1. The urban governance of COVID-19 (I)

The urban governance of COVID-19 (I)

RT139 | WEDNESDAY 14 JULY, 18:15-19:45 CEST
RT140 | THURSDAY 15 JULY, 12:00-13:30 CEST
RT141 | THURSDAY 15 JULY, 14:00-15:30 CEST

Roger Keil - York University, Toronto

Governance has been a central concern in cities and regions during the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected and changed urban life around the globe. In these three sessions, we take stock of the broad range of experiences that shaped urban life since the beginning of 2020. We do so in the awareness of the fact that, while cities and infectious disease have had a joint history from the beginning of human settlement, this pandemic was the first such event on a majority urban planet. This makes an assessment of how we govern ourselves as urban citizens on this planet an urgent necessity. The sessions will roughly deal with three different – related and overlapping -- registers and scales of urban and regional pandemic governance. First, we examine the role that the governance of large, multi-jurisdictional, multi-municipality, and often hyperdiverse and socio-spatially fragmented metropolitan areas plays in the public health response to this and possibly future pandemics. Secondly, we look specifically at the social and spatial differentiations in urban life that have shaped these governance issues and processes during the pandemic. And, thirdly, we discuss how urban and regional governance itself has been reshaped as existing (and often failing) institutional competencies were challenged by rapidly shifting societal and political demands that expressed grievances as diverse as the crisis in long term care and retirement facilities and the growing awareness of racial injustice during the summer of 2020 and beyond.


Michele Acuto, University of Melbourne
S. Harris Ali, York University, Toronto
Ahmed Allahwala, University of Toronto
Shlomo Angel, New York University
Samantha Biglieri, Ryerson University, Toronto
Alex Blei, New York University
Creighton Connolly, Lincoln University
Renato Cymbalista, UNINOVE, Sao Paulo
Lorenzo De Vidovich, University of Triest
Philip Harrison, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Fedor Kudryavtsev, ArchNOVA Lab, Moscow
Kazuo Nakano, Universidade Federal de São Paulo
Xuefei Ren, Michigan State University
Margot Rubin, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Stefan Treffers, York University

2. The urban governance of COVID-19 (II)

The urban governance of COVID-19 (II)

RT143 |  WEDNESDAY 14 JULY, 20:00-21:30 CEST

Eduardo Marques - Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
María José Álvarez-Rivadulla - Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

This roundtable will show a broad panorama of the local and specific impacts of COVID 19, a global phenomenon, focusing on different aspects of urban and national governance. A group of academics whose work focuses on Latin America, will discuss different impacts of COVID 19, policy innovations, resilience, and methodological challenges. We will discuss civil society organizations responding to COVID-19’s impacts on informal settlements in the region, domestic workers and their labor and urban mobility challenges in Bogotá, public policies and socio-urban aspects in the disposition to isolation and distancing in Chile, how policies have varied in different countries and institutional settings, from Brazil to Costa Rica. We expect a rich exchange based on different empirical works and focused on commonalities and differences in the ways civil society, marginalized groups, and governments have experienced and reacted to the pandemic. Although the research focus of the roundtable is regional, the analysis, theories, results, and methodological challenges contribute to a better understanding of what has happened globally in the last two years around COVID and its social and political implications.


Lorena Barberia - DCP, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
María Celeste Ratto - CONICET - Universidad Nacional de Río Negro, Argentina
Catalina Ortiz - DPU UCL, UK
Friederike Fleischer - Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
María Luisa Méndez - Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

3. What Difference Does a Year Make: Indian Urban Worlds

What Difference Does a Year Make: Indian Urban Worlds

RT142 | FRIDAY 16 JULY, 14:00-15:30 CEST

Michele Lancione
AbdouMaliq Simone


Gautam Bhan - Indian Institute for Human Settlements
Rupali Gupte - School of Environment and Architecture
Ratoola Kundu - Tata Institute for Social Sciences
Anant Maringanti - Hyderabad Urban Lab
Prasad Shetty - School of Environment and Architecture

Since the RC 21 meetings in Delhi in 2019, urban worlds have experienced radically disjunctive conditions--ones that deepen existent disjunctures, as well as rearrange livelihood practices, social reproduction, tacit social compacts, and the compositions and operations of urban territories. The panel considers the sensibilities and experiences of re-arranging during the so-called Covid-19 period with a group of eminent Indian urbanists, whose work and thinking during the past year have made significant contributions to global knowledge about changing urban landscapes. The panel attempts to exemplify a process of collective thinking, deployed to consider the enduring and changing terrains of urban life in India. From the configuration of new provisioning systems, the extension of the home to encompass the street, the provisionality and circulation of migrant bodies, and the mobilization of improvised arrangements and infrastructures of care, this free-wheeling discussion will look closely at the intersections of registers, cities and ways of life.

4. Food, the Senses and the City

Food, the Senses and the City

RT136 | WEDNESDAY 14 JULY, 18:15-19:45 CEST

Ferne Edwards - NTNU, Norway

This roundtable takes as its starting point the idea that city dwellers sense and shape the city through alimentary and culinary practices. Food settles in contemporary cities in novel ways that include urban gardens, health food shops and freegan movements to street foods, food trucks and food deliveries. Local collective food practices, such as urban community gardens, food rescue, and soup kitchens can create greater social inclusion and cohesion. Yet practices of food production, preparation and commensality not only reflect but also engender social inequalities of access. Therefore, these practices do not only produce new social configurations and (in)equalities, they also affect sensorial experiences of food and urban space.

In this roundtable, we aim to discuss the relationship between changing urban food practices and the senses in the city. We ask how the city and food practices co-produce each other. How are social relations and distinctions reproduced and reshaped through diverse food production, distribution, and consumption practices? What role do the senses play in producing, preparing and consuming food as our cities evolve? How for example, and when, do particular foods evoke memories of home for new arrivals or provide a means of understanding 'the other' for people who stay put? How do sensorial aspects from community gardens, shared meals or ritual feasts foster new communities or create inequalities and distinction? How are cultural categories such as gender, ethnicity, or class reinforced, engendered or created through the senses? How do these distinctions play out in urban spaces? In times of change, what food practices stay, go, or return revised and how do people remember such alimentary and culinary practices? How do smells and tastes of food accompany life and urban transitions?

We contend that it is crucial to explore these questions, if we want to understand the ways in which inequalities and social configurations take shape in the city and how the senses play a fundamental role in such processes of inclusion and exclusion. The above questions serve to set the scene for an engaging discussion led by roundtable participants, who all deal with the connection of food, the senses, and the city in their own work. The participants work around topics of the uptake of lower-class food by upper-class city dwellers, the sensory engagements and disputes on a London market hall, the nostalgic sensory experiences around an Iraqi pickle, and the changing urban food fabric in Mexico. Recognising the great challenge in representing the food/senses/city nexus in academic literature, we will pay specific attention to sensory methodologies and alternative output formats that fruitfully compare and contrast urban experiences across the world.


Diti Bhattacharya - Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research
Melissa Biggs - Independent Researcher
Guillermo Gomez
Joel Hart - Oxford University
Aitzpea Leizaola - University of the Basque Country, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea
Daniel Monterescu - Central European University, Hungary
Premila van Ommen

5. How does context matter? Segregation Research Revisited

How does context matter? Segregation Research Revisited

RT135 | THURSDAY 15 JULY, 18:15-19:45 CEST

Matthias Bernt - Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Erkner
Anne Volkmann - Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Erkner
Agnieszka Ogrodowczik - University of Lódz

Throughout the subsequent 100 years, residential segregation has remained a key theme of urban studies. While traditional approaches (human ecology and behaviouralist studies) have focused one explaining residential segregation patterns as an outcome of aggregate individual preferences and actions, the last decades have seen a turn into the opposite direction. By now, while the importance of individual preferences and constraints is still acknowledged in principle, there seems to be a wide-reaching consensus that segregation needs to be explained in relation to broader systemic mechanisms. It is also more and more accepted that the “contexts” for segregation differs widely and that this gives rise to fundamentally different forms of ethnic and socioeconomic spatial differentiation (see Vaughan and Arbaci 2011; Maloutas and Fujita 2012; Musterd et al. 2016; Galster 2019; Arbaci 2019).  

This development, however, comes with a price. Two issues stand in the core: On the one hand, it is yet unclear how individual actions (which stood in the center of traditional approaches) can be meaningfully linked to the macro-explanations dominating current approaches. Put differently, the mechanisms by which residential (im)mobility decisions are shaped by constantly evolving institutional settings are yet to be explained. On the other, “context” is a very broad umbrella-term under which quite a variety of phenomena can be merged together. Without more systematization, it remains an open question how these findings from different context can at least be brought into conversation and how the new emphasis on contextual difference can foster conceptual innovations in a more general sense.   

With this session we wish to stimulate a dialogue around these two questions. Our aim is not so much to position micro-perspectives against macro-perspectives, or to set generalizing and approaches into contrast to particularistic explanations – but to find ways for bridging between the two. For this, we want to invite renowned scholars who have studied segregation from different perspectives and in different geographical backgrounds for a round table discussion. The discussion would be moderated by Matthias Bernt and the discussants would be asked to engage with the following questions: 

  • How can we discuss the link between housing institutions and individual housing choice? 
  • Is there a way to integrate variegated approaches in segregation research with both housing studies and housing mobility studies? 
  • What are the potentials and problems of such a perspective in different contexts? 
  • How can different contexts be meaningfully compared? How can an acknowledgement of diversity fruitfully be developed into a broader theorization of segregation?  


Sonia Arbaci - UCL
Szymon Marcinczak - University of Lódz
Javier Ruiz-Tagle - Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
Julie Ren - University of Zurich