An interdisciplinary approach on contemporary urbanization
More than half of the Earth’s population is urbanized and cities, the setting-world of modernity, are now accepted as the decisive norm of human settlement. Yet the reality of urbanity today is multi-faceted and reveals a wide diversity and complexity of urban models and forms. Fragmented, divided, segregated, chaotic, violent, as destructed as it is constructed, the city is likewise a place of innovation, creation and cultural struggle—a space that architecture, urban planning and the social and spatial sciences are striving to understand.
The Lasur organised on 22-25 November 2011 an International Exploratory Workshop, which brought together specialists on urban issues from a variety of disciplines (architecture, sociology, anthropology, geography and political sciences) and from different research institutions worldwide. It allowed to compare diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to the urban phenomenon above and beyond the North-South divide and the interdisciplinary barriers.
Five keynote talks were followed by extensive discussions and critiques with the aim of addressing the question of the meaning of the modern city. The collaborations of various researchers during the three workshop days resulted in the creation of a new international and interdisciplinary research network calledUrban Translations. One of the network’s first achievements will be the publication of a collective book based on the workshop’s keynote presentations and discussions (to be published in 2012).
Rachel Coutinho, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, School of Architecture and Urbanism