Territories of Extended Urbanization: Notes on a research project

Authors: Christian Schmid*, ETH Zurich
Topics: Urban Geography, Social Theory
Keywords: planetary urbanization, extended urbanization, comparative urbanism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Hampton Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The concept of planetary urbanization has recently become a widely debated topic. It starts from the observation that urbanization has got a planetary reach in the last decades. The boundaries of the urban have been exploded to encompass vast territories far beyond the limits of even the largest mega-city regions. Adopting a planetary orientation means first of all decentering the focus of analysis, looking from an ex-centric position, one that looks from the periphery and asks where to find “the urban.” Such an orientation enables a researcher to detect a wide variety of expressions of the urban that have traditionally been excluded from analytical consideration because they are located outside large agglomerations and metropolitan regions and their immediate hinterlands. However, in evaluating existing instruments for the analysis of urbanisation, we are confronted with many difficulties and shortcomings. New concepts and terms are urgently required that would help us, both analytically and cartographically, to decipher the differentiated and rapidly mutating landscapes of urbanisation that are today being produced across the planet. This contribution presents first results of the research project “Territories of Extended Urbanization” (ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore) that explores and analyses a range of very different case studies across the globe. The core of the project is the development and application of an integrated theoretical and methodological framework that allows for the analysis of extended urbanization, and for the generation of new concepts and urban design proposals.

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