Published: Feb. 9, 2018

In what sense is the 21st century world "urban"? In this lecture, Neil Brenner critiques contemporary ideologies of the "urban age," which confront this question with reference to the purported fact that more than 50% of the world's population resides within cities. Against such demographic, city-centric understandings, Brenner excavates Henri Lefebvre's notion of generalized urbanization for conceptual and methodological insights into the 21st century planetary urban condition. He argues that the geographies of urbanization can no longer be conceptualized exclusively with reference to cities and metropolitan regions, but today encompass diverse patterns and pathways of sociospatial and ecological transformation across the planetary sociospatial landscape, from Manhattan to the Matterhorn, from the Pearl River Delta to Mount Everest, from the Nile River valley to the Pacific Ocean. This variegated urban fabric must become the focal point for new approaches to urban theory, strategies of collective intervention and imaginaries of built and unbuilt environments.

Colloquium presentation by Neil Brenner, Harvard University, Center for the Environment
Co-sponsored by CU Environmental Design
Hosted by Emily Yeh and ENVD

Satellite images of Matogrosso Brazil; Bohaiaqua China; Florida phosphate mines:

Satellite image of Matogrosso Brazil

Satellite image of Bohaiaqua

Satellite image of Florida crops