and regulation of the (sub)urban sexscape and the nature and degree of cosmo‐sexuality at and within the national, state, city and suburb level in Australia (and internationally) by examining the presence and consumption of commercialized forms of sex such as adult stores/sex shops, sex work and pornography.

Paul J. Maginn is an Associate Professor and Programme Co-ordinator for the Masters in Urban and Regional Planning programme at the University of Western Australia where he has been based since 2007. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he has degrees from the University of Ulster (Coleraine) and Queen’s University of Belfast. Paul completed his PhD on urban regeneration at London South Bank University. He is the co-editor/author of several edited books, including (Sub)Urban Sexscape: Geographies and Regulation of the Sex Industry which won the Planning Institute of Australia’s 2016 National Award for Excellence in Cutting Edge Research and Teaching. Paul is completing another edited book, Suburbia in the 21st Century: From Dreamscapes to Nightmares, with Katrin Anacker; and, he is about to commence work on another edited book, Navigating Contemporary Sex Work: Gender, Justice and Regulation (Palgrave Macmillan).

This seminar series is presented by the Major Collaborative Research Initiative Global Suburbanisms as a lead up to the project's final conference, "After Suburbia: Extended Urbanization and Life on the Planet's Periphery."

New book edited by Roger Keil, Pierre Hamel, Julie-Anne Boudreau  & Stefan Kipfer

Governing Cities through Regions 9781771122771_cover_rb_modalcover
Canadian and European Perspectives
edited by Roger Keil, Pierre Hamel, Julie-Anne Boudreau  & Stefan Kipfer

'Governing Cities Through Regions broadens and deepens our understanding of metropolitan governance through an innovative comparative project that engages with Anglo-American, French, and German literatures on the subject of regional governance. It expands the comparative angle from issues of economic competitiveness and social cohesion to topical and relevant fields such as housing and transportation, and it expands comparative work on municipal governance to the regional scale.

With contributions from established and emerging international scholars of urban and regional governance, the volume covers conceptual topics and case studies
that contrast the experience of a range of Canadian metropolitan regions with a
strong selection of European regions. It starts from assumptions of limited
conversion among regions across the Atlantic but is keenly aware of the
remarkable differences in urban regions’ path dependencies in which the larger
processes of globalization and neo-liberalization are situated and

Africa's New Suburbanisms


As part of the MCRI Global Suburbanisms, the regional research group on Africa organized a workshop on Africa’s New Suburbanisms in Johannesburg, South Africa, October 17-19, 2016. Organized by the local hosts at the Wits City Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg under the leadership of Robin Bloch and Alan Mabin, the workshop was held at the Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Study, at the University of Johannesburg in Melville. ICF International and the City Institute at York University co-sponsored the event.

The workshop began with a guided tour of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. It continued with two full days of panels and paper presentations by researchers from across Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Cameroun, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania) and members of the MCRI from abroad including members of the initiative’s Advisory Board, Teresa Caldeira (Berkeley) and Abidin Kusno (York University). A broad range of papers covered case studies and theoretical analysis from Cairo to Cape Town and from Accra to Dar-es-Salaam. The papers will be the basis of an edited book in preparation for the Global Suburbanisms book series with University of Toronto Press.

A copy of the workshop program can be downloaded here.

Alongside the scholarly conference, the visitors had many opportunities to meet local and img_0874
regional colleagues, activists and decision makers. In connection with the workshop, Professor Ute Lehrer from York University brought 11 graduate students from the Faculty of Environmental Studies planning program to Johannesburg for a planning studio dealing with regional housing issues in the Johannesburg region.



 Blue-Green Boundaries in a Suburbanizing World Workshop


A three-day workshop Blue-Green Boundaries in a Suburbanizing World took place at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte from February 28 to March 1, 2016. This event was co-sponsored by the Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) on Global Suburbanisms housed at The City Institute at York University and the Center for Regional Development and Planning (CEDEPLAR) at UFMG. CEDEPLAR’s generous hospitality made this workshop an unforgettable experience for participants from near and far.

The event grew out of previous conversations between members of Boundaries theme area of the MCRI on Global Suburbanisms and CEDEPLAR researchers who are involved in work on “blue green wefts” (original concept in French: la trame verte et bleue). The workshop brought together researchers from both networks to talk about the relationships of suburbanization, regional planning and conservation.

The purpose of the event was fourfold: 1) To connect the work that is done in Belo Horizonte on blue-green landscapes with the work done on the topic by members of the Global Suburbanisms project housed at York University in Toronto; 2) For the visitors from abroad (coming from Africa, Asia, Europe and Canada) to learn about the Belo Horizonte urban region; 3) to explore the possibility of publishing the work presented at the conference in a joint publications in English and Portuguese; and 4) to explore the possibilities of further collaboration through research and teaching.

The conference began with an extensive tour of the southern suburbs of Belo Horizonte, among them the community of Nova Lima and the Parque Estadual Serra do Rola Moca. It gave participants an excellent overview of the layered landscape of a traditional mining region that is now being transformed through rapid developments at its periphery.

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The opening tour was followed by two days of intense presentations and debate. A program of the event can be found here. Papers on regional planning, greenbelts and conservation areas that intersect with global suburbanization in places as diverse as Belo Horizonte, Frankfurt, Gurgaon, Johannesburg, the Ruhr, Seoul and Ontario were presented. The workshop ended with a productive discussion on a forthcoming book publication and an intended joint research program.

A copy of the workshop program can be downloaded here.

Spotlight on Istanbul: Building and Rebuilding the Periphery

group pictureThe Major Collaborative Research Initiative on Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century  is holding an international workshop on Building and Re-Building the Urban Periphery in Istanbul, Turkey, December 10-12, 2015.

The event is co-organized by Roger Keil and Murat Üçoğlu at York University with Kazim Murat Guney at Columbia University, Sylvia Tiryaki and Mensur Akgün at the Istanbul Kültür University, and Julia Strutz and Erbatur C̨avuşoğlu at Mimar Sinan University as well as Jean-François Pérouse (IFEA).

The workshop specifically is designed to address the political economies of large scale housing projects in the peripheries of the world’s cities. The event/project is about the various ways in which peripheral urban housing projects are being built and re-vitalized.

The location of Istanbul where the workshop will take place was deliberately chosen. The significance of the city’s development from providing housing through gecekondu-style squatting and regularization to massive state-led building of mostly peri-urban housing estates (through organizations such as TOKI) is widely recog
nized as exemplary and subject to much inter-referencing in global debates on housing in post-suburbia.

Istanbul is also a geographical bridge between West Asia, North Africa and Europe, both historically and currently. We therefore would consider Istanbul to be at several intersections of theory, history and geography.

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The workshop will bring together leading Turkish and global researchers and activists on peripheral housing and settlement as well as social activism around housing, displacement and re-settlement with members of the MCRI research team to discuss how inter-referenced forms of urbanism are used to a) build peripheral large scale housing estates and b) manage those estates over time, in times of re-vitalization, shrinkage, population change, environmental challenges and economic crisis.

The event opens with a tour of Istanbul’s periphery and a keynote by Mustafa Dikeç (Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris) on The Political Challenge of the Urban Periphery. This will be followed by two days of presentations by international and local experts. The program for the workshop can be downloaded here.

The event has been supported financially by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) through the MCRI Global Suburbanisms, by the York Research Chair in Global Suburban Studies and by local host institutions Istanbul Kültür University and Mimar Sinan University.

Click here for a PDF copy of the workshop program. 



Retrofitting Suburbia with Ellen Dunham-Jones a success!

On Wednesday, April 12, 2017 we hosted our second Towards Suburbia seminar with sub/urban design scholar, Ellen Dunham-Jones with great success. Ellen Dunham-Jones shared new case studies and research on how retrofits of prototypical suburban property types throughout North America are helping suburbs address 21st century challenges they were never designed for. She drew on her database of over 1400 examples […]

"Why suburban tensions and inequality will drive infrastructure innovation" new article by Pierre Filion and Roger Keil

On April 10, 2017 independent news and research website The Conversation  published a new article by Pierre Filion and Roger Keil entitled "Why suburban tensions and inequality will drive infrastructure innovation". Read the full article here.

Student Graduate Workshop with Ellen Dunham-Jones

Retrofitting Suburbia for 21st Century Challenges The “Retrofitting Suburbia Workshop” will be a deep dive into one of the more ambitious suburban retrofits, the White Flint/Pike District in North Bethesda, Maryland. After a presentation of the project, Professor Dunham-Jones will lead participants in a discussion of the diverse impacts of the redevelopment and a comparison […]

CFP: Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century; Graduate Student Pre-Conference

Call for Papers: Graduate Student Pre-Conference York University, Toronto, October 19-21, 2017 Graduate students are invited to submit papers for a graduate student pre-conference, which will take place during the afternoon of Thursday, October 19, 2017 as part of the final conference of the MCRI Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century […]

March 2017 edition of Habitat International features MCRI supported research

The March 2017 edition of Habitat International features MCRi supported research on water supply in suburban Hanoi. "Fragmented landscapes of water supply in suburban Hanoi" authored by Lucía Wright-Contreras, Hug March, and Sophie Schramm "addresses the relationship between the urban development of Hanoi, Vietnam, and water supply including users’ perception of water accessibility and satisfaction of […]

This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through funding from the Major Collaborative Research Initiative “Global suburbansims: governance, land, and infrastructure in the 21st century (2010-2017).