Symposium: Encounters in realms of urban change. Grounded views, Global perspectives

Van tot

Dr. Romain Dittgen and dr. Dora Martins Sampaio, members of the IOS Platform for Open Cities, are hosting an international symposium on 'living together' in changing urban environments. 

Urban diversity is frequently celebrated as one of the gateways towards a more inclusive and integrated urbanity. In practice, though, ‘living with difference’ is often complex and messy, unearthing a range of tension points and anxieties. With numerous cities across the world becoming more densely populated and increasingly diverse, this phenomenon has regularly been coupled with concurrent shifts in the built environment and ways of living together. Rapidly changing urban areas and rising social inequalities in the city raise questions about how the interface between material shifts in the urban fabric (the ‘built’), altered interpersonal relationships (the ‘social’), and psychological experiences (the ‘cognitive’) manifests socially and spatially. The multiple temporalities and entangled life courses of urban spaces and the people who inhabit them produce varying social dislocations, conflicting emotions, and (un)expected solidarities.

Taking the reciprocal interplay between senses, emotions and place as the broader analytical framing, this symposium examines the embodied and emplaced experience of urban life in times of change. While oscillating between the everyday and long-term projections, the real and the imaginary, the contemporary and the historical, it is essential to unpack how space and urban life are produced, shaped, imagined and contested. Our engagements with shifting urban encounters build on visual and sensory methodologies and focus on lived experiences across social environments and geographies.


Day 1 - International symposium (5 June)

Location: Janskerkhof 2-3 0.19

  • 09.30 | Arrival & Coffee
  • 10.00 – 10.05 | Welcome – Ajay Bailey [Utrecht University, Utrecht]
  • 10.05 – 10.15 | Introduction – Dora Sampaio & Romain Dittgen [Utrecht University, Utrecht]
  • [Session 1 – ‘Urban rhythms and temporalities’]
  • 10.15 – 10.40 | “Presence - economies of endurance in Johannesburg" Alex Wafer [University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg]
  • 10.40 –11.05 | “The touristification of Lisbon and the right to atmosphere Daniel Paiva [University of Lisbon, Lisbon]
  • 11.05 – 11.30 | “Rotterdam DNA, Islamic inspiration: Religious voices in the city’s political bodies” Markha Valenta [University College Utrecht, Utrecht]
  • 11.30 – 11.55 | “Constructing and contesting urban mobility imaginaries: Dhaka MRT Case study” Seama Mowri [Utrecht University, Utrecht]
  • 11.55 – 12.25 | Q&A
  • 12.25 – 13.25 | Lunch
  • [Session 2 – Politics of cohabitation and the right to place]
  • 13.25 – 13.50 | “Learning to live with the homeless in the neighbourhood ? Anchoring a municipal bath house in Marseille” Claire Bénit-Gbaffou [Aix-Marseille University, Marseille]
  • 13.50 – 14.15 | “Exploring the Role of Social Fabric in later-age Mobilities and Access to the City(Bengaluru, India) Prajwal Nagesh [Utrecht University, Utrecht]
  • 14.15 – 14.40 | “Indigenous people in the city of São Paulo: Socio-spatial Exclusion” Leonardo Caetano Jesus [Pontifical Catholic University, São Paulo]
  • 14.40 – 15.05 | “Taming and claiming the disorderly city: Luxembourg Gare (un)scripted Alix Achen & Romain Dittgen [Utrecht University, Utrecht]
  • 15.05 – 15.35 | Q&A  
  • 15.35 – 15.45 | Wrap up

Day 2 – Roundtable and book discussion (6 June)

Location: Bolognalaan 1.204

  • 09.30 | Arrival & Coffee
  • 10.00-10.10 | Intro – Romain Dittgen & Dora Sampaio [Utrecht University, Utrecht]
  • 10.10 – 10.55  | Engaged research in times of social polarisation (work in groups) In two break-aways sessions we will discuss relevant sub-themes, ranging from positionality & methods, approaches to ‘engaged’ research to working with different partners in the ‘field’. Each session will be animated by expert scholars drawing on their own first-hand experience and different contextual realities.
  • 10.55 – 11.30 | Plenary discussion / roundtable
  • 11.30 – 11.50 | Coffee break
  • 11.50 – 12.20 | Book talk By Claire Bénit-Gbaffou [Aix-Marseille University]
  • Local officials and the struggle to transform cities. A view from post-apartheid South Africa” (UCL Press, 2024)  Open Access Link
  • 12.20 – 13.00 | Q&A
  • 13.00 – 14.00 | Lunch
Begindatum en -tijd
Einddatum en -tijd
June 5th: Janskerkhof 2-3 0.19, June 6th: Bolognalaan 1.204

Click here to sign up for the Encounters in Realms of Urban Change symposium.