Neil Brenner: Is the World Urban?

October 23, 2017

The UCSC Sociology Colloquium Series presents:
Neil Brenner:
Is the World Urban?  
Monday, October 23, 2017
2:30 – 4:00pm
Humanities 210
Free & open to public - refreshments served

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 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.

Neil Brenner is Professor of Urban Theory at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His most recent books include New Urban Spaces: Urban Theory and the Scale Question (Oxford University Press, 2018); Critique of Urbanization (Bauwelt Fundamente Series/Birkhäuser Verlag, 2016) and Implosions/Explosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization (Jovis, 2014).  Brenner formerly served as Professor of Sociology and Director of the Metropolitan Studies Program at New York University.  Further information on Brenner’s current research and collaborative work can be found at:

Co-Sponsored by the Politics Dept., Environmental Studies Department., History of Consciousness Department; Center for Creative Ecologies; and Critical Sustainabilities Project.