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C3: Europe Research Cluster

Participants from the Governance of European Suburbs Workshop, May 2012

Team Lead: Nick Phelps

Team Members and geographic areas:

Ludger Basten (Ruhr area, Germany);
Sonia Hirt (Sofia, Bulgaria);Nick Phelps (London, UK, with Alan Mace LSE);
Christian Schmid (Zurich, Switzerland);
Per Gunnar Røe (Oslo, Norway);
Ute Lehrer (Montpellier, France);
Amparo Tarazona Vento (Madrid, Spain);Dimtris Ballas (Athens, Greece);
Wojciech Wagner (Warsaw & Lodz, Poland).

Research Context, Methods and Goals:

Europe represents a vast analytical challenge to unpicking both commonalities and important differences in patterns and processes of suburbanization. Initial discussions of group members in Montreal in 2010 identified a large umber of possible common themes for our work to consider. These themes include: (a) situate our local case in an understanding of different broad legal/administrative and or planning ‘families’ in Europe; (b) situate our local case in an understanding of the various tiers of government nationally; (c) consider patterns of governance involving integration across policy sectors like transport, land-use, social services and different actors in participatory decision making modes; (d) situate our local cases with respect to the manner in which suburbanisation has been a product of the distinctive way in which (public) transportation, communication and service infrastructure networks systematically distort the locational accessibility/development potential in city regions; (e) situate our local discussion with regard to the generalities of the mixed economies of Europe; (f) explore the extent to which suburbanisation in Europe is residential or is also employment based; (g) explore any external linkages in terms of the influences on or similarities between suburbanisation in Europe and the other regions; (h) explore the relationship of suburbia to nature; (i) consider the influence of the EU (i.e. supranational scale) on processes of suburbanisation.

Current Activities:

Europe team members Sonia Hirt, Nick Phelps and Amparo Tarazona Vento presented papers at the workshop on Suburban Governance that took place in Leipzig between June 30 and July 3 as part of the broader MCRI.

Nick Phelps organized a one day workshop on the May 14, 2012 to discuss the ‘Governance of European suburbs’. The workshop took place in the Haldane Room UCL, and was co-funded by the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL. Speakers on the day included: Ute Lehrer, Roza Tchoukaleyska Per Gunnar Roe, Sonia Hirt, Ludger Basten, Amparo Tarazona Vento, Dimitris Ballas, Christian Schmid, Woijiech Wagner, and Nick Phelps. They covered aspects of suburbanisation in Athens, London Madrid, Montpellier, Oslo, the Ruhr Region, Sofia, Warsaw and Lodz, Zurich. The speakers were joined by Alan Mace and Iain Gordon of LSE, Laura Vaughan, Sonia Arbaci, Fulong Wu and Andrew Harris of UCL and Roya Jodieri of Arup. This workshop is the first milestone in preparation for the upcoming 2013 conference in Toronto.

Ute Lehrer organized a graduate planning course through the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, a Critical Planning Workshop that took place in Montpellier, France in October 2012; this course ran concurrently with the Land Workshop being organized by Ute Lehrer and Emmanuel Negrier. Per Gunnar Røe is also including suburbanism and the work of the MCRI in his masters’ level course, “Urbanism – urban politics and planning”.

Nick Phelps and Christian Schmid both were invited to present and produce papers for journal special  issues at a two-day workshop on ‘Explaining metropolitan transformation: politics, functions and symbols’ organised by Willem Salet at University of Amsterdam in January 25 and 26, 2013.

The main collective product of the cluster is now confirmed as an edited book with University of Toronto Press. In addition chapters in separate edited books with University of Toronto Press and with Jovis will draw together the research of members of the Europe cluster and are in press.


Phelps, N.A. and Vento, A.T. (2013) ‘The Suburban Question: Grassroots Politics and Place Making in Spanish Suburbs’, paper presented to a specially organised workshop on ‘Explaining Metropolitan Transformation: Politics, Functions and Symbols’, 25-26 January, 2013, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam.

Schmid, Christian. (2012). Travelling Warrior and Complete Urbanization in Switzerland: Landscape as Lived Space. In: C. Girot and F. Truniger (eds.): Landscript 1: Landscape, Vision, Motion. Jovis, Berlin, 2012, p. 138–155.

Schmid, Christian. (2012). Images of Urbanization in Switzerland. In: U. Görlich and M. Wandeler: Auf Gemeindegebiet – On Common Ground. Scheidegger & Spiess, Zürich, 2012, p. 168–172.

Schmid, Christian. (2012).Patterns and Pathways of Global Urbanization: Towards Comparative Analysis. In: J. Acebillo et al.: Globalization of urbanity, Academia di Architettura, Università della Svizzera Italiana / Actar, Barcelona, 2012, p. 51–77.

Schmid Christian. (2012). Vers de nouvelles formes de ville. In: L. Coen and Lambelet, C. (eds):  L’Ouest pour horizon. Schéma directeur de L’Ouest Lausannois, Infolio, Gollion. pp. 253–255.

Boltshauser, Roger / Lampugnani, Vittorio M. / Schmid, Christian. (2012). Die Agglomeration ist die neue Stadt, aber welche? Ein Gespräch, geführt von Siham Balutsch und Yvonne Michel. In: Trans 20: Relevanz. Zürich. pp. 94–103.

Røe, Per Gunnar. (2012). Green Suburbanisms: Differentiating the Greenness of Suburbs. Green Oslo: Visions, Planning and Discourse [also co-editor]. Ashgate.

Brenner, Neil and Schmid, Christian (2012): Planetary urbanization. In: M.Gandy (ed.): Urban Constellations, pp.10–13. Berlin: jovis Verlag.

Hirt, S. (2012) Iron Curtains: Gates, Suburbs and Privatization of Space in the Post-socialist City. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester

Klausen, J.E. and Per Gunnar Roe (2012) ‘Governance and change on the urban fringe – special issue of urban research and practice’, Urban Research and Practice 5(1): 1-5

Phelps, N.A. (2012). Invited talk at the Department of Geography, ‘Suburban governance and the contribution of applied geography’, Technical University Berlin, May 22 2012, Berlin, Germany.

Røe, Per Gunnar (2012) ‘Suburban identity constructions – in row house neighborhoods’, paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Association of American Geographers, New York City.

Røe, Per Gunnar (2012) ‘Suburbanism(s) and the future’, Future Suburbanisms panel presentation at the Annual Conference of the Association of American Geographers, New York City.

Schmid, Christian (2012): Henri Lefebvre, the right to the city, and the new metropolitan mainstream. In: N. Brenner, P. Marcuse and M. Mayer (eds.): Cities for people, not for profit: critical urban theory and the right to the city, pp.42–62. New York: Routledge.

Røe, Per Gunnar and Inger-Lise Saglie (2011) ‘Minicities in suburbia – A model for urban sustainability?’ FORMakademisk 4 (2): 38-58

Schmid, Christian. (2011). “Patterns and Pathways of Global Urbanization: Steps towards Comparative Analysis”, session “global suburbanism”, RC21 Conference, ISA, Sociology of Urban and Regional Development,  July 7-9  2011, Amsterdam, Netherlands.