(In)flexible Cities podcasts

Podcasts are now online for the recent Kinshasa on Film and Wounded Cities events. Click here to listen to extracts of Filip de Boeck and Koen van Synghel discussing their Kinshasa film projects, or click here to catch up on Karen Till's 'Wounded Cities' talk.


Urban Reflections talk today

Professor Mark Tewdwr-Jones (UCL Bartlett) will be talking this evening as part of the (In)flexible Cities series. His title is 'Urban Reflections - Filmic Narratives of Place, Planning and Change' . The seminar starts at 5pm and will be in room SG2 at CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road.

Here is some information about the event:

‘The eye does not see things, but images of things that mean other things.’ Italo Calvino's comment from 'Invisible Cities' captures the role and value of film in the urban realm. Cities have long been a feature of motion pictures and the use of urban landscapes for the setting has taken varied forms since the dawn of cinema more than 100 years ago. These landscapes form part of the narrative text to film that are necessary to convey a unified sense of space. The eclecticism of the contemporary study of cities - associated with a growing body of theory on place identity, on ‘placeness’, and spatial awareness, on the interrelations between place, space, people and politics, with a long standing interest in urban form and city life - provides an opportunity for an alternative critical perspective, gleaned from celluloid representation, that might explain the prevalence and significance of people's perceptions of places that social scientists often feel remote from or unable to discern. Similar to maps, films are just another way of looking at the world but evoke matters concerning power and contestation. Film as a product of modernity captures perfectly the dynamism of modernism and its impact of cities and landscape, looking forward excitedly at the prospect of the utopian future while glancing backwards and with nostalgia to familiar, cherished and vanishing scenes. Massey talks about space as ‘the sphere of the existence of multiplicity’. Perceptions of space, of representations and imaginations, will be multiple too. This is where the camera lens has the advantage - depicting multiple meanings of places, representing difference and distinctiveness, and challenging existing perceptions of places we think we already know well.

Mark Tewdwr-Jones is Professor of Spatial Planning and Governance at University College London Bartlett School. His work is multi-disciplinary, spanning planning, politics and governance, architecture and film studies, and housing and environment.

His latest book, Urban Reflections: Narratives of Place, Planning and Change, was published in 2011. It provides a series of narratives that examine our perception of place and change, both through official town planning accounts and through literary, cinematic and social depictions and reactions to urban change and development.



City Seminar #2 - Karen Till on Wounded Cities

Tomorrow we're welcoming Dr Karen Till (National University of Ireland, Maynooth) to Cambridge to talk about 'Wounded Cities', the title of her current book project.

The talk starts at 5pm, SG1 at CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road. Please click here for more info.

Here is the abstract for Karen Till's talk:

In contrast to theorizing cities that have experienced disaster or trauma as systems that need to become more resilient, in this talk Karen Till argues that cities marked by past structures of violence and exclusion should be understood as both wounded places and as environments that offer its residents care. The talk draws upon her book in progress and ethnographic research in Bogota, Cape Town and Roanoke, Virginia -- cities in which settlement clearances have produced spaces so steeped in oppression that the geographies of displacement continue to structure urban social relations. She will introduce her concepts of 'wounded city', 'memory-work' and a 'place-based ethics of care' as a means of retheorizing the city. She argues that the memory-work of artists, activists and residents offer alternative models to imagine more socially just urban futures. A deeper appreciation of the lived and place-based experiences and expertise of these urban inhabitants would enable planners, policy makers and urban theorists to consider more ethical and sustainable forms of urban change.