Within the Limits of Scarcity: Rethinking Space, City and Practices

PhD Conference, 27th February – 1st March 2013, University of Westminster, London
Call for Papers
Scarcity is often considered as a fundamental condition of human societies. On the one hand, the state of not having enough has been at the bottom of a variety of strategies and techniques to overcome it; on the other, it has served as an explanatory argument for social order, for distribution or for conflict.
Scarcity has accompanied the becoming of the urban condition. Repeatedly, (im-)material shortage has been at the core of the city’s struggles. More recently, global economic uncertainty, widespread urban inequality and pressing environmental questions in both North and South, are posing acute challenges to all involved in producing the built environment. Within this scenario, different actors, from architects and other built environment professionals to local authorities and community based organisations, will be increasingly pressured to deploy strategies to work within or against the limits of scarcity.
This conference seeks to investigate the processes through which scarcity is constructed in specific urban settings, shedding light on its setting, emergence and production in the built environment. Moreover, it seeks to understand how the challenges posed by this condition can shape alternative ways of investigating, conceptualising and theorizing city and space so as to inform innovative strategies and challenge the existing normative practices.
Papers could aim to answer one or more of the following questions:
– What innovative ways of investigating and explaining the city can arise from looking through the lens of scarcity?
– How can the examination of issues of scarcity in the built environment and the strategies emerging within its limits, can inform new ways of thinking and acting around cities and space?
– What are the historic and current strategies deployed by the different actors involved in producing the built environment within the limits of scarcity? What lessons can be drawn from them?
– What is the role built environment professions in responding to the challenges posed by current conditions of scarcity?
The conference aims to engage a selected group of PhD students in presentations and discussions as a peer-to-peer response, supplemented by keynote speakers and networking sessions. Submissions are encouraged from disciplines dealing with the built environment (such as Architecture, Planning, Geography, Development Studies and related disciplines) in various contexts and from different perspectives. It welcomes papers
theorizing or framing the issue of scarcity as well as papers based on case-studies or research by art or design.
Selected papers will be published in the journal Places subject to peer review and editorial evaluation.
Abstracts: 500 words
Full paper: 5000 words
Please send your abstracts of a maximum of 500 words by 1st November 2012
to: scibephdconference@gmail.com
Notification of acceptance:
21st of November 2012
Paper submission:
15th January 2013
Keynote Speakers:
Pier Vittorio Aureli | Architectural Association | Berlage Institute
Camillo Boano | The Bartlett – DPU UCL
Ole Bouman | Nederlands Architectuurinstituut
Erik Swyngedouw | University of Manchester

Organizing Team:

Barbara Elisabeth Ascher

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