Diego Barrado

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) / UAM Local Coordinator and Associate Professor of Human Geography

Courses

The Sustainable and Liveable City

Research interests

Keywords: urban studies, culture and economic development, tourism, nature and development

Urban tourism: Since the Grand Tour in the eighteenth and nineteenth century tourism has been an innate activity in cities, mainly in those which has an important cultural heritage and has been traditionally considered as ‘historic cities’. However, it has not been until the last decades when tourism has acquired an important presence in the political, economic, social, cultural and special urban life. Due to this new public presence of tourism, deeper researches are need in the relationships between urban dynamics and tourism sector in many different aspects, as for instance: a) tourism as an urban economic sector; b) cultural and monumental heritage and tourism; c) tourists and the use of public space; d) social and cultural implications of tourism.

Urban cultural sustainability: Although the cultural dimension has been traditionally accepted as one of the main pillar of sustainability, environmental and physical viewpoints have traditionally dominated this scientific approach to cities. Due to this predominance of these aspects, deeper researches are needed in relation with a huge array of concepts and processes directly related with the role of culture in the processes of urban sustainable development, such as heritage, cultural capital, identity and sense, how to measure sustainability and so on.

Cultural industries and urban city centres: In the last decades culture has begun to be considered as an important economic sector. Form an urban point of view, this change has entailed that apart from been promoted as a social right through equipments and facilities, culture is considered a strategic sector for the regeneration of the urban city centres. Among other important issues, it is crucial to understand a) how these cultural actors and micro-companies cluster to develop a chain of value; and b) how some characteristic cultural urban activities such as theatre, music, cinema and so on could improve the cities centres for an geographical, social and economic point of view.

City image and urban marketing: Among many other aspects, the globalisation and liberalization of the economy has meant that cities have become important actors in the global economic competition. For this reasons, cities are using the traditional process of marketing to promote or ‘sell’ themselves in a global market, to attract investors, companies, visitors, events and so on. This process involves reflecting and research about a) the traditional image conveyed by a city and b) how it has been use/modify/change for the new economic purpose; as well as c) the means used to convey new images and d) their social, cultural and geographical effects.

Contact

Departamento de Geografia
Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
Campus de Cantoblanco
28049 Madrid, Spain

Tel: +34 91 497 20 01

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Stefan De Corte

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) / 4CITIES International Coordinator and Local Coordinator VUB

Contact

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
WE DGGF, 4th Floor, Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: +32 2 629 33 70

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Marta Domínguez Perez

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) / UCM Local Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Sociology

Courses

Governance and Local Welfare

Research interests

Keywords: segregation, inequality, urban identity, city centre, migration, children, public space

City Marketing and Urban Identity: Globalization has caused the need for the external promotion of cities and the creation of new local identities. That impact on the exterior and interior of the city, allows some social sectors identify themselves with these new identities and others feel excluded. This process affects both the population and the economic sectors that are attracted by these new identities. In this sense, we study the population and commercial gentrification and new images. Thus also immigration and urban identity is developed.  Migration processes have led to new projects in our cities new problems of coexistence between old and new citizens.

Urban regeneration and population changes: The industrial crisis has generated new scenarios that should respond through urban policies regeneration by the public, private or partnership institutions which generate new tensions and conflicting dynamics with citizens.  It seems that new social sectors are favored by these policies and others who are excluded. The analysis of “who are these policies for” is the focus of interest.

Vulnerable groups in the city: children, women: Cities are designed and aimed at groups of economic and symbolic centrality and they usually exclude groups such as women, children, immigrants, elderly, disabled, etc. We research about how to empower these sectors and analyze experiences and measures to do so.

Public space and the city: Public spaces in the city are the essence of the city, those spaces where the mixture, the difference, opening the encounter with the other, take place. Social practices in the public space (squares, streets, public facilities, etc.) of the various groups in the city (women, children, immigrants, visitors, tourists, etc.) we are interested in assessing the significance that the city acquired its meaning as meeting and mixing.

Sociology of tourism and the city: The impact of tourism in the city is connected with the new urban identities that promote the city and in addition to new images of middle and creative classes that make the culture and entertainment central. In this sense, the analysis of equipment and travel services serves to connect these with the new urban identities and their impact on the total of the city. in this same line, also we are interested in the analysis of urban historical centres and external identity projection.

Contact

Departamento de Sociología II.
Facultad de CC Políticas y Sociología.
Campus de Somosaguas.
28223 Madrid, España

Tel: +34 91 394 26 43

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Yvonne Franz

Universität Wien / 4CITIES Local Coordinator and Lecturer

Courses

Contemporary Challenges in Urban and Regional Development

Research interests

Keywords: urban geography & planning, neighbourhood development, gentrification, public space, integration policies, governance, social innovation, practice approach, urban living labs

The emergence of new “arrival spaces”: The century of urbanization is characterized by established and newly emerging migration patterns. The process of “arriving to a city” becomes more complex and multi-layered as cities are not only growing by population, but they also face challenges with regard to housing shortage, gentrification processes and the need for multiple integration policies. Besides education and workplaces, the urban housing market is of crucial relevancy for the “arriving population”. Critical reflection is needed on the availability, accessibility and affordability of housing for new residents in order to assess the limitations of “arrival spaces” in cities.

The impact of social innovation in neighbourhood development: Social innovation has been an emerging concept across policy, practice and academia to overcome societal challenges by collaborative practices between civil society, private stakeholders and public actors. The basic understanding of social innovation can be broken down to “any co-created innovation closing the gap of public welfare state service and contributing to a societal benefit”. When it comes to urban studies and more precisely to socio-spatial analyses, the questions arises: How does social innovation impact neighbourhood development? This thesis aims at a better conceptual understanding on social innovation in neighbourhood development, the involved actors and framework conditions, as well as at the development of “social innovation proxies” to identify and measure the potential of social innovation at the local scale.

The role of public spaces for socially cohesive neighbourhoods: Living quality and human wellbeing have come under increased pressure in “successful cities” due to population growth, physical densification, economic valorisation, limited open space and an increased vulnerability to climate change. More than ever, public spaces have become increasingly important as spaces for leisure and relaxation, but even more importantly as spaces for (daily) appropriations, democratic participation and spaces of encounter in diversifying societies. The core interest in this field of research asks how public space can contribute to creating cities that are more ecologically, economically AND socially resilient.

Contact

University of Vienna
Department of Geography and Regional Research
Universitätsstraße 7/C406
1010 Vienna, Austria

Tel: +43 1 4277 48783

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Elena Solonina

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) / Administrative and Logistics Assistant for 4CITIES and Brussels Centre for Urban Studies / Assistant International Coordinator and Assistant Local Coordinator VUB

Contact

VUB – Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Room 4F65 (Building F, 4th Floor, room 65)
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: +32 2 629 33 70

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Mathieu van Criekingen

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) / ULB Local Coordinator and Lecturer

Courses

Urban Economic Geography, Urban Analysis II

Research interests

Keywords: gentrification (processes, policies, and resistance to), neoliberal capitalism and the city, life in working-class neighbourhoods

Staying put in the revalorised (inner) city: Urban revalorisation processes are putting strong pressure on multiple categories of land users that cannot afford rising ground rents while simultaneously highly praising central urban locations for social reproduction or economic viability (low-income inhabitants, space-consuming activities, low-margin businesses,…). There’s a need here for new researches on the actual ways and strategies through which those populations or activities at risk of displacement strive to ‘stay put’ in central urban locations, that is, how they resist change. Case studies could be designed here with a focus on specific population groups, economic activities or selected neighbourhoods ‘under pressure’ – in different urban contexts.

Alternatives: Practices, initiatives, projects or experiments of very diverse kinds departing from the entrepreneurial mainstream – and/or contesting it – are flourishing nowadays in cities. Thinks f.i. of community land trusts, community planning experiences, local currencies or exchange systems, free public transport, community-supported agriculture, housing cooperatives, squatting, participatory budgeting, etc. Yet, there is still a lack of critical assessments of the actual nature of these existing policy models or practices that allegedly embody an ‘alternative’ character vis-à-vis the entrepreneurial mainstream. I invite therefore students to engage in researching how these ‘alternative’ experiments actually confront, contest, circumvent – or not so much – neoliberally-minded ways of producing and running cities, based on close observation of situated experiments.

Retail gentrification: The emergence of new retail landscapes is one of the recurrent ingredients of gentrification processes – think of trendy cafés, fashion or design boutiques, organic food markets, etc. However, this aspect of neighbourhood change has been chronically under-researched in gentrification literature, although new investment in retail activities can play a crucial role in accelerating gentrification processes or supporting gentrification policies. Researches should be developed here around specific retail types and/or selected neighbourhoods in order to understand the social production of those new retail landscapes in different urban contexts, as well as their consequences for pre-existing retail structures and incumbent populations.

Contact

Department of Human Geography
Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
Av. F.D. Roosevelt, 50 – CP130/03
1050 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: +32-2-6506825

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Martin Zerlang

Københavns Universitet (KU) / KU Local Coordinator and Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture

Courses

Urbanism and Architecture, Urban Analysis 4

Research interests

The literary café: A comparison of the Viennese Kaffeehaus-Literatur and the literature connected to the Copenhagen Café Bernina: The interplay between private life and public in the café; the café as the home of the flaneur or the urban stroller; the feuilleton as an urban genre; literary style as an expression of urban modes of perception; the general question of literary architecture.

The museum and the city: The birth of the modern urban museum took place in the beginning of the 19th century (British Museum in London, Altes Museum in Berlin, Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen). The first museums were truly urban buildings, erected in the core of the old city. During the 20th century the process of suburbanization also influenced the location of museums (Louisiana). Since the turn of the millennium however museums – and the whole question of the city and collective memory – have created a new interest in the relation between the inner city and museums. And at the same time inter-urban competition has led to still more spectacular or iconic museum architecture (Bilbao). Thus, a close and comparative study of museums in one of our “four cities” or other European cities would offer a splendid opportunity to trace historical and contemporary trends in the relation between urban life and cultural heritage.

Transparency: With its use of glass and steel the Crystal Palace of the first world’s fair in London 1851 marked a break-through in modern architecture. In 1914 Paul Scheerbart and Bruno Taut wrote and built a manifesto for glass-architecture, and architects such as Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe made the glass of “curtain walls” into an everyday-experience. In contemporary architecture the use of glass has provoked an interesting discussion of transparency: some claim that transparency is an expression of a democratic society, others claim that transparency goes hand in hand with a society of surveillance – and others again claim that we are witnessing a total restructuring of our understanding and our experience of the relationship between public and private life. The study of transparency may be specified into the study of transparency in for instance: town hall architecture, schools or residential architecture.

Contact

University of Copenhagen – Faculty of Humanities,
Department of Studies in Culture and the Arts
Section Comparative Literature and Modern Culture
Karen Blixens Vej 1
DK-2300Copenhagen

Tel: +45 35 36 51 36

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