Register for the Inspiration Day


10.00 | Welcome by USI co-directors Greet De Block & Thomas Vanoutrive

10.10 a.m. | keynote lecture on “Urbanisation without development?” by George Mavrotas (IOB)

10.35 a.m. | keynote lecture on “My city, my home?” by Milena Belloni (MiGloBa)

Coffee break

11:15 a.m. | Parallel brainstorm sessions: “Urbanisation without development?” and "My city, my home?"

12:45 – 14:00 | lunch

Keynote lectures and brainstorm sessions

Urbanization without development?

The keynote lecture for this brainstorming session will be broadly based on a recent book by K. Sridhar & G. Mavrotas “Urbanization in the Global South: Perspectives and Challenges” (Routledge 2022). In particular the keynote lecture and the brainstorming session will try to shed more light on the crucial nexus between urbanization and development with a particular focus on the Global South’s experience with the urbanization process.

Urbanization without development is a very common phenomenon in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia in recent years and it is also characterized by rapid urban growth in the face of economic stagnation, poor agricultural performance (implying push migration to urban areas), rising unemployment, financially weak municipalities, poor governance, and the absence of coherent urban planning policy in many cases. Poverty incidence associated with the urbanization process is also relevant here: With continued urbanization, the numbers of the urban poor are predicted to rise and poverty will increasingly be an urban phenomenon and defined with different facets, not only in terms of income poverty – urban poor living on less than 2 dollars per day, but also in terms of urban hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity in the Global South.

Against this background, we welcome short contributions (5 mins pitch) from all disciplines that relate with current debates on the overall nexus between urbanization and development, including the relationship between urbanization and inequality, structural vulnerability, and governance issues in dealing with the various negative externalities of the urbanization process, among others.

My city, my home?

This brainstorming session explores the relationship between diverse urban dynamics (urbanisation, gentrification, development, construction, renovation etc.) and the experience of home and homelessness of migrant populations (these include a wide variety of mobile subjects, such as refugee populations, expats, digital nomads, travellers etc.). Home and homelessness are concepts that have been variably defined and refer to both physical as well as emotional conditions related to belonging and place-making (Kellet and Moore, 2003; Springer, 2000).

We thus welcome short contributions (5 min. pitch) from all disciplines that relate with debates surrounding policies and experiences of formal and informal housing, movements of right-claiming, alternative ways of inhabiting the urban space (Lancione, 2018) both in the Global North and in the Global South. In other words, we are looking for empirical and theoretical work that can help us answering the questions: “What does “home” mean for the migrant population in the city? How are ideas and experiences of home and homelessness reconfigured by migration and urban development dynamics?”